Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market 11/25

I recently returned from a visit to San Diego where I spent Thanksgiving with my aunt and several cousins. Before I headed down south, I researched Farmers’ Markets in the area that we might be able to visit. I found an evening market in Ocean Beach that sounded pretty good so I proposed the idea of a visit the eve before Thanksgiving to the gang. “Sounds good” was the reply.  And, so it was that we headed out on the eve before Thanksgiving to explore the Ocean Beach Farmers\’ Market.

The first thing we saw as we approached the market was the llamas. If you’ve got little folks with you, who are under 75 lbs & 4 ft tall, they can take a llama ride. We didn’t have anyone who fit that description. But, there were some little folks who did and they were already taking a ride  so we spent a few minutes watching them before we headed out to explore the rest of the market. Like so many of the evening markets, this one has a festive atmosphere, like that of a street fair. There was a wonderful mix of things to see, to taste, to smell, to touch, and to hear.

There definitely was some incredible produce to choose from, we bought some green beans, baby carrots and baby chard. We also tasted humus from a vendor who had so many choices you could get full by just tasting. As we wandered along, I saw a sign for tamales, which I love. But, then I saw they also had something called a chili relleno taco. OK, even though we were going out to dinner, I said to myself, I have to try this. It was sooooooo yummy. I’m still thinking about that taco and hoping that I’ll get another chance to try one again.
We stopped several times to listen to various musicians and chat with vendors offering samples to taste. Half way down the block we marveled at the people gathered around the mini donut booth. We didn’t try any but from the length of the line they must be a favorite. My cousin ventured down a little side street lined with artisans with hand crafted items. She bought a beautiful hand crocheted hat that was her favorite color.

If you looking for a great way to spend an evening in San Diego check out the Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market. I know I’ll be headed back next trip down that way.

Seckel Pears

These little beauties are Seckel Pears. They look like baby pears and are wonderful eaten out of hand.  Or, you can slice them and serve with a young Manchengo cheese, they also poach or roast well, in combination, with white wine, honey and spices. Then there’s always the combination of pears and chocolate. Who could say no to that? If your taste buds haven’t tried Seckels’, perhaps, you should treat them to some.

Leftover turkey? How about a Pot-au-Feu?

Photography: Randy Mayor

The day after Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start thinking of making some turkey soup. A few years ago I ran across a recipe for a Turkey Pot-au-Feu. This is not your typical turkey noodle soup. In fact, it doesn’t even have noodles. Pot-au-Feu is a simple French dish of meat and vegetables simmered together. This version has lots of wonderful fresh winter veggies, from the Farmers’ Market, combined with tender chunks of leftover turkey, all floating in a rich broth. The finishing touch, fresh picked thyme from the garden. I love serving this with a hot crusty loaf of garlic Asiago bread and a glass of wine. This is the perfect after Thanksgiving dish.

Turkey Pot-au-Feu

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1 cup quartered crimini mushrooms

½ cup chopped carrot

½ cup chopped leek

½ cup chopped peeled rutabaga

½ cup chopped peeled turnips

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

½ cup dry white wine

4 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth (or homemade turkey broth)

2 cups leftover cooked turkey, chopped (light and dark meat)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon salt

Dash of black pepper

Fresh thyme sprigs

1.  Heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until golden. Remove mushrooms from pan.

2.  Heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add carrot and next 4 ingredients (carrot through garlic); sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook until reduced to ¼ cup (about 1 minute). Add mushrooms, broth, turkey, chopped thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Serves 6 (1 cup size servings)

What to shop for at the Farmers’ Market:

½ lb crimini mushrooms

1 medium carrot

1  medium leek

1 rutabaga

1 turnip


fresh thyme

Brandied Cranberries

fresh cranberries

Brandied Cranberries

This is an unusual way to cook your holiday cranberries but I really love the way they look and taste.

1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries

1 ½  cups sugar

1/3  to 1 /2  cup brandy

1 Tablespoons finely shredded orange zest

1.  Preheat oven to 325. Discard any soft or decayed cranberries.

2.  Mix cranberries, sugar, brandy to taste, and orange zest in an 8 or 9-in square baking dish. Bake, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 1/14 hours, stirring occasionally.

