Market News for This Saturday, June 20
Free Music Times 3
One of these weeks, the Lansdowne Summer Concert Series
actually take place in its intended location on the lawn of St. John the Evangelist
Episcopal Church. But until the string of Thursday-evening rain ends, why not head
for the dry and cozy
7 pm for the best bargain around in live entertainment (which is, as the commercial
says, zero dollars). We're hopeful that last week's underwhelming crowd was strictly
because of the weather and not because you're not interested in seeing free
performances even when they're brought practically to your doorstep. Come on,
readers, support this new endeavor by the LEDC to provide more free entertainment
right in the borough. You get another chance tonight — don't blow it.
A quick trip to David Grier'
should be enough
to convince you that this guy has the goods and is worth far more than the price of
tonight's admission (again, folks, its free). He's been voted best guitar player of the
year several times by the Bluegrass Music Association for heaven's sake, which is
akin to being selected best photographer of the year by the National Geographic
Society. They know their stuff. If you need convincing, however, go
look for song titles followed by arrows. Give a listen, and then we'll see you tonight
at 7:00 at the Regency.
If you have a really good reason to miss tonight's concert, try to hit the free show
at the Regency
tomorrow night at 8:00, when keyboard player
the plastics and stirs up longings for cookies and cakes and pastries, which the Cafe
will be happy to fulfill.
Finally, every Saturday at the Farmers Market
there's free musical
about 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, plus tables and chairs to sit and enjoy it from and food
aplenty to keep you satisfied all the while. Some towns don't have any regular musical
offerings — free or otherwise — so think about that when the choice is
between a live musician and another night of TV. We got it good here.
Meat Your Father
Since this Sunday is Father's Day, we tried to find one of those burly men who use
chainsaws to carve tree trunks into bears or eagles to be Artist of the Week, but they
seem to be few and far between in the inner-ring suburbs. So, lacking totem poles, we'll
have to find something else at the Market to take home for dad. Hmmm, how
Since Father's Day could almost be subtitled "Grillin' and Chillin' with Pop," the obvious
choice is steak. Farm Fresh Express carries both sirloin and NY strip steaks that
come from humanely raised cattle that are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. These
steaks cost a bit more per pound than the ones in most grocery stores, but Dad's worth
it, right? If pork is your pop's preference, FFE carries fennel and sage
Italian sausage, also from well-treated livestock, plus what's probably the
best bacon you'll ever eat, its only drawback being that you can't grill
it. These meats all are sold frozen, but they'll defrost in the fridge overnight in time for supper
on Sunday. For fathers who are such carnivores that they want even their snacks to be meat
based, try FFE's nitrate-free beef sticks, which come hot or sweet (ie,
not hot) and which are what Slim Jims want to be.
Round out your Father's Day meal with the new red potatoes from
Fruitwood Farms, perhaps roasted or parsleyed. Although we may have passed asparagus
season, there are plenty of greens available (the rain's been great for
them), so you can temper all that protein with some serious vitamins. If any
leeks make it to Market this week, try The Recipe Booth's braised leek
recipe, below, which would be a nice side with steak and potatoes. Dad won't care that
gifts such as these aren't something he can use multiple times. He'll just be glad it's not
something he has to mow, wash, or find batteries for.
Save It for Later
Know what else dads like? Garlic bread. Okay,
everyone likes garlic bread, possibly because its three primary components —
bread, garlic, and butter — are all favorites on their own, so combining them and
then heating the whole thing up to warm, savory perfection is a surefire winner. (Kind of like
cream cheese frosting. Whoever first thought of combining cream cheese, butter, and sugar
and then smearing it on cake, we salute you.) In any case, no matter how you like to make
your garlic bread — sliced crosswise and then wrapped in foil and baked, sliced
lengthwise and then broiled open face, or some other permutation — you're going
to need bread, preferably some kind of baguette. Both the Regency Cafe and Wild Flour
Bakery carry long, crusty loaves that will do the trick beautifully.
And here's the little tip that's the whole point of this piece: On Saturday, pick up an
extra baguette, cut it in half when you get home, wrap it tightly in foil,
put it in a freezer bag, and stick it in your freezer. The next time garlic bread seems like a
good idea, take the loaf out and let it sit at room temperature for an hour, still wrapped
up. It'll defrost that quickly, and then you just use it like it's fresh — slather with
your preferred topping combo and heat. In fact, even if you're not making garlic bread,
this is a great way of ensuring you have nice bread when you want it: freeze it wrapped
in foil and bagged, defrost it when needed, and then heat it up at 350 for 15 minutes or
so still wrapped in the foil. It'll taste and feel practically fresh baked, we promise. (Because
all the Market's artisan breads are made without preservatives and the weather is headed
toward hot and humid, it's a good idea to refrigerate what remains after a day or two
anyway.) Once you've tried it, you'll appreciate having "fresh" bread available mid-week,
and buying a "later loaf" to stash in the freezer a few days will
Another great reason to have extra bread around is to make homemade
crumbs, which are so much better than the store-bought stuff, in part because
you can finesse the crumb size and seasoning if you make them yourself. Pittsburgh's
Post-Gazette just ran an inspiring
the not-at-all-arduous task of toasting up your own breadcrumbs for topping pasta, pairing
with fried eggs, or even using as a "salsa" with vegetables, fish, chicken, or even steak
(this we can't wait to try). Make some of the crumb salsa Sunday and see if you can wean
dad off the A1 Sauce.
