For the Love of Food

by | Jun 7, 2013
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

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

This week a crash course in deceptive meat labels, fish eaters outlive vegetarians, and Splenda impacts insulin responses.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. 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. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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Farmers Market Update: Speechless

by | May 1, 2011
Perfect Rainbow Chard

Perfect Rainbow Chard

Everything was so beautiful at the farmers market this weekend, I’m going to let my images speak for themselves.

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers

Spring Strawberries

Spring Strawberries

Red Radishes

Red Radishes

Pea Tendrils

Pea Tendrils

Lovely Spring Onions

Lovely Spring Onions

Organic Green Garlic

Organic Green Garlic

Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom Tomato

Fresh Sage

Fresh Sage

Lovely Carrots

Lovely Carrots

Baby Fava Beans

Baby Fava Beans

Early Cherries

Early Cherries

Bergamont & Chocolate Mint

Bergamont & Chocolate Mint

Purple Flowers

Purple Flowers

Today’s purchases:

Is your farmers market open yet?

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Farmers Market Update: Cherries, Fava Beans & Lamb Bacon

by | Apr 24, 2011
Artichokes

Artichokes

Huge thanks to my wonderful boyfriend today for stepping up and covering this week’s farmers market while I was home sick. But boy am I sad I missed it.

First Cherries

First Cherries

This week two of my favorite spring treats made their appearance: cherries and fava beans.

Fava Beans

Fava Beans

And though I’ve always known spring is the best time for lamb, I never dreamed of discovering lamb bacon. LAMB BACON! Holy crap is this stuff good.

Lamb Bacon

Lamb Bacon

Since I wasn’t there I don’t have much more to report. Check out the rest of Kevin’s photos below.

Leeks

Leeks

Asian Pears

Asian Pears

Blood Oranges

Blood Oranges

Daikon

Daikon

Strawberries

Strawberries

Green Garlic

Green Garlic

Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane

Ruby Chard

Ruby Chard

Today’s purchases:

Is your spring market open yet?

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Farmers Market Update: Father’s Day

by | Jun 20, 2010
Assorted Sweet Peppers

Assorted Sweet Peppers

I want to start today by saying there is no one on earth I love more than my dad. Walking around the farmers market this weekend I wished more than anything that he could be with me to see and taste all the amazing produce we have right now here in San Francisco. He’s such a sucker for good food made or grown by people and families who truly care about what they’re doing. I know he’d love it here and I can’t wait until he visits next.

This is a particularly special time of year for fruit lovers. Last week the best cherries were the deep red bing and brooks varieties, but this week the yellow-red rainier cherries finally came into their own, rivaling the sweetness of even the best of the red cherries.

Rainier & Bing Cherries

Rainier & Bing Cherries

White Peaches

White Peaches

We are also in the middle of the fleeting dark berry season. Most of the dark berries are hybrids of blackberries and raspberries. Boysenberries are the most well known hybrid, but today I also found fresh logan and olallie berries. Olallies are my dad’s favorite (I bought 3 boxes in his honor).

Peaches & Nectarines

Peaches & Nectarines

Mature Fava Beans

Mature Fava Beans

But of course, fruit is not all that is special about this time of year. The fava beans are peaking and now’s your chance to get in on this springtime delicacy. I’ll be featuring a spectacular recipe for a Persian fava bean stew next week.

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Squash Blossoms

Squash Blossoms

Also in the early summer you can find beautiful squash blossoms. These are a wonderful treat that pair particularly well with eggs or on pizza. They are also delicious stuffed with goat cheese and herbs, and fried in tempura batter. Decadent, but certainly worth it.

Spanish Red Garlic

Spanish Red Garlic

Sweet Red Onions

Sweet Red Onions

Garlic and onions, while generally consistent, are at their best this time of year. It is nearly impossible for Photoshop to do justice to the neon fuchsia color of the sweet red onions in this photo, but in person they seemed to almost glow with radiance in the morning sun.

