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Impressions of Fayetteville so far: as it regards food, of course…

by on August 20, 2011

Yes, I know that I’m behind on my Saturday posts.

So far, I am impressed with what I can get here in Fayetteville. I was expecting a single choice of vegetables and limited selection on everything else. While the local Harps Foods is certainly not a Central Market (or even a nice HEB), it surprised me last week with Hatch chiles on sale! If you are not familiar with Hatch they come from a certain part of New Mexico and have a very limited growing season. Central Market always has a big festival for them. For $2 a pound I bought a bunch from Harps and am currently roasting them. So far, they have gone in cheese grits and in a saute. Harps also has a neat deal where you chose 5 packages, mix and match, of fruits and veggies for $10. I have secured a regular supply of mangoes this way; they end up costing me $0.66 a piece!

Today at the Farmers Market I found fresh apples and pears. I bought the bag of apple seconds and they worked out to 1.25 per pound. The pears worked out to be a little less than 2 a pound. While in previous weeks, the tomatoes have been really good, this week’s bunch of baby tomatoes don’t taste good at all; I think they are going to be cooked into something. I also found a man selling cayenne peppers. He said they were medium to hot… Clearly, I’m from Texas; I am currently munching on a whole Cayenne pepper. I think it’s more mild than a bell pepper. Next time I’ll try for the jalapeno to see if I can get spice there.

On my way home I remembered a little tea shop, Trailside Tea room, that was written about in the local newspaper. I drove my car today to the market instead of riding my bike, so I decided to stop by since I didn’t look like a drowned rat from riding. They have a very nice selection of teas (almost as many a Central Market!), and their menu looks good. I chose a Masala Chai and the Russian Caravan (a blend of teas from China, India, and Formosa). I just brewed the chai. I have no desire to drink hot tea at this moment in time because of how hot it is outside, so i opted for icing the tea. That being said, I figured that in the name of culinary pursuits, I ought to at least try it hot: it’s a nice chai, with a significant amount of tannins which call out for milk. When iced the cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper really stand out. Once again, it could use a splash of milk and sugar to tame the tannins.

Classes begin Monday so this is my last shot at a free cooking weekend. My plans for the day include granola bars, roasted hazelnuts, and bbq chicken legs… and roasting more hatch chiles.

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