A block’s walk from my apartment is the venue of our local Farmer’s Market. It houses an odd mixture of vendors’ stalls – vegetable growers, artisanal sausage makers, pie makers, garlic growers, purveyors of hand-made soaps, macaroons, jams, sauces and condiments, crafters of dubious quality hand-strung jewelry, bannock frying natives, hand crocheters and knitters who use really nasty acrylic yarns of ghastly colour combinations, the occasional potter and local amateur painters of picturesque dabblings. The prices are exorbitant. Anyhow much of what is on offer is a bit too pricey for my wallet, or would be, were it not for the coupon program for low income seniors and families, of which I count as one. So, I do not flinch too much when asked to hand over $4 for a knob of Russian. garlic or $3 for a couple of medium sized tomatoes. There is a $6 allotment for meat weekly included in the coupons, but a package of four artisanal sausages comes priced at $9, so every other week a purchase of one package is manageable. Otherwise, one might purchase a precooked sausage on a stick for $5. A 3 oz. piece of Sockeye salmon is priced at @ $17, so that is a market I find myself reluctant to frequent.
I do find the vegetables of such excellent quality that the act of eating freshly picked and fully at optimum ripeness produce is a tremendous pleasure. The weekly coupons are a welcome gift!
Last Saturday, my favourite vegetable vendor had two generous sized Vegetable Marrows left over at the end of market. Every August I am always on the hunt for these. They are not commonly grown or seldom available in our little city as most people don’t know how to cook them. The vendeuse, Flor, asked me what they were, as this was the first year she tried growing them. Casting my eye around her booth, I collected an onion and a clump of fresh dill. As I handed over $6 worth of coupons to purchase the marrows, onion and dill, I explaine how I was going to prepare them fro my special feast for that evening’s meal. “Heavenly it will be!” I told her. She replied that she was wanting to ty that dish, as it sounded so simple to prepare.
Here is my grandmother’s recipe for Hungarian Tokfozelek (missing the umlaut and accent ague)
1 Medium Vegetable marrow – halved lengthwise, seeded and peeled. Cut each half into thin slices across the width, set in a colander, sprinkle with salt to release excess water in the flesh. Set aside for 20 minutes.
1 Peel and finely slice one medium onion. Saute in butter over medium heat. While onion is softening, squeeze excess water from the sliced marrows, and add them to the transparent softened onions. Stir, cover pan and lower temperature slightly. Stir several times over 10 minutes.
3 Meanwhile chop about a handful of dill fronds, toss into onion and marrow, stir and keep cooking.
4 measure out 3/4 cups of sour cream , add to the vegetables, stir in, grind on salt and pepper, let heat to steaming.
5 Sprinkle with Sweet or Hot Hungarian Paprika. Serve with bread, chicken, sausage ,or pork steaks. A green salad on the side completes this feast.
I often just eat this vegetable side dish by itself, if I have eaten my daily meat alottment already.