Treasures From The Farmers Market 2010

January 12th, 2011 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health

This is what my kitchen looks like Saturday afternoon, midsummer. Heaven!

I’ve written a lot about my adventures at the Farmer’s Market this year, and I’ve often referenced the ‘game’ that D and I always play. We make it our mission each and every week to find at least one *special* item amidst the many. Ideally it’s something I’ve never cooked with (or never eaten at all!), but maybe it’s something just come into season, all new and nostalgic and treasured (hello, berries!).

So along with all the standards and staples, these are the specials we picked up each week. I love how this list paints the progression of the seasons.

*Star means I’d never cooked with it before.
**Double star means I’d never even eaten it!

1) Mustard Greens**

2) Asparagus

3) Fennel*

My spin on a clasic soup: Split Pea With Fennel And Potato.

4) Raspberries

5) Yellow Zucchini** & Escarole*

6) Fava Beans**

My first ever experiment with Favas – fresh Farmer’s Fava Bean Dip.

7) Sylvan Berries**

8) Blueberries & Sugar Snap Peas

9) Peaches & Shiitake Mushrooms*

Raw peach and berry tart with cashew cream.

10) Snow Peas & Abalone Mushrooms**

11) Cubanelle Peppers**

12) Italian Artichokes

Steamed Italian Artichoke served with a chunky three-olive dip.

13) Brussels Sprouts* & Maitake Mushrooms*

14) Pickling Cucumbers* & wild-gathered “Chicken Of The Woods” Mushrooms**

15) New Zealand Spinach**

16) Japanese Eggplant* & King Oyster Mushroom*

Vegan nigiri with seared Japanese Eggplants.

17) Miniature Honeydew Melon** & Parsnips

18) Yellow Finn Potatoes** & Long Beets**

19) Spaghetti Squash**

Waits helps me prepare my very first Spaghetti Squash.

20) Romanesco*

21) Walnuts

22) Tat Soi**

23) French Fingerling Potatoes

24) Black Truffle Salt**

Question: I treated myself to some ohh-la-la fancy Black Truffle Salt from the very last Farmer’s Market. What on earth should I do with it??!

  • Kati

    What to do with delicious black truffle salt??? Everything! I actually got some for Christmas. I sprinkle it on avocado mashed on’s good on roasted veggies..adds a new flavor to most soups..SOOO good on popcorn..possibilities are endless!

  • Meghan

    Wow, I admit, I’m a little shocked at some of the things you hadn’t eaten and/or cooked before. I thought you KNEW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERY VEGETABLE. ;-)

    If you have The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen (if you don’t, your library does) I highly recommend the tomato fennel soup, but with fresh tomatoes instead of canned. I LOVE FENNEL OMG.

    I like your challenge! If I find a good farmers market maybe I’ll try it next season. (The closest farmers market to me is ok, but there are only a few farmers (like… 2 or 3, for serious) and there isn’t ever anything cool and exciting.

    I have never cooked with romanesco. I’d be afraid of ruining its amazingness. What did you do with it? I was thinking about trying to grow it, because OMG, produce doesn’t get much cooler than that. It’s math! Woo!

    I cannot bring myself to be excited about fancy salt (although salt on chocolate is a new exciting food to me). Are they really worthwhile?

  • Alli

    I love spaghetti squash! My favorite way to eat it is roasted with homemade tomato sauce — sooooo good. And I second trying that salt on avacado (I probably wouldn’t even add toast, just some nice olive oil…)

  • Andrea

    Articiochi <3 you can try this mediterranean recipe ( from Istria)
    Wash artichokes and cut the biggest leafs but also cut them on the top.
    Than you put them in the deeper pot and add water so that the tops of artichokes always remain dry, add some salt and pepper, and on the top of each put some chopped garlic (the pink one is the best) and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Leave that for about 10 minutes, covered, on low flame, and after that add alot of peas (if frozen, must be added from the beginning) and if desired (I always put some:)): some bob, this is bob: I actually don't know the english name fot it :P
    and also put some bread crumb on top of each artichoke
    Enjoy :) and Buon appetito!

