For the Love of Food

by | Aug 22, 2014
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 breakfast and salt are back under fire, how to count your bites, and a possible risk in hand sanitizers.

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. (Yes, I took that picture of the pepper heart myself.)

Read the rest of this post »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Most Underrated Health Foods

by | Mar 5, 2014

Photo by Michael Hodge

We already know that food manufacturers and the media tend to exaggerate the benefits of popular health foods, but what about all the wonderfully healthy foods they ignore?

It’s time to shine the spotlight on 10 of my favorite healthy foods that never get the attention they deserve.
Read the rest of this post »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For the Love of Food

by | Jul 12, 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 fish oil is linked to prostate cancer, how chronic cardio can kill you, and the truth about grass-fed beef.

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)

Read the rest of this post »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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):

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Peas and Carrots

by | Apr 10, 2011
Beautiful Carrots

Beautiful Carrots

If you ever wondered why Forrest Gump thought peas and carrots went so well together, it must have been because he loves springtime.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas

The reason we think most foods go together, in fact, is because they tend to be in season around the same time and traditional recipes put them together.

Cute Asparagus

Cute Asparagus

But it turns out lot of things go well with carrots. Their sweetness and crunch is a wonderful contrast to many of my favorite spring treats, like spinach, asparagus and collards.

Collards, Potatoes & Asparagus

Collards, Potatoes & Asparagus

As I mentioned last week, chard is fantastic right now as well. These red and white Swiss chard bunches were so bright I actually had to turn down the saturation in Photoshop, which most photogs know is almost never done on food photos. The pink was just blinding.

Beautiful Chard

Beautiful Chard

It’s also a great time to get beets, fennel, lettuces, artichokes, herbs and other vegetables.

Red Beets

Red Beets

Hearts of Romaine

Hearts of Romaine

Spring Artichokes

Spring Artichokes

Not always associated with spring, but a seasonal treat nonetheless are fresh walnuts and mushrooms.

Walnuts In Shell

Walnuts In Shell

Trumpet Mushrooms

Trumpet Mushrooms

I’m still waiting for the spring fruits to appear. Though a few strawberries have popped up here and there, they haven’t looked good enough to buy yet. So while I’m waiting, we’re still eating up the delicious oranges, mandarins, pomelo and tangelos while we can.

Golden Nuggets

Golden Nuggets

Finally, if you’re into lilacs (the best smelling flowers ever), this is the most lovely season I’ve seen in years.

Lilacs

Lilacs

Today’s purchases:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Hints of Spring

by | Jan 31, 2010
Tulips

Tulips

It’s still January, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure it is.

Here in San Francisco we’ve had virtually non-stop rain for the past 2 weeks. Technically this is good since we’ve had a drought, but I think all of us are anxious to move on to more fair weather.

What confuses me though is how this abnormally wet weather explains the early appearance of tulips and cherry blossoms? I have no idea. But they sure are lovely, aren’t they?

First Cherry Blossoms

First Cherry Blossoms

If you’ve been avoiding the farmers market because of the weather, now is the time to start going again. The flowers are blooming, the spring onions are appearing and yes, the sun is peaking out of the clouds today.

In many ways the beginning of spring is the most special time of year. After a long, cold and wet winter there is something magical about the time when life reminds us of its eternal cycle. Baby greens, delicate asparagus and sweet fruits will start appearing over the coming weeks and you definitely want to be there when it happens.

Fennel Bulbs

Fennel Bulbs

Organic Spring Onions

Organic Spring Onions

It’s hard to describe how exciting it is the first day the farmers market explodes with cherries. I can’t get enough of the Olsen Organic clementines right now (seriously, don’t buy them anywhere else), but cherries mark the beginning of a long and delicious season of stone fruits (fruit with pits).

But let’s stop daydreaming.

Blood Orange Slices

Blood Orange Slices

This week the stars of the market are cauliflower, broccoli and citrus. The kale and chard are also amazing. And for good measure I grabbed some Brussels sprouts since the season will be ending soon.

Purple Kohlrabi

Purple Kohlrabi

Organic Cauliflower and Broccoli

Organic Cauliflower & Broccoli

There is also still a beautiful assortment of root vegetables. I wish my photo skills could do justice to these breathtaking purple carrots.

Purple Carrots

Purple Carrots

I spent some time today talking about mushrooms with John Garrone of Far West Fungi. Far West Fungi has the most unique mushrooms and other foraged foods that I’ve found in San Francisco. They also have a farm where they grow mushrooms near Monterey Bay. Definitely visit their shop in the Ferry Building if you ever get the opportunity.

Nameko Mushrooms

Nameko Mushrooms

Mushroom Farm

Mushroom Farm

What did you find at the farmers market this week?

Today’s Purchases:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Embracing Winter

by | Jan 10, 2010
Purple and Green Cabbages

Purple and Green Cabbages

Winter is a subject I usually prefer to ignore, and in California this is pretty easy to do.

Although temperatures approach freezing at night, rarely do things actually freeze. We have our farmers market here in San Francisco year round, and overall I realize I am utterly spoiled.

But that doesn’t make it any easier to get excited about winter.

It’s still cold. It’s still gray. It gets dark early and the nights are long. Everything and everyone seems to want to hibernate, especially me.

But this weekend I decided to embrace winter and all its glorious produce. I think I was inspired by all the delicious recipes around the blogosphere. Who knows. But today I was excited about parsnips, braising greens, mushrooms and citrus, and barely even noticed that my pomegranates and peppers are out for the count.

White Carrots

White Carrots

Winter greens and root vegetables are especially exciting to me right now. I know this sounds weird, but until you’ve tasted them at the height of season (as we are now in), it is hard to know what I mean.