Lavendar and Sweet Peas

Lavendar and Sweet Peas

Violet Sweet Peppers

Violet Sweet Peppers

Looking ahead, peppers are what I am most excited about in the coming months, but they are already starting to impress me with their smell and color. This is, however, a fantastic time to start buying pimientos de padrón (another of Dad’s favorites), as they will continue to get spicier as the season progresses.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

xoxo

Today’s purchases:

What’s your dad’s favorite fresh produce?

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Farmers Market Update: Best Of Spring

by | May 2, 2010

Spring Broccoli

Spring Broccoli

Everything I’ve ever wanted out of springtime I found at the farmers market this weekend. The sun was bright and warm and the produce was lush and colorful. I was in heaven.

Finally the strawberries are sweet and abundant. Pea shoots, shelling peas and sugar snap peas are everywhere. And…(wait for it)…the first pimentos de padrón have arrived!

Pimentos de Padron

Pimentos de Padron

Organic Strawberries

Organic Strawberries

Padróns are small Spanish peppers that are usually cooked briefly in hot olive oil and sprinkled with course sea salt. They aren’t spicy, except when they are. About 1 out of every 10 peppers is blistering hot, so be sure to have a crusty baguette nearby to soothe your mouth if you ever try them. The bread is also useful for sopping up the delicious oil that becomes flavored with the cooked pepper juices. I adore padróns.

The broccoli and cauliflower were particularly nice looking this week. I ended up getting two different kinds of broccoli, but after seeing this picture I regret not bringing home some cauliflower as well.

Gorgeous Cauliflower

Gorgeous Cauliflower

One thing I did get for the first time this week was some baby fava beans. I like the baby ones because they don’t require shelling, the pods are tender enough that you can eat them whole. I like to roast them with garlic, capers, anchovies, kalamata olives and tomatoes. Yum. Just look how tender and fuzzy these little guys are.

Baby Fava Beans

Baby Fava Beans

I’m also excited that we’re starting to see tomatoes and avocados at the market together. Mexican food FTW! The tomatoes are even starting to look pretty good.

Hass Avocado

Hass Avocado

Crazy Tomatoes

Crazy Tomatoes

I made the mistake last week of buying an organic avocado (it had slipped into the bin with conventional avocados and I hadn’t noticed) at my local market only to discover that it somehow tasted even better than regular avocados. I didn’t even think that was possible. Organic avocados are way more expensive, but I’m now forever ruined.

You also shouldn’t miss the fennel, lettuces, leeks, collards, chard and late season citrus.

Spring Citrus

Spring Citrus

Baby Fennel

Baby Fennel

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Leek Appreciation

by | Apr 18, 2010

Loose Leeks

One of my favorite things about buying and cooking vegetables is that sometimes even old staples can surprise you.

I don’t know how long I’ve been cooking with leeks, but it has definitely been awhile. Last week though I had a leek epiphany: they are amazing!

Usually I use leeks at the start of a vegetable sauté. Nothing was especially different on the day of my epiphany, except I decided to cut the leek slices a little thicker than usual and let them brown a bit more before tossing in the other vegetables.

Spring Asparagus

Spring Asparagus

Organic Purple Kale

Organic Purple Kale

I doubt the way I cut the leeks changed the flavor in any measurable way, but what it did was make them stick to the inside of the tongs I was using in chunks that were big enough for me to grab off and eat. Wow was I blown away.

So this week I was determined to stock up on leeks and experiment more with them. I was happy to see Dirty Girl Produce was selling leeks already cleaned, which I’m hoping will make storing and using them even easier.

Other than leeks, peas seem to be the star of the market right now. Sugar snap peas, English shelling peas and pea tendrils are everywhere and add a particular spring feeling to the market. I had a different agenda this week, but peas will soon be in my future.