Louise and Dan of Lupine Valley Veggies are bringing a bunch more
apple mint plants for those of you who missed out on them two
weeks ago, plus more sugar snaps and garlic scapes, among other things.
Representatives from the Union AA will have a table at the Market this week and next
to take donations and sell tickets for the borough's famed 4th of
July fireworks display, a sensaround event you can see, hear, and feel (in the
form of falling cinders) if you sit close enough to the tennis courts. The fireworks are
quite costly and are mostly paid for by donations for the citizens who enjoy them, people
just like you. Bring some extra money this Saturday so you can get your stickers (aka,
tickets) and know that you've contributed to this swell celebration. They also need
volunteers to assist with a variety of things on the 4th of July, so give them your contact
info if you think you can help. We've done it, and it's fun.
The good news is that there are still some open spots for the first
Community Day, on June 27. The bad news is that the
are due this Saturday, June 20, to the address on the application. If you have your application
in and you weren't planning on selling cherry bombs or nunchucks, chances are good that
you're safely in, but you'll be contacted early next week for sure.
Get a Market Buck this week by telling the folks in the Manager booth
the name of the creek that runs through Marlyn Park. Or just convince them that you took
the tour of the park last week or last year and have forgotten the name. We're sympathetic
to failing memories.
Moving Forward/Looking Back
This Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21, a local filmmaker, David
Goodman, will be the guest of
Cinema 16:9. Both
evenings, Mr Goodman's 1985 Oscar-winning documentary, Witness to War: Dr Charlie
Clements, will be screened, as will excerpts from his current work in progress, Singers
in the Band, to be followed by a question and answer session, during which guests
are invited to give Mr Goodman feedback on the new work. A wine and cheese fundraising
reception will round out the evening. Tickets are $20 and
reservations are strongly
recommended. If you're booked this weekend and can't make the special event either
night, you can still catch Witness to War until next Friday, June 26.
The Recipe Booth
I purchased some leeks at the Lansdowne Farmers Market recently, and I'm
hoping to get some more this week, though their early spring season may be running
out. A member of the allium family, the tall white leek was first mentioned in text
4000 years ago. Its origins are vague at best, some scholars believing it may have sprung
up in the cold clime of the British Isles and then found its way to the Middle East. Others
peg the plant's beginnings to Central Asia. Later used by both the Romans and the Greeks
to treat sore throats, the leek became Emperor Nero's favorite vegetable. The first century
AD dictator was a skilled speaker and soothed his tones by regularly dining on leek soup.
Nero's nickname was, in fact, "Leek Eater" [editor's note: among other things, we suspect].
So what to do with leeks? They are notoriously dirty vegetables, trapping soil between
their tight layers as they grow, so always start by cutting and thoroughly cleaning your
leeks, which need not be a laborious job. First, remove the outer leaves with a knife to
expose the more tender inner leaves that are pale green to yellow. Then slice your leeks
crossways into narrow bands and toss them in a bowl of cold water to rinse any sand and
dirt from between the layers. The dirt will fall to the bottom of the bowl, and the sliced
leeks will float, so you can lift them right out of the water, leaving the dirt behind. Do this
at least twice. Alternatively, you can remove the root, slice the leeks longways into halves
or quarters, and then wash them carefully under cold tap water, running your finger
between the leaves to remove all the dirt.
Now here is my secret leek recipe, Simply Braised Leeks, a cooking
method that is very simple but that really brings out their natural sweet mineral flavors. Slice
three or four leeks longways into quarters, clean them, and place them in a saute pan with
enough chicken stock to cover them about halfway, along with a few grinds of cracked black
pepper. Cover and cook over medium low heat until the chicken stock comes to a low
simmer. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the leeks are limp and tender. Just lift the
leeks from any remaining stock when it's time to plate them up. This amount will make four servings.
We probably have leeks prepared this way every few weeks as a side to a souffle, chicken, or
what I think complements it the best, a simple steak off the grill [editor's note: told ya!]. Now
I've made myself hungry. I guess it's off to bed to dream about what I will be making for
dinner tomorrow night.