How To Make Eggs Taste As Good As Bacon

by | May 30, 2012
Fried Eggs

Fried Eggs

Something magical happened a few weeks ago. While trying to figure out what to do with the first fresh eggs I’d found at the farmers market this season, I discovered the greatest egg ingredient in the history of mankind.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little (truffles are pretty darn good on eggs), but not much.

Generally I am a big fan of adding some kind of ground red pepper (usually chipotle or ancho) to fried or scrambled eggs. But this day I tried something a bit different.

Digging through my pantry I remembered that I had a ton of smoked paprika left over from the hummus I made. I decided to do an experiment and sprinkle the smoked paprika onto my eggs.

I can’t believe I went all my life without knowing about this.

But before I explain why exactly the smoked paprika made my eggs so amazing, I want to address what I’m sure many of you are wondering:

How healthy are fried eggs?

Answer: Eggs are perfectly healthy, and frying doesn’t make them any less so.

Personally I cook my eggs in olive oil (it’s just easier), but even if you use butter it isn’t a problem since the amount you need to cook is so small.

What scares people about frying eggs is an irrational fear of dietary fat. But theoretically the amount of oil you use to fry an egg should be about the same as you need to scramble eggs, so it isn’t clear why fried eggs would pose any more of a problem. I use olive oil to scramble eggs as well.

The other issue people have with eggs is the yolk. It amazes me how often people proudly inform me that they eat eggs but “only the whites,” as if this were some unique virtue.

I understand that the public health message we’ve heard about eggs for the past few decades has been extremely negative, but eggs have since been completely exonerated from heart disease accusations. There was a time when it was assumed that dietary cholesterol (which is definitely higher than normal in eggs compared to other foods) would raise blood cholesterol, but it doesn’t for most people. In fact, the healthy fats in egg yolks are likely to positively impact your good HDL cholesterol.

Moreover, dietary fats in general have been shown to be excellent at satiating hunger, and are thus a terrific replacement for calories from refined carbohydrates. That makes egg yolks your ally in fighting heart disease and burning fat, not your enemy.

Then there’s the fact that egg yolks are incredibly rich in vitamins and minerals, since they are meant to be nourishment for a developing life.

And finally there’s the most important part, that farm fresh egg yolks are out-of-this-world delicious.

Which brings me back to how to make the best eggs in the universe.

First you must start with high-quality eggs. Two factors have the biggest impact on egg flavor. The first is the diet of the hen who laid the egg, and the second is the egg’s freshness. Thus for best results you want to find the freshest pastured eggs you can get your hands on. Pastured means the hens that lay the eggs are allowed to peck around on grass eating bugs and whatever else they find.

Your best shot at finding pastured fresh eggs is at a farmers market or direct from a farm, since if they are already on a grocery shelf they probably aren’t very fresh. Try to find eggs less than 1 week old. Their day of boxing should be clearly marked on the carton. It requires a little math, but I’m not the one who made up these rules.

Chances are good that if your eggs are very fresh then they are from pastured hens, but this is not guaranteed. Ask the farmer and try to hold out for hens that are allowed to roam free in grass during the day. If you cannot get fresh pastured eggs, “cage-free” is your next best bet for flavor (though these may still be fed a limited diet).

Without asking the farmer it is hard to tell the difference between real pastured eggs and industrial eggs labeled “cage-free” that are still fed standard or organic chicken feed. One good indication will be the price, since pastured eggs tend to run $6-10/dozen here in SF. Trust me, it’s worth it.

I do not endorse the taste or healthfulness of industrially produced eggs (even the fancy kinds), and if you do eat them you should be careful to cook them completely.

(Aside: I never worry about the safety of eggs from farms I trust, so I always eat them runny. If you think runny eggs are gross, I don’t blame you. Runny industrial eggs are gross, and before I had fresh eggs I would have completely agreed with you. But fresh egg yolk is incredible, and it is something you have to taste to really appreciate. I definitely recommend stepping out of your comfort zone on this one.)

