W3D0 The old switchelroo

I was debating whether to even write tonight, since I wrote quite lengthily this morning, but knowing how as you all would complain or worry about me if you didn’t have your morning read, here goes.

Sunday is laundry day here at the camp, so I knew a long adventure was out of the question. I also decided to leave Ellie in storage today, since the New York City Triathlon was going to occupy some of the trails I was interested in investigating, and I thought it was going to be hotter than it actually was.

The plan was to go to church, then continue from there to the 79th Street Farmers Market, which is right behind the American Museum of Natural History. I had no plan to hit the museum today – I’m saving that for later in the summer, possibly when I have a visitor or two who enjoy taxidermy.

Amazingly, everything went according to plan, mostly. The only bump was the 1 line again, but this time I was prepared, and headed straight to the A line. Soon, I was at the market, which is a fairly large one (by my standards) with fifty or so vendors. It stretched in a single line for two full city blocks. I got a mess of stuff, but central to my plan was dinner tonight – I was cooking in for a change.

First, I made a pass through the entire market one way, north to south, keeping my eyes open for interesting ingredients. I only bought one thing on the way south. Any guesses? Yes, you, in the back wearing a sweater and hat even though it’s 85 degrees out. That’s right! Cheese! It was ugly and it was calling me. It had bluish mold in it for heaven’s sake. Clearly stinky, and again separated from the herd of other, tamer, cheeses. It is called trioche and is made by Valley Shepherd Creamery. Its claim to fame it that it is made from raw cow, sheep, and goat milk. All the best cheeses are made from raw milk. Raw milk is awesome – try it if you can find a purveyor; you can even taste a hint of grass in it.

On the second pass, I got three things which I used for dinner:

  1. Bacon from Roaming Acres. It was thick cut; three slices comprised the half pound package I got. That is about twice as thick as Oscar Mayer Thick Cut Bacon. (No link here – I actually did the research for that in an incognito window because I don’t want Oscar Mayer ads following me all over the internet, thank you. We’ll see if it works.) That is just plain old good bacon. Probably the second best I’ve had. (The best was on an outing at a computational chemistry meeting in Montreal about 24 years ago. We went to this maple syrup place, and the bacon was unreal. It is the bacon by which I benchmark all bacons. It cracked when you bit it, then just melted over your tongue. Unbelievable. I’m still trying to figure out how they did that. I got close today with this bacon. I bet if I had a cast iron pan instead of stainless steel, I’d be there. Cast iron for the win. Always. If I had one pan, it would be cast iron, and sometimes it has been when I’ve gone camping. Firecakes are legendary in our family.) Here’s a picture of the bacon to whet your appetite.

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  1. German Butterball Potatoes – “Unrivaled in creamy, buttery flavor and superb dense texture.” They are not kidding. I made (sort of) hash browned potatoes out of these. It was actually an accident of sorts. I cut up the potatoes and tossed them in the pan (again, missing my cast Fe). I soon realized that they weren’t going to cook well, because the pan didn’t have a lid. The bottoms were browning fine, but it was going to take forever to get them fully cooked, so I improvised. I added some water and let them boil a while, then poured the remaining water out and added more bacon grease and let them cook. A little salt and pepper and they were delish.
  2. These little tiny baby zucchinis. I chopped them up without remorse (okay, maybe a little; they were really cute), a little water to soften them then more bacon grease. Since the bacon was uncured, it was not very salty, and neither was the grease.

I chopped up the bacon, sprinkled it over the potatoes and zucchini and ate up. I managed to save some leftovers for tomorrow, knowing I’ll be in Stamford for the day, and likely get home too late to prepare dinner. The trick to saving enough for leftovers was the cheese and Sungold tomato fest I had before preparing dinner.

Oh, one other thing. I bought a 12 ounce bottle of switchel which looks like a whisky bottle. In fact, it is non-alcoholic. The vendor ask if I knew what it was when I bought it. I said “Nope”, so he gave me some tips on serving it. My version, made by Berkshire Berries (Hi, people in the Berkshires!), is made from water, raspberry vinegar, sugar, ginger root and lemon juice. You add it to water or seltzer, or pour it over ice. It is very refreshing and thirst quenching, and not too sweet. It may be my new favorite drink. It is pretty easy to make yourself, too. If you like lemon in your water, you’ll likely like switchel.

That’s it for today. So much for a short post.

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