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For the Love of Food

by | Aug 1, 2014

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

This week 5 minutes can add years to your life, rethinking food prices, and the unseen health benefits of trees.

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.
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For the Love of Food

by | May 23, 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 how your nose fools your brain, why olive oil is better than canola, and the secret to perfectly cooked veggies.

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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Quick Fix: Balsamic Asparagus and Carrots

by | Apr 25, 2012
Balsamic Asparagus and Carrots

Balsamic Asparagus and Carrots

Nothing represents springtime quite like fresh asparagus. This easy recipe highlights its unique flavor by pairing it with sweet carrots and reduced balsamic vinegar. It is simple, delicious and can be prepared in under 10 minutes.

Start with the freshest, greenest asparagus you can get your hands on. These should be easy to find in California throughout the springtime.

The trick to keeping asparagus tender and not fibrous is to snap off the bottom of the spears with your hands. The asparagus will naturally break where the fibers are thinnest and most tender, leaving all the thick and chewy fibers on the end you throw out. After washing, grip each asparagus spear near the middle with one hand and use the other hand to snap off the bottom.

To make it more substantial add an egg, lentils, beans or just use it as a side dish. Here it was served on a bed of brown rice that I pulled from the freezer.

Balsamic Asparagus and Carrots

Ingredients:

  • Asparagus (1/4 – 1/2 bunch for single serving)
  • Carrots, 3-5 medium-small carrots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt

Crush and mince your garlic clove and set aside. Prepare your asparagus spears as described above and cut them into 1-2 inch bite-sized pieces. Peel your carrots with a vegetable peeler (my peeler recommendation can be found in the Shop under Kitchen Gear > Accessories) and slice at an angle into half inch pieces. Angled cuts increase the surface area of the carrot and are better for cooking.

Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add carrots to the pan and stir to coat with oil. Add asparagus to the pan and stir again. Sprinkle sea salt onto the vegetables and allow them to cook until asparagus is bright green and starting to sweat, about 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Clear a space in the center of the pan and add garlic in a single layer. Allow to cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir to mix garlic with the vegetables. Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and stir. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the carrots are tender and a thin balsamic glaze begins to form on the vegetables. Remove from the pan and served immediately.

What is your favorite Quick Fix for asparagus?

Originally published April 6, 2009.

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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):

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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: Spring Treasures

by | Apr 17, 2011
Purple Spring Onions

Purple Spring Onions

I’m not sure I’ve done enough yet this year to illustrate what a truly special season spring can be. In the springtime, everything is new.

Breathtaking Tulips

Breathtaking Tulips

We get the first greens and fresh colors since the final harvest in autumn, but in the spring everything is sweeter and more delicate.

Bloomsdale Spinach

Bloomsdale Spinach

We don’t just have garlic, we have the sweeter and more subtle green garlic. Carrots, while large and husky in the winter are small and tender in the spring. These baby carrots taste nothing like the fake, flavorless “baby carrots” that come in big bags at the supermarket. These carrots are special.

Real Baby Carrots

Real Baby Carrots

Swiss and rainbow chard are better right now then they are at any other time of year. They’re so beautiful it’s hard to not bring extra home to put into a vase.

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Artichokes and asparagus are also peaking right now. I was so overwhelmed by the sweet, earthy smell of artichokes when I walked up to the farm stand that I forgot to actually take a photo of the beautiful vegetables (there are plenty from previous weeks if you want a peek).

Though most people don’t think about eggs as a seasonal product, they are. Chickens don’t lay as many eggs when it’s cold. Plus, pastured grass is lush and filled with plump, tasty bugs once spring arrives. We got some pullet eggs this morning from Eatwell Farm. We had asked for the extra-large eggs, but apparently they sold out before the market even opened this morning. They’re that good.

Pasture Raised Eggs

Pasture Raised Eggs

For farmers market noobies, one of the most impressive things you can introduce them to is Meyer lemons. Lemons are sour and their peels are bitter, right? Not Meyers. While they aren’t exactly sweet, their acid is not harsh. And their peels are so thin and tender you can eat them raw. Meyer lemons are divine.

Perfect Meyer Lemons

Perfect Meyer Lemons

But one of the best aspects of spring is the hints of summer that sneak in from week to week. Now we have strawberries, and they’re actually getting good.

Endless Strawberries

Endless Strawberries

We also have some early tomatoes and ripe, creamy avocados, two of my absolute favorite summer ingredients.

Haas Avocados

Haas Avocados

As a last throwback to winter I plan to make a soup with one of these celery roots later this week.