Once you have great eggs, fry them one at a time in 1 tbsp olive oil or butter on medium low heat and sprinkle with sea salt, course ground black pepper and a pinch of smoked paprika. The paprika adds a depth and complexity above what even chipotle peppers can offer, and the smokiness is reminiscent of—I kid you not—bacon. Needless to say, it is the perfect compliment to eggs.

Fry your eggs for just two minutes or so on each side, being careful to keep the yolk intact while turning. You really don’t want to overcook eggs, which will turn them rubbery and ruin the effect.

I haven’t actually tried these eggs with bacon yet, though I certainly plan to. But bacon is no longer a requirement for making a show stopping breakfast of champions. Here I served them with some ruby chard sautéed with pistachios and garlic.

Did you guys know about smoked paprika on eggs and if so, why was I not informed?

Originally published March 3, 2010.StumbleUpon.com

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Farmers Market Update: Poway (San Diego)

by | May 27, 2012

Maui Onions

Kristine Valenzuela is a corporate woman by day but spends most of her free time trying to adjust to having three daughters while attempting to enjoy all the goodness life has to offer. Food, wine, spending time with friends and maintaining her blog, Is Everybody Listening?, are just a few things that help keep her balanced. For a glimpse into her life, follow her on Twitter @specialksd.

Farmers Market Update: Poway

by Kristine Valenzuela

Greetings from Poway, California, also known as “The City in the Country”. Anyone who doesn’t live here would probably consider Poway a suburb of San Diego but our proof of being a stand-alone city is we have our own farmers market.

Cioggia Beets

Ok, that’s not really proof but it makes for a great intro.

It really is a piece of country living here. While Poway has all the modern conveniences, there are glimpses of a lost era as seen in the turn-of-the-century charm of Old Poway Park. Next to this park is where you’ll find Poway’s farmers market, held every Saturday morning and twice a week each summer.

 

Poway, CA

It’s relatively new as far as outdoor markets are concerned. Translation: it’s very small but growing rapidly. Another downside is that not too many of the vendors post the name of their farm so it’s hard to give credit for the beautiful produce. In general, it’s one of my favorites and not just because I can walk to it.

 

Poway Market

I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to farmers markets which means I don’t need a lot of the extras found in other spots throughout the county like prepared foods, jewelry makers, ceramics and imported linens. Our market has just the basics and I love it for that reason.

You won’t find too much in the way of exotic fruits and vegetables either although you’ll see a few once in a while. Let’s get real. That stuff is great to look at and experiment with from time to time but on a daily or weekly basis, the basics end up on our plates most of the time. As a working mom to three girls with different tastes, it’s victory enough to get them to eat broccoli.

 

Ginormous Lemon

A huge thrill about living in the San Diego area is our weather affords us fruit throughout the year and there’s no shortage of it in Poway right now as we approach summer. From giant lemons (as held by my 5 year old) to amazing Valencia oranges, we’re fortunate in the citrus category. I’m happy to say, my kids really only know orange juice as being hand-expressed from oranges (thanks to Summer Tomato for the education on store-bought OJ).

The strawberries have just hit their peak. They’re so sweet, you would swear they were dipped in sugar! I was happy to see blueberries, cherries and loquats this week as well.

Strawberries

The veggies are what I buy the most of so that I have everything I need to make dinner. I love buying Maui onions with the stalks because I can use both the onion and the stalk.

Greens are a huge deal now that I’ve figured out different ways to incorporate them into meals. I wish I was as accomplished with beans because they sure are pretty.

Spring Beans

If root vegetables are your thing, it seems to be a good time for white and red turnips, kohlrabi, radishes, carrots and different potato varieties.

 

Tokyo Turnips

My favorite sighting of the week was seeing bunches of chamomile flowers. It made me want tea on the spot.

Artisan Bread

Aside from our many fruit and vegetable farmers we also have fresh eggs, free-range poultry, wild seafood, artisan bread, organic cheese, olive oils and lots of pretty flowers.

