March 10, 2010

Count on farmers' market for fresh, tasty ingredients

— I love nothing better than shopping for, cooking and eating a meal collected exclusively from the farmers' market. Culled mostly from the Brooksville Farmers' Market, this was what became a recent August dinner menu:

n Half a ripe Camenbert from Sunset Acres Farm, served with mini-toasts from the Fowler family's Brooklin Bakery.

n Crab salad made with Annette Candage's fresh-picked crabmeat on Eliot Coleman's cucumbers.

n Grilled grass-fed pork chops with garlic-sage crust from Bagaduce Farm in Brooksville (recipe below).

n Grilled mixed veggies from various farms, including our own garden (recipe below).

n Hunks of Fowler's bread and Kate's Butter.

n Rustic blueberry croustade with Stoneset Farm organic berries.


Buy (or pick) whatever is best at the market, adding or subtracting from the list below. You can do these directly on the grill, but combining all the cut-up vegetables in a wire basket is a much more efficient way to cook them. Be sure to allow plenty of time, because the moisture content of some vegetables needs to cook out before the browning process can begin.

11/2 to 2 pounds new potatoes, unpeeled, cut in 11/2-inch chunks

2 small eggplants, skin on, thinly sliced

4 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash, thinly sliced

1 or 2 bell peppers, any color, cut in strips

1 fennel bulb, sliced

1 or 2 onions, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Basil leaves, about 1/2 cup

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook potatoes for 6 minutes or until about half-cooked. Drain.

In a large bowl, toss potatoes and other vegetables with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Build a moderately hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Spread vegetables out in wire basket, place on grill, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir and continue to cook, checking and stirring every 10 minutes, until veggies are tender with some charred parts, 25 to 35 minutes total. Transfer to a platter. (Can be kept warm, loosely covered with foil, in a 200-degree oven if desired.) Toss with basil leaves before serving.

Servings: 4


Bagaduce Farm in Brooksville produces some of the best pork I've ever tasted anywhere. It's grass-fed -- full of sweet flavor. I'm always looking for good things to do with my prolific sage plants, and here this flavorful herb is combined with mustard and garlic to create a thick paste-like marinade that forms a herbaceous crust on the meat as it cooks. Grass-fed meat tends to be on the lean side, so brining, which adds moisture, is a good option here if you have time.

4 center-cut pork chops, preferably grass-fed, about 11/2 inches thick

2 tablespoons salt, optional

1 tablespoon sugar, optional

2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh sage, plus sprigs for garnish

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt (if meat is not brined)

For optional brining, place chops in a bowl and add cool water to cover. In a small saucepan, combine salt, sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Cool and add to bowl. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. An hour or so before cooking, drain chops and pat dry on paper towels.

In a small dish, stir together mustard, garlic, oil, sage, pepper and optional salt. Place chops on a platter and brush or rub with garlic-sage mixture.

Build a moderately hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Cook pork chops, brushing with leftover marinade, until nicely brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Garnish with sage branches and serve.

Servings: 4

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently ''Dishing Up Maine'' (Storey Publishing 2006) and ''The New England Clam Shack Cookbook'' (Storey 2008). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula.

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