  • Sayward

    TOTALLY GOING ON AVOCADO! Yessssssss!!! Thanks guys. What else!?

    @ Meghan – I grew up in a Mediterranean climate, *totally* different produce! Plus I have to say, Damian is pretty picky . . . he distrusts greens and despises mushrooms! Ack! Clearly, this year I got over the mushroom thing and just started cooking them on the side. So good!

    I was never a big fennel fan, I’d used the seeds but never the veggie. I’m warming up to it! The romanesco got roasted up with root veggies and then put on a pesto pizza – I think there’s a picture of it with Teese in my vegan cheese report. =)

    @ Andrea – Thanks for the recipe, I’ve never seen anything like it. Sounds great!

  • Andrea

    So, I’ve done some researches and found that bob is called Vicia faba L. in latin :)
    And I also found out that it is been eaten in Europe since bronz age! That garantees the quality :P What’s the taste? Well, is a bit specific, a bit bitter, but really just a bit. Cause of his skin he is to tough to be consumed raw, and even cooked for someone ( I think thats totally nonsense) so some prefer to cook it without skin. I totally encourage you to try bob :) cause you can prepair it in millions of combination ! Beans can be cooked in diferent soups, you can fry them too and then they taste like hazelnut , you can froze them for winter time, or leave them on the plant to dry entierly an then add them to some meals . Even leaves are edible, raw or cooked like spinach. Dry beans can also been added to some flour, and than you have fancy bread :)

  • Meghan

    Oh! Fava Bean! Cool!

  • Kathryn

    Oh my goodness, I haven’t had internet in forever and have been so so busy with school, but now I get to read all the posts I missed! Yay! I missed this blog so much!
    Oh, fennel…I swear half my childhood was spent pulling over to the side of the road because my dad found some wild that he wanted to pick. Haha.

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    I’ve used black truffle salt in tofu scrambles, sprinkled on top of homemade crackers and flatbreads, and stirred into risotto.

  • Kelly M.

    Wow, those foods you’ve never had are like mainstays for me. I’m guessing it’s because I’m from Louisville and we can grow squash so easily here, and fennel??!!! Seriously? Mustard greens? Oh they’re my favorite, so spicy! And favas make the best falafel in my opinion! This post made me so happy. Enjoy your new food adventures!

  • April

    Romanesco is awesome! Fractals are delicious!

    What I love about our CSA share is all of the crazy new produce it forced us to try. After I had baby #4 in October, my husband took over our weekly share pick up, and many times I had no idea what it was he brought home! It forces us to be daring and creative with our weekly menus. The first summer we were CSA members, due to some miscalculations, they had overplanted their lacinato kale crop. We had kale coming out of our ears!!! Now it is our family favorite :)

  • Meghan

    I’m with Damian on the mushrooms.

    Like others, my CSA share lead me to confront unknown veggies. Like Kohlrabi! And any variety of kale that isn’t the standard stuff in the grocery store… lacinato! red russian!

  • Sayward

    @ Andrea – Looks like your Bob is what we call Fave Beans – number 6 on my list! And yes, they are delish. =)

    @ Kathryn – Welcome back!

    @ Monika – Mmm, tofu scramble sounds grand.

    @ Kelly M – Yeah it’s funny, what you eat depending on where you grew up! I’m much more Mediterranean/subtropical, with avocados and cherimoyas and tender greens as opposed to bitter ones. Honestly I dig the food in the PCN so much better (though I totally miss the giant avocado tree that fruited year-round in my front yard, seriously. And the citrus.)

    @ April – I want to get a CSA this year, though it won’t stop me from going to the FarMar every weekend!

    @ Meghan – Nooo, mushrooms are vegan glory! ;-D