Pin Cushion Flowers

The day I visited the farmers market also happened to be the same day the Boardwalk Craft Market was happening at the adjacent Old Poway Park. If you’re really into crafty stuff, this was the best day to get food as well as a variety of handmade items. Plus, there’s a really cool vintage steam train that provides rides in the park.

 

Boardwalk Craft Market

There’s nothing to hate about a place that offers something to keep the adults and kids happy. Until next time – adios from So Cal!

Steam Train

 

My purchases for the day:

  • Strawberries
  • Chioggia beets
  • Valencia oranges
  • Kale
  • Potatoes
  • European style butter
  • Ceviche

 

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For The Love Of Food

by | May 25, 2012

For The Love of Food

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

Why eating organic food doesn’t make you a jerk, how a pastry chef in Paris keeps his man-ish figure, and how NOT to get your husband to eat better.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomatoGoogle+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Why Turning Great Wine Into Vinegar Isn’t A Bad Idea

by | May 23, 2012

Tom Alexander, Kimberley Owner and Vinegar Artisan

I get a lot of emails from people pitching various food and weight loss products. It’s annoying to say the least, and if I even bother to respond to the inquiries my answer is almost always “no.” Summer Tomato is supposed to be an information resource, not a shopping mall.

That’s why my first reaction to getting some samples from a local vinegar company was negative. I liked my vinegar just fine and I didn’t want to get roped into doing a promotion or sales pitch. But my friend Allison Boomer (who actually has introduced me to awesome products in the past) was so insistent that Kimberley Wine Vinegars were amazing that I broke down and let them send me some. Turns out Allison was right.

Once I got a taste of the three amazing wine-based vinegars from Kimberley I became curious about why they were so much more complex and less harsh than most of vinegars I’ve tried. After she answered a few of my questions I realized that Allison is a huge vinegar geek, and I asked her if she’d be willing to enlighten us all on the differences between artisan and industrial vinegars so that we can be more informed shoppers and better cooks.

Allison Boomer, Founder of Eco-Conscious Food Marketing, specializes in promoting the artisanal food business community. She partners with people who share her passion for handcrafted food and is committed to educating consumers about the value of authentic, traditional edibles.

Orleans-Process Vinegar: Why Turning Great Wine Into Vinegar Isn’t A Bad Idea

by Allison Boomer

Having owned a specialty food store for ten years, I’ve tasted dozens of vinegars from around the world. I also developed new vinegar blends for a venerable French vinegar company, and currently work for Kimberley Wine Vinegars in California. With abundant fresh salad greens and garden vegetables appearing at markets, it’s an ideal time to discover why handcrafted vinegar is light years better than the newer industrially produced kinds.

In ancient times vinegar occurred naturally, especially in mild climates, when sugar-laden fluids like wine began to ferment. Yeast transforms the sugars in the liquid into alcohol and as it sits, acetates in the air start to work. Ultimately, bacteria consume the alcohol and leave acetic acid (vinegar) behind.

In its early days vinegar was used to not only season food, but also to quench thirst (diluted with water), preserve meat, vegetables and fruit, treat wounds and inflammation, and for chest and stomach complaints. In the Middle Ages vinegar was an important trading commodity.

Vinegar making during this time, however, wasn’t exactly predictable or foolproof, and was quite difficult to make. Often times unpleasant smells were produced or the liquid would become moldy.

What saved the day for the vinegar “industry” was the discovery that vinegar could be made in wooden barrels. This led to the development of the Orleans process of vinegar making, named after the French town of Orleans. It was at Orleans on the Loire River, an important inland shipping route, that wines becoming “piques” (beginning to bite or sour) were unloaded from boats to be delivered to local vinegar producers.

In the Orleans process wine is slowly and naturally aged in oak barrels for one to three months without heat, until a mass of bacteria known as the “mother” forms on the surface. The fermentation process is then allowed to continue (six months to one year) until all the alcohol has been converted to acetic acid. Old-fashioned wood barrels contain natural oxidants that improve the bouquet and flavor of the vinegar. The Orleans process preserves the vinegar’s distinct wine aroma and flavor because it involves no heat, which destroys the delicate perfumes and minerals of the wine.

