Friday, May 4, 2012

Eating Omily: Spring Flavors and West Coast Preview

Happy Friday, guys!  It's especially happy for me (albiet also especially stressful) because tomorrow the husband and I are heading off on a two-week escape to that other coast I keep hearing so much about.

We'll be hitting up LA for most of the first week, with a quick trip to San Diego because it's a beautiful place where a beautiful friend of mine lives, and then we'll be heading up to Portland, where another beautiful friend of mine lives, for the second week.

This is especially exciting news for my Eating Omily lovers, because the west coast has awesome things like good Mexican food, avocados...avocados...and citrus!  And margaritas!  And avocados!  And Portland of course, is one, big Farmer's Market Paradise!  The tourist sight reads, "You'll find it hard NOT to eat local here."  I absolutely cannot wait to check it out, and share the deliciousness with all of you!  I can't promise I won't switch up to two Eating Omily posts a week while I'm there...but I can't promise I will, either, since the computer situation will be a bit dicey.  I solemnly swear I'll take good notes, and catch you all back up by the end of it, at the very least!  So today is my last post before I'll be in LA.  Happy Travels to me!

In the meantime, can I just remind you that ASPARAGUS IS IN SEASON!!!  If I didn't joyfully know it myself from seeing it with my own eyes, it'd be pretty obvious from the number of search engine hits I'm getting on last year's in-depth asparagus post.  And just like last year, I'm telling you, get out there are get your hands on this stuff!  Snap off the woody ends, and for an amazing treat, saute it with ramps or scapes for a subtle garlic kick in BUTTER.  Toss in some crumbled firm tofu for extra protein, and serve over brown rice for an incredibly easy, satisfying dinner.

You can also shave blanched asparagus stalks into long, elegant ribbons to be added to mixed baby green salad with a syrupy balsamic reduction.  Yum.

But as always, asparagus isn't the only thing to be hopping with happiness about in your Farmer's Market!  One of my very favourite venders just started offering pints of home-made yogurt.  Now, if you don't much like yogurt, I don't blame you.  I don't have much of a taste for the grocery store variety.  It's either loaded with sugar and still fiercely sour, or inedibly plain and in need of loads of sugar.  It just doesn't work for me.  But, yogurt that is cultured in small batches by hand does not have that industrial strength pucker.  It's so smooth, and subtly tart, I enjoy it eating it totally plain.   I do enjoy eating it more with a modest splash of maple syrup and a hint of vanilla extract, but you know what I like even better?  Stirring in spoonfuls of my home-made apple preserves...mmm...soft, syrup-impregnated cinnamon-flavored bites of tender apple, swirled in creamy ever so neglectfully tart's the perfect snack.  Hmmm...the picture isn't doing it justice.  Just trust me on this one.

Yogurt that is cultured in small batches and has no added pectin or stabilizers in it will be a little lumpy, and will require regular stirring to keep the whey dispersed; no biggie.

So along with those amazing, tender, crisp Spring veggies you're picking up, ask around, and get your hands on some yogurt worth eating!  And if you don't make your own jams and preserves, buy some from someone who does, probably just down the way from the yogurt.


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