Meatless Mondays: Fascination or Obsession

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I am love with farm fresh vegetables, particularly tomatoes. I fell in love with tomatoes when in first grade I got to take home a small tomato plant from a school field trip to a greenhouse. About 15 years later, my parents went on a vacation leaving my brother, a blooming tomato plant, and myself to fend for ourselves. For some reason, I couldn’t let the beautiful heirloom tomatoes  rot on the vine and there must have been a dozen ripe tomatoes.  These tomatoes were shiny, imperfect in shape, large, dark greenish red, and plump. I had an urge to use all of them up at once, so I decided to make an Italian meal. I had no clue on how to make my own sauce, but I had convinced myself that it was easy. I also convinced myself that I didn’t need to look online for methods on making your marinara from scratch. I cut each tomato in half, put them into the food processor, and liquefied them until they became a thin juice….to make a long story short, we had liquidy lasagna for dinner. And my brother and I still swear that it was the best lasagna we’ve ever had.



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Farmer’s Market Find: Stevia!

I cooked a lot last week, almost every single day!  (I usually cook every two days). This week, I have a super tight schedule and I don’t want to think about making meals like I did last week (Saag Paneer, Roti, Chicken Curry, Baked Stuffed Tomatoes, French Toast, Pizza, Salads, Lentils). We have a ton of leftovers too. So I kept it light at the FM today and really restrained myself from going “gaga” over all the fresh, colorful summer  produce. It was truly melon madness at the market- at least 10 different types were spotted. The most surprising and unique find was Stevia! Stevia is a native South American plant grown in desert like conditions. The sweet plant does not thrive in moisture and is 30-45 times sweeter than table sugar and has been touted as safe for those who want a healthy alternative. I am going to experiment this week to see how I can use the leaves, as it’s typically found in powder and liquid form at stores. It can’t get more natural than having Stevia leaves! I don’t normally add sugar to anything I make, except in the occasional homemade lattes and chai. If you have tips, suggestions, or opinions on Stevia let me know!

Stevia! - $2 Hollie’s Homegrown

Look at the beautiful colors! - Happy Boy Farms

Piel de Sapo, super sweet! -$3 Happy Boy Farms

No fog today!!! It was a good day for a picnic, but it was still chilly in the Marina.

Padron Peppers, I used these last week in Saag Paneer and Chicken Curry -$4 Happy Boy Farms

Eat Safe!

Farmer’s Market Finds:
-Heirloom Tomatoes, mixed salad greens with edible flowers, Padron Peppers, Butterball Potatoes- $11.50 Happy Boy Farms
-Stevia Leaf Stem and marigold- $2.50 Hollie’s Homegrown
-Squash blossoms- $2 Serendipity Farms
Total: $16

*I will make one grocery run this week to pick up organic chicken breasts typically costing me $8

Farmers Market Find: Summer Tomatoes

August 1 2010
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I was in bit of a hurry today, so I could not shop leisurely or keep track of how much I spent at each farm. I am a little sad that I did not get the name of the ladies who were selling blackberries and boysenberries. Hopefully, they will be there in two weeks. I was very sad that Serendipity Farms no longer had their heirloom sun dried tomatoes. I really wish I stalked up on them last week, because their taste is phenomenal and add added mystery and depth to my lasagna, roasted veggies, chicken kebabs, pesto, sandwiches, omelets- I used them in everything! Italians first dried fresh tomatoes as way to store them for the winter.  Sun dried tomatoes also have the same nutritional value as fresh tomatoes- lycophene, vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, and folate.

These make me happy, great for Meatless Mondays

Heirloom Tomatoes- Wholeness Farms (CCOF Certified)

Beautiful squashes and eggplant- Wholeness Farm (CCOF Certified)

Couldn't resist these purple beauties- Happy Boy Farms (CCOF Certified)

Aren't these fun looking?- Happy Boy Farms (CCOF Certified)

Planning on making a blackberry sauce-?

