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Pacific Beach Farmers' Market Blog

CUCINA ROMANA

August 15, 2011 - 2:12pm
Author: 
Britta T

CUCINA ROMANA

Summer vegetables are in their peak, and we have to admit we're up to our cheeks in heirloom tomatoes. So let's all take a night off from the fish tacos and craft brews and shop  the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers' Market to revisit the real flavors of mediterranean cuisine. Do as the Romans do this week and set yourself up for a delectable and carbohydrate loaded Italian feast.

We're giving you the freedom to be creative here and let the produce inspire you. Be brave, and be colorful! (We won't blame you if you stop by Enoteca Adriano on Cass Street on the way home, to enjoy a nice class of red wine before cooking up a rich, sensational meal.

Start with "antipasto", or appetizers. Toasted bruschetta always pleases crowds and can be served hot or cold as you linger in good conversations. Pick up a fresh baguette from Bread & Cie, rub the slices with garlic, freshly chopped basil from Maciel & Family, and drizzle with organic olive oil from our new vendor, Bari Olive Oil. Now, move on to the first course, "primo". Nicolau Farms has a superb goat cheese gnocchi that you could serve in small portions, just after you've whet your appetite with the antipasto.

Take home a few pounds of heirloom tomatoes from Kawano Farms or JR Organics to make a homemade, spicy red sauce and create something tantalizing with those voluptuous eggplants from Suzie's Farm, or their emerald skinned zucchini.

There are so many options, you might try braising some grass fed beef or pork from SonRise Ranch and serving that over a steamy, buttery squash ravioli pasta from Lisko Imports to combine the secondo (main dish) and contorno (side dish).

Every meal must end with dolce, or sweets, and a juciy nectarine from Smit Orchards, a handful of almonds from Hopkins AG with a scoop of rich, creamy gelato from Gelato Busstop will end your meal in a sugarplum dream…
 

GRAPES GALORE

August 11, 2011 - 12:08pm
Author: 
Britta T

OH GRAPES...

Aesop might have been mistaken when he boasted about sour grapes, because we have tasted and we have seen their sweetness at the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers' Market. Lone Oak Ranch and Smit Orchards are now offering some of the finest grapes of the first harvest.

If you're bored with plain jane grape salads and cheap grade grape popsicles, try your luck at making this surprisingly delightful concord grape and nectarine butter. It will surely turn any sour faces into smiles! Spread on a whole grain slice from Bread & Cie and enjoy.

Here's how you make it: Put 7-8 ripe nectarines, diced coarsely (no need to remove skins) and 4 cups of concord grapes in a large pan. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until the fruit gets soft. Strain seeds through a food mill (or mash and press through a fine strainers). Return remaining pulp to the pan. Boil gently, stirring constantly until reduced by half. Turn off the heat, add 1/4 cup of raw honey from Mikolich and mix well. Pour fruit butter into sterilized jars, leaving some headspace. Make sure to follow instructions for proper sealing/canning methods.

 

 

FULL OF PURA VIDA

August 11, 2011 - 11:55am
Author: 
Britta T

FULL OF PURA VIDA

What's that feeling in the air at the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers' Market? The Costa Rican phrase meaning "the full life", has made it way to our Tuesday markets. What better way to honor the Latin American way of life through a celebration of colorful food and flavors?

One of the national dishes in Costa Rica is "gallo pinto", (which means spotted rooster, though no rooster finds its way to the plate in this case). To make a simple version, toss together a tantalizing combination of cooked black beans, white rice, fresh chopped cilantro and a special, fermented condiment called "chilero". Make your own In a quart jar: combine a few cups of grated carrots (try the purple ones from Suzie's Farm), one sliced yellow onion, one chopped sweet red pepper, 1-2 chopped jalapenos, some minced garlic, a few tablespoons of sea salt (Salt Farm has a smattering variety) and filtered water. FIll the jar with water, leaving an inch or so for air. Cover the jar tightly and store it at room temperature for a few days to let it ferment.

If you don't have time to make your own chilero, Happy Pantry sells an equally amazing kimchi that would substitute. This zesty blend also pairs wonderfully with fresh ceviche from La Isla Ceviche. Sounds like a full meal! To life!  

Want a reminder of that happy feeling? Stop by our neighbor Pangea Outpost and pick up a colorful Pura Vida bracelet.

