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Have a Heart

February 11, 2012 - 8:02am
Chris S


We spotted the first big-heart artichokes of the season at Suncoast Farm's stand at the Little Italy Mercato last Saturday. They could be just the thing if you’re aiming to win someone’s heart this week; like asparagus and oysters (also at the market now) they're considered aphrodisiacs.

Don’t be intimidated by these gorgeous green globes, we’ve found some friendly advice on how to prepare them so your special dinner will impress that special someone.  You may want to dip the lovely leaves in a homemade aioli made with eggs from Swiss Mountain, imported olive oil from Italianissimo, and fresh garlic from Sage Mountain; or for a delicious vegan option, use almond based Bitchin’ Sauce.  We also like this pretty recipe for roasted artichoke hearts.

When the last leaf is eaten, you’ll be down to one last tender bite, the heart of the artichoke.  And herein lies the true test of love: will you share?

Beer Week Partners Perfectly with Farmers' Market Bounty

November 2, 2011 - 11:09am
Britta T

It's San Diego Beer Week and there's no better way to celebrate than strolling through the Little Italy Mercato farmers' market and taking home all the ingredients you need to cook up some delicious bites to pair with our city's impressive brew lineup.

Hefeweizens are a dry, German style of wheat beer, usually made with a specific yeast that gives off flavors like banana and cloves. If you're entertaining, try pairing this beer with a light, citrusy Kale salad from Peace Pies or a fresh goat cheese from Nicolau Farms and slices of sweet Asian pear from Lone Oak Ranch.

Stouts are darker beers varying in flavor range- but invariably have some roasted characters that comes from the use of roasted barley. Try pairing them with rich, smoked foods or bitter chocolate desserts. Pick up a bottle of Gianni's Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and drizzle it over grilled asparagus from Suncoast Farm or lamb from Da Le Ranch. Or pair with Olive Oil Cafe's indulgent salted chocolate Dark Bear bar, or Caxao Chocolate's dark chocolate truffles: perfect with roasty, sweet stout flavors.

Ale varieties offer a wide range of characteristics, but if you like beer that has big herbal hops and balancing malty sweetness, this brew's for you. Strong Ale goes great with the deep dish pizzas from Berkeley Pizza because the carbonation and strength of the beer cuts through the acidity of tomato sauce and the gooey, delicious mozzarella. Or, grill up some local burgers to enjoy with a cold sip of ale-take home a pound of ground beef from Son Rise Ranch, a bag of spinach or arugula from Suzie's, and a sharp goat cheddar cheese from Spring Hill. Some fresh basil and onions from Schaner's Farm wouldn't be too bad either….


A Jarring Experience

July 15, 2011 - 1:49pm
Carolyn K

According to Chinese medicine, one should consume pickles during the hottest summer months as a tonic for cooling the stomach and strengthening the kidneys.  But don’t stop at cucumbers, almost any vegetable or fruit can be pickled.  Why not consider pickling chard from JR Organics, leeks from Schaner Farms, beets from Sage Mountain Farms, green beans or okra from Vang Farms and let’s not forget the pickled pepper!

Here is a basic pickling recipe that will get you started: Start with approximately 4 pounds of any vegetables.  Combine 3 cup vinegar, preferably apple cider, but rice, white or red wine are fine too with 3 cup water, 1/4 cup non iodized sea salt!  Check out  Salt Farm or She Sells Sea Salts for more adventurous infused and flavored salts. Cover the vegetables with the vinegar, water and salt mixture, fill sterilized mason jars and refrigerate.  Some vegetables, such as chard and leeks will need to be boiled for 5-10 minutes, before jarring.

Not so much into the whole do-it-yourself thing, then stop by the Happy Pantry booth, where they have an amazing selection of pickled veggies and salads.  However you choose to get your pickling fix, we think pickling is a great way to save your summer vegetables for consumption when you long for the taste of summer!


April 1, 2011 - 11:26am
Chris S


The good people at Happy Pantry have taken one of our favorite flavors of spring, fresh green asparagus, and made it even better by soaking it in white wine vinegar, coriander and lemon.  Pick up a jar of pickled spears at the Little Italy Mercato this Saturday. Those spears are delicious for snacking on on their own, and also make a great accompaniment to grilled salmon from the Bristol Bay Salmon Company or Poppa's Fresh Fish. We've even heard that they make a brilliant garnish for a classic bloody Mary!

Bring the empty jar back to Happy Pantry next week to save some money while helping to save the planet. They'll give you a dollar off on pickles for every jar you return  If you like that idea, you can also bring your empty egg cartons back to Schaner and Swiss Mountain Farms, and Pudwill Farms will gladly refill your used berry baskets. Check out Gourmet Delights for refillable olive oil bottles. And watch for reusable shopping bag recycling coming next week to the Mercato.

Saucy Spears

February 11, 2011 - 1:54pm
Chris S


Making a special dinner for Valentine's Day? Grilled wild salmon from the Bristol Bay Salmon Company and steamed asparagus from Suncoast Farms will tempt more than just taste buds. Add a touch of old school luxury by serving the asparagus with hollandaise sauce.  Many people are scared to make this sauce but it's not too tough using this method and you'll have a head start when you use farm fresh eggs from the market. 

You'll need three egg yolks from Shaner Farms, Descanso Valley or Swiss Mountain, and 1/2 cup of butter from Springhill Farm. Heat an inch of water in a saucepan and set a stainless steel mixing bowl atop the pan; the bowl should not be touching the water.  The pan should be over a low flame. Add the egg yolks to the pan and beat them with a wire whisk. Now add just a teaspoon of butter and whisk until it melts.  Continue adding butter, one tablespoon at a time, each time whisking just until the butter melts.  When all the butter is added, squeeze in the juice of one quarter lemon from Polito Farms and add a sprinkle of sea salt; whisk until smooth, spoon it over asparagus spears and serve immediately. 



February 10, 2011 - 4:04pm
Hillary E.


Whether you celebrate Saint Valentine or Cupid, there's no denying that February 14th is all about love. Our farmers and vendors can inspire your romantic palate with aphrodisiacs like oysters on the half shell from Poppa's Fresh Fish, slender tender stalks of asparagus from Suncoast Farms, delicate chocolate bars with rose petals and pistachios from Caxao Chocolates or gluten-free pastries with pretty heart motifs (pictured) from Olive Oil Cafe. Of course, if you like to keep things more traditional there's always a bouquet of flowers from Maldonado or Hidalgo Flower Growers and a box of chocolate truffles from Eclipse Chocolat. Berkeley Pizza even has heart-shaped pizzas.

If it's jewelry you're looking to bestow on this romantic holiday you're sure to find something at Isis Adornments or Lily Girl.  Whatever you choose and however you spend Valentine's Day know that we here at San Diego Weekly Markets <3 you.

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