Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Trip to the Market

I haven't been writing, but that doesn't mean I haven't been cooking! Over the last week I've made two meals (using new-to-me recipes) and spent one evening making homemade ice cream (and baked chocolate meringues to accompany it). I'll post about all of the above in the coming days, plus the more detailed description of our second visit to Goong I promised some time back, and a cocktail-related post I've had on deck.

But today I want to talk about finally making it to the Coventry Regional Farmers' Market. I've been hearing about the market from my friends, and I've in fact been following them on Facebook, but I haven't made it out until now. This was, of course, their Winter Market; I have to wait 'til June to see the market in its full glory. But even so, there was plenty to see. Produce was limited to hot-house and winter items, along with dried items like rice, beans, herbs, and hot peppers... but there was also a great variety of locally sourced, locally made prepared and artisanal foods, and locally grown meats from several farms.

I bought myself some Dragon's Blood Elixir hot sauce, along with a curry sauce from the Dragon's Blood folk's selection of small-batch sauces. They also had a wasabi sauce that tasted great, and a nice smokey chipotle sauce, both of which I may well pick up on a future visit. I got my Lovely Bride® some locally roasted Costa Rican coffee from Quiet Corner Coffee Roasters, and myself some Pleasant Cow cheese from Beaver Brook Farm. Lack of planning on my part — I didn't have a cooler or insulated bag with me; I had not planned to go straight home after the market; and I hadn't talked with the LB© about our dinner plans — restrained me from partaking of any of the frozen meat on offer, or of the lovely salmon The Fish Market (Willimantic) had, or of the prepared gourmet entrees-for-two from Zest Restaurant in nearby Tolland. Some forethought before my next visit — and there will be a next visit — is a necessity!

The cheese I bought is part of an ongoing project that I suspect will become a recurring topic here: My quest for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich! Years ago, while on a business trip to Atlanta, I had a meal at the Buckhead Diner that proved to me a grilled cheese sandwich — one of my childhood favorites — could in fact be Serious Food™. Now that I'm trying to be all serious about food, I want to find and/or create seriously good grilled cheese sandwiches. To that end, I'll be sampling locally made artisanal cheeses, making or finding great sandwich breads, etc. I know of a regionally famous grilled cheese sandwich food truck, operated around Yale by the folks at Caseus Fromagerie and Bistro, and a similar gourmet grilled cheese food truck in California was recently featured on the "Hand-Held Eats" episode of Cooking Channel's Unique Eats. One of the "secrets" revealed on that episode involved coating the bread with, instead of just butter, a mixture of butter and mayonnaise. The idea of putting mayo-slathered bread into a hot pan goes against my every instinct, but I'm nothing if not experimental, so... watch this space for developments!


  1. Surprise! I always put mayo on grilled cheese sandwiches. My son, who at 12 was a better cook than I, taught me to do that. I'll be watching for those recipes. I'm also sort of a foodie who seldom cooks.

  2. Diana, after I wrote this post, I did some googling and found out that using mayo isn't as weird as it seemed to me. It actually makes sense -- mayo is mostly oil in another form -- but I had just never heard of it before. Leave it to me to write first and research after, he?