 

FANCY WITH FRISEE

August 8, 2011 - 1:38pm
Author: 
Britta T

"CURLY" IN FRENCH, WITH APPLES IN AUTUMN

Often, this resplendant green is overlooked by far too many shoppers. Frisee is that sometimes wilty looking, brightly colored green with curly locks. Adorable, in the same sense that orphans are adorable. Eager and darling with that well-used look.

Frisee, otherwise known as Endive, is a peppery, nutty green that pairs perfectly with the first harvest of Autumn apples. Smit Orchards has bright, crispy, rouge Galas that only really taste their best during these first few weeks of harvest. Suzie's Farm has been offering delicate heads of frisee, along with an array of other fancy herbs like tarragon, stevia, and chamomile, that make an ideal, tender autumn salad. Mix a few tablespoons of fresh pressed olive oil from Falcone's with some apple cider vinegar and some minced shallot from JR organics. Add a spoonful of Mikolich's raw honey to make a well rounded, sweet vinaigrette. Gently tear the leaves of frisee into bite sized pieces, place 1 or 2 sliced Gala apples and perhaps a handful of dried cherries from Smit, and top it all off with raw, coursley chopped walnuts from Nicolau Farms. 

Enjoy the assertive taste of seasonal greens and the sweet juiciness of summer's last hurrah...

 

BEET THE HEAT

August 8, 2011 - 1:12pm
Author: 
Britta T

FROM RUSSIA, WITH SOUP


Invite your neighbors over, turn on some music, sit outside and settle down with a bowl of hearty, cold Russian beet soup. On a hot summer day, this soup is energizing and light. The red beets from Suzie's Farm, with their sweet flavor that is close to the earth, from which they emerged, make a dazzling duo with JR organics' cucumbers. In a mixing bowl, combine three cups of buttermilk, a peeled & quartered cucumber, 3-4 cooked beets (sliced, with juice), and two chopped green onions with a bit of white vinegar. Stir in a bit of fresh, chopped dill or mint and a dash of salt to taste. Let soup chill for a couple of hours, or overnight, and serve cold, replacing the traditional sour cream garnish with a dollop of fresh goat cheese from Nicolau Farms. A loaf of fresh rye or pumpernickel bread makes this dish a real Russian experience.

 

I 'DINO BOUT PLUOTS

August 4, 2011 - 12:13pm
Author: 
Britta T

SOVEREIGN STONEFRUIT

Decadent and evocative, this crimson queen. As the summer sun warms the earth in his elegant embrace, she emerges brazenly, a glistening jewel among other fruits. Her flesh-exceptionally juicy, intensely sweet. Her skin, bold and ostentatious, stealing the hearts of every foraging soul.

Yes, friends, the time has come to surrender to the mighty flavor of the Pluot. Often referred to as "dino eggs", the pluots are an elaborate cross species of Plum and Apricot, their skin variegated with hues of dark red wine, and vibrant amber sunsets. With names like "Dapple Dandy", "Flavorosa", "Emerald Drop", and "Raspberry Jewel", how you can you even resist!?

Here are a few tantalizing ways to play with the queen of summer stone fruits. Lone Oak Ranch and Smit Orchards have a stunning offering of just plucked pluots, which should still be somewhat firm when you select them.

1. Grilled: Half the pluots and brush with a dollop of raw honey (from Mikolich Honey) and Dijon mustard. Grill until browned on both sides. If you're feeling really sexy, pick up a pound of pork or lamb chops from Son Rise Ranch to serve alongside and you'll have an impressive dinner plate.


2. Brûléed: Spread sliced pluots in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Broil until bubbly and browned. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or homemade gelato from Il Gelato di Renato. (don't let it melt before you get home!)


3. In salsa: Use chopped pluots instead of tomatoes in fresh salsa- mix with lime juice from Paradise Valley Ranch, chopped chiles from Suzie's Farm, and onion & cilantro from JR Organics


4. In salad: Adding sliced pluots to your tender greens makes for a dazzling salad. Toss in some crumbled goat feta from Nicolau Farms to a plate of greens from Suzie's, and dress with a soft, sweet balsamic vinegar from Gianni's Fine Foods. 
 

Seafood Summers

August 4, 2011 - 10:18am
Author: 
Britta T

GO FISH!

