Monthly Archives: July 2009

Saturdays at the Dane County Farmer’s Market

My time in the midwest is soon coming to an end, but before I go I hope to get at least another two trips in to the Dane County Farmer’s Market. One of the largest in the country, the Saturday morning market around the Capitol building here in Madison puts all others I’ve frequented to shame (sorry, Hillcrest Farmer’s Market and Union Square!). It’s a pity I’m cooking for one these days, because every time I go I just want to scoop everything up. I’m going to miss it here, if nothing else about Madison. Plus, their weekly email newsletter is just too damn cute.

Some recent buys from this weekend, and a few pics from last month’s visit:

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Half of a small loaf of cheese bread from the ridiculously popular Stella’s Bakery. Their “hot and spicy cheese bread” draws a huge crowd to their booth every week, and I finally got my first taste of this goodness yesterday. Cheese is baked right in… yum.

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Some of the offering at Brunkow Cheese of Wisconsin. Folks flock to them for their cheese curds, flavored cheddars, and fried cheese. Split a block of six-year white cheddar with some friends– great, but I’m regretting not getting the 10-year cheddar instead. If your palate can take it, it’s so worth it.

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a bounty of sugar snap peas. most of the vegetable vendors are actually Hmong and Lao refugees to the Midwest.

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Yesterday’s haul included: aforementioned cheese bread and 6-year cheddar, a rhubarb turnover, baby bok choy, green onions, red onions, lettuce, and beefsteak tomatoes. Before I leave I’d like to pick up an Amish/Quaker pie, the crazy good jalapeno jam from The Summer Kitchen, and maybe even some honey from the loopy beehive hat-wearing vendor. We’ll see if I have the time for it, it’s crunch time now for school!

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Things I’ve put in my mouth recently (sorry for the laundry list, it’s been a long couple of weeks ’round here):

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(ice cream from the UW Babcock Dairy, eaten on the lovely waterfront Memorial Union Terrace)

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(My labor of love: home-made kaldereta for a class ‘piyesta’/fiesta. Best thing at the spread, don’t meant to boast but my meat brought all the boys to the yard.)

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(Amuse-bouche at Harvest. Bougiest dinner I will have had in Madison by the time I go. Worth it.)

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(Table of shame: $1 mixed drinks at the Nitty Gritty. I don’t care if it’s “the birthday place,” you’re never catching me dead in there again.)

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(The Wisconsin Benedict at the Old Fashioned. That would be a brat patty under the egg.)

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(Lingering suspicions and pre-existing bias confirmed: not pizza @ Gino’s East, Chicago)

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(neon green relish. a tubular meat’s under there, i think. @ Underdogg, Chicago)

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(Most amazing mojitos at Blue Line Lounge in Wicker Park, Chicago. The coconut mojito and the Social- topped with champagne- are incroyable.)

Chicago’s Chinatown eats deserves its own post. Consider it added to the list of shit I haven’t blogged about yet…

July 4 longaniza-fest

Some people spend the nation’s birthday by grilling up hot dogs, throwing back some beer, and watching the fireworks. Always the subversive, I prefer my tubed-formed meat products the Filipino way, in the form of the sweet and sticky porky goodness of longaniza. Our semi-impromptu July 4th brunch didn’t disappoint– with enough pork, fried eggs, suka, tomatoes and rice to feed the masses. Some folks even represented with some home-made beef tapa. Sige what!

cooking longaniza

A little bit blurry, but I wanted to include a picture of the longaniza cooking. As with any fresh sausage, you have to make sure you’ve cooked it the whole way through. Standard longaniza cooking procedure: fill fry pan with longaniza and add water 1/2 way up the skillet. Boil until water’s all gone, approx. 30 minutes (and don’t forget to turn over the longaniza at least once!). When all you have left is the oil from the casings, then fry that shizz until the outside of the longaniza is nice and carmelized. What you should see when you’re done is this:

cooked longaniza

This batch was especially sticky– it was a local-ish brand called Oscar’s (I think) and it was pretty tasty! The meat was definitely fresh, and there wasn’t any added MSG or coloring like some of the mainstream brands (carried by Ranch 99 and larger “Oriental” stores esp. on the West Coast) have. I didn’t know what to expect, since I picked these up at a small store in Madison, but it was straight. I did notice that for the first time ever in my life, I didn’t have a single longaniza burp the rest of the day. If you’re a longaniza virgin, a longaniza burp is the signature (re)experience: after eating longaniza in the AM, you’ll usually burp a few times later in the day, and have the distinct taste of longaniza in your mouth afeterwards. It’s the meal that keeps on giving!

A few more pics of the rest of the breakfast spread before I run out the door:

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(ugh, I don’t know why this picture is sideways, I’ve rotated and uploaded it 3 different times to no avail.)

The crowning glory: losilog, just before I added that Jufran banana ketchup (nectar of the gods) to the rice. Happiness in a warm plate.

losilog

Happy weekend, y’all!

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