In contrast, industrially processed vinegar is heat pasteurized and made in large-capacity stainless-steel tanks in which a giant spindle agitates the liquid, aerating it for a speedy fermentation period of around 24 hours. The resulting vinegar may be aged for an additional few months, but in tanks holding several thousand gallons, rather than in wood barrels holding fifty gallons in the traditional way.

Orleans vinegar artisans received official recognition for the quality of their work through royal patents. These patents clearly defined the production conditions required to use the name “Orleans process,” thereby suppressing poor quality vinegars from using the designation.

The Orleans process requires the following three criteria:

1. Selection of excellent wines based on grapes that have a delicate and subtle bouquet. The quality of the vinegar depends on the quality of the wine—the best tasting vinegars come from great wines.

2. A natural transformation of the wine into vinegar. Barrels are partially filled with wine and their appropriate bacteria, kept at a constant temperature in complete darkness, and provided with proper air flow for fermentation to take place (thus avoiding the bitterness found in some vinegar).

3. Traditional aging. Vinegar is left to mature or age for a minimum of six months to one year in cellars before it is put on the market.

Kimberley Wine Vinegars was the first American company to handcraft Orleans process vinegar using California wines. Established in San Francisco in 1975, Kimberley does not add preservatives to the vinegar, nor is it pasteurized—a common practice that increases shelf life but degrades subtle taste characteristics.

Like old-world olive oil artisans, today’s artisanal vinegar makers know the best vinegar depends on the quality of the raw ingredients and the processing methods. Achieving the ideal balance of fruit taste, oak flavor and pleasant acidity is the craft of fine vinegar making.

You can learn more about Kimberley Wine Vinegars on their website.

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For The Love Of Food

by | May 18, 2012

For The Love of Food

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

This week superweeds threaten the US food supply, McDonald’s says soda is a fruit and vitamins that cause cancer.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomatoGoogle+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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How To Break A Diet Soda Addiction: Tips From A Former (Diet) Cokehead

by | May 16, 2012

It’s the rare person who has never been a victim of Diet Coke. I’ve definitely been there, and I’m not proud of it. My friend E—geek girl extraordinare—overcame her Diet Coke addiction, and can help you find your way to recovery.

Since 2008, E. Foley has been helping geeks find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles and guides her clients through the perilous waters of the dating scene. She’s totally proud to report that she’s even caused a couple geek weddings! As part of her quest for her healthstyle, she is an admin at Plus5CHA, a fitness & health community for geeks. (Visit GeeksDreamGirl.com or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

How To Break A Diet Soda Addiction: Tips From A Former (Diet) Cokehead

by E. Foley

Hi, everyone. My name is E and I’m an addict.

(Hi, E.)

CNN recently posted an article entitled “Can you get hooked on diet soda?” Before I clicked on it, I thought to myself, “Duh, of course you can. Been there, done that.”

The addict in the opening paragraph of the article sounds just like me a few years back:

First thing every morning, Ellen Talles starts her day by draining a supersize Styrofoam cup filled with Diet Coke and crushed ice. The 61-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla., drinks another Diet Coke in the car on the way to work and keeps a glass nearby “at all times” at her job as a salesclerk. By the end of the day she has put away about 2 liters.

“I just love it,” she says. “I crave it, need it. My food tastes better with it.”

My preferred poison was Diet Pepsi, but I’ll still refer to myself as a recovering (diet) cokehead. It was my coffee in the morning, it was my pick-me-up mid-morning, it was my lunch beverage of choice, it was how I washed down my afternoon snack, and it was the drink of multiple refills if we went out for dinner. Two liters a day? Easily.

It took me three tries over several years to fully break my addiction.

Each time I quit I went through the horrible withdrawal symptoms. Headaches, irritability, and the unrelenting desire to take one long draw on a cold bottle of Diet Pepsi and feel the sweet rush of it as it traveled from my tongue to my brain. Even though it’s been several years since my last Diet Pepsi, I can still remember that feeling. That rush I got when feeding my addiction is still there, buried in my brain.

