Dinner for Breakfast

Teacherman and I spent Saturday up in Madison, WI, attending their absolutely amazing farmer’s market.  We have a tradition of going up once a year, in the fall, and stocking up on every variety of apple that appeals to us.  There are lovely apple varieties available down here, but there’s a particular orchard that sends produce to the Madison market, and for the most part we can’t get their exciting, antique varieties anywhere else.   As you can see, we bought quite a few varieties (Wealthy, Hudson, Russian Raspberry, Cox’s Orange Pippin [my favorite] and one that I can’t remember the name of).

Our trip was fruitful (har har), and we came back home with two big coolers full of produce, cheese and meat.  We usually forgo meat at the farmer’s market (we’d love to buy it, but the price is a little steep for our budget, even though we realize that it’s just) but we found two farms selling beautiful, free-range, natural meats for prices that were well within our range.  We bought beef and pork and chicken and rabbit, and would have bought more if we’d had the cash on hand. 

Of course, Madison being the capital of Wisconsin, there was cheese available, and since we’re us, we brought home more cheese than we did meat.  Though we concentrated mostly on varieties of cheddar, we also found a producer making delicious blue cheese.  It was hard to decide between the four available varieties, but in the end we went with Tilston Point, the most medium of the four–it wasn’t overly pungent, but it wasn’t too creamy and mild, either. 

We didn’t purchase the cheese with any use in mind, but when later in the morning I bought a big basket of Concord grapes and a tiny bag of black walnuts, the three items locked together in my mind and I knew I had a meal. 

One might expect that we ate those lovely things for a light dinner (especially since we ended up eating our dinner in a park, preparatory to watching a free opera benefit concert), but in fact we ate it for breakfast the following morning.  I sometimes find blue cheese too intense on the palate that early in the morning, but in this case I was too excited about trying the combination of flavors to pay it much mind. 

I toasted the walnuts while Teacherman made coffee, then arranged equal portions of the grapes, nuts and cheese on each plate. 

The combination of flavors really was wonderful.  Some might not care for Concord grapes as a table grape, having been overexposed to fake, Concord-esque grape juices as a child.  I don’t think I’ve had grape juice of any variety for 15 years, though, and I don’t find the Concords unpleasant at all.  They are very sweet, but I find that syrupy fruitiness contrasts well with the bitter walnut skins and the butteriness of the cheese–exactly why grapes, nuts and blue cheese are such a classic combination. 

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Published in: on September 14, 2007 at 7:30 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. This was a lovely blog post that captures the essence of the approaching fall season. I live in Long Island and, along with visiting local farmers markets in the area, usually go to a local fair in Bethpage where one can find all sorts of fresh produce on hand. Cheers, chefjp


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