On giving thanks – 11.13

On November 13, 2011, I am thankful for Carrboro.

My days here are numbered, and I in recognition of that, I am thankful to live in such a lovely place. Its a crunchy, hippy little town next to a University, where low-key coffee shops and hang-outs abound – selling cheap beer and expensive, organic coffee. In its center, you’ll find an ever-bustling food co-op and a farmer’s market where locals gather with their babies, their dogs, and their hipster friends. The above description pretty much captures what my home town in Idaho is like, so it is no wonder that I love it here in Carrboro.

One of the things I love most is living near the year-round farmer’s market. Whenever I go there, I run into people I know and come home loaded up with fresh veggies, cheese, and baked goods, and half the fun is in wandering around and looking at the local abundance coming out of nearby farms. I grew up in a farming community, but there, the market boards up in September, so I feel incredibly spoiled by the lengthy growing season and year-round market here in the much milder North Carolina. Recently, the fall fall harvest is in full force, and hot peppers, leafy greens, and winter squash are finding their way into my kitchen.


Gorgeous peppers at last week's Wednesday market.

I think what makes me appreciate it here so much is the sense of community, and the fact that it reminds me of my original “home.” I also appreciate living somewhere that values supporting local farms (I will never ever shake my Farmer roots.)

Here are some of the delicious things I’ve made with goods from the Farmer’s Market the last couple of weeks:

Kale Chips via Smitten Kitchen:

1 bunch kale (I use curly, leafy green kale)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Sea salt, to taste

Minced garlic, to taste (my addition)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt (and garlic, if desired.) (It also works to just drizzle olive oil generously once the leaves are already on the baking sheet.) Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. (It tastes best if you eat it while its still hot, but they do last about a day or two in a sealed container.)

Roasted Butternut Squash & Walnut Orzo via Walnuts.org:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon each dried sage and dried thyme

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup orzo pasta

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Combine squash, olive oil, herbs, red pepper and salt. Spread on prepared pan. Bake 12 minutes. Stir. Add walnuts; bake additional 5-8 minutes until squash is tender and walnuts lightly toasted.
  3. While squash is roasting, cook orzo in salted water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
  4. In a large bowl combine hot pasta, squash and walnuts. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water if needed to moisten. Serve immediately.

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 tsp minced garlic

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock

1 cup dried lentils (I used brown lentils grown in my home county in Idaho)

Salt and pepper

1 carrot, chopped

1 medium winter squash (I used an acorn squash)

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

  1. Peel and seed the winter squash, and cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes; toss it in olive oil to caot and roast it on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven until tender and caramelized. (I also sprinkled some thyme on the squash for extra flavor.)
  2. Meanwhile, put the oil in a medium pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. A minute later, add the onion and carrot; cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the bay leaf, wine, stock, and lentils and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Add the roasted squash, stir, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary, until the lentils are tender, about 10 to 15 more minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and keep cooking to the desired tenderness. The lentils should be saucy but not soupy. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and remove the bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

I’m thankful to live in such a great community and will certainly miss it when I move on to the next adventure. For now…I’ve typed up an appetite, and its time to dig in to some yummy leftovers!

The Carrboro Farmer's Market

What are you thankful for?


(See all posts on giving thanks here.)


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One response to “On giving thanks – 11.13”

  1. Christa says :

    Thanks for sharing the wisdom, love, and KALE CHIPS RECIPE my dear 🙂

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