Which is, of course, why I will still refer to myself as a (diet) cokehead. I could, if I chose to feed the beast, reawaken the same addiction and be back to a two-liter a day habit.

5 Tips For Quitting Your Diet Soda Addiction

1. Don’t feel like you have to go cold turkey.

It’s what worked for me, but it may not work for you. Maybe set a rule for yourself that you only drink diet soda when you’re out at a restaurant. Since your SummerTomato-esque healthstyle involves more meals at home, that’ll cut down on the diet soda you drink. Later, you can start substituting other drinks when you eat out until you’re eventually soda-free.

2. Remove the addictive substance from your environment.

Smokers will attest that it’s harder to quit when someone else’s cigarettes are in the house. It’s the same for a diet soda addiction. Try to enlist your family, partner, or housemates to quit with you. If they can’t or won’t, see if you can put the soda in another location. Get a mini fridge for it and put it in another room. Out of sight, out of mind.

3. Be prepared for the withdrawal symptoms.

Your body is addicted to this substance. Your brain is addicted to the high you get from it. When that feeling disappears, your body will fight tooth and nail to get it back, to get that next fix. You’ll probably feel downright terrible – headaches, irritability, lack of focus.

  • Time your quitting so you can be out of focus and irritable without it affecting your life too much. Don’t quit diet soda the week of the giant research paper or the big work project or your wedding. That’s just a recipe for disaster on both fronts.
  • Get some ibuprofin, or your anti-headache medicine of choice. Remember, these headaches are temporary and they will go away. No sense to suffer through them when you can dull the pain.

4. Substitute a tasty beverage that you enjoy.

When I quit, my savior was unsweetened iced tea with lemon. It gave me enough caffeine to dull the headaches and it was sugar-free and natural. Nowadays, my #1 beverage is water, followed by unsweetened iced tea. Here are some substitutes for diet soda:

  • Water. It’s not as boring as it sounds. Flavor it up with a squirt of lemon, lime, or orange.
  • Sassy Water. I tried this recipe from The Flat Belly Diet and it’s pretty darn good. If you hate straight-up water, give it a shot. It tastes very fresh and zippy.

2 liters water (about 8 ½ cups) 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced 1 medium lemon, thinly sliced 12 small spearmint leaves. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight.

  • Unsweetened Tea. As a former resident of NC, I can tell you that asking for unsweetened iced tea in the South will get some really odd looks (especially after you tell them you won’t require fake sugars either). But most places have it, and you’ll discover quickly which restaurants have unsweetened iced tea worth drinking.Hot tea is also amazing, especially if you get loose leaf tea rather than grocery store teabags. My favorite loose leaf teas come from Adagio Teas and their Ingenuitea teapot is super spiffy for brewing.
  • Italian Soda. If you can afford a few extra calories, consider stepping down from diet soda to Italian Soda. You make Italian soda by mixing carbonated water with flavored simple syrup. Torani syrups come in a myriad of flavors and are made with cane sugar (not HFCS). It’s 100 calories for two tablespoons, but trust me, you do not need two tablespoons, or even two teaspoons, to transform your water into something a bit more flavorful. Be careful to watch your consumption of Italian soda. It won’t have all the calories (or chemicals) of a HFCS soda, but the empty calories do add up. (Torani does make sugar-free syrup, but it may be better to go the more natural route, even if it does mean a few more calories.)

5. Get a sponsor.

No, you’re not an alcoholic. Diet soda isn’t going to ruin your life and relationships the way alcoholism can. But you will need help sometimes, and it’s good to have a friend or three you can call or text or visit when you’re feeling the need to swing into a 7-11 for a Big Gulp. Have your lifelines on speed dial and don’t be afraid to use them.

You can do it!

Why don’t you drink soda?

Originally published March 9, 2011.

