Autumn

Champagne Grapes & Bean Sprouts

Tuesday’s market was a wet one, and I ventured out in the middle of the worst of it in order to get back in time for a telephone conference. Purchasing a stylish Dutch rainsuit may need to be on the calendar for this week as riding a bike in the cold and in rain-soaked jeans is an unamusing experience. Given the rain, the tents were closed in tarps and many vendors failed to show. Markets on rainy days are dreary, but on a positive note, it also means that shopping is quicker as there are fewer crowds as driving or biking from Germany or a nearby town cannot be appealing in such weather.

By the Tuesday market I have more of a feeling for how the week will go and what leftovers we will have, so I generally find myself purchasing less even though there is an extra day between the Tuesday and Saturday markets than the Saturday and Tuesday markets. Today I spent about 17 euros*, which will cover the majority of our meals from Tuesday through Friday night.

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Today was all about finding the perfect champagne grapes for this Grape, chicken, and quinoa harvest salad that we’ll try on Friday night with this creamy cauliflower and brown butter soup into which I will probably toss a few potatoes as well as last week’s impulse purchase of a 5 kg bag of potatoes for 5 euros is seeming like a poor decision as they begin to sprout all over my cupboards.

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Tonight we’ll be having modified version of this zucchini pad thai for which I searched the market for bean sprouts and learned that a 1/2 kilogram is sprouts is a lot of bean sprouts and that they are surprisingly expensive, making up the bulk of the day’s spendings at about 9 euros. In the future, I’d substitute the sprouts for mushrooms that are in-season right now or more late-harvest peppers. The piles of courgettes are dwindling and looking poor, so this may be our last chance to use our favorite vegetable until next summer.

Also on the menu for the rest of the week are these fried brussels sprouts with chili fish sauce together with these seared scallops (if I can find any at the fishmonger tomorrow) with basil and olive oil pistou. Last week, the husband mentioned that he really liked the “potato-like vegetable,” meaning the parsnips that I’d sautéed with some carrots, so, always embracing any indication that he likes a new vegetable, we’ll be trying this creamy parsnip and garlic soup on Thursday as a starter with a second course of this sweet potato gnocchi with balsamic sage brown butter. We’ll eat the leftover soup Friday for lunch together with these beet, horseradish, and smoked salmon toasts that I’ll probably also pair with some smoked trout.

* I’d like to start including how much the total price of the foods are for my own comparisons and to dismiss the idea that eating fresh and organic is expensive. Here, in the Netherlands, I find that the prices at the market range from 1/4 to 1/2 of the cost of the same products at the supermarkets. (For example, a math problem important to the husband: four piping hot pain au chocolate at the market can be bought for 1 euro while at the grocery store they are sold in plastic containers and cost 1,10 euros for a single croissant.) Note that these costs won’t include basics, such as milk, flour, sugar, etc., and, generally, will not include any meat if we eat it as I do not purchase that at the market unless it is seafood or sausage.

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