Plouts and Plums- Cipponeri Family Farms (Non-CCOF)

Kale- Serendipity Farms (CCOF)

Beautiful squash blossoms- Serendipity Farms (CCOF)

Farmer’s Market Find: Cucumbers

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This week I went to three different Farmer’s Market in the city! On Thursday I went to the grand opening of Mission’s Community Market. I couldn’t resist and bought a head of lettuce from Blue House Farm ($1.50), stone fruit from Arata Farms ($2), 2 squash blossoms from Tomatero Farms ($.50), and mint from Happy Boy Farms ($1.50), even though I wasn’t headed straight home.
A very lively FM in the Mission, offering produce, entertainment, youth mural project, and artisanal goods

I stopped by the Ferry Plaza FM on Saturday because I wanted to check out the Epicurious booth and grab something delicious to take to the Slow Food San Francisco picnic. I was greeted by bright colors popping from every booth- peppers, plouts, plums, nectarines, raspberries, kale, mint, marigolds- oh it was hard to not buy anything! I did buy sprouted lentils, and a delicious roasted beets and coriander yogurt sandwich and 1/4 rotisserie chicken from Il Cane Roso and headed to South Park for the picnic.

It was a beautiful day on the Embarcadero.

 

I returned to my usual FM at Fort Mason today to get my weekly groceries. Perfect as always, except there was no glimmer of the sun today. I was glad to see the familiar faces of the farmers and hot food vendors. I splurged and bought farmstead “Foggy Morning” cheese from Nicasio Valley ($7), to stuff in the squash blossoms I bought on Thursday. Also, the cheese is light and a great substitute for ricotta and feta. I was amazed to see the varieties of cucumbers that I bought all three kinds from Hamadas Farms. They also had the most plumpest, juiciest peaches and melons that I could not resist ($7.50). I also bought a lot of tomatoes, but Satish and I appreciate seasonal tomatoes! Maybe, I will make an Indian curry out of them. Or maybe, I will just roast them in the oven with salt and pepper. Or eat them with the farmstead cheese.

 

Enjoying the sandwich from Il Cane Roso

Other purchases:
Fingerling potatoes, basil, heirloom tomatoes, and baby spinach ($9.50)- Happy Boy Farms
Cherry tomatoes and one large beefsteak tomato ($2.00)- ?
Strawberries and a variety of zucchini ($5.50)- Serendipity Farm
Chard, kale, and purple bell peppers ($7.00) – Rio Parras Organics
Broccoli, red onion, garlic, and tomatoes on the vine ($5.50)- Swank Farm
A dozen large, fresh eggs- $4.50
Sandwich buns ($2.00)- Bakers of Paris

I spent $50.50 on this and much more! We are dining in every night this week and having a friend or two over for a meal. 🙂

Trifecta Cucumber Salad

I was really hungry after a pleasant time at the Farmer’s Market. I wanted something quick, healthy and filling. I decided to try out the different cucumbers I bought by making a simple salad. I had bought a Lemon, Armenian, and “Normal” cucumber.

1. Wash and dice or cube 1/3 cup of cucumbers
2. Wash and dice or cube ripe 1/3 cup of tomatoes (any variety)
3. Wash, pat dry, and roughly chop 1/4 cup mint

 

4. Toss all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. 5. Add 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.
6. Transfer salad to a serving plate 7. crumble 1 tablespoon of Ricotta/Feta/Goat Cheese on top of the salad.
Cucumbers and mint are “cooling” foods, perfect foods for the summer.
Tomatoes contain Lycopene-an antioxidant that fights cancerous cell formation.

This salad can easily be made with one or many varieties of cucumbers and tomatoes; it’s all a matter of preference and what you have on hand. On a hot day, chill the tomatoes and cucumbers in the fridge before tossing in the mint and lemon juice.

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Farmer’s Market Find

Typical Summer's day in San Francisco

Fruit for the week, Ken's Top Notch Produce

Spinach salads and cooked spinach this week. Happy Boy Farms

Maybe I will make a lentil stew with these babies. Happy Boy Farms

Getting inspired to make something fun for the Spain vs. Holland gathering.

A new welcomed vendor, Hollie's Homegrown, selling herbs and edible flowers from her garden.

Makes you forget about the cold, gray day!

Market fresh tomato and basil salad for the World Cup Finale party. 1. one pint of cherry tomatoes halved2. handful of basil roughly chopped3. 1 tablespoon EVOO drizzled over tomatoes and basil4. Sprinkle salt and pepper to desired taste and toss well

Not pictured:
Heirloom Sundried Tomatoes- Serendipity Farms
Dried Greek Basil- Hollie’s Homegrown

Total spent:$25.70
I bought a lot less this week, since I still have plenty left over from last week.