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For The Love Of Food

by | May 11, 2012

For The Love of Food

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

A scary new link between BPA and breast cancer, a fascinating new discovery about HDL and how one simple habit can help you live 6 extra years.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomatoGoogle+ 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

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Food Revolution Day: Join me at the farmers market, hangout with Jamie Oliver & get a free Mercado Bag [sold out]

by | May 9, 2012

Farmers Market Boot Camp

Big news! On May 19th, I’m hosting one last Farmers Market Boot Camp at the San Francisco Ferry Building in support of Food Revolution Day and Jamie Oliver’s foundation.

For those who don’t remember, last year I offered a farmers market tour/class for a few weeks that was really fun and wildly popular. But I hadn’t started it up again this year due to time constraints.

To support Food Revolution Day I’m hosting one last boot camp and donating all the proceeds to Jamie’s foundation. Even better, Quirky is donating a Mercado farmers market shopping bag to everyone who takes the class. How awesome is that?!

Space is limited to only 10 people, so don’t wait to sign up.

Food Revolution Day Farmers Market Boot Camp

What?

The last Summer Tomato Farmers Market Bootcamp

When?

Saturday, May 19th @ 9:30am

Where?

San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

Price?

$40

Sign up here (sorry, the event is now sold out)

Hangout with Jamie Oliver

If you can’t make it to San Francisco on May 19th why not just hangout with Jamie in the comfort of your own home? Jamie is hosting a Google+ hangout for Food Revolution Day that will be broadcast live to everyone. For a chance to join the hangout and talk to Jamie himself, all he asks is that you make a simple video describing one meal that revolutionized your life. Jamie will be watching the videos and will pick the winners who get to join him live. For more info check out Jamie’s video below.

There are a handful of us here on the front lines trying to help people get healthy and live longer, richer, happier lives, and it is hard to argue that anyone has had a bigger impact than Jamie Oliver. I have tremendous respect for Jamie and all he’s done to raise awareness for the importance of real food, educating people around the globe about what it means to eat well. That’s why when the Food Revolution Day team asked if I’d be willing to help out, I jumped at the opportunity.

To learn more about Food Revolution Day or host your own event, check out the Food Revolution Day website.

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Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes With Pistachios, Lemon And Black Quinoa Recipe

by | May 7, 2012
Pan Roasted Artichokes With Pistachios And Black Quinoa Recipe

Pan Roasted Artichokes With Pistachios And Black Quinoa

Small artichokes really don’t get the love they deserve. While the large ones are delicious and great for entertaining, the smaller kind are easier to work with and much more versatile. They are tender and delicious, and usually even less expensive.

This recipe for pan roasted baby artichokes was born out of necessity. After a solid week of forgetting to buy the herbs I needed to make my usual recipe, my bag of artichokes were the last remaining vegetable in my refrigerator and I knew if I didn’t cook them they would soon go bad. So I started digging around my pantry.

Since I didn’t have parsley, I needed something else to season the artichokes. The only other fresh flavor I had was lemon, so I decided to use the zest as a primary ingredient. I also used pistachio nuts that I had left over from my Chard, Pistachios and Mint recipe, and some black quinoa (here’s my favorite brand) to make the dish more substantial.

I was completely unprepared for how delicious this turned out. I caramelized the lemon zest with some shallot, which gave the artichokes a sweet tanginess that perfectly balanced their creamy flavor. The quinoa added a beautiful contrasting color and an intriguing crunchy texture, while the nuttiness of the pistachios gave the dish a rich earthiness.

As soon as I tasted it I knew I needed to share this recipe. The second time around it turned out just as good.

Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes With Pistachios, Lemon and Black Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb small artichokes
  • 1 half medium shallot
  • 1/4 c. shelled pistachio nuts
  • Juice and zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1/2 c. black quinoa cooked
  • 1/4 c. + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

If you haven’t cooked your quinoa, start that first. Remember that it expands to four times its original volume when cooked, so you don’t need to make a lot.

Whisk 1/4 c. olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Clean your artichokes by cutting off the top third and the bottom, then removing all the tough leaves. You do not want the artichokes to be stringy, so it is better to remove extra leaves than too few.