Make ahead: Cover and chill.

Pumpkin Pie: My Favorite Recipe

If you have read my “Who is Annie?” page you know I have been eating naturally for most of my life. I also have have been collecting, and receiving cookbooks as gifts, for most of my adult life, which is quite a while. Like most cooks, I have favorites. Favorite books and favorite recipes.  This recipe for pumpkin pie comes from an old favorite,  a 1971 paperback edition of, The New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook, by Jean Hewitt. My copy has been well used over the years. Favorite pages, have come away from the binding, and many of them are stained with splatters. The pages are yellowed, some dogeared or torn. It’s old and worn but still has much to give. At this time of sharing, I would like to share this favorite with you.

Look for one of those nice little “Sugar Baby” pumpkins at the Farmers’ Market. They’re perfect for pumpkin pie.

Oh No, I Missed This Weekend’s Farmers’ Market!

For all of you, who like me, had scheduled a weekend away and missed your chance to shop at the Farmers’ Market, there are still a few opportunities open to us before Thanksgiving, this Thursday. There are markets scheduled for the first part of this week. Here are a few that are scheduled in the Sacramento region. Addresses and more information for these locations can be found on the Blogroll on this page.  If you’re not from the Sacramento region you can check the Blogroll on this page  for a listing of Farmer’s Markets in surrounding regions. If I don’t have  a link listing that covers your area, Google, Yahoo or Bing search Farmers’ Markets and, please let me know what areas I need to add to the Blogroll.


Roseville: Fountains Shopping Center

8:30 to 1


Auburn DeWitt Center

10:30 to 1:30

Davis Farmers Market

Noon to 6

Winter Squash: Which one do I buy?

Ok, so you’re all ready to try winter squash. You get to the market and whoa, there are so many to choose from. What to buy? Here is a list of some of the more popular varieties and their uses. So read through this. Maybe even write down a few selections that sound good to you. Then, take your list with you to the Farmers Market. If you find a squash that you’re now sure about how to use it, ask the seller. In most cases, they are more than willing to share their knowledge about the vegetables they grow and how to use them. I have noticed also, that many of the markets offer slices of some of the larger squashes. This is great news for those of us who don’t want to buy a large quantity. If you see a large squash that you want to try and it’s not already cut. Ask if you can buy a piece instead of the whole thing.

Thanksgiving is next week so this will be a good weekend to buy your winter squash for that soup, side-dish or pie that you are going to make.

Don’t know where your local market is located or what time it starts. Check out the Blogroll on this page. Have a great time at the market this weekend. I know I will.

Acorn (Danish). Most are deeply furrowed, relatively small; Table Queen is best known.

Banana Maxima type with several named varieties, but all are elongated; typically about 5 pounds; blue-skinned variety is recommended over the pink-skinned types; roast and eat from the skin.

Buttercup Maxima type widely praised for flavor; small (about 1 ½ pounds) with dark green rind and dense orange flesh; all uses.

Butternut Long neck has a bulbous base; easy to slice and peel; high yield of dense, sweet, pale orange flesh; excellent all-purpose variety.

Delicata Elongated squash with green and gold striations on  a cream background; 1 ½ to 3 pounds; relatively thin skinned; light-textured golden flesh; superb eating out of the skin.

Hubbard Typically bulbous in the middle and tapered on the ends; medium to large; maxima species; it is superb eating.

Jack Be Little Mini pumpkin (about ½ pound) with orange rind and flesh; tasty single-serving format.

Kabocha Rounded Japanese squash weighing 2 to 3 pounds on average with a dark green rind and deep orange flesh; meat is dense, sweet, dry, sweet potato like; good for pie and soup.

Marina di Chioggia Conversation piece; large (about 10 pound) squash with a warty blue-green rind and golden flesh; widely praised for it’s fine flavor.

Munchkin Small and round with a reddish-orange rind and yam-colored flesh, dense, nutty, sweet.

