Friday, June 14, 2013

Farmer's Market, peppercorn tea and what a condiment

Beaumont Farmers Market
It opens at 8 a.m. and my mother and I got there by 8:13 a.m., but it took me a while to park. This place was packed with people picking peaches, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, “corn picked this morning” and local honeys.
The fun is set for 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays through Nov. 16, rain or shine, between Langham and Dowlen on the south side of College on the basketball court at the Athletic Complex in Beaumont.
I met a dog named Velcro and a woman with a spicy tomatillo recipe. I got radishes and I hope my mother invites me over for her peppers. One sign touted produce from a Port Neches farm and Beau-tanicals offered natural soap and bath products.
As I walked up, I loved the Austin feel, because everybody brought recycled bags for their haul. Some shoppers made friends because of conversations about their eco-friendly totes.

Re-think this summer’s iced tea
Pink peppercorns, ground cinnamon, dried fruits and lavender can spice up your tea blends. Try stashing a few extras in  your loose tea stash. Someone sent me an article about a woman who puts a spring of chocolate mint in her tea tin for a “Girl Scout Cookie” flavor.
I just followed someone else’s advice to simply pour hot, not boiling, water over herbs such as lemongrass or chocolate mint. Both yielded amazing flavors hot or cold, without added calories. I can’t believe I haven’t been making the most of my lemongrass. I pounded the stalk a bit before adding the water.

Whataburger condiments
What’s the big deal? I met a traveling couple that was advised to eat at as many Whataburger establishments as they could when they hit Texas. They wanted to find the last one out before they hit Louisiana. I get that. I still recall my childhood the blast of spicy white onion chunks that distinguished this Texas classic. But the ketchup and mustard? Who knew?  H-E-B has been carrying Whataburger’s Spicy Ketchup, Fancy Ketchup and Original Mustard in 16-ounce bottles since Memorial Day weekend, and the crowds are going wild. It’s a thing. I
Always in on a trend, I tried the spicy stuff and what do you know? It did pack a punch for breakfast. I’m in.
Whatafries, a potato chip version of the French fry, ready to eat, should hit H-E-B stores around the end of June.

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