Saturday night dinners at my house have been dedicated to the farmers market lately. Last weekend, we hit it early and stocked up on bacon and chorizo from MeatHouse along with green beans, okra, corn, and canteloupe from the Fields Farm stall and some fresh peas from the Green Grocer. Then we stopped by Stella Maris Seafood (on Pittsburgh Avenue) for a bag of McClellanville clams and a beautiful slab of mahi mahi. And then we went home and got busy planning dinner. Of course, I called resident foodboy Jeff Allen (@foodboy) to see if he might help make our market-fresh feast. It wasn't really an all-day affair, but it did take some time and money, two luxuries we don't have unlimited supplies of.
Tomorrow, I'm thinking, instead of doing all the work myself (or getting Jeff to do it), I might head over to the Swamp Fox Restaurant at the Francis Marion for their weekly Farmers Market Dinner, especially after hearing from Jason Houser that Chef Ryan Kacenjar has purchased the Meathouse's entire weekly supply of pork chops. It's a cool concept and mirrors my experience. Kacenjar heads over to the Market, checks out the offerings, and plans a menu based on the freshest, tastiest ingredients he can procure.
Tomorrow's menu kicks off with a puree of Owl's Nest Plantation beets with Tiverton Herbed Crème Fraiche. For the second course, he'll present housemade pimiento cheese served with fresh and pickled vegetables from Ray Chell's Fresh Pickle Works. And then for the main course, he'll grill pork chops and serve them with cabbage (Thackeray Farms), carrots (Owl's Nest), and shiitake mushrooms. Dessert is a cheesecake made from Burden Creek's goat cheese and topped with fresh strawberries.
Seatings are available from 5-8:30 p.m. and it's $29 for four courses. A damn fine deal, particularly since he's using fresh, local fare from our resident Market vendors.