Farmers Market Finds: Thorny Artichokes

My Instagram feed has been flooded with pictures of cherries, rhubarb, purple artichokes, and naturally pigmented cauliflower from other farmers market goers, which got me curious about what I would find. It was another, unusually sunny Sunday morning and I knew the good weather crowd would be at the farmers market too. Satish joined me today, which is something I always welcome since he can help me carry my bags back home!

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The cauliflower had a pinkish-purple pigment, which is naturally occurring from an antioxidant in the purple vegetables and fruits. 

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I did find these gorgeous artichokes, which were not at the market last week. The purple ones had really sharp thorns, which I pricked my thumb on! 

I was especially eager to go to the farmers market after being inspired by what the students at Mission High school (where I volunteer) made in class. The high school has a nutrition and leadership program, where the students learn healthy cooking and eating skills, teach their peers, celebrate cultural recipes, and tend to their school garden. The students harvest fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers to use in the cooking portion of the class. Every week, they make something impressive and extraordinary. I certainly did not learn about kale or romanesco in my Home Ec class nor did I grow up eating these foods. Last week, the students made strawberry short cake using whole wheat flour, homemade whip cream, and just picked strawberries. They also made a stunningly beautiful Three Pea Radish Salad, which I couldn’t resist Instagramming. Actually, I was not the only one, the teacher and other students also whipped out their cell phones to take pictures of the beautiful food.

Pea Salad

After this class, all I wanted to do was rush to a farmers market to pick up these ingredients and make this for dinner.

Mission High School school food
The students made farro with asparagus, arugula, crispy pancetta and herbs along with the pea salad and strawberry short cake.

What did you find at your farmers market?

Farmer’s Market Find: Raspberries, Cherries and Babies!

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Satish and I met up with a really good friend and her baby at the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. We were having a nice heat wave so we thought it would be fun to get breakfast there, before Satish and I had to get back to work. We shared Namu’s Okonomiyaki and Pizza Politana’s Margherita pizza with a farm fresh egg. After breakfast, we walked around the marketplace and played with my friend’s baby. It was my first time at the Thursday market. The pastured eggs looked so good, but we were going straight to our office so I couldn’t get them. Which, I am still a little bummed about.

Since we celebrated Mother’s Day early, we had Sunday to ourselves. We met up with another good friend at the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market with his baby. They were giving mommy alone time for Mother’s Day.  We hadn’t seen their baby in awhile and it was so much fun playing with him. He was so sweet and playful.

Brook Cherries- Hamada Farms

Sugar Snap Peas- Happy Boy Farm

The tiniest cauliflowers! – Happy Boy Farm

First sighting of raspberries!

Zucchinis already?! I am taking out the grill this week.

The yummiest thing at the market today!

I also bought raw, unpasteurized almonds (Cipponeri Family Farms), red flame raisins (Hamada Farms), red onion, cheddar cauliflower, and cluster tomatoes (Swank Hill Farms). I still have produce from last week so I didn’t need to stock up as I usually do. Bumper from Swank Hill Farm was really sweet and gifted me a container of their shelled English peas. I am really excited to try out a few recipes with them! Right now, I am thinking a cheddar cauliflower and English pea curry served with a quinoa pilaf. I will keep you updated on Twitter and Facebook!

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Meatless Monday: The Many Reasons For a Healtiful Diet and Vegetable Pilaf

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Over the weekend, I learned a lot about different dietary needs and restrictions.  For so many reasons, people follow either a vegan, vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. diet. Not all of their reasons are political, environmental, erratic, religious, or trendsetting. Some people choose specific diets for serious health reasons, such as Celiac Disease. Giving up food that you have always loved but your body cannot tolerate is emotionally draining. It’s like being in a life-long marriage that has come to a sudden end.  However, finding food “that loves you back” (Gluten Free Girl) will give you your life back! Also, following a certain diet doesn’t mean you have to be stuck eating disgusting, bland food. There is a world of food beyond meat, potatoes, wheat, and lettuce.

At the food bloggers picnic, I only ate gluten-free food and I couldn’t even tell that the food was any different than “regular” food. We had chickpeas and dill, butternut squash and grapes, brownies, wild rice, quinoa, cookies, truffles, and pies.  I had wanted to make Upama, a South Indian breakfast, but decided that it was easy enough to make something gluten-free. I flipped a coin between butternut squash gratin and a pilaf.  I settled on the pilaf after buying  beautiful cauliflower at the market that morning. The pilaf (seasoned rice dish) is something my mom often makes and isn’t anything extraordinary or of culinary genius. It’s comforting, delicious, and simple.

Cauliflower and Potato Pilaf

Ingredients
1 cup Basmati rice
1 tablespoon Ghee, butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup leeks, sliced
1 large potato, cut into cubes
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup green peas
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 cups water
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnishing

Methods

1. Wash and soak rice in water for 30 minutes and drain. This helps the rice cook evenly and properly.

Cover the rice in enough water to soak for 30 minutes.

While the rice is soaking, prep the vegetables.

2. Heat Ghee in a flat, deep pan/pot for 30 seconds on medium heat. Add the cumin, coriander, and turmeric and let the spices cook for 1 minute. Add ginger, leeks and onions and sautee for 3 minutes. Add potatoes, cauliflower, peas, salt, and pepper and mix well; cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and mix well.

Ghee is simply unprocessed, clarified butter. It is slightly liquidy and stores well in a jar, kept away from bright light and heat.

Cook the spices alone first to bring out their oils and aroma.

Stir the onions and leeks once, before adding in the other vegetables.

The rice!

3. Pour in the water and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook on low heat until the water evaporates, about 15-20 minutes.

Cover the pot once water is boiling. Remeber to reduce heat to low and leave pot covered!

4. Squeeze the half lemon over the pilaf and stir once. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Cilantro will brighten up the dish and provide extra flavor.

Can be eaten as the main meal or as a side dish. Great comfort food in the Fall and Winter.

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