Farmers Market Update: January in San Francisco

by | Jan 29, 2012
Romanesco

Romanesco

January in San Francisco is apparently a zillion times nicer than summer. Sure we had some rain last week, but it was so warm, clear and beautiful today I actually went to the market in a summer dress. After last year’s summer of fog, this is was glorious.

Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge

I don’t know if this is global warming or what. It’s certainly strange to see tulips, usually a hallmark of spring that appears in early April or late March, on the last weekend in January. Hard to complain though.

Tulips in January

Tulips in January

Despite the sun, most of the produce is still fairly wintery. One of the reasons I love this time of year is that brassica vegetables (the leafy greens) are so delicious now that eating lots of them is an absolute joy.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

I can’t get enough kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. This weekend we got a bunch of cabbage, daikon and carrots to make a big batch of healthy, probiotics-filled sauerkraut.

Leeks, Cabbage and Daikon

Leeks, Cabbage and Daikon

And speaking of carrots, they and other root vegetables like turnips and radishes are as sweet as can be. My puppy Toaster has learned to prefer these amazing farmers market carrots (yes my dog loves vegetables, go figure) and will actually turn his nose up at the ones I get at Whole Foods. Such a snob!

Colorful Carrots

Colorful Carrots

It’s also a great time for fennel.

Fennel

Fennel

For those of you still obsessed with my winter squash recipe, unfortunately they’re getting harder to find. That is, unless you prefer delicata the size of a watermelon.

Organic Winter Squash

Organic Winter Squash

All in all it was a lovely day. Happy winter!

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms

Today’s purchases (~$20):

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For The Love Of Food

by | Jan 27, 2012

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Some awesome news in the science of weight loss (hint: it involves making your fat into a calorie burning machine), why you should only eat organic strawberries (at least for now), plus two awesome winter recipes I’m dying to try.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato), Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Jan 20, 2012

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

There are certainly some must reads this week, including Ruth Reichl’s speech from the Good Food Awards about how the food landscape has changed (for the better) in America. I also found an excellent discussion of the Paula Deen fiasco, and a handful of studies showing exercise is even more awesome than we knew.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato), Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Farmers Market Update: New Years

by | Jan 15, 2012
Pink Radishes

Pink Radishes

FINALLY! I’m back at the farmers market. It’s been so long. After going to Maui, New York, Paris, Las Vegas, LA and Disneyland, I couldn’t be happier to be back in SF with my beloved local produce.

I feel like I missed the fall altogether, but the winter seems to be going along splendidly without me.

Asian Pears

Asian Pears

This time of year, apples and pears are winding down and citrus fruits will be the center of attention for awhile.

Satsumas

Satsumas

I got myself a stack of blood and navel oranges, and of course some Meyer lemons.

Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

But I’m just as excited about the rest of the winter produce. Something amazing happens to vegetables this time of year. Though I can usually find tasty kale and cabbage year round, in the winter they become sweeter and their flavor becomes irresistible. Same is true for broccoli and cauliflower.

Winter Produce

Winter Produce

Romaine Lettuces

Romaine Lettuces

Root vegetables also make a turn for the sweeter side. Though you are probably already familiar with carrots and beets, this time of year you should branch out and try turnips, rutabagas, and radishes.

Assorted Turnips

Assorted Turnips

Just like the leafy greens mentioned above, root vegetables that can get very spicy and hard to eat during the warmers month, but become sweet and crisp when the weather cools.

Purple Turnips

Purple Turnips

I love to slice up a small radish or turnip and add them to my kale to add an extra dimension of flavor and texture. But many of the root vegetables can also be eaten raw. Daikon, a large Japanese radish, is one of my favorites.

Daikon

Daikon

And though I prefer purple kohlrabi slightly cooked, I had to show off how huge these guys were. They’re normally the size of a baseball or smaller. Not today!

Monstrous Kohlrabi

Monstrous Kohlrabi

I picked up a few other odds and ends today as well, including some fresh bay leaves to use in the slow cooker this weekend.

Culinary Bay

Culinary Bay

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back at the market and back in the kitchen again.

Today’s purchases:

Want to share your farmers market with Summer Tomato readers? Read this to learn more.

