I've been to the farmer's market TWICE without writing about it! Both were "small" trips, narrowly focused for one reason or another.
Fall (though "autumn" is a prettier name) is definitely here: the apples and pears are more and more abundant, and the farmer's are announcing the end of various crops. They broke my heart these last two visits: the season is over for cling peaches. [sound of me sobbing.] It's not like I can complain to the California Cling Peach Board (calclingpeach.com), it's just the short season of the fruit.
I'll miss them, those strange, ultra-firm, orange-fleshed, sweet peaches. *sigh*
In my recent trips to the farmer's markets, I've picked up:
-mile long beans (both green and burgundy), to eat with black bean sauce over rice
-yellow pear cherry tomatoes (cooked immediately with basil and garlic to make a pasta sauce)
-red cherry tomatoes (for salsa, soups, and chili)
-cling peaches (duh)
-small red chilies (for salsa with the red cherry tomatoes)
-heirloom tomatoes, a lightly ruffled kind that is both deep red and deep green, leaning toward black (used sliced on tostadas and atop veggie burgers)
-melons, vaguely like cantaloupe, but not quite.
-onions (for nearly everything I make)
-edamame (soybeans! Boiled briefly, lightly salted, eaten warm for breakfast)
-watermelon (mostly for the skin for photos, since I prefer cantaloupe)
-basil (likely for a pesto to mix into polenta)
-mint (for fresh tea)
-pomegranates (to make a complete mess of myself over long periods of time - eating these is half ritual, half pleasure)
-a patterned butternut squash (I'm not sure what it was crossed with)
-crinkly green peppers (to photograph, and for chili).
I would usually buy much more fruit, but each of these trips was just a spontaneous side trip on the way back from something else, and I wasn't fully prepared. Also, friends supplied us with a huge bag of ripe pears, and our tree has been steadily providing us with medium-sized, crunchy, sweet-tart apples. I eat the apples as soon as we find them, but the pears are waiting patiently for me to make them into pie. It's a shame this little fall heat wave started, because there is no way I'm turning on the oven...
Last night I went to the communal bath at the Kabuki Springs Spa (kabukisprings.com) at Japan Center, which was heavenly. I swear, if I owned a steam room, I'm not sure I could function in the outside world at all... Anyway, they have something that I always love during those moments in between the steam room, the cold pool, and the hot pool: cool water with sliced cucumber in it, or a mix of sliced cucumber and lemon. It is sooooo refreshing. It's amazing there aren't a lot of beverages with cucumber in them, for its pleasant, cooling taste. I think we're in the habit of thinking of it as a salad vegetable, but it can make a very refreshing drink.
I know cucumber is used in "raw" soups, and may have to do some experimentation...
posted by Arlene (Beth)8:07 PM