Early Fava Beans

Early Fava Beans

Snap Peas

Snap Peas

Fava beans are also upon us and looking particularly beautiful. These are a labor-intensive vegetable, but well worth the effort as they are such a seasonal treat. I’m also loving artichokes these days, and will be sharing my favorite recipe later this week.

Spring salads should start making their way onto your menus soon. Seasonal lettuces like Miner’s lettuce, spinach and arugula are available, as are carrots, radishes and cucumbers.

Carrots and Radishes

Carrots and Radishes

Miner's Lettuce Bucket

Miner's Lettuce Bucket

Tomatoes are around too, though they still look much prettier than they taste. But I’m hopeful that they will be tasty soon, since I spotted my first basil this week.

First Basil

First Basil

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Tiny broccolini are a vegetable I have been really enjoying the past few weeks, but it has been difficult to get a good picture of them until today. I like these because they are easier to work with than large broccoli crowns (just rinse and cook, no cutting) and are sweeter and more delicate. Definitely pick some up if you see them.

Strawberries

Strawberries

Broccolini

Broccolini

In fruit, strawberries are still the most exciting, though there is still a lot of delicious citrus available. But I’m really excited for the cherries and apricots I expect in the next few weeks.

And if you’re into flowers, you can’t go wrong this time of year at the farmers market.

Lupin Flowers

Lupin Flowers

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: April Showers

by | Apr 11, 2010
Asparagus and Radishes

Asparagus and Radishes

I made a San Francisco rookie mistake today at the farmers market.

Yesterday was so incredibly beautiful I didn’t think it was possible we could have rain today. I was wrong and should have known better.

Completely unprepared, I found myself at the farmers market in the rain with no umbrella, a light hoodless jacket and tiny little non-waterproof shoes. Consequently, I didn’t feel much like lingering and did most of my purchases at just a few farms.

But despite my quickness to depart, I did notice the arrival of fava beans this week. Exciting!

First Fava Beans

First Fava Beans

Another rookie mistake I made was not showing up early enough to get the good strawberries. Anyone who visits the market regularly knows that the most special items tend to be gone by 9am. This morning I was told my strawberries were gone by 8:30. When the weather gets warmer there will be strawberries by the truck load, but until then the early bird catches the worm.

But I didn’t miss out completely. The artichokes I bought last week were so mind blowing that I had to get them again. I also noticed that collard greens are looking particularly tasty.

Collard Greens

Collard Greens

Small Artichokes

Small Artichokes

And though radishes have been around for a few weeks, they are just now starting to look really beautiful.

Carrots have also been impressing me the past few weeks. Every time I eat one I think with pity about all the kids growing up thinking that those flavorless bagged “baby carrots” are what vegetables really taste like. The real thing is as sweet as candy.

Adorable Carrots

Adorable Carrots

This week I finally broke down and bought an heirloom tomato. I’ve been putting this moment off knowing they wouldn’t be quite good yet. But these are starting to look pretty awesome, so I took the plunge. It was good, but not great.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Fresh eggs are not to be missed this time of year. Even if you cannot afford to eat them regularly, I recommend heading to the farmers market and picking some up at least once. You’ll be amazed. Use them to make a special brunch. (Pro tip: Try them with a sprinkle of smoked paprika)

Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

Eatwell Eggs

Eatwell Eggs

You should also stock up on Meyer lemons while you have the chance.

And though these are things I didn’t actually buy, they are great examples of why I love my farmers market so much. Purple potatoes and low sugar jam FTW!

Very Low Sugar Jam

Very Low Sugar Jam

Purple Potatoes

Purple Potatoes

Today’s Purchases:

Is it spring for you yet?

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Farmers Market Update: Height of Spring

by | Apr 26, 2009
Fava Beans

Fava Beans

If you have been meaning to go to the farmers market but still haven’t gotten around to it, I strongly suggest you make it happen next week. Some of these Spring treats are only available a few weeks out of the year, and they are peaking right now.

