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Intuitive cooking from the farmers market

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Intuitive Cooking From the Farmer’s Market
Posted by Michele Rosenthal April 2, 2009

Recently, I vacationed in sunny Palm Beach Florida where there is an abundance of fresh produce, delicious berries and other fruits and wonderful seafood. We have a great farmer’s market close to our condo in Delray Beach that is filled with more than just delectable produce. You can go there without a menu planned for your evening meal and no grocery list in hand and leave ready and able to create a delicious dinner. I love to go out to dinner with my husband and three sons when we travel because that is where I get the vast majority of my inspiration for new recipes. However, there are times when we don’t feel like it after a long day on the beach in the hot sun. On those days, we would rather eat out on our balcony.

On those days, we head off to the aforementioned farmer’s market, where I let the fresh ingredients inspire my cooking for the evening. We stroll around with our shopping cart, seeing what looks good and tasty. Fresh tuna and green beans? That’s a tuna nicoise salad!

We use the same method to find dessert foods as well. On this recent trip, I passed by strawberries that were just picked next door. I did a double take — not because of the visual but because of the heavenly sweet fragrance that wafted from the stand. There was no way I was leaving there without those berries and the juicy, fat blackberries sitting next to them.

Now for me I could be a very happy lady just eating those berries after dinner, but I wanted to make a quick dessert that would dazzle my husband. Well, in life some things are just meant to be, and that was so that day when I spied packets of pre-cooked crepes from France. Crafted by Terroirs d’Antan and imported from Bretagne, the package cost $5.99 for 12 preservative-free crepes. Prior to that, I’d never purchased pre-cooked crepes since I enjoy making them at home. However, I decided to give those a try. After all, they are from France, how bad could they be? So with berries and crepes in hand, I searched for some mascarpone cheese to turn the ingredients into a gourmet dessert.

Shopping at a well-appointed farmer’s market can really be this simple. Look for the freshest ingredients, let your mind wander to combinations and possibilities and then make it happen at home. Dinners and desserts with fresh ingredients needn’t be complicated or time consuming.

On the evening in question, I did make a quick tuna salad nicoise that I served with a delicious dressing and some crusty bread. For dessert, it was crepes au fruits avec fromage. My husband declared it a perfect ten. The crepes were very good and this only took minutes. The next evening I used more of the crepes to make crepes bananas in a butter rum sugar sauce that was also very good.

Crepes au Fruits avec Fromage

1 cup of Mascapone cheese
1/4 cup sugar plus a pinch, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Cassis liquors
1/2 cup good quality jam (I used black currant preserves)
Strawberries and blackberries, I used 1 cup of each

Whip together the mascarpone cheese, sugar and vanilla. Set aside.

Combine preserves, Cassis liquors and a pinch of sugar in a pan and cook until combined. Add a handful of strawberries and blackberries (depending on how many crepes your are serving, you may want to add more or less berries). Stir over heat until the berries burst, releasing their juices. Let cool.

Spread a generous amount of the mascarpone cheese mixture on top of each crepe. Then spoon cooled (or warm, however you like it) berry mixture on top and fold crepe over. If desired, dust with powdered sugar and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.
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April 2nd, 2009
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