Thursday, September 20, 2007

Almonds from De'Santis Bella Frutta

Bella indeed. Every time I go to De'Santis' stand at the farmer's market (they're at Civic Center on Wednesday and San Rafael on Sunday), they have something new. This week it was fresh roasted almonds for only $3 a pound!!! Almonds will usually set you back at least $8 a pound, and these have an distinctly sweet taste that your standard bulk almond doesn't. Try them out!

Fava Beans require a lot of prep

Hiding inside those huge, plump shells are little morsels of beany goodness. You have to peel the shell open, make a little notch on the pale green casing and pull that off, too, to unearth the deliciousness within. Definitely a huge pain in the ass. But so worth it. Don't even think about eating them without that second step - you'll have a mouthful of pasty mush that will take you right back to your elementary school cafeteria.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Photo from sparkieg's flickr stream

Came across a press release from Del Monte today (although who knows how old it is). Buried in an avalanche of standard corporate blah-blah was this little nugget (emphasis mine):

The PBH's Fruit & Veggies - More Matters health initiative guides families to eat more fruits and vegetables at every meal occasion. To help in this effort, Del Monte offers a broad selection of conveniently packaged, nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables and tomatoes, under the Del Monte®, S&W®, Contadina®, Fruit Naturals®, Orchard Select® and Sunfresh® brands.
These products provide families with many realistic ways to incorporate more healthy foods into their daily lives.

This kind of shit sets me off. Realistic ways to incorporate more healthy foods into your daily life?? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? As if it would be so UNrealistic to expect you to go buy a peach and just eat that. That would be crazy. It would be so much more realistic to expect you to buy a jar of fruit swimming in corn syrup, dump it on a pint of ice cream and call that your fruit for the day. Clearly, I must be insane to think that fresh fruit from a farm is tastier, healthier and not more difficult to prepare than branded, mass-marketed fruit from the center aisle of the supermarket.

Now, I know not everyone can afford pedigreed, heirloom, organic whatever to satisfy their nutritional needs. And that pedigreed, heirloom, organic whatever is not going to be available at your convenience at the nearest Safeway or bodega. But that doesn't make it more "realistic" for people to eat some nasty-ass pale imitation of real fruit out of a jar.

I'm not crazy. People far sager than I get incensed by this kind of thing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This could be you

You know you've done this yourself a couple times. You know, gone to the farmer's market, seen all the amazing stuffs and bought everything in sight. Today, I went to the Heart of the City Farmer's Market and loaded up.

This market gets poo-pooed a lot because it isn't as fancy-schmancy as the Ferry Plaza one or because not everyone there is organic (gasp!), but it's still great. Lots of Asian farmers selling all different kinds of eggplant, bitter melon, okra and an unbelievable variety of unusual greens like sweet potato leaf, water spinach and what looked to me like cucumber leaves. Where else can you get local, ORGANIC ginger??? Or fresh young jicama with the beans still attached (as opposed to the enormous, more mature jicama usually spied at Asian and Latino markets)? OK, OK, so those two particular examples are from farms growing around Fresno, which is almost 200 mi from San Francisco. But that's still a lot closer than China or Hawaii, which is where most of the ginger you see around here is from.
Plus, De'Santis Bella Frutta sells here. I'll have to muster up the courage to talk more with them, but they're Italian and grow all kinds of very unusual and unusually delicious fruits - sweet lemons, kaffir limes, buddha's hand citron, moscato grapes and AMAZING figs. You'll also find the best tomato deals around at this market. I don't usually like to tout how cheap food is (give the farmers a break! they work really hard!), but there's an unbelievable profusion of heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes to be had at this market. I got 2 pounds of mixed sungold cherry tomatoes for $3.00 from a Chinese vendor towards the edge of the market and $2.00/lb dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes. Can't beat that.

Here's today's haul: eggplants, peppers, the aforementioned moscato grapes, romanesco cauliflower, english peas, armenian cukes, romano beans, fava beans and glorious, glorious tomatoes.

OK, so it doesn't take a goddamn genius to come up with a salad (tomatoes, cukes and blanched romano beans). But it was good anyway.

Romesco cauliflower stew with cherry tomatoes, fava beans and chicken over brown rice!
There was quite a bit left over, but this dish worked nicely over pasta two days later. I separated out the chicken and shredded it, took the vegetables and all the liquid and pureed it with a bit of sour cream and asiago cheese. Voila! A totally different dish.