This week I bought young fava beans from Iacopi Farm. Normally fava beans require a substantial amount of work to prepare, including shelling, blanching and removing the tough skin of each bean with a pairing knife. When young however, fava beans can be roasted and eaten whole. Last night I put mine in the oven with tomatoes, green olives, chili flakes and anchovies, then sprinkled on capers, parsley and lemon juice when I pulled them out. It was amazing.

Baby Artichokes

Baby Artichokes

Thumbalina Carrots

Thumbalina Carrots

Strawberries are also particularly special right now. At Dirty Girl Produce I found strawberries from both first year plants and second year plants, and I was astounded by the difference. Apparently as strawberry plants get older they produce smaller, sweeter, more concentrated fruit. These made for the most intesely flavored berries I found at the market. The young berries were also wonderful though, big sweet and more juicy than the second years. I bought both. Can you tell which is which?

Shell Peas

Shell Peas

1st & 2nd Year Strawberries

1st & 2nd Year Strawberries

The flowering kale rabe was gone this week, but asparagus is available in all sizes and colors. The variety of onions right now is remarkable.

Finally, since I have been interested in Moroccan cooking lately I have been reading a lot about an ingredient called preserved lemons. I bought one this week from Boulette’s Larder and used it to make the best hummus I have ever had in my life.

Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons

Yellow Onions

Yellow Onions

Purchases:

  • Baby artichokes (Iacopi Farm)
  • Young fava beans (Iacopi Farm)
  • 1st year strawberries (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • 2nd year strawberries (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Tangelos (Hamada Farms)
  • Meyer lemons (Hamada Farms)
  • Rainbow chard (Capay Organics)
  • Sugar snap peas (Capay Organics)
  • Endive (Madison Growers)
  • Mediterranean cucumbers (Madison Growers)
  • Leek (Marin Root Farms)
  • Spring onion (Marin Root Farms)
  • Yellow onion (Marin Root Farms)
  • Carrots (Star Route Farm)
  • Tatsoi (Star Route Farm)
  • Arugula (Star Route Farm)
  • Asparagus (Zuckerman’s Farm)
  • Tangelo (Peredez Farms)
  • Italian parsley (Chue’s Farm)
  • Baby bok choy (Chue’s Farm)
  • Garlic (Chue’s Farm)
  • Firm tofu (Hodo Soy)
  • Preserved lemon (Boulette’s Larder)
  • Red pepper anchovies (Boulette’s Larder)

What did you find at the market this week?

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Farmers Market Update: Easter

by | Apr 11, 2009
Spring Garlic

Spring Garlic

I haven’t seen crowds like this at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza farmers market since summertime. The Easter crowds were in full throttle gathering goods for tomorrow’s festivities. Luckily for market goers, the spring vegetables were certainly worth fighting over.

The signs of spring today were particularly apparent at Far West Fungi where wild miner’s lettuce, ramps and fiddleheads were all available. Miner’s lettuce (as I learned last week on KCRW’s Good Food podcast) is a delicate green ideal for spring salads. It’s leaves are shaped like a tiny lily pad with a cone of small flowers growing from the center. Ramps are tiny wild leeks that could very well be my favorite egg addition of all time. Fiddleheads are the tender curls of baby ferns. They can be sauteed and served much like asparagus.

Fiddlehead Ferns

Fiddlehead Ferns

Miner's Lettuce

Miner's Lettuce

Heirloom tomatoes are starting to appear, though they still didn’t look good enough to buy. But I could tell that one day soon there will be rejoicing at Summer Tomato.

Other notable findings include fava beans, lilacs, asparagus, rainbow chard, sugar snap peas, morel mushrooms, strawberries, artichokes, kale flowers, sorrel and arugula.

Note: The How To Get Started Eating Healthy series will continue on Monday with the next addition, Seasonal Shopping. Consider this post a warm up :D

Lilacs

Lilacs

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Today’s purchases:

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