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For The Love Of Food

by | Jan 13, 2012

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

I haven’t published a link love round up since before the holidays (I’ve been traveling and then moving, and still don’t have internet at my new home), so I included some great ones here that you might have missed over the past couple weeks. Below I’ve included some wonderful pieces on weight loss and willpower in the Times, a lamesauce ruling by the FDA on antibiotics use in factory farms and a thoughtful editorial on the state of organic farming.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato), Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Foodist Recalibration

by | Jan 1, 2012

Photo by o5com

It’s been a rough couple of months. I’ve been out of town almost every weekend since the beginning of November, and sadly can’t remember the last time I went to my beloved farmers market.

Though the traveling was fun, I couldn’t be happier to ring in 2012 with a fresh start. I don’t diet or “cleanse” (I’ve yet to hear a scientific explanation of what that actually means), but I’m taking the first two weeks of January to eat extra healthy and recalibrate back to my regular happy self.

I have just three simple rules I’ll be sticking to. Of course my emphasis will be on eating lots of healthy vegetables, fish, legumes, pastured meats, fermented foods, etc. But to really get back on track I’ll also be temporarily eliminating the three most inflammatory (and weight loss unfriendly) foods.

Summer Tomato’s Health Recalibration

1. No sugar.

Everyone knows sugar is bad for you. And although I believe there’s a place for small amounts of it in a healthy diet, I’ll be living without any added sugar for the next two weeks.

If you plan on following along, I’d also recommend avoiding sugar substitutes. Calorie-free sweeteners have never been shown to assist with weight loss, and you aren’t doing yourself any favors by keeping your palate craving overly sweet foods. If you’re desperate for a little treat during this time, fruit is your best bet.

2. No wheat.

I typically limit my bread consumption to about once or twice a week, but for the next two weeks I’ll be going without it completely. Wheat is incredibly inflammatory and is associated with a huge range of health problems. Eliminating wheat and gluten, wheat’s main protein, for awhile gives your body a chance to heal from the damage done over the holiday season.

If you suspect you might be sensitive to gluten, two weeks might not be enough of a break to get you back to feeling normal. Four to eight weeks without it is what is typically recommended to test for sensitivity, so feel free to extend past two weeks if you’re troubleshooting health problems like fatigue, depression, arthritis or digestive issues.

I recommend avoiding all processed flours during recalibration, but you carbohydrate lovers still have lots of delicious options to get you through. I’ll be relying on rice, quinoa, potatoes and legumes to keep me from being a cranky low-carber. If you absolutely must eat pasta during the recalibration, there are plenty of good gluten-free options. Quinoa pastas aren’t too bad, and rice noodles are also usually gluten-free.

Keep in mind if you want to go fully gluten-free you should also skip barley. Oats don’t contain wheat gluten but are often contaminated during processing. Gluten-free oats are available at some stores.

Lastly, remember that soy sauce is made with wheat and contains gluten. A gluten-free option called tamari is an excellent substitute that basically tastes the same.

3. No dairy.

This one will be the hardest for me since cheese, yogurt and the occasional half-and-half do make regular appearances in my diet. However, dairy can make insulin regulation difficult and it can help to cut it out for a couple weeks.

Eliminating dairy products can help with other problems as well. Cow’s milk is the only food that is directly linked to acne. It can also be an inhibitor to weight loss, even in very small amounts. Like gluten, dairy can also trigger inappropriate immune responses, making it particularly problematic for people with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

For milk lovers, I recommend almond milk or coconut milk as tasty substitutes, just be sure you get the unsweetened varieties. Here’s why I don’t usually drink soy milk.

4. Alcohol

I love me a glass of nice wine or a well-crafted artisan cocktail. I drink alcohol fairly regularly, and there is a good amount of evidence that it protects against coronary heart disease. Though there have been reports about alcohol increasing cancer incidence, the risks are typically mitigated by a healthy diet that contains plenty of folic acid.

So why do I recommend a two week break from the sauce? For starters, alcohol lowers your inhibition and makes it much harder to stick to the recalibration. It’s hard enough, you don’t need any extra excuses. The more important reason, however, is alcohol’s effect on your liver. Like fructose (the sugar molecule that is processed by the liver), alcohol promotes body fat accumulation and insulin resistance. For recalibration to be effective, you’ll need to be a teetotaler for at least two weeks. Sorry.

I started on January 1, but Monday January 2, is probably a more reasonable start date for most of you.

Who’s with me?

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