Summer & Fall at the Reading Terminal
Two trips to the RTM this week, experiencing (and buying) the best of summer, but also getting a sneak peak of fall:
Sweet potatoes and apples at Benuel Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce (photo above) were one sure sign of fall. But Benuel's corn remains at peak perfection (the ears I purchased Saturday were full, defect-free and tasty), and the stone fruit remains plentiful and sweet. It should be only a week or two until Benuel starts selling unpasteurized apple cider. I also picked up a couple Bartlett pears from Benuel.
Fun with fruit. (Yes, eggplant is a fruit, not a vegetable.) This Pinocchio white eggplant was found Thursday at Benuel Kaufman's, which also boasts a fine selection of colored bell peppers (also a fruit) and onions (not a fruit, despite it's vibrant purple color.)
Pears are especially in abundance at Iovine Brothers which offers wide selection: Red Anjou and Bosc ($1.99), Forelle ($2.99), Red Bartlett and Comice ($1.99) and a relative newcomer, originally an Australian variety, Packham (99-cents). In the fungi department, Iovine's was offering black truffles for $300, but sold in $12-$18 packs.
California table grapes have hit the market, and Iovine's has a deal for you: a four-pound clamshell of green seedless for $2.99. The individual fruits looked just a tad small, and I didn't taste them, but that's still a bargain since they rarely go below 99-cents a pound. Iovine's also had Michigan blueberries (the local harvest in NJ and PA has been over for weeks). But if you want local produce at Iovine's there were plenty of offerings from their contract farm, Shady Brook in Bucks County: wax beans 89 cents, corn 25-cents an ear, cantaloupes (musk melons) $1 apiece. Jersey field and plum tomatoes both priced at 99 cents. I don't know where they come from (but I suspect it's New Jersey), but the fava beans are in for $1.99. Another good deal is the seedless cucumbers, two long specimens for a buck.
My gem catch of the week was at Fair Food Farmstand: figs picked that morning from the tree in . . . South Philly. I don't know the variety, but they were green with serious purple blotches/streaks that covered two-thirds of the surface. Half a dozen packed in an egg carton, $3. Very delicate fruits, absolutely sublime. One of the Farmstand staffers recommended halving the figs, topping with a little crumbled blue cheese and a few drops of good olive oil. Gotta try that! Also picked up blackberries ($3.75/pint) to mix with melted leftover peach sorbet for a new peach-blackbery sorbet.
Turkey London broil from Godshall's provided the protein for a simple summer meal last night for visiting cousins from Syracuse. The turkey went on the Weber gas grill for indirect cooking after an hour in a simple brine and a quick drying and coating with a homemade rub (hot and sweet paprika, cayenne, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, ground cumin). Served with tomatoes and cucumbers, cornbread (I forgot to add the kernels of fresh corn! Oh, well, those will be sauteed tonight), and the last of my homemade kosher dills, followed by the sorbet with pizzelles. (Wine: Hermann Wiemer Dry Rosé)
Earlier in the week I made a great lunch of soft shell crabs ($6 apiece) from John Yi's: dredged in flour, dipped in egg wash, coated with breadcrumbs, sauteed in butter, served on plain white bread with remoulade. (Beer: Lord Chesterfield Ale)
I can heartily recommend the whitefish salad at Hershel's East Side Deli. Freshly made and fresh tasting.
Here's my combined shopping list for two visits at the RTM Thursday and Saturday:
GODSHALL'S POULTRY $20.00
Turkey London broil
KAUFFMAN'S LANCASTER COUNTY PRODUCE $2.49
LANCASTER COUNTY DAIRY $3.70
JOHN YI $12.00
Soft shell crabs
AJ'S PICKLE BARREL $3.25
Sauerkraut (which they spell "Sour Kraut")
HERSHEL'S EAST SIDE DELI $8.10
EARL LIVENGOOD $5.90
FAIR FOOD FARMSTAND $17.25