Farmer's market fancy

Every Saturday in May to October, from 8am-1pm, Portsmouth’s City Hall parking lot hosts a rich collection of local seacoast farmers and growers, wineries and organics. Each market has a different appeal and exudes a unique personality. Fresh cut flowers, trucks filled with corn, apple cider donuts, ripe peaches, blueberry wine, farm fresh eggs, organic toiletries, brilliant heirloom tomatoes, large eggplants, maple syrup, white heron tea, glorious pies and Anadama breads are just a small component of what is for sale. In other words, a grown up’s playground.

Last Saturday I walked down around noon. I was prepared for barren stands, ebbing crowds and sold out apple cider donuts. To my pleasure, every stand was in full force, produce abundant. Well, the donuts were gone, but they never make it past 10am.

Greeted by sunflowers, corn and tomatoes; I’ll take all three please.

Haven’t even circled the place once yet and I’m sucked in by these purple beauties.

And this deep purple beauty.

Sweet Baby Vineyards, a boutique winery located in the small town of Kensington, New Hampshire, offered fruit wines (blueberry, peach, raspberry), white table wines, and as described by the kind sales rep., “dangerously smooth” red wines. Do you take credit cards? (Four stands in and my cash flow was low). Yes. OK. We’re in business. Marèchal Foch, a medium bodied fruity, semi-dry red wine with soft tannins and hints of fresh blackberries, aka the “dangerously smooth” red wine was selected without much debate.

Look at these large green cucs! Is it sad I didn’t even have 50 cents for a cucumber?Yes, but look at what I did come home with! No regrets.

Onto the main course...what I made this week with my bounty:

Pesto pasta salad with fresh mozzarella, green peppers and cherry tomatoes

...with corn on the cob

Eggplant & zucchini pesto pizza

Fresh salsa

Rosemary summer squash and corn with grilled chicken

Grilled chicken salad with the last of the farmer's corn

Summer Eggplant "Parm"

Pardon my eggplant, but right now, in this moment, you need to know how to make this summer eggplant "parm." Clearly, ask me if you want info. on anything posted here, but we must focus on the eggplant. The eggplant.

Step 1: Salt your eggplant. I never salted eggplant before cooking until this week. Trust me, you want to. The salt draws out the liquid and improves the eggplant's naturally bitter taste. Pour salt on the plate, place the eggplant on top, salt the top of the eggplant. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes. MAKE SURE TO RINSE THE EGGPLANT WHEN DONE. Sorry I just screamed at you, but seriously, you don't want heavily salted eggplant. Ew.

Step 2: While the eggplant is getting its salt on, chop tomatoes and slice mozzarella cheese. I used roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Step 3: When the oven is ready and your eggplants have been rinsed of salt, roast them for 20 minutes on each side.

Step 4: Rinse and cook quinoa according to package instructions.

Step 5: Top with mozz cheese and tomatoes when there are a few minutes left. If you like, broil for 2 minutes to get the cheese perfect. This picture was taken pre-broil.

Step 6: Plate eggplant slices on top of quinoa.

I didn't want this meal to end.
Can you tell? The quinoa, which I must admit, I was hesitant to try in place of traditional pasta, was worth it. The little grains formed to the eggplant to create a subtle crunch similar to that of the fried eggplant in eggplant parmesan. The tomatoes, fresh and flavorful, outperformed any and all marinara sauces. Fresh mozzarella > shredded. I enjoyed the leftover eggplant later in the week for lunch. Popped the eggplant, cheese and tomatoes in the toaster oven for a few minutes, laid spinach on a wrap and rolled it all up.

If you frequent a farmer's market on the weekends, I sincerely hope you fancy the eggplant this time around. Something different and something purple. Get silly.


  1. Beautiful post. All of those dishes made me (((HUNGRY)))!

    Is the last picture those bracelets that are all the rave with the kids? Listen to me 'with the kids'. Ugh! I'm officially "that age" LOL.

    P.S. Too bad we don't live closer, I would have given you tomatoes, cukes, bell peppers, strawberries, jalapenos and herbs for free. =)

    Looks like you had a delicious week!

  2. I didn't salt it last time... honestly didn't know if it'd be that big of a deal! I guess I'll have to try it. Because I WILL be purchasing more soon...

  3. I love farmers market! I've been wanting to try a new eggplant recipe lately and I'm glad you shared yours! I love the color of eggplants too: that deep purple is probably one of my favorite colors (after hot pink hehe). Enjoy the weekend!

  4. Yum - looks like you ate well this week! My mom hits up the Portsmouth farmer's market frequently. We have a bunch around here but, none to my knowledge, serve donuts. Might have to make a trip up north! Also, quinoa is my new favorite food. It's amazing.

  5. Oh my goodness... all these meals look so delicious!!! Everything... I want it all. Isn't farm produce the best? And quinoa is sooo good!!! Glad you liked it!!!

  6. i need to become more experimental with eggplant. the texture makes me nervous...silly bands are taking over the world! love the cob holders.

  7. So curious about that wine! Will absolutely try this eggplant dish, it looks amazing! and the corn holders are hilarious!

  8. Don't you just love all the wonderful dishes you can make from the farmers' market?

  9. Oh sweetie, I LOVE farmers markets!! Just wish I had them all year round here! The selections are the best and the prices are even better.

    Happy Weekend Dear! xo

  10. Wow, what gorgeous produce and flowers! Hooray for yummy eggplant, too.

  11. I loooooooove farmers markets! Looks like you did really well there! Salting the eggplant makes the HUGEST difference doesnt it!?!

  12. So glad you posted this awesome meal! Well, all these awesome meals for that matter. I should try Quinoa someday!

  13. oh yum!!

    hey, i see the you live in nh- i'm making my first trip to that area of the country at the beginning of october and cannot WAIT- please let me know if you have anything to recommend as far as places to visit, things to see... thanks! :)

  14. love farmers markets!
    now following, so follow back!