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I am a simple country girl who loves life and lives it to the fullest. I cook for one of the greatest families ever. Cooking is my passion and I consider it as well to be my gift.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

EAT & SHOP LOCALLY~By Adele Forbes


Saturday morning is coming down and I have my pedal to the medal so that I might be one of the first arrivals to our local farmer's markets. One of the oldest forms of direct marketing by farmers, these vendors have become a weekly ritual for many shoppers not only in the High Country of our beloved North Carolina mountains, but throughout the entire United States. Cruising the vendors is an exciting and often breathtaking experience, besides being a great way to meet local farmers, while at the same time supplying all of your needs for flavorful and fresh produce, flowers, herbs, honey, crafts, etc. of every variety.
All of my senses, Feeling~Hearing~Seeing~ Smelling~Tasting, come into play as I wander past the many groaning stalls...Succulent ears of yellow buttery corn set my taste buds to dancing; vine-ripened tomatoes long to be picked up and placed in my basket where they will swim in a sea of red and yellow gazpacho; the simple sight of Butter Crunch lettuce simply dressed in a lemon and olive oil vinaigrette causes my heart to sing; and last but certainly not least my sense of hearing takes me away as I stand as a statue and simply listen to the rhythmic beat of my heart that beats as one with the camaraderie of all the vendors and shoppers...and when you buy locally, you know for a fact that your money has been well spent and that the food you are digesting has not arrived by boat from another land. Locally grown food deserves all of our support, so come along with me....leafy greens of Rainbow Chard and vitamin-packed kale are waiting for that splash of olive oil and slivered fresh garlic...can't you smell that smell?

"Use what you got" is my go to phrase whenever I am in the kitchen and this barbecue sauce is the perfect example of that. I start with my largest pot and then raid my pantry, refrigerator and kitchen shelves and just start pouring everything in. The end result is never the same twice but I have written it down here for you in a version that should be easy to follow. Start out by cooking sections of baby back ribs in a pot of water seasoned with salt and pepper for 15 minutes, then cut the heat off and leave them setting until the water has cooled down enough to handle the ribs. Pour off the water and then pour on the sauce and place the ribs on a hot grill, lathering them with more sauce until they start to blacken and have a nice caramelization.
1 (28 oz.) bottle Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce
1 (14oz.) bottle Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce
1 (14 oz.) bottle Kraft Honey Barbecue Sauce
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper

Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow the sauce to simmer, stirring now and then for 15 to 20 minutes. If to thick, add water to desired consistency, but don't get it to thin.
Yield: About 2 quarts

6 to 8 Heirloom tomatoes~use red, yellow and green ones for lovely color, chopped
4 to 5 fresh homegrown cucumbers~white and green ones together are especially nice, chopped
3 small fresh bell peppers~1 each of red, green, and yellow~chopped
1 small sweet onion~chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (46oz.) can organic tomato juice

Combine all ingredients in a large pretty bowl, mixing well. Chill thoroughly then taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve in glass bowls to show off the pretty colors. Garnish with a little fresh cilantro if desired. Flavors are enhanced if allowed to mingle and marry at least 1 day before serving. Keeps for 2 weeks refrigerated...I've been told. A bowl of it at my house never survives past 2 days. Serves: 6

All summer long I cut and scrape the kernels from fresh just-picked corn into a large heavy pot using whatever varieties of corn I can get my hands on. Next step is to just barely cover with water then add good fresh butter that is readily available at most Farmer's Markets, lightly salt it and add just a dash or two of white pepper. Allow it to come to a boil, stir well then turn the heat to medium and cook just until the kernels are tender...5 to 10 minutes...no more! Over cooking fresh corn in my book is a sin.

Fresh leafy greens at roadside markets are one of the finest purchases you can make for your dining table. Power-packed with vitamins and minerals they will be sure to leave a rosy glow on your cheeks and in your heart of hearts. Just be sure and not over cook them so as not to destroy the fresh vitamin content...cook just until nicely wilted.

Greens such as Kale and Rainbow Swiss Chard, shredded
olive oil
fresh slivered elephant garlic

Add a healthy splash of olive oil to a large skillet, heat it up on the stove or grill and saute along with the garlic for 5 minutes or so until wilted and aromatic to your sense of smell. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately next to the ribs, stewed corn, and a bowl of gazpacho.

"What was paradise, but a garden full of vegetables and herbs and pleasure? Nothing there but delights."~William Lawson

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