This is the second post in my Farmers Market Series, in which I give you the scoop on Pittsburgh farmers markets.  This post will feature the East Liberty Citiparks Market, the Southside Citiparks Market, and the Oakland Market.

Oakland Farmers Market This tiny market takes place Friday afternoons from 3:30 to 6:30 on Sennot St. between Meyran Ave. and Atwood St.  Although it’s tiny, it has a very important feature that could keep me coming back: multiple bakeries!  There are about 3-4 bakeries with all manner of regular loaf breads, pies, and other baked goods.  If you’re in the mood to munch, there’s a great stand that has Polish donuts (paczki) which have cinnamon and raisins inside.  Tasty!  There are also the standard fruit and veggie vendors, and a Lebanese stand with hot food to eat there.

East Liberty Citiparks Market This market takes place on Monday evenings from 3:30 to 7:30 pm at 5800 Penn Circle West in East Liberty, next to the Midas.  I was really, really impressed with this market!  The sheer number of vendors is enough to make me a regular here, not to mention the variety!  There are plenty of the standard fruit and vegetable vendors, as well as a few organic produce vendors.  I bought some absolutely gorgeous tomatoes from the main organic vendor (pricey, but worth it).  There are also numerous other vendors selling things like meat, cheese, salsas, Italian ice, flowers, smoked meats, jams, jellies, pies, etc.  The only thing I was disappointed with in this market was the lack of a bread vendor.  Not a deal-breaker, just something to keep in mind so you don’t end up going there to buy a loaf of French bread and come away disappointed like I did.  Still, this market is probably my favorite out of all the ones I’ve reviewed on this blog.

Southside Citiparks Market Taking place on Tuesday nights from 3:30 to 7:30 pm at Sidney and 20th St., this market has a lot of the same vendors as the East Liberty Market (smoked meats, salsas) and the Oakland Market (the bakery with the Polish donuts, Lebanese food stand).  There’s also a pierogie vendor, which sells hot or cold pierogies in different quantities.  I got four hot ones to eat there for $2.50 and they really hit the spot- so cheesy and topped with caramelized onions…yum!  I also stopped at an Amish bakery and got a huge maraschino cherry whoopee pie for $1.  Dessert!  Who needs dinner when you can eat your way through the market?

I’ve written about quesadillas before- the five-minute, 3-ingredient kind.  These (from Guy Fieri) are a little more labor intensive, but they’re totally worth it.  They’re loaded with cumin-dusted summer veggies (tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, corn, and red onions!) and oozing gooey cheese, with a super smoky chipotle sour cream on the side.  The recipe calls for grilling the corn but you can put the shucked corn under the broiler for about 10 minutes, turning halfway, and still get a nice char on the kernels. (more…)

This recipe is perfect for using up all those zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers you’ve no doubt got filling your fridge from farmers’ markets and gardens.  Now, I know that this isn’t a real ratatouille, (there are no tomatoes, it’s cooked on a grill, and there is- gasp- cheese in it) but whatever you want to call it, it is absolutely delicious.  The sharp feta cheese complements the vegetables well, and the balsamic vinegar adds just the right tang.  Even veggie haters will be going back for seconds!

Ratatouille

Ingredients Cost
1 12-14 oz eggplant, sliced into rounds $1.89
1 zucchini, sliced $1.30
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips $1.50
1 medium onion, cut into slices $0.70
3 T olive oil pantry
3 garlic cloves $0.30
3 tsp balsamic vinegar pantry
2/3 c. crumbled feta cheese $1.50
2 T. fresh basil, slivered $1.40
Total cost (4 side servings) $8.59
Cost per serving $2.15

Prepare grill (medium-high heat) or preheat the broiler.  Place eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper, and onion on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; turn to coat.  Grill/broil veggies until tender and tinged brown, turning frequently.  Transfer veggies to a bowl, add vinegar, cheese, and basil, and toss to combine.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been visiting farmers markets in the Pittsburgh area recently.  In the coming weeks, I’ll be starting a weekly farmers market feature here in which I’ll review two to three markets, giving the pros and cons of each.  Today’s post features the Bloomfield Citiparks market, the East Liberty Farmers Co-op market, and the Farmers at Phipps market.  For a comprehensive list of area markets, see the recent Post-Gazette article with interactive map.

Bloomfield Citiparks Market: This is a decent sized market located next to the Immaculate Conception School in Bloomfield (Thursdays from 3:30-7:30 pm).  Parking is very limited here (all metered) and I had to park a few blocks away, but the walk was very much worth it!  There are plenty of fruit and veggie vendors, plus a goat cheese/feta cheese/goat milk stand, an organic produce vendor, lots of options for fresh flowers, and a biscotti vendor (plus more that I’m probably forgetting).  If you’re in the mood to munch, there are a few options: a pierogi stand (available hot to eat right away or cold to take home), a Greek-ish stand with gyros and sausages, and an Italian ice vendor.  This is where I got my $4 peaches for my peach cobbler- yum! (more…)

There’s an extra bounce in my step recently, and that’s because it’s peach season!! Peaches are my all-time favorite fruit: sliced on cereal or pancakes, baked in cobblers and pies, or just eaten like an apple, I absolutely adore peaches.  The best feeling in the world is biting into a nice, juicy peach and having the sticky liquid run all the way down your hand and arm.  Mmm…

I’ve been checking out a lot of the farmer’s markets in my area (post to follow soon), and last Thursday I visited the Citiparks Farmer’s Market in Bloomfield.  Nearly every vendor had peaches, and I simply couldn’t resist.  I picked up a box of six for $4 and decided to make a cobbler with them.  I used a Paula Deen recipe for the crust and a standard Betty Crocker recipe for the peach filling. (more…)

I love meals that I can prep ahead of time, especially if I have company coming over.  This recipe for Matar Paneer is just one of those, as it only takes about 10-20 minutes to make if you prepare the paneer and masala beforehand.  I made the paneer and masala the day before, but you could also make the masala well in advance and freeze until you’re ready to use it.

This was my first cheesemaking adventure, and it was a learning experience.  To make paneer, you bring whole milk to a boil, add acid,  then separate the curds from whey using a cheesecloth.  Well, when I brought the mixture to a boil hardly any curds formed.  I added a little more acid, and nothing happened.  I gave it a few minutes, and nothing happened.  After some internet searching, I found that you must bring the milk to a full boil, and if you mess up the first time you can try again.  So, I brought the milk to a boil again and this time curds formed immediately and the liquid turned clear.  Cool!  There you have it: making paneer at home is really simple, and even if you don’t get curds the first time, try, try, again! (more…)

As any holiday weekend should be, my 4th of July weekend was filled with amazing food.  It started on Thursday night and just kept going, all the way through Monday…

Smallman St. Deli My absolute all-time favorite deli sandwich is the Rachel with turkey, and one of the best I’ve ever had has been at Smallman’s.  The rye bread is slathered in butter and grilled until it is downright crispy, the thousand island dressing is perfectly tangy, and the sweet coleslaw provides an excellent crunch.  At $8.40, this sandwich isn’t cheap, but it is packed with meat that will keep you going all day long. (more…)