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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Mushroom tea isn’t magic, a little alcohol probably won’t kill you, and diet impacts women’s wellbeing more than men’s

by | Aug 31, 2018

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

Reminder: I’ll be at the Fireside conference Sept 6-9 in Canada, and doing a live podcast on stage with the venerable Yoni Freedhoff. Would love to see you there!

This week mushroom tea isn’t magic, a little alcohol probably won’t kill you, and diet impacts women’s wellbeing more than men’s.

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Read the rest of this story »

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Farmers Market Update: Autumn

by | Oct 16, 2011
Winter Squash

Winter Squash

Alright Mother Nature, you win. It’s autumn now and I’ll accept it, even if San Francisco only had about five days over 80 degrees this year. I don’t need summer when I have produce like this.

Thompson Grapes

Thompson Grapes

Bring on your autumn grapes. Grapes have never been my favorite fruit, but they are so sweet and crispy this year I can’t resist them. I like wine too, and harvest is soon. Grapes are ok with me.

Flame Grapes

Flame Grapes

I’ll take your apples too. These heirloom varietals don’t taste anything like the overly sweet fujis I grew up with. These apples remind me of what I’ve always wished apples tasted like whenever I have apple cider.

Autumn Apples

Autumn Apples

And these little wickson apples, the size of golf balls, are as complex as a glass of wine.

Wickson Apples

Wickson Apples

Of course I don’t mind the sweet white pomegranates, with their pink seeds and delicate flavor. They aren’t as sour as the red ones are this early in the season, and the seeds aren’t nearly as tough and woody.

White Pomegranates

White Pomegranates

I finally gave in and got some brussels sprouts too. Sure I used to hate them, but once I learned the secret to cooking these little guys they became a welcome guest on my dinner plate. I’m especially fond of the smaller sprouts like the ones I found today, because they are almost never bitter.

Early Brussels Sprouts

Early Brussels Sprouts

With Halloween approaching not even the winter squash offend me, but these days I eat them instead of carve them.

Sugar Pie Pumpkins

Sugar Pie Pumpkins

Yes I’ll miss summer—or at least the idea of it. I’ll miss the peaches and plums.

Peaches

Peaches

I’ll revel in the last of the figs and melons.

Brown Turkey Figs

Brown Turkey Figs

Maybe if I’m lucky you’ll give me a few more weeks of eggplant.

White Eggplant

White Eggplant

Perhaps the sweet peppers will last until my birthday next month.

Sweet Peppers

Sweet Peppers

Or maybe the spicy ones will?

Hot Peppers

Hot Peppers

What always breaks my heart most is the tomatoes. I can live a few months without strawberries, but the tomatoes really get me. Everything is better with a dry-farmed early girl tomato on it. It will be hard to see them go.

Organic Cherry Tomatoes

Organic Cherry Tomatoes

But I love my cauliflower. (Pretty much everyone loves my cauliflower). And it will keep me company as fall rolls in and winter approaches.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

I’ll embrace your root vegetables as they sweeten in the cold.

Beets and Carrots

Beets and Carrots

I’ll give you some time on the persimmons though, I don’t think they’re quite ready yet.

Hachiya Persimmons

Hachiya Persimmons

Today’s purchases (~$40):

  • Heirloom kabocha squash
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Red Russian kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Wickson apples
  • Daikon
  • Ginger root
  • Garlic
  • Dahlias

Is your farmers market still running?

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Farmers Market Update: End Of Summer

by | Oct 3, 2010
Bronx Grapes

Bronx Grapes

End of summer is always a confusing time in San Francisco, because it is inevitably the nicest weather we’ve had in the city since early May. For the first time all year we pull out our shorts and sandals, while the rest of the country is whining about humidity and getting their pumpkins ready for halloween. It happens every year.

The local produce plays these tricks on us as well. Right now we’re seeing the best of the summer’s fruits. The peaches are perfect, the melons magnificent, the plums spectacular. And of course we’re now getting perfect summer tomatoes.

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Perfect Summer Tomatoes

Perfect Summer Tomatoes

Summer vegetables are equally as awesome. The eggplants, peppers, corn and squash are impossible to ignore with their bright colors and lovely aromatics.

Peppers

Peppers

Eggplants and Peppers

Eggplants and Peppers

But the signs of fall are no longer subtle here in San Francisco. Not only are grapes and apples some of the best fruits available this month, but pomegranates and pears are here as well.