Celery Root

Celery Root

Today’s purchases:

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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:

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Farmers Market Update: Spring Showers

by | Mar 20, 2011
Miner's Lettuce

Miner's Lettuce

Sometimes I’m less excited to go to the farmers market in the rain, but after spending last week in Austin consuming nothing but meat and alcohol I was ecstatic to get back to the market today, even if it meant getting a little wet.

Rainbow Umbrella

Rainbow Umbrella

Luckily my efforts did not go unrewarded. To my astonishment I found stunningly beautiful, deep red heirloom tomatoes today. Tomatoes! I was floored and can’t wait to find out if they taste as good as they look.

First Heirloom Tomatoes

First Heirloom Tomatoes

Also remarkable was the appearance of strawberries. Granted they weren’t as pretty as I know they will be next month, but it’s always wonderful to see a splash of color on an otherwise gray and gloomy day.

First Strawberries

First Strawberries

I had a blast at the farmers market this weekend, stocking up on asparagus, kale, collards, spring onions, and adorable little carrots.

Thumbalina Carrots

Thumbalina Carrots

Green Garlic Bunches

Green Garlic Bunches

I also found some more rare spring delicacies, like miner’s lettuce and fiddlehead ferns.

Fiddlehead Ferns

Fiddlehead Ferns

And don’t forget to get the best of this amazing citrus season while you have the chance.

Whole Blood Oranges

Whole Blood Oranges

Happy spring everyone!

Today’s purchases ($38):

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Farmers Market Update: Foodzie

by | Feb 6, 2011

Mandarinquat

Even though SF residents will suffer through a freezing June, July and August, there’s no denying the sweetness of a surprise summer day in February. This weekend’s weather was amazing, which makes it that much sadder that I wasn’t able to make it to the farmers market.

organic brussel sprouts - Swanton Berry Farm

Unfortunately a veterinary emergency kept me from visiting the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this weekend, but thankfully friend and fellow foodie Emily Olson from Foodzie volunteered to step in. Not only did she bring me a bounty of fruits and vegetables, she also provided all the pictures for this week.

Carrots - Marin Roots Farm

Thanks Emily!

Spinach - Heirloom Organics

Meyer Lemons - K & J Orchards

Cardoons - Knoll Farms

Guavas - Brokaw Farm

Pimientos de Padron - Happy Quail Farms

California Navel Oranges - Olsen Farms

Green Garlic - Knoll Farms

Kiwis - Four Sisters Farm

Zutano Avocado - Olsen Farms

Broccoli di Ciccio - Chue's Farm Fresh Vegetables

Thompson Raisins - Hidden Star Orchards

Mustard Rapini - Knoll Farms

Is it springtime yet?

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Farmers Market Update: Is It Spring Already?

by | Jan 16, 2011
Pomelo

Pomelo

Residents of San Francisco woke up Saturday morning to a veritable spring day. The the sun was shining, the sky was clear and maybe, just for a moment, you could walk outside without a jacket.

It was great to see the farmers market bustling for the first time since the holidays. Crowds were not only drawn by the weather, but also by the Good Food Awards that were being held this weekend at the Ferry Building. The GFA “grant awards to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients.” Here are the winners.

Spring Onions

Spring Onions

Good Food Awards

Good Food Awards

Spring wasn’t only in the air, it was also peeking out from some of the farm stands. I caught my first glimpse this week of spring onions. It isn’t much, but is a sign of what’s to come.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Winter citrus is just now ramping up. Blood oranges and satsumas are my favorite now, but I’ll be hitting the pomelo scene next week for sure.

Satsumas

Satsumas

Orange Slices

Orange Slices

I’ve also been really impressed with the carrots lately, I’m really starting to appreciate how many varietals there are. Little ones, big ones, purple ones, white ones, orange ones. All very tasty.

Baby Beets

Baby Beets

Carrot Bouquet

Carrot Bouquet

Of course, root vegetables in general are excellent now, very colorful and sweeter than they are most of the year. Like carrots, the variety of turnips is impressive.

Scarlet Turnips

Scarlet Turnips

Large Turnips

Large Turnips

Lastly, don’t forget your winter greens and herbs. Kale, chard and especially cabbage are as good now as they will be all year.

Winter Herbs

Winter Herbs

Cabbage

Cabbage

I didn’t buy much today since I left straight from the farmers market to Lake Tahoe. I just stopped by for the beautiful pictures.

What did you find at the market this week?

If you’d like to share your farmers market experience at Summer Tomato, please read this.

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