Seafood makes the perfect dish for the perfect summer we've having in San Diego, and we have your cool fresh fish right here at the Pacific Beach Tueday Farmers' Market. The warm Santa Ana winds have greeted us, turning our afternoons into balmy, never ending dreams. If you're making your way to the cool blue water in Pacific Beach next Tuesday, stop by the market and pick up a tub of ceviche from one of our newest vendors - La Isle Ceviche. They offer a bright blend of summer's best flavors - onion, salt, and pepper, along with cilantro, fresh fish or shrimp marinated in citrus juices spiced with hot chili peppers and homemade pico de gallo salsa.

This dish is definitely a favorite of local beach-goers, from the shores of Central and South America where this dish originates, to the picture perfect coasts of Southern California. Buy it here, or pick up a fresh piece of yellowtail or halibut from Miss Sushi at the market, a few limes from Paradise Valley Ranch and fresh farm vegetables to make your own. All you need to add is a cold sparkling lemonade from Rose's Italian Soda, a crispy tostada, a few fresh slices of soft avocado from John Gilruth's stand, and maybe a sweet ear of summer corn from Kawano Farms to roast over an open bonfire. Who knew a fish dish could bring so many beautiful things together? 

 

THE THYME IS NOW

August 1, 2011 - 10:39am
Author: 
Britta T

MAKING IT MEDITERRANEAN

If you've ever frequented any of our weekly farmer's markets, you're sure to have passed by or stopped to taste some of the incredible spices and oils offered by our amazing vendors. Many of the flavors that so often permeate the air in San Diego originated in the culturally rich and flavorful Mediterranean region where fresh, healthy food grows abundantly. Olives, milk, honey, fruits, some of the best spices, oils, and meals came to us all the way across the big blue sea.

But you needn't trek too far to scavenge for these fresh flavors: You can taste in person the savor of Za'tar- the famous sweet, spicy and tangy mix of middle eastern herbs. Thyme of Essence sells an impeccable array of Za'tar varieties, packaged in beautiful, round tin cans, as well as pure California olive oil. You can find some of the finest olives to complete your meal from Falcone's just down the row. You can get lost in the rich, smooth and velvety sensations of a Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar from Gianni's Fine Foods. And with that, you can indulge buy purchasing a fresh, crusty baguette from local bakery Bread & Cie. And what's a mediterranean meal without a crispy cucumber salad? Visit Kawano Farms, JR Organics, Maciel Family Farm, or Suzie's Farm for your share of crisp cucumbers and mouthwatering heirloom tomatoes…


 

Creating a Cornucopia

July 28, 2011 - 9:52am
Author: 
Britta T

CORN-U-COPIA

You've heard all about, you've waited for it all season long, you're dying with anticipation to taste it...wait no longer, friends, CORN is here! At the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmer's Market we have corn flying off the tables like hotcakes, and it is time to take advantage of summer's abundance and create your own cornucopia for dinner!

Kawano Farms has some delicious sweet corn that pairs oh so well with fresh cherry tomatoes from JR organics. To make a tasty, exquisite summer salad, in a large bowl toss together a half a pound of cherry tomatoes (halved) with the kernels cut from 6 cooked ears of corn and around 2 pounds of small red potatoes (cooked, rinsed, and quartered). Blend together a dash of white wine vinegar and a good amount of your favorite olive oil from Gianni's Fine Foods, along with a healthy handful of fresh basil leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste and blend until the dressing is emulsified. Then toss everything together and you have yourself quite the copious cornucopia of summer flavors. 

Cool as a Cucumber

July 25, 2011 - 12:57pm
Author: 
Britta T

COOL AS A CUCUMBER

Have you been seeing those sneaky snake-like fruits popping up at the markets? Ta-daa! They're cucumbers! The cucumber, or Cucumis Sativus, is one of the most direct relatives to muskmelons and gourds, and as most people know, there's nothing quite as a cool as a cucumber- cucumber peels can be used to treat skin irritation or sunburns, and the fruit contains nearly 95% water and loads of potassium to keep you hydrated during the summer months.

Here's a refreshing tonic that will bring you back to life, especially if you've enjoying it too much! Sea salt delivers a healthy form of sodium with important trace minerals and elements like magnesium and calcium that replenish your supply of electrolytes. Try using one of the Natural Sea Salt blends from Salt Farm, and while you're at it grab a bunch of fresh mint from Maciel farms or JR Organics. Or, if you're hankering for a little exotic flavor, Paradise Valley Ranch has some tasty limes to twist into your drink.

Cucumber Cooler:
In a blender, mix together until completely pureed:
2 medium sized cucumbers
Juice from 2 limes
5-6 mint leaves
1 pinch of sea salt
1 cup water
2-3 ice cubes