First Pomegranates

First Pomegranates

Winter Banana Apples

Winter Banana Apples

We’re also seeing brussels sprouts and winter squash.

Cauliflower and Broccoli

Cauliflower and Broccoli

First Brussels Sprouts

First Brussels Sprouts

Without a doubt this is one of the best times to eat in San Francisco, but it won’t last long. Get it while the gettin’s good.

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Living Easy

by | Sep 12, 2010
Black and Green Figs

Black and Green Figs

It’s finally summertime in San Francisco. Woohoo! And what a beautiful day to return to my beloved farmers market.

Since I was sick and working on finishing my thesis I hadn’t been to the market in weeks, a lapse I haven’t made in years. It was terrible. But now that those things are behind me I was thrilled to return to the market today and stock up on delicious foods to get my healthstyle back on track. Life is good.

White Nectarines

White Nectarines

Sungold Tomatoes

Sungold Tomatoes

We are currently at the peak of summer: tomatoes are ripe, stone fruit is juicy and greens are plentiful. Now is your chance to get the best peaches, nectarines, figs, melons and pluots. I was so taken by the iridescent pink glow of these pluots I forgot to look at the name of the varietal (or maybe I’m out of practice).

Pluots

Pluots

I was sure to grab enough lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes for salads this week. I also got some kale for dinner, and green beans for more pickling.

Sharlyn Melons

Sharlyn Melons

Green and Yellow Beans

Green and Yellow Beans

I am also seeing the beginning of some of the fall fruits like grapes, pears and apples.

Comice Pears

Comice Pears

Grapes

Grapes

The apples looked amazing today. There are so many heirloom varieties I’ve never heard of, I grabbed a few different kinds just to get myself acquainted. I’m particularly excited about these pink pearl apples I found at the Apple Farm.

Jonathan Apples

Jonathan Apples

Pink Pearl Apples

Pink Pearl Apples

Nature never lets us forget that the next season is right around the corner. I spotted potatoes today and *gasp* winter squash. As delicious as they are, I don’t think I’m quite ready to make that leap yet, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my summer first.

Potatoes and Winter Squash

Potatoes and Winter Squash

There were a couple other interesting finds today in San Francisco. Langier Ranches was offering a fruit called paw paws, which look like a mango but taste more creamy and less acidic. I was also ecstatic to see my favorite bean company Rancho Gordo has started offering heirloom corn tortillas. Yes, I bought some.

Heirloom Corn Tortillas

Heirloom Corn Tortillas

Paw Paws

Paw Paws

Today’s purchases:

What did you find at the market this week?

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Farmers Market Update: Autumn Sunshine

by | Nov 8, 2009
Frog Hollow Warren Pears

Frog Hollow Warren Pears

It rained yesterday, but today is spectacularly beautiful. I love San Francisco.

I didn’t have much time to spend shopping this trip–all food was bought and photos snapped in just about 10 minutes. Hopefully I didn’t forget too many things.

Persimmons

Persimmons

Black Twig Apples

Black Twig Apples

Pears and apples are in truly rare form right now, so I highly recommend finding a farmers market near you and getting some of the interesting heirloom varieties. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Persimmons are great right now as well, but I expect they will only get better as the season progresses. Hachiya persimmons in particular–the soft ones–tend to be better later in the season. For more information on the difference between fuyu and hachiya persimmons check out How To Pick A Persimmon. I’ve also written an article about chocolate persimmons and other varieties.

Colorful Bell Peppers

Colorful Bell Peppers

Winter Squash

Winter Squash

I noticed that the amazing Four Sisters Farm kiwis appeared this week and Twin Girls Farm had feijoa, also known as pineapple guava. My photos of these didn’t turn out well so I’ll try to get better shots next week.

Winter squash are still my favorite thing to eat right now and I’m happily making my way through all the varieties. I was not terribly impressed with spaghetti squash which hardly had any flavor, but I’m loving delicata because they are so easy to cook. And, of course, kabocha are amazing–like pumpkin pie only better. I love to pair them with greens like chard and kale, roasted peppers and black beluga lentils.

Napa Cabbage

Napa Cabbage

Today’s Purchases:

What’s at your market?

