A Disappointing "Farmers' Market"

I love spagetty squash. Likewise spaghetti squash.

I’ve given our local farmers’ market three tries now. And it’s three strikes.

When I think of a “farmers’ market”, I think of fresh, local foods. Produce, meats, dairy. And I know there are tons of these things around; the grocery stores frequently carry local fruits, and there are cattle grazing on pasture not five minutes from my apartment in pretty much any direction.

Maybe my expectations were too high. I expected, since the sign said “Farmers’ Market”, that there would be more than one actual farmer represented. Unfortunately, there wasn’t even one. This wasn’t even a farmer’s market.

Instead, at least half of the booths were taken up by crafters and artists. There were five booths selling jewelry, although a couple of them appeared to be selling pre-made, mass-produced stuff. One booth had quilts. One booth had windchimes and other decorative clutter. One guy was selling genuine New England maple syrup, which I guess might have been farmed by a farmer at some point, but this guy wasn’t the farmer.

Then there was the produce tent. They had all kinds of fruits and vegetables, but nothing was labeled as local. In fact, almost everything was stickered and bagged as it would be in the grocery stores. Sealed plastic bags of baby carrots, apples with Washington stickers, even the celery in the Green Giant bags (Seattle, you’d be weirded out, as we still are — the celery is branded and always, always sold in plastic bags here).

And instead of looking fresh and vibrant, a goodly amount of the produce looked like it was gathered by dumpster diving behind the supermarkets. Black strawberries, moldy kiwi. And almost everything slightly higher-priced than the exact same stuff at the grocery store down the block.

I envy those of you who can go to your local farmers’ market and get grass-fed beef. Or raw milk and cheese. Or even fruits and vegetables with a little fresh dirt on them, instead of stickers. Maybe there’s another market around here where I can find all of those things, but it’s certainly not the one near me.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (Take 1)

I’m enjoying the ongoing coconut flour experiments. This time, I went for a classic: chocolate chip cookies. Please bear in mind, these aren’t specifically low-carb chocolate chip cookies. I used actual sugar and actual chocolate chips in this one. Although if they’re going to just be a treat, and if you’re on maintenance, they can certainly fit into a low-carb lifestyle.

There are two main problems with using the coconut flour. One is that the cookies don’t flatten and spread like wheat flour cookies do. They stayed in virtually the same shapes in which I plopped them on the baking sheets. The other issue is that they don’t get crispy on the edges, which may also be a product of wheat.

Nevertheless, these are good little cookies. They taste like regular chocolate chip cookies, and they have a pretty good texture (although there’s always room for improvement). They’re more soft and crumbly than gooey, which is always the goal for a good CCC.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup Splenda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond meal/flour
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix the wet stuff, then add the dry stuff in shifts until it’s all combined. Stir in the chips by hand last. (If you’ve ever made CCCs before, this is the standard M.O.) Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes. Makes 25 cookies.

All right, so. I made this recipe from a combination of various online sources and the classic Toll House recipe on the bag of chips. I used a mix of brown sugar and Splenda, to cut down on some of the carbs. I used dark brown sugar because that’s what was in the house (Scott uses a little bit in his rub when he does baby-back ribs).

The original Toll House recipe calls for baking soda, but the only baking soda in my house is in an open container in the fridge. I don’t think the stuff that absorbs fridge odors should go in the cookies, so I used baking powder instead. One of the ingredients in baking powder is baking soda, so it got in there in a way.

The cream was a last-minute addition, since the batter looked a little thick. I’m glad I added it, and may add a bit more last time to make the cookies even moister. Is moister a word? Well, it is now. Wait, more moist?

Anyhoo. Good flavor, so now future tweaks will include trying to figure out moistness and outer crispitude. And yes, crispitude is definitely a word.

OH, also! Note that one cookie looks more like a Chips Ahoy. You know how when you make CCCs, there’s always the last bit of dough that doesn’t have any chips in it? Yeah, so I just took some chips by hand and studded them in that last sad dough. I think next time, I’ll do that with all of the cookies. It makes them flatter and more uniformly round, gives you a nice even dispersal of chips, and probably uses less chips per cookie than the random stir-in method.

Nutrition: 87 calories / 6.5g fat / 6g carb / 1.5g carbohydrate / 1.5g protein (per cookie, 25-cookie batch)

New Content Goes Here

I’ve been slacking on updating as of late. But it’s not my fault!

Well, it kind of is. I’ve been reading my face off some more. I returned my stack of five big, heavy hardcover library books, and somehow ended up with another stack of five. All of which I need to get through in the three-week borrowing period.

Plus, I’ve been playing a video game. I don’t know how all of you out there are, but when I’m gaming, I’m a collector. I have a need to tackle all of the side missions, gather all of the valuables, and get as many Xbox achievement points as I can.

My current game is The Saboteur, the last game from Pandemic (the guys who also made the Mercenaries games). It’s an open-world sandbox with a main story, several side stories, and freeplay targets up the wazoo. Just one example is that you can collect all of the various cars on the streets. As you can see here, I’ve put together a small assortment of classics. Scott just walked by, looked at this picture, and called me “the Jay Leno of Nazi-occupied France.”

I’ll be at this game for weeks. And when I’m done, a coworker has loaned me Assasin’s Creed 2. Which will then probably occupy my spare time for another month, because achievement points are like Pokemon for me.

Speaking of work:

This was my view walking in yesterday morning. Things are good.

And while I’m moving pictures from my phone to the computer, here’s one from when I was stopped at a traffic light the other day. It sums up some of my issues with Orlando taxicabs.

See, the “Checker Cab” isn’t checkered. And the “Yellow Cab” is orange. And they’re both run by the same company anyway, and have the exact same phone number, so why the different names? Mears, who also runs a lot of buses and shuttles in this town, owns something like the top four cab companies. That’s not to say that others aren’t trying to horn in on popular names; I’ve seen “Chekard Cab” and “Chek-Her Cab” out on the streets.

Also, this town has the slowest taxi drivers I’ve ever seen. Guaranteed to go 5-10 mph under the speed limit, no matter what road you’re on. I thought taxis were supposed to be dangerously fast!