The difference is that during a lot of the year hearty greens and root vegetables like turnips and kohlrabi can be very bitter and spicy. They are edible in this state, but require a lot more work to be delicious. Right now all these vegetables are sweet, almost like candy.

Cabbages and Kale

Cabbages and Kale

Watermelon Radish

Watermelon Radish

If you don’t believe me, head down to the market and try some of the samples. People’s ooos and ahhs from their surprise at the delicious flavor of daikon and kohlrabi is audible throughout the market. Nobody expects vegetables to be this sweet.

The same is true for the brassica, things like cabbage, kale and collards. All these vegetables can be bitter and pungent when eaten out of season, but now they are as sweet and delicious as fruit.

Trumpet Mushrooms

Trumpet Mushrooms

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Another thing you don’t want to miss this season is the mushrooms. Truffles are expensive, but a small domestic white truffle can be purchased for around $10 or less and can make a spectacular treat for a weekend brunch. The chantarelle mushrooms are also big and flavorful this time of year. Personally I am loving the flavor and texture of trumpet mushrooms cooked up in a little olive oil and parsley.

Citrus fruit are the stars of the fruit scene, though you can still find some lingering pears and persimmons. I love the size and flavor of the clementines this time of year, but am looking forward to the grapefruits, pomelos and navel oranges sweetening up.

Citron

Citron

And it is hard to complain too much if there are Meyer lemons around.

Now is also a great time to get heirloom beans, dried chilies, sustainable meats, dried spices, tropical fruits, walnut oil, dried fruit and artisan cheeses.

Asian Pears

Asian Pears

Limes

Limes

Today’s Purchases:

Have you embraced winter?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Holiday Weekend

by | Nov 29, 2009

Leeks and Beets

Leeks and Beets

Probably my single favorite thing about Thanksgiving is that no matter what, it is always on a Thursday.

This simple temporal restriction gives us three full days to recover from too many mashed potatoes and that extra slice of pie we really didn’t mean to have. It also gives us time to stock up on healthy foods for the following week.

The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market tends to be relatively empty after a holiday, which is nice for regular shoppers. I used this opportunity to sleep in a little and stroll slowly through the market once before going back and making the bulk of my purchases.

As expected, peppers, tomatoes and all other remnants of summer are now virtually non-existent, while signs of winter are undeniable.

Mandarins

Mandarins

Mandarins, lemons and oranges are widely available, and today I found the first pomelo of the season.

Pomelo are like huge grapefruit with thick skin, except they are not sour. I first learned to appreciate these fruits in Thailand, where vendors will cut and clean them for you right on the street. These big green pomelo with pink flesh are probably my favorite variety (but don’t hate me if I change my mind 2-3 times this season as new ones come out).

Early Pink Pomelo

Early Pink Pomelo

Meyer Lemons In Basket

Meyer Lemons In Basket

As much as I love citrus though, it is still tough for me to get too excited about it when pears, apples and persimmons are so unbelievably perfect.

Fuyu Persimmon

Fuyu Persimmon

In the vegetable world, the rockstars this week are roots, stalks and hearty leaves. I’ve been loving Tuscan kale (the dark, bumpy variety), chard, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fennel and Brussels sprouts.

Celery, leeks, beets, onions and sweet potatoes are also worth playing around with this time of year.

Organic Celery

Organic Celery

Taylor Gold Pears

Taylor Gold Pears

And of course, I’m still obsessed with winter squash. With nothing but olive oil and sea salt, roasted red kuri squash tastes like pumpkin pie only better.

Lastly, it seems that the weekend after Thanksgiving is also the best time to go to the farmers market if you happen to be Super Mario.

If you live in SF, it is worth a trip to the Ferry Building just to see these GIGANTIC porcini mushrooms. I wouldn’t even know where to start with one of these bad boys, but I can’t help but marvel at them with a twinge of envy.

Giant Porcini

Giant Porcini

Seriously, what could you do with a mushroom like this besides grow super big or get a 1UP? If I had a few of these I could definitely save the princess.

Chantarelles, trumpet mushrooms and several other normal-sized fungi varieties are also in season.

Did any of you make it to the farmers market this week?

Today’s Purchases:


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Farmers Market Update: Fungus Festival

by | Nov 8, 2008

Today is the Fungus Festival at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Mushrooms of all size, shapes and colors made for a beautiful display at Far West Fungi (though this is a normal sight for market regulars).

At the festival, participants could see demonstrations on how to choose and cook edible fungi, and nearby vendors offered suggestions on the best wines and cheeses to pair with the day’s selections.
I bought some shiitake mushrooms to go with my Soul Food eggs from Prather Ranch. Eggs with mushrooms is one of my favorite weekend treats.
Mushrooms are a great source of fiber and can provide other nutrients, including potassium and

iron. They contain some vitamins as well, particularly B vitamins.

My other purchases today mark a notable shift from the usual. My goal at the market is always to get at least 5 dinners and 5 lunches for the week. But since my beautiful summer tomatoes are now out of season, I can no longer rely on salads for lunch. This means I also did not buy cucumbers or salad greens. Instead I will try roasting vegetables this weekend and reheating them at work. Stay tuned to find out how that goes.
I also want to take this opportunity to give you all the heads up on the Warren pears at Frog Hollow right now. They are to die for!
Here’s what I brought home:
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Soul Food eggs
  • Warren pears
  • Dino kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Baby leeks
  • Golden beets
  • Sunchokes
  • Flame grapes
  • Padrones
  • Pasilla pepper
  • Giant fuyu persimmon
  • Arkansas black apple
  • Pomegranates
  • Pain epi baguette
Tags: , , , , , , ,