February 14, 2010 Begins The Year of the Tiger

Gung Hay Fat Choy

(Best wishes and Congratulations.

Have a prosperous and good year.)


Did you know that oranges and tangerines are passed out freely during Chinese New Year as the words for tangerine and orange sound like luck and wealth, respectively.

Or, that Pomelo, the large ancestor of the grapefruit signifies abundance, as the Chinese word for pomelo sounds like the word for “to have.” They believe that eating Pumelo brings prosperity and good fortune.

I just finished eating the Pumelo I bought at the Farmers’ Market today. Bring on the Tiger. This Monkey is ready! If you haven’t eaten your Pumelo get out to the Farmers’ Market this weekend and buy some. You might look for some nice oranges and tangerines too.

May the Tiger bring you a prosperous and Happy New Year!

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Go Green

We read about it everywhere. We hear about it on the radio and on TV.  “Go green”, become environmentally-responsible. Drive a hybrid car. Install solar panels. Sure those are good ways to “go green”, but not all of us can afford to take those steps. Especially right now. But, there are some simple things you can do right now. Tomorrow, when you head to the Farmers’ Market or to your local grocery store, maybe you could carpool with a neighbor, or ride your bike, or take transit. If you are lucky enough to live close by, you could just walk. You could bring your own reusable produce bags and a basket, canvas bag, or even a wagon to carry your purchases. All of these are  steps toward environmental responsibility that you can do immediately.

In celebration of our movement towards “going green” I offer this wonderful recipe, from Cooking Light, for Winter Potage which incorporates six “green” vegetables; leeks, celery, broccoli, spinach, edamame and green peas. I love this recipe. First it uses lots of fresh veggies. Second, it’s easy to make and last, it tastes great. Add a loaf of fresh Artisan bread from the Farmers’ Market and you’ve got the perfect light dinner for a wintry evening. Enjoy!

WINTER POTAGE

4 servings (serving size: 1 ½ cups)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon butter

1 cup thinly sliced leek (about 1 large)

½ cup sliced celery

1 garlic cloves, minced

1 cups chopped broccoli florets

1 cups baby spinach leaves

1 cup shelled edamame

1 cup petite green peas (I used frozen)

1 tablespoon rice

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 ½ cups water

1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Heat oil and butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leek and celery; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute. Add broccoli, spinach, edamame, peas, rice, and red pepper. Stir in broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Place one-third of vegetable mixture in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed mixture into a large bowl; repeat procedure with remaining vegetable mixture. Stir in juice, salt, and black pepper.

Note: If you are not familiar with edamame, it is a preparation of baby soybeans in the pod.  The pods are boiled in water together with condiments such as salt, and served whole. You can also buy them already shelled at many markets. They can be found in the refrigerated produce section. You might also find them in the freezer section.

What to buy at the Farmers’ Market:

Leeks

Celery

Broccoli

Garlic

Spinach

Lemons

Sunday 11/8 Sacramento Certified Farmers Market-Yam Leaves

As I wandered through the market this morning I diligently wrote notes about the vendors that were there. I noted what they had that was new for the season. After purchasing some fuji apples, red flame grapes, onions, cilantro and some Japanese sweet potatoes I headed towards the parking lot and then it happened. I spotted yam leaves. Whoa, I’ve never seen these before. So I bought some. Couldn’t wait to get home to do some research on my new find.

Seems like they, like so many greens, are popular with the Asian community. That makes sense. I got mine from one of the many Asian produce vendors. They are  low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. They is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Niacin and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese. Sounds yummy to me. So now how do I cook them?

Some research turned up an interesting post from Cinnybear, a wordpress blogger.  Her post from 11/07 for  yam leaves talked to me. It not only looked wonderful in the great picture on the post, but the recipe sounded  like it was something that would be a perfect part of tonight’s dinner.

If you haven’t gotten out to the market this morning there’s still time. Go out and support the farmers who bring you fresh fruits and veggies each week. Buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers for the table. Enjoy earth’s harvest.

If you try something unusual this week. Let me know what it was and if you liked or disliked it, and why. I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Sacramento Farmers Market, 8th & W Streets 10/25/09

Feijoa

Feijoa

After a beautiful, very early, morning birding trip to the Cosumnes River Preserve www.cosumnes.org my sis and I stopped at my local hangout on Sunday mornings, the Farmers Market at 8th and W streets, underneath Highway 80. This is a very large, year round, market that has great prices and an exceptional selection of Asian produce. There’s a wide variety of fruits and produce to choose from. You’ll also find vendor’s selling fish, oysters, pork, chicken, eggs, cheese, breads, rice, mushrooms, flowers and native plants. Seasonal selections of note that will be around for a little while that I saw Sunday were, fresh brussel sprouts, still on the stalk, from the Monterey area, pomegranates whole and some seeded so you don’t need to deal with the mess, and Feijoa or  Pineapple Guava. We bought lemongrass, baby bok choy, crimini mushrooms, green beans, onions, garlic, scallions, leeks, Japanese sweet potatoes, and some baby sized red potatoes. The market’s open from  8 to 1.

A favorite recipe for the brussel sprouts is to cut them in half and toss them with a nice virgin olive oil a little salt and pepper and roast them at 375 until they are browned and pierce easily. Brussel sprouts are also delicious when you slice them thinly and stir fry them till tender then season with salt, pepper and fresh chopped thyme and a squeeze of lemon juice.

If you’ve never tried the Feijoa or pineapple guava ask for a sample. They are definitely worth a try. It’s sweet and the flavor is a combination of pineapple and guava or pineapple and strawberry. They have a very short season so if you see them try them cuz they may not be there next week.

Just saw a recipe for Cranberry pomegranate sauce in the Nov issue of Sunset magazine that I think I try. Sounds like a winning combination. Will let you know if it’s as good as it sounds.

To find more information on Sacramento’s Farmers Markets go to ( farmersmkts.htm ). If you’ve been to one of the other Sacramento Farmers Markets and saw or bought something you’d like to share please let me know. I’m always looking to learn about something new and would love to share it.

Ann

Davis Farmers Market 10/24/09

This past Saturday sister #2 and I headed out early to the Davis Farmers Market. Our mission, Pilar’s pork tamales for breakfast.  We have been enjoying this little delicacy for many years and the best thing about them, outside of them just being the best tamale’s ever,  is that they have remained consistent in quality over a very long time. These beauties are moist and succulent and the sauce that she offers as a topping is definitely, in our opinion, the “icing on the cake”. The other tamale selections are good too, as is the breakfast burrito, but our favorite is the pork. Once we had satisfied our tamale craving we did a slow cruz  through the market to see what we could find to incorporate into the lunch we had packed to take up to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge ( index.cfm?id=81619 ). We decided on some crisp red flame and  very sweet Thompson seedless grapes, an individual size flourless chocolate cake and a little pumpkin pie slice. We also picked up two very nice small sized (just enough for one person) butternut squash from Good Humus ( www.goodhumus.com ) and some Peony starts from Diane Madison of Yolo Bulb Farm ( yolo_bulb_farm ). I also had a nice conversation with Diane regarding some quince I have been experimenting with. She said hers aren’t ripe yet but that she will be putting some up and will have them at the market probably middle of next month. I tried some last year and they were so good. Just  smashed the pieces in their syrup, warmed it up, and served it over vanilla ice cream. Adding a sprinkling of toasted sliced almonds adds a nice crunch. Simple and very yummy.

Davis Farmers Market (www.davisfarmersmarket.org) is open all year round. Check them out some Saturday morning between 8 and 1 and be sure to enjoy a tamale or breakfast burrito while your there.

Ann