Early to bed, early to rise, makes you happy, wealthy and wise, goes an old saying and I must say that I could not agree more. I haven’t been an early riser my whole life, on the contrary, I love to sleep and especially sleep in for long hours in the morning. Recently things have changed, I started taking my daughter to school every morning and that means that I am ready to roll from 8 a.m. Since I have become an early riser I have discovered a whole new taste to life. Waking early puts me in a better mood and makes me feel productive, plus I get some healthy solitude time all for myself while I exercise on my long fast walks.
So many great things happen early in the morning, to mention just one: farmer’s markets. I have talked about my love affair with farmer’s markets in my previous posts and especially so, I adore everything about farmer’s markets in the Fall. The mood is always so cheerful. People get really excited about buying all that yummy, so-very-good-for-you-food. The colors are vibrant and the smells capturing. The farmers all smiley look so proud of their work and their produce. This morning I decided to come to my town’s local market and what I found was, as usual, a crowd of cheerful and busy early risers that moved gracefully around all that glorious fresh produce, cheese, eggs, and flowers. The abundance is everywhere and it makes me feel so grateful for the amazing planet we live on. How perfectly can humans and nature cooperate when there is respect, and gratitude, and love.
Markets are so inspirational to me that when I leave I always feel like going home and cook for hour and hours. Here below I am going to share a recipe perfect for this time of the year. Crescents with cabbage and carrot filling. A hit anytime I proposed this dish. Easy to eat they make a lovely finger food for those crispy Autumn days, a delicious snack to eat perhaps after a day spent planting flower bulbs for the Spring, and cleaning the garden to get it ready for the long winter sleep.
Mezzelune di Cavolo e Carote (Half-Moons with Cabbage and Carrot filling)
Whenever I am invited to a brunch or to a party I often bring this dish and people love it. It is the perfect finger food: the savory cabbage filling enveloped in a mouth-watering squash bread crust.
Making the dough:
See recipe below for Squash Bread
Making the filling:
Half of a cabbage
¼ cup olive oil
1 yellow onion
2 tsp caraway seeds
½ cup white wine
salt and pepper
Dice the onion and place it into a dutch oven, add the olive oil and sautee for 10 minutes on low heat. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the wine and caraway seeds. Let evaporate for 3 minutes then turn heat down again to low.
Dice the cabbage and the carrots and add to the rest along with ¾ of a cup of water. Place the lid on the pot and let it cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Making the Half-Moons:
Let the dough rise twice and then with a rolling pin, roll out the dough. With a big glass or round cookie cutter cut out circles. Fill the middle of the circles with the cabbage and carrots. Fold the circle in half, wet your finger and take it along the inside edges of your half- moons, pressing with a fork seal the two edges together. Place half-moons on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
This is a recipe from my dear friend Kellie, what lovely memories I have from the days we used to run a home-based daycare together. I remember her taking this bread out of the oven, infusing the house with the wonderful smell of fresh-baked bread. The children were filled with excitement and anticipation for that bread that they never seemed to have enough of.
Tip: Squash can easily be a meal or snack on it’s own: try cutting it in half and roasting it with some water in the oven for 45 minutes (see recipe for Pan di Zucca). Once out of the oven pour half a cup of fresh apple cider on the squash along with a few curls of butter.
Making the Sponge:
2 cups wrist-temperature water
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
a drop of molasses
1 ½ cups white unbleached flour (preferably organic)
1 cup wheat flour (preferably organic)
2 ½ cups well mashed cooked squash
3 Tbsp molasses
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp salt
3 cups wheat flour
4 cups white unbleached flour
Place the water in a large bowl. Add yeast and molasses. Beat in the flour. Cover and let it rise for 30 to 45 minutes. Mix together the squash, molasses, melted butter, and salt.
Mix together until well combined. Beat all the ingredients into risen sponge and add the wheat flour and the white flour. Add one cup of flour at the time. Knead the dough until it is not too sticky. Cover and let it rise until double in size (1 and ½ hours).
Form into two loaves and set in two loaf pans. Let rise for 1 hour.
Bake between 375- 425 for 40 minutes. Towards the end check the top, if too browned cover with aluminum foil.
This dough is great for rolls as well! Form rolls with your hands and place them on a cookie sheet. Let them rise for 1 hour and bake for about 20 minutes.
There are so many great reason to buy your fresh produce at farmer’s markets: they are hand-picked the day you buy them, they are cheaper, and they are in season. Also it is a great social occasion to meet lovely like-minded people. Let’s all try to make an effort and wake up early one day next week and go the market to find all these delightful goods and make this planet a better place one grocery shopping at the time!