Last Farmer's Market of the season

Shoppers on Cathedral Square
This past weekend, Tom and I rode our bikes over to Cream and Sugar and met up with Mobilians on Bikes for our Saturday morning ride to the farmer's market. This was the last market of the season until it returns in the spring, sometime in April.
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
Mobile's Market on the Square is a diverse, centrally located farmers market for growers and shoppers in the tri-state area. The market features some of the best, seasonal produce, meats, handmade soaps and candles, cheese, pasta, seafood, etc.
Pecan Season!
While the market has been steadily gaining popularity (at least over the past two years since moving here), it's still only open for a few months out of the year: April-July and October-November.  With such a long growing season, plus the recent boost in popularity, I'm hoping for a transition to a year-round market soon. Fingers crossed! We had a great time last week, picked up some eggs, met some new friends, and met a bulldog named "Gumbo"! We're excited for the spring market to start already!
Just because the market is over, doesn't mean that you should stop buying local produce. Ang Jordan over at Gulf Coast Local Food has posted several links and resources to help you find produce in the area. In fact, a few weeks earlier, she posted information about picking your own Satsumas over at Sunnyland Satsumas. It runs from November 19-December 19 and it's $1/lb. Tom and I can't wait to get over there and pick our own!


Mushroom Casserole

"Cold" is a relative term here in the deep south. When the high temperature drops below 75°, jackets, hats, and scarves slowly emerge out of winter storage and onto the streets. I'm not one to judge though,  I'll bust out a scarf at any given opportunity. That, and I'm pretty sure I've adjusted to the weather here...to the point that my fingers start to turn blue at 55°-60° (I still act like I'm "cold-weather tough" though). Anyway, the temperatures have started to drop, and Thanksgiving is upon us, which can only mean one thing: casserole season.
Mushrooms in a dimly lit kitchen + high ISO, delicious!
Few things are more comforting than a well made casserole. I'm pretty particular about my casseroles, I'm not big on taking too many short cuts, I prefer it to be as "from scratch" as possible (granted, that's easier because I don't have kids), and Heidi's recipes over at 101cookbooks usually come through. My main complaint about her recipes is that she (unfortunately) frequently uses ingredients that are hard to come by in Mobile. She has so many recipes that I would LOVE to try, I've just had a difficult time finding all of the ingredients, but I adapt where I can. However, this is one recipe that simple, delicious and easily customizable. You can add nuts (especially roasted pine nuts, which I want to try next time), greens, or even chicken. It takes a bit of time, so you will need to set a good two hours aside (unless you have brown rice already cooked), but it's definitely worth it.
so good!
Mushroom Casserole adapted from 101cookbooks
1/2 pound (8 ounces) brown mushrooms (I used baby Portabellas), cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, well chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 large eggs
1 cup Ricotta cheese (the original recipe calls for cottage cheese, which I was out of, so I used Ricotta. I think I liked the Ricotta better, it was creamier)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a bit of fresh tarragon, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a medium-large baking dish (smaller than 9x13) with a bit of olive oil and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute the mushrooms in a spoonful of coconut oil (better than olive oil for medium-high heat cooking) sprinkled with a couple pinches of salt. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute and remove from heat. Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, Ricotta cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper.

Combine the rice mixture and cheese mixture in a large bowl, stir until well combined and then turn out into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle with the chopped tarragon and the remaining Parmesan.

Serves about 8.


More to come...

So, it's been well over a month since I've posted. Blame the wedding, blame the honeymoon, and blame the fact that our computer was completely full of pictures/music/etc that we couldn't store anything else on it (and you know I like to document my progress...even if the photos are blurry or have terrible lighting). And, we had a VERY difficult time finding a hard drive that was compatible with Mac OS-X. Enough with the excuses though, I have been wanting to blog again for some time, I just haven't taken the time to actually do it. In fact, I recently made some blueberry scones and some cinnamon raisin bread that I thought about posting, but it just never happened. However, a conversation that Tom and I had last night provided fodder for my new project:

Tom: Looks like it's just going to be us for Thanksgiving

Me: That's cool, maybe we can just have a relaxing few days at the camp

Tom:  I still want to make a turkey though

Me: Ok....it's just the two of us, so maybe we can just get a small turkey breast? (Starting to get nervous at this point because I'm slightly intimidated at the thought of cooking a turkey...but it's just a breast so we're fine, right?)

Tom (pouting face develops): But...leftover turkey sandwiches are the best!

Me: Oh, we'll still have plenty of leftovers, don't worry

Tom (still pouting): but the dark meat is my favorite!

Me (freaking out...but...on the inside): fiiiine, we can get a turkey

Tom: Yeah, we'll only need a small bird, an 8 or 9 pounder. And, let's make it a full Thanksgiving! We need stuffing, some potatoes, squash casserole and maybe a dessert?

So, there you have it. I'm jumping on the food blogging bandwagon (albeit a bit late) for Thanksgiving recipe posts. Most will be experimental, and you may even witness complete disasters, but hey at least I get a Thanksgiving trial-run of sorts; I'm only cooking for us. Besides, now that we're married, Tom's still obligated to love me, even if I set the bird on fire.