Saturday, June 13, 2009

$5 market adventure

Shopping at a farmers market is easy. Shopping on less than $10, however, can be a challenge.

And so I debated this morning: Do I bother going to the bank (knowing many vendors no longer take checks)? Or do I just make do and see what happens?

Facing one cranky toddler whom I had in tow, I chose the latter. And I promised my 3 year old she could do the shopping with five dollars (the sum of my purse's usable contents). That meant no plants, I explained (which was probably a blessing in my husband's book). She nodded her head in agreement, grabbed a green bag, and followed me across the lot to the market.

First stop? A table with peas. Two rows of baskets sat there: snap peas and shelling peas. Her hand reaches for the shelling variety. I sigh. "Are you sure you don't want this one?"

Of course she's sure. So I try a different tactic - a math lesson. "That costs three dollars. You'll only have two dollars left after that. Let's look and then decide."

My daughter tolerates me and we continue looking. We stop at the tomato guy (I've yet to learn his name, but he and my daughter talked weekly last season on the progress of her "'matoes.") and she chooses garlic scape, five for a dollar. Of course, true to form, he always offers her a few extras.

We look around, but I have to face the facts: She wants those peas. So we return to the first table, and she happily snaps up the shelling peas. Of course, they're all sold out of the other kind, and rightfully so: They're easier to cook! But my daughter is happy.

Down the last dollar, we walk around to see what we can find. We visit another vendor we see frequently, and we ask for $1 worth of shelling peas. Sold. And we're done.

The price of planning your menu is execution, and as soon as we're home, my children are at the table, shelling peas. It's little surprise how quickly it goes, given my daughter's recent penchant for taking the "peas" out of green beans in record time. We wrap up the peas while the chicken is roasting in the oven.

Unsure how exactly to cook "shelling peas," I call my mom, who reassures me it's just like using frozen peas. So I opt to saute' them in olive oil, one leftover shallot, some garlic scape and a few tablespoons of a dried garlic and red pepper mix. It turns out great, with the exception that the garlic and shallots a tad overcooked while once again juggling too many tasks in the kitchen.

My daughter, however, does not notice. "Is this bacon?" she observes as she takes a first bite.

Um, no. "Prosciutto?" (Yes, prosciutto's in her vocabulary.)

No again. She bites. "Yes it is!" she declares. Too tired to fight, I declare to myself it's vegetarian prosciutto and leave it at that.


Green Bean said...

Lol! Vegetarian prosciutto. We love shelling peas and eat them by the pound. Not on the $5 a market visit budget. They make an excellent risotto or soup, too!

Lisa said...

I want the peas you are eating if they taste like prosciutto! haha

Robbie said...

It wasn't bad, but it definitely was NOT "real" prosciutto. Glad to know my kid doesn't care!