Farmers Market Brunch

August 17, 2009

Sunday is always the best day to come over to our house.  It’s when the myriad of fresh fruits, veggies, and yes, even meats and cheeses, are on the table for hungry neighbors.  GrandLake Farmers MarketHere are some of the highlights from Saturdays Market and Sunday’s Brunch (for 5 adults and one sleeping 2-year-old.)

Sweet Potatoes. petite and packed with flavor.  $1/lb

Baby Carrots.  Happy Boy Farms.  also petite and packed with flavor.  $1/lb

Elefant Garlic and Shallots. Happy Boy Farms, $4/lb

Black Berries and Raspberries.  $7 for a 3-pack.  THE SWEETEST BLACKBERRIES AT THE MARKET.  And huge!

Figs.  $3/basket (generally the same pricing as berries).  The sign said “organic.”

Whiskey Maple Sage Sausages. Prather Ranch.  $7/12 oz pkg.

Peaches, Nectarines, Plums.  $1/lb.  (5 lbs, for drying in the dehydrator)


Breakfast is most certainly my favorite meal of the day.  However, I also like to sleep in on the weekends.  So how to I keep those two worlds together?  Brunch!  A beautiful tradition of breakfast food and nearly lunch time.  We invited our neighbors over to share the spread, here’s the menu:

Breakfast Sweet Potatoes
Dice about 5 small sweetpotatoes into small cubes, the smaller the better in my opinion, along with one shallot clove.  Saute in a frying pan with 2 tsp melted butter, add a little olive oil if it looks dry, and cover to steam for 10 minutes on a low flame.  This softens the potatoes.  Remove the lid, turn the heat up a little, and add 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 2 tsps brown sugar, and a sprinkling of crushed black pepper.  Saute for another 5 minutes, to brown the potatoes.  I did this before the guests arrived, so I put the oven on warm and transferred the potatoes to a baking dish in the oven to stay warm still we were ready.

Yellow Grits
Jimmy’s Cracked Corn from Ridgecut Gristmill
, purchased in May at the Grand Lake Farmers Market. Ridgecut Mills Farm Stand

We LOVE this lady and her cracked corn.  As two home grown Southerners (and I mean Dixie, people, not LA)  we KNOW our grits.  And these are some good grits.

My recipe:
Boil 1 cup chicken broth* (home made, “chicken broth” blog coming soon) and 3 cups boiling water.  Sprinkle with salt, add 1 cup of dry grits to the rapidly boiling water.  Stir as it boils for 3-5 minutes, then lower to a simmer.  They’ll begin to thicken.  Let cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Again, I did this a little ahead of time, so I turned the heat off after they were cooked.  5 minute before we were ready to serve, I turned the heat back on and added a 1/4 cup of milk, stirring, to soften them up (they get firm after sitting).  This is always too much, so cut it in half if you don’t want leftovers.
*Note, my chicken broth has a real deal layer of chicken fat on the top.  If you don’t have fatty broth, you’ll want to add some butter to the water.  It just seems to smooth everything over

Sun Valley Fresh Eggs, Trader Joes, Oakland.
Fried, to order.  I recommend runny, it mixes really well with the grits.
An egg concern:
We have, for several years now, purchased eggs from Traders Joes for two reasons:
1.  Always come in a compostable carton, “made from 100% reclaimed paper” says the packaging
2.  Usually $1.99 for a dozen jumbo eggs.
However, when I wrote this post, I attempted to find a link to the farm’s website so you could read about the source. is down.  The second Google search result links them to Cargill, a mega-huge argo-business that, at the very least, was featured less than favorably by Michael Pollan in An Omnivore’s Delima.  The carton may be sustainable, but the eggs are leaning towards-less-than-acceptable.  The lack of current information is most alarming.

Whiskey Maple Sage Sausage
Cut links in half long ways and fry, using a little bit of olive oil to grease the pan.  Cook 3-5 minutes on the flat side and 2-3 on the round.  Seriously good sausage from a very reliable meat source.

Brought by a guest, he purchased this very good bacon at the new Berkley Bowl.  It was from a Nor Cal ranch, though I’m not sure which.

Figs, Yogurt and HoneyBrunch5
Cut figs in half, spoon a small dollop of plain yogurt on top and drizzle with honey.
YogurtPavel’s Russian Yogart. Made in San Leandro, CA.  Purchased at Oakland Whole Foods.
HoneyEast Bay Wildflower by Marshall’s Farm, American Canyon, CA.  Purchased at Grand Lake Farmers Market.

Berries and Cream
Fresh blackberries with whipped cream.
Whipped CreamStraus Heavy Whipping Cream. Purchased from Oakland Wholefoods. Just pour some or all of the cream in a deep bowl, get out your electric whisk or hand  blender (or elbow grease) and whisk for approx 3 minutes or until the cream thickens.  I sprinkled in 2 tbsp granulated sugar while I was whisking.  This was a huge hit and a special way to end the meal.

BlueBottle, purchased from Cafe 504.  Roasted in Oakland, purchased from a cafe we walk to.  Really good stuff.  For 5 coffee drinkers, we did two french presses.

An awesome treat, courtesy the neighbors who brought champagne and orange juice.  Thanks, guys!

Local Tally:
I suspect only the eggs, OJ and Champagne were not produced locally, though they were most likely purchased on a nice walk to the grocery store and sported recyclable packaging.