Cooking beautiful food does not require a degree or years of experience. Nature has provided plenty of enchanting and gorgeous foodstuffs. To start, a trip to a farm, market or grocery store can be an inspiring adventure. Each vegetable has a unique personality, formed by a specific combination of water, soil, sun and even moonlight. Just as every person is unique, each vegetable has an individual fingerprint. Other ingredients have enticing characteristics as well. The greenish hue of extra virgin olive oil, a bin of grains like rice, wheat berries, barley or millet; Spices like the reddish hue of black mustard seeds, green cardamom pods, bright red of paprika, smooth bark of cinnamon, shocking yellow of turmeric and pellet shaped perfection of whole coriander; Herbs such as the crisp edges of fresh mint leaves, the evergreen woodsy rosemary, the delicate strands of fresh dill and the sensual leaves of fresh Genovese basil. Food entices the mind to imagine possibilities of cooking and eating. The attraction can be almost carnal, evoking emotions and desires from deep within the psyche. This is why it is prudent to shop without the presence of hunger pangs!
The farmers I have come to know over the last 25 years at the Royal Oak Farmers Market are some of the hardest working people I know. The market is the gem of Royal Oak, a rare community centric event that defines the city for the thousands of customers who struggle to find parking every week. Hopefully this will be rectifiedÂ as most of the people I speak with go elsewhere because of the parking issue. The city allows their employees to take up over 25% of the parking spaces available, yet they struggle to figure out how to increase revenue. It does not take a business degree to figure out the problem that is obvious to anyone who spends the 20 to 30 minutes it takes to find a space.
Pardon the time lapse. We have been pretty busy scurrying around, workng on real estate, writing and taking care of family. The fall is passing and the market has had a good run for the season. The dry season took a toll on volume, but harvest ran a month longer because of a mild October. I have been taking pictures of the market and have placed them in a photo album on my website. (http://georges-table.com/_wsn/page5.html)
Our latest restoration project has been completed and we are making test recipes for the cookbook in the fabulous marble countered kitchen. (http://georges-table.com/_wsn/page3.html). Sara and I have been entertaining in between showing the house. The menus are relatively simple and quick. Most of the energy goes into prepping the fresh organic produce from the Farmer’s Market in Royal Oak. Here is the menu last Friday:
Tamarind, Date and Mint Chutney
Fresh Tuscan Focaccia
With onion, black olives and tomato
Panzanella Salad with arugula and heirloom tomato
Buttercup Cashew Soup
Fresh Chanterelle, Shallot Au Gratin
With cherries and smoked pecans
Venezuelan Corn Tart
Red Pepper Sauce
Toasted Pepita Garnish
ChocolateÂ Cream Pie with Hot Fudge Sauce and Michigan Raspberry Sauce