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Farmers Market Update: SummWinter

by | Oct 18, 2009
Hot Sauce

Hot Sauce

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.

Red Japanese Shishito Peppers

Red Japanese Shishito Peppers

Ancho Chilies

Ancho Chilies

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….

Nixon Eggplant or Tricky Dick?

Nixon Eggplant or Tricky Dick?

Como Eggplants

Como Eggplants

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.

First Sweet Limes

First Sweet Limes

First Meyer Lemons

First Meyer Lemons

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.

Quince

Quince

Swaar Dutch Apples

Swaar Dutch Apples

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.

Spinach

Spinach

First Chocolate Persimmons

First Chocolate Persimmons

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.

Organic Broccoli

Organic Broccoli

Beautiful Beets

Beautiful Beets

Today’s Purchases:

What are you eating?

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Farmers Market Update: Prepping for Asilomar

by | Sep 20, 2009
Hawaiian Apples

Hawaiian Apples

My goal at the farmers market today was to get everything I need to survive the next few days at the annual neuroscience department retreat at the Asilomar conference grounds in Monterey, CA. Last year they served us some of the most unspeakably disgusting food I’ve ever eaten in my life, and budget cuts forecast this year to be even worse.

Almost certainly I’ll be stuck eating fewer calories than usual, but I like to have a few of my own things to make sure I am at least somewhat nourished. For a complete rundown of what I’m bringing, watch the 3 minute video clip below.

How do you survive conferences and events that serve horrible food?

Since I also won’t be cooking dinners or making salads at work for the next few days, I didn’t buy my usual cornucopia of vegetables this week. But I certainly wanted to!

Peaches and Pomegranates

Peaches and Pomegranates

Pumpkins

Pumpkins

The seasons are changing before my eyes. Autumn fruits like pomegranates, pears, grapes and apples are downright abundant. You can also find pumpkins, carrots and beets, all wonderful for roasting in the fall. (Try this recipe for delicious roasted beets with mint and chevre).

I even found chestnuts at K & J Orchards!

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Chestnuts

Chestnuts

I learned today that Brussels sprout season is early this year (it usually starts in October-November). I decided to buy some since I know they will keep well until I return on Tuesday. They are really small right now, which is how you want them for the best taste. I used to hate Brussels sprouts, but have since learned the error of my ways.

Roasting Pimentos

Roasting Pimentos

Peppers and Eggplants

Peppers and Eggplants

The good news for those of us who adore summer produce is that most of it is still spectacular. Tomatoes, peaches, plums, zucchini, melon, peppers (oh the peppers!), eggplant, figs, okra and green beans are what I’m going to focus on for the next few weeks while they are still around.

Paw Paw Ice Cream

Paw Paw Ice Cream

Oh, and if you’re a fan of paw paws, Langier Ranches made up some paw paw ice cream you can get for only $1!

Today’s purchases:

What did you find at the farmers market this week?

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Farmers Market Update: Summertime

by | Aug 23, 2009
Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Despite the San Francisco weather–more gloomy than sunny–it is actually summer. That means pluots, peaches, nectarines, figs, melons, eggplant, corn, peppers and, of course, tomatoes.

Could anything be more perfect?

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas

Pluots

Pluots

The tomatoes are especially amazing right now (don’t miss the early girls!), and I’m finally ready to make my favorite summer tomato recipe, bruschetta! Tune in tomorrow for my easy recipe.

Something else I’ve noticed lately at the market are the over-sized carrots, which look perfect for turning into soup or other mashed concoction. Likewise, big heads of cauliflower are starting to reappear, which are fantastic for vegetable stews. Last week I turned mine into Moroccan soup.

Cauliflower and Cucumber

Cauliflower and Cucumber

Carrots

Carrots

I’ve also noticed apples, grapes, mature onions, mature garlic, and other foods that are decidedly post-summer fare. Take this as a sign that you should eat as many plums, peaches and melons while you can. Fall is right around the corner.

Organic Shallots

Organic Shallots

Organic Garlic

Organic Garlic

Speaking of plums, the very short 3-4 week season of French plums (fresh “prunes”) is peaking and they are spectacular. I bought a full bag to have with breakfast this week.

Early McIntosh Apples

Early McIntosh Apples

French Prunes

French Prunes

What did you find at the farmers market this weekend?

Today’s Purchases:

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