Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eating Omily: At the Farmer's Market Now!

So, I went to the Farmer's Market on Monday, and had a lovely time, and found so many delicious things!  Like fava beans!!  Did you know that fava beans are real?  Yes, far more than a famous quote from a thriller, fava beans are the ultimate spring veggie: super-seasonal, tender, sweet, delicious, and green, and, at $6.00 a pound before you remove the inedible pods and skins, pricey!  I usually treat myself to these guys once a year.  They're just too expensive for regular eating, but nothing says Spring like fava bean puree slathered on toast!  There are some fava beans there, in the background of this shot.
In the foreground is another favorite spring treat with a lower price tag: English, or shelling, peas!  These are the kind you have to remove from the pods to enjoy, but at $3.75 a pound, they're a sight cheaper than fava beans, and for my money, almost as tastey!  I grabbed a little over a pound of them.

I was quite surprised by what I saw next.  I didn't know these guys ever got to hang out next to fava beans!
Tangy red raspberries!  I passed them over, of course.  I'll be able to get them in pint containers for that price or less once the Summer season gets underway.  When you're eating local, patience is a virtue!   It wasn't such a struggle to turn away from the raspberries, though, because lucky for us berry-lovers, strawberries are a spring fruit, fading from the market by the time the other berries really get rolling.
I mean seriously, who needs over-priced raspberries when you can get a quart of the most incredible sweet, complex, melt-in-your-mouth strawberries you've ever tasted for $6.00??  These guys are absolutely my recommendation of the season.
You can catch them on Mondays, and make sure that you do!  Strawberries will only be around for another couple weeks, less if we get a few more heavy rainstorms.

Next up I stopped by my favorite booth at the Farmer's market: Central Valley Farm.  These guys are around only on Mondays, and can be found right near 16th street, on the right side of the Farmer's Market if you're moving uptown.  I didn't need eggs this week, but I did want to pick up a pound of pasture-raised beef.
I was in luck, though!  Their CSA had officially begun!  It was a light share this week, so they charged $15 instead of the usual $20, but what I got for $15 was still enough to overflow my crisper drawer!
Spring onions, sugar snap peas, asparagus, two bunches of swiss chard, radishes, and kale!  And already I feel like the most overwhelmingly blessed person on the planet.  Does it get any better than a fridge full of fresh veggies??

The best part of having this much green stuff around is that you can plan your meals entirely around vegetables, letting protien and complex carbs play second, or even third, fiddle, to incredible taste and nutrition.  I fixed us up a Pasta Primavera.  That roughly translates to Spring Spaghetti, and consists of long cut pasta, traditionally with peas and asparagus, in a light cream sauce.  I made mine with big handfuls of spinach, lots of garlic, and that whole bunch of asparagus, tossed in a homemade bechamel sauce with wholewheat spaghetti.
Nom.  You can be enjoying this hearty and satisfying dinner, too!  Just cook your pasta according to package directions, and in the meantime, saute your veggies in olive oil and/or butter.  Then, in the same pan, follow my directions here for a basic bechamel sauce.  When the pasta is not quite done, transfer it from the water to the big pan you're cooking the sauce and veggies in, and toss, toss, toss!  Half a pound of pasta will feed two people with leftovers, and when it comes to veggies, add about twice as much as you think would be a good amount, and it should be just right.

What treasures have you found at the Farmer's Market lately?  And what are you doing with them??  Do tell!

~em

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