I got to do one of my favorite tours the other night in the first really cool, damp fall evening we’ve had this year. I was touring with a couple who was thinking of moving here from Chicago. It was a tour where I simply had to walk around town and talk about how great it is to live in Ann Arbor. Easy! Even in the rain.
He had gone to school here, but had never really explored town much past campus. He particularly wanted to see Kerrytown. As we walked, I learned they were foodies, which always adds to the fun for me. They really enjoyed Kerrytown, especially the salt at The Spice Merchants and the coconut vinegar combined with Persian lime olive oil at Fustini’s. Turned out the husband was a coconut fan like me. I used Fustini’s Persian lime oil to make brownies last year and they were awesome! The lime oil truly added a new dimension to simple chocolate brownies!
My guests had already been there for lunch and wanted another coffee, so we headed there next, passing Tracklements on the way. I always love the chance to highlight Tracklements…even when they’re closed. The had smoked sable last week that truly was like eating silk
As we headed towards Main Street, they asked me about the food scene, my favorite subject. I talked about almost every restaurant as we passed it, getting a sense of what they might like for dinner. I showed them Mark’s Carts and strolled through the Downtown Home and Garden, where they shopped for a bamboo cutting board and started to visualize living here. We talked about neighborhoods and schools and fairy doors and by the time we parted, they were excited with the possibilities.
When I got home, all I could think about was soup, so the next day, I picked up some sweet potatoes and cauliflower (a rarity) at the farmer’s market and made some with coconut milk and brown rice. Kind of a mulligatawny. I had been looking for ways to use the first fresh ginger I’ve ever seen sold at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market.
And it is really beautiful ginger. Not brown on the outside like the stuff you find in the store. It was a beautiful pink-ish tan with a thin skin. It looked and smelled like ginger, but seemed much fresher. The greenery attached to it, which the grower/vendor said could be made into tea, looked like bamboo. I can’t stop looking at it.
I sautéed the gorgeous ginger with the garlic and onions I used as the base of the soup before adding water, sweet potatoes and cauliflower. When those got tender, I added some coconut milk and salt and already-cooked brown rice. It’s been my lunch all week.
What does your farmer’s market inspire you to cook?