Musquee de Provence Large (about 13 pounds) deeply lobbed, flattened squash with a green and gold rind; orange flesh; a favorite for just about anything.

Red Kuri Medium size (about 3 pounds) squash with a reddish-orange exterior and a deep orange flesh; maxima species; good for roasting.

Sugar Pie Medium-sized pumpkin about 2 ½ pounds. Super-sweet flesh is excellent in pies.

Sweet Dumpling Small (about 1 pound), squat, ridged squash with green and gold striations on a cream background; flesh is golden, light textured; good for eating out of the skin.

Table Queen A named variety of acorn squash. It is dark green, deeply furrowed and acorn-shaped. The flesh is golden, dense and sweet but sometimes a little fibrous.

Triple Treat A 6 to 8 pound pumpkin. So named because it is good for eating out of the skin and for pies and because it’s hull-free seeds can be roasted.

Winter Squash; The perfect Thanksgiving soup.

Squash Bisque

This is, by far, one of my favorite soups and one I often make for Thanksgiving. I thought you would get a kick out of the fact that it’s still on it’s

original typewritten, (yes with a typewriter) 3 x 5 recipe card. There are even some if my handwritten notes on it. There’s something very comforting about recipes that have stood the test of time.

Squash Bisque

3 tablespoon butter

1 cup minced onion

¼ cup minced carrot

salt and white pepper

2 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 Delicata squash, peeled and diced

4 cups chicken stock or broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

cayenne pepper

In a saucepan melt butter. Add the onion and carrot and sprinkle the vegetables lightly with salt and white pepper. Cover the pan with a sheet of buttered wax paper and the lid and cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes, or until they are tender. Add the potatoes and squashes, both peeled and cubed, and the chicken stock or broth and simmer, covered, over low heat for about 25 minutes until the potatoes and squash are very tender. Force the mixture through a sieve. Return it to the pan and add the cream and milk. Cook the soup until it is heated through. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Pour the bisque into a tureen and serve it in heated cups, sprinkling each serving with a bit of cayenne, if desired. I highly recommend the cayenne but, be careful not to use too much! A sprinkle looks beautiful and isn’t overbearing.

Serves 8

Note: If you want to make it ahead of time, make the soup through the part where you mash the vegetable mixture. Cover and store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to finish, warm the vegetable mixture (the microwave is great for this), return the mixture to the stove, add the cream and milk and cook until the soup is heated through.

Pick up these ingredients at your local Farmers Market:

• 2 Delicata squash

• 1 yellow onion

• carrots

Winter Squash; The Perfect Side Dish for Thanksgiving

In keeping with my winter squash post from last week, here is another perfect side dish for Thanksgiving.

Butternut Squash with Browned Butter and Thyme

  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, flesh diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon of dried)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add the butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter. Once melted it will foam up a bit, then subside. Honey-colored browned milk solids will begin to form. The butter should have a wonderful nutty aroma. Remove from heat. Add the thyme, whisking continuously. If using fresh thyme, the mixture will foam up a bit.

(Note that it doesn’t take much time to go from browned butter to burnt butter. You will want to remove the pan from the heat element and place it on a cool surface to help stop the cooking of the butter. If the butter burns, I recommend dumping it and starting over, something I’ve had to do on occasion when not paying close attention.)

2 Add the cubed butternut squash pieces to the pan and return the pan to the burner, heating to medium high. Use a wooden or metal spoon to stir the squash pieces so they are all well coated with the butter thyme mixture. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread the squash pieces out in an even layer and let cook, without stirring, so that they brown a bit on one side (several minutes). Stir and spread the pieces out again and let cook without stirring so more sides get browned.

3 Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let cook until the squash is tender, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how big you cut the pieces.

Add more salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with a bit more chopped fresh thyme before serving.

Serves 4.

Pick up these ingredients at your local Farmers Market:

• 1 1/2lbs butternut squash

• fresh thyme

This recipe is from Simply Recipes, a blog or personal website, created and maintained by Elise Bauer. It’s a great site. Check it out and enjoy her yummy recipes.