Cut your clean artichoke in half then submerge it instantly in the olive oil and lemon juice mixture. Artichokes quickly oxidize and turn black when exposed to air. The acid from the lemon juice will prevent this from happening. As you’re cleaning the artichokes and adding them to the bowl, stir the mixture regularly to be sure none are exposed to air for too long.

Thinly slice your shallot. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep pan on medium high heat. When the oil swirls easily in the pan add the shallots and pistachio nuts. When the shallots begin to brown, add the zest and stir. Cook the mixture for another minute or two until the shallots have almost completely caramelized.

Add the artichokes and liquid to the pan and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the artichokes so their faces are touching the surface of the pan and allow them to brown and the liquid to reduce. Stir the artichokes every few minutes until the liquid is almost completely reduced and all surfaces of the artichokes start to brown. If the pan dries before the artichokes have finished cooking, add 1/8 c. of water to prevent the shallots and nuts from burning.

The artichokes are done cooking when then are tender all the way through. At the last minute, toss in the quinoa and mix well. Make sure to scrape the caramelized bits of shallot and zest into the quinoa. Adjust salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Makes one main course or 2-3 side dishes. This would pair beautifully with roasted rosemary chicken.

Originally published April 19, 2010.

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Farmers Market Update: London

by | May 6, 2012

Open Sundays 10-2p at Moxon car park

My name is Helen Manis, and I’m a lawyer who lives in London. I love to bike around and listen to music at the same time, lethal though it is. I also love yoga, jogging and cooking. I am not particularly good at any of these things.

Farmers Market Update: Marylebone, London

by Helen Manis (photos by Michael Blyth)

Last Sunday I visited one of London’s larger farmers markets in Marylebone. Marylebone is actually called Marylebone village. Non-Londoners: if a place in central London is called a village, this means that it is expensive. The pretty high street is famous for coffee houses, restaurants and high-end interior shops. As well as the boutiques Marylebone also holds its weekly farmers market in a car park on a Sunday. I have always loved the relaxed feel of Marylebone and can happily spend a couple of hours with a coffee wandering around the stalls picking up the weekly groceries.

Marylebone Farmers Market

It’s worth getting to the market early. Unlike the more famous (and more expensive) Borough Market, the locals still outnumber the tourists, but the market can and does get busy and many items sell out by closing time. Its not surprising to see why—Marylebone has a huge range of artisan breads, fresh vegetables, dairy, organic meat and hot food. The stall owners are knowledgeable and friendly and many of the prices are not too bad all things considered. All of the food is sourced locally and the stalls are independently run.

One of the things that I love about Marylebone is the unusual food that you can pick up.  If you go, try and head to the Alham Wood Organics, which sells buffalo milk and cheeses. Almham is a really friendly family run organic farm who sell at a lot of the London farmers markets. The milk is amazingly creamy and tastes really clean. Their buffalo mozzarella is used at one of my favourite London restaurants – Franco Manca pizzeria in Brixton market.

Cheese

 

Less unusual but equally tasty are tomatoes. Call me unoriginal but tomatoes are my absolute favourite and I eat them pretty much every day in salads, roasted or as a base for sauces. I usually go to the Isle of Wight tomatoes stall. You can buy fresh tomatoes or their additive and preservative free products, which have won awards galore (for good reason).

Tomatoes

My best friend Stuart and I are having a bit of a love affair with fresh beetroot in salads at the moment so I pick up some for dinner together with heaps of fresh salad leaves from Dr Adrian Izzard’s stall.

Beetroot

 

The breads and home-made cakes are completely out of this world. I try and make my own bread (once it comes out of the oven I usually finish the entire loaf in about 20 mins) but some of the speciality loaves at the old Post Office Bakery are too tempting and I buy a date and walnut loaf. Obviously I pick at it on the way home.

Bread

Spring has truly sprung when the tulips are out. Tulips are one of the best flowers—they are cheap and simple but so pretty. I put them in a little Le Creuset milk jug.

Tulips

As always I could wander around for longer but life gets in the way. If you do find yourself in central London on a Sunday morning you could do worse than spend a couple of hours at Marylebone Farmers market.

What did you find at the market this week?

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