Saturday, September 10, 2005

To Market We Go

Over the past six years, I have learned ways to manage my culinary sanity; or shall I say keep it. Missoula is not the type of place where one can walk down to a local market, and order say a pound of skate fish for the evening. Too all those with an accessible fishmonger, know I am jealous. One would think the fact that I live in Montana would allow a large access to various beef products - but no. I am lucky to find short ribs, even at a butcher! Believe me, I tried. But sometimes I get lucky. One of the aforementioned culinary anchors is the local farmers market, which generally runs from late June to late October. Up until this year there has only been local produce, but now there are a few vendors of (what I hope to be) good quality organic meats. I found a vendor with grass fed beef short ribs, and I immediately bought them. I paid way too much for them, I mean twenty five dollars for short ribs...Often a cheaper cut of meat (and I suppose next to his other offerings it still was cheaper). Nonetheless, I know have some good short ribs I can use. I am quite excited about this, because braising is my one of my favorite ways to eat - and short ribs were created to be braised.

About the produce - when you walk to the farmers market, the first table you see will have the exact same produce as every other table; so if one is in a hurry it will only take you five seconds to see if they have anything of interest. There are a few exceptions I should mention; occasionally there will be a lone morel vendor, or a late batch of huckleberries, but for the most part it's pretty similar. I was lucky enough today to score some really good looking Walla Walla onions. These will make some excellent French onion soup Les Halles tomorrow night. I even found imported Gruyere cheese, at ten dollars a pound. It is a price I'm willing to pay for something so good though.

Another one of my favorite culinary stops is a place called The Good Food Store. (Note: at the time of this post, there actually is a, but it appears to be a blank page...) While not everything here floats my boat, I can find consumables that normally I cannot - and I think would be difficult to find in many cities much larger than Missoula. Today, my most interesting find was this peculiar purple bell pepper. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it as of yet...

And finally, what better way to spend a Saturday then making stock. I've been saving up beef bones for a while, and have them roasting in my oven as I write this. My house smells quite nice, and tomorrow I will have an excellent base to surround my French onion soup, as well as a tasty liquid for the short ribs.


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