Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Farmers Market Finds and Banana Breads

Day 5 in Washington, DC has come and gone. It seems like ages since I flew in, but I have really barely had a taste of the city. Literally. DC has an over-abundance of food delights. Most of those will have to wait until later, because this week my project focused on farmers markets. I may have failed you slightly, by only attending 2 markets, but I've been a little busy settling in and whatnot!

Sunday marked my first time at Eastern Market near Capitol Hill. It was spectacular, and I got there rather late in the day! So many produce and craft stands. I managed to buy a few pounds of beautiful peaches and juicy black plums, hailing from West Virginia. Isn't it incredible that produce can be driven to market from two states away on this coast?

No markets on Monday or Tuesday, although I will probably frequent the one in Crystal City after work on Tuesdays. Today I popped by Georgetown on my bike ride home (11 miles, baby; I know I'm hard-core!) and happened upon a cute little four-stall market. Ok, I may have planned this, but it was quaint, nonetheless. I managed to pick up some beautiful eggplants from a farm just outside of Chester, MD. From Quaker Valley Orchards (near Gettysburg, PA) I picked up an adorable little melon. The sample won me over...

For more, Grist had a recent article on the blossoming of farmers markets in this country!
Finally, I have an abundance of tomatoes and lemon cucumbers from the house I am watching for three weeks. Obviously this produce would spoil during this time, so I have no choice but to eat it. So sad. Besides tasty cucumber-tomato salads, this flavorful veggies/fruits are excellent in wheat bulgur with a little white wine vinegar, sea salt, and basil!

I also baked for the first time in my new location! These horribly black bananas were hanging out on the counter, and so once again, what's a girl to do? Make banana bread, of course. Now that I have two beautiful loaves out of the oven, I only have one problem: I don't like banana bread. Although, this recipe is adapted from one my friend says even banana haters will like.
Banana Bread (veganized and w/Cranberries and Walnuts)

2 cups unbleached, AP flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp all-spice
1/4 tsp ground ginger

2/3 cup unrefined sugar
3 bananas, ripe to the point of being black
2/3 cup plain soy, coconut, or home-made :) yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 walnut or pecan pieces

1. Mash bananas with yogurt. Add sugar and vanilla and mix until not too lumpy.
2. Carefully fold in all dry ingredients. Once just incorporated, add mix-ins.
3. Spread between two mini loaf pans, greased and floured. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
4. Allow to cool a bit and then enjoy!

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