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Posts tagged ‘farmer’s market finds’

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Market Wednesday: Persimmons

from Kate

I first heard of Persimmon Pudding when I moved to California. It’s a holiday staple around here because of the abundance of ripe, beautiful fruit during the season. The dessert is a warm and luxurious accompaniment to cozy gatherings and cooler temperatures.

One of my favorite pudding recipes is from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook by Amelia Saltsman. If you can’t find her book, there are plenty of recipes online. What I like about Amelia’s recipe, however, is that she doesn’t require a mold. The finished dish is much more casual to serve.

Amelia calls for Hachiya persimmons.

These persimmons are from Peacock Family Farms. Their tip for ripening the fruit more quickly is to place it in a paper bag with an apple slice. The fruit will be very soft and look almost rotten when it is actually ripe and ready for consumption.

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Market Wednesday: Fig Find

from Kate

Wandering through the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market today, I happened upon this amazing fig tree. We have a Black Mission Fig tree in our garden and love fresh figs. I have never seen a striped variety, however. The farmer told me it was an organic, Brazilian variety, but further research leads me to believe it is a Panachée or Striped Tiger Fig. I don’t have much of a green thumb, but bought one anyway. Since our back patio is nearly finished, I’ve been looking for some edible plants to finish it off. Herbs were going to be my main focus, but this fig plant is inspiring me to try something different. In my research, I found this interesting article in the New York Times; “A Fig Reveals Its Inner Raspberry.” The writer is kind enough to list a resource for those looking to access their own striped fig variety. The inside of the fruit looks amazing. Can’t wait to sample the figs when they are ripe!

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Market Saturday: Green and Gold

from Kate

Hit the Saturday Santa Monica Farmers’ Market this week and found these lovely beans. Perfect summer food. I’m going to blanch and marinate them to use as a salad topping. One of my favorite salads was inspired by a memorable lunch at Cindy Pawlcyn’s famous Mustards Grill in Napa. Haricot verts (French for green beans referring to the slender, green variety) were combined with roasted turkey, sauteed apples and onions, candied walnuts and an apple cider vinaigrette. These beans will work as a great substitution. Cindy is a pioneer in the farm-to-table food movement. Her cookbooks are favorites of mine, particularly Big Small Plates and I would kill for Cindy’s cookbook collection, which is noted to be around 4,000 volumes from all over the world. I originally read about her cookbook collection in Oprah Magazine. Sadly, the picture was only in the print version. Still, a great read about one woman’s passion for cooking.

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Market Wednesday: Oak-Leaf Lettuce!

from Kate

Look what I found at the market to go with the gifted fennel! It usually sells out quickly and is not available consistently, but I got lucky today. See it’s unique leaf shape? Like an oak leaf, of course.

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Market Wednesday: Best Avocados

from Kate

At today’s Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, I picked up these beautiful Fuerte avocados from the farmer I fondly refer to as the “avocado lady,” owner of JJ’s Lone Daughter Ranch. She sells many varieties of avocado, including Reed, Pinkerton, Bacon and Hass, but I’m partial to the Fuerte. The creamy texture and almost nutty flavor make an incredible guacamole. Until I discovered Fuerte avocados, I didn’t make very good guac. I thought the secret to success was wrapped up in what I added to the mash — lemon juice, lime juice or a variety of spices. When I started to focus on picking the best fruit and getting the ‘mash’ right, my guac started to sing. Now, after I’ve picked up a few Fuertes, all I do is use a pastry knife — typically used for making pie crusts — to smash the avocados into just the right consistency…creamy, but with a few good lumps. I then add salt to taste (and sometimes a bit of fresh cilantro) and that’s it. Seriously. When we have friends over to swim, as we will this weekend, I put out a bowl of the Fuerte guac with some good corn chips and salsa and call it a day. My favorite chips are blue corn chips and my favorite salsa is the Roasted Tomate & Chile Asado Medium Salsa from Casa Sanchez. I wish it came in a glass jar instead of a plastic container, but the flavor is too amazing to skip. The mix has bits of charred tomato skin, which may sound unappetizing, but really gives the blend a unique, homemade flavor. It’s a secret cooking weapon too.

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

A Little Purple Fact-Finding

from Kate

As a follow-up to my purple broccoli discovery, I was doing a bit of research and found this market report in the Los Angeles Times. Seems the writer and I had almost the exact same experience… only if you check the dates, the broccoli availability lasts a bit more than two weeks. Maybe the farmer really said it’s only around for two more weeks versus its whole season is only two weeks long. Still, it’s great stuff if you can find it.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Market Wednesday: It’s Purple!

from Kate

Soooo, I was standing in front of the Weiser Family Farms produce at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, and this guys next to me asks if they still have purple broccoli. Seriously? Purple? Have you ever heard of purple broccoli? The farmer explains that Early Purple sprouting broccoli is only available for approximately two weeks of the year — and not every year. The stand doesn’t have a big supply, and while I stood there most of the batch was snatched up — despite costing more than $7 per pound! I had to try it. I always like to challenge myself to cook with new ingredients and this definitely qualifies! I decide to use the broccoli in a favorite pasta recipe I found in the Los Angeles Times food section. The recipe actually calls for broccoli, but as the writer says, this is a great recipe to experiment with. You can really mix up what you add to the pasta keeping the basic technique the same. I would have to say, the broccoli was delicious. The flavor was a bit stronger, so it went with the sausage beautifully and was very satisfying. One note I would make is that the stems were a bit woodier and needed to be trimmed higher on the stem during preparation. Overall, a great discovery.