If I were only going to talk about one thing today it would have to be the peppers. What a season we are having! There are so many varieties I’m having trouble deciding what to buy each week.
Saturday I learned that ancho chilies–which I have only had dried–are actually just mature poblano peppers. Poblanos are the big dark green peppers (left in the photo below) that come stuffed with cheese and breaded in egg batter when you order chile relleno. (A good chile relleno might be my favorite Mexican food ever, but only from here. Half my family is Mexican, so I’m a little picky.)
This is the first time I’ve seen red Japanese Shishito peppers as well. They are usually green.
Anyway, I didn’t know you could ever find fresh anchos. For some reason I thought ancho defined some specific preparation of chili like chipotle, which is a smoked jalepeno. But it seems they are a type of pepper unto themselves, but also a version of a pepper I was familiar with. Confusing, I know.
Since poblanos are often spicy I expected the anchos to be even more so (peppers get hotter with age), but they were actually really sweet with only a hint of spice. I had them in eggs. It was amazing.
I also found a new variety of eggplant today, the como eggplant. These eggplants are small and dark, almost black, and very firm. This is because they have very little water and thus do not require the pre-salt that most eggplants need. They are supposed to be very sweet, creamy and not at all bitter. I couldn’t help but buy a few from Allstar Organics.
…Not sure what to make of this other eggplant I found….
But despite the prevalence of all this beautiful summer produce, the signs of imminent winter are not subtle.
I saw the first early citrus this week, including Meyer lemons (not quite ripe) and sweet limes. If you’ve never had a sweet lime, imagine if you tasted a lime that wasn’t sour at all. Then imagine it tasting a little bit like fake lime flavor. It’s weird. You probably wouldn’t want to eat it like you would any other sweet citrus fruit, but it is fabulous in cocktails. They are certainly worth playing around with.
But let’s not jump too fast from summer to winter. Autumn is providing us with spectacular heirloom apples, pears, pomegranates and grapes. And today I found quince!
Quince is a very old fruit that is like a mix between an apple and a pear, except you can’t eat it raw. But bake it in the oven or into some dessert and quince takes on a sublime flavor and creamy consistency almost like jelly. I’m not much of a pastry chef, but I like to cut a quince in half and bake it for dessert now and then.
I’m also delighted to announce that the first chocolate persimmons of the year have appeared! They are at Hamada Farms, so go get some while you can. I didn’t buy any today because there was a huge black spider on them (not pictured…she was hiding) and I’m a wimp, but I totally would have. Totally.
Also notable is that Green Gulch Farm called it quits for the season today, they will return next spring. I bought some spinach to remember them by.
Despite the rain, the dry-farmed early girl tomatoes from Dirty Girl Produce were…wait for it…even better than usual this week. I realize this makes no sense, but I swear.
I was happy to find that I could still get Soul Food eggs from Prather Ranch. I wasn’t sure they would be available after the devastating fire a few weeks ago. Happy to see they are still truckin’ along
And last but not least, I couldn’t say no to these beets from Capay Organics. Beets are always a great deal because you get 2 dishes out of a bunch: the roots and the greens.
The broccoli is looking pretty darn good these days too.
- Ancho chilies (Happy Quail Farms)
- Soul Food eggs (Soul Food/Prather Ranch)
- Cippolini onions (Dirty Girl Produce)
- Early girl tomatoes (Dirty Girl Produce)
- Beets (Capay Organics)
- Como eggplants (Allstar Organics)
- Delicata squash (Eatwell Farm)
- Spinach (Green Gulch Farm)
- Swaar apples (The Apple Farm)
- Northern Spy apples (The Apple Farm)
- Ethiopian Sidamo coffee (Blue Bottle Coffee)
What are you eating?