Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Santa Monica Farmer's Market

There are few things I enjoy more than a good farmer's market, and Santa Monica happens to have a great one. This morning, along with my girlfriend Rebecca, I filled my bag with the bounties of early summer goodies. The most difficult thing is not buying everything that looks good!

And, if I may get on my soapbox for a moment here - please support your local farmer's markets. We all need to buy more locally grown and produced food and goods!

I ran across a few unusual greens and was wondering if anyone out there knew about them or had any experience cooking them. The first one is Huanzontle, or Lamb's Quarters.

The other one was Broccoli Spigarello, which looks like the leaves from the broccoli plant, but I am not sure if that is what they actually are or not. Does anyone have any idea?

Very sadly, the Fava beans are almost out of season. At every farmer's market there seems to be a mad rush to buy the fava beans, and they sell out every time. Meanwhile, if you can find them in the grocery stores, they sit until they wilt and become old. If you find them at your market, buy and enjoy them while you can. Remember, they should be firm and bright green. I think - the bigger the better.

Some Italians eat them raw, but I prefer them cooked lightly and simply. Remove the outer pods and put the beans in a pot of boiling water. Cook very quickly, for maybe 4 or 5 minutes. Remove and rinse under cold water. When cool enough to handle, use your finger nail or a little, sharp knife to make a little slice in the top of the casing and pop the bean out in a bowl. Enjoy plain like that with a chunk of pecorino for an appetizer, or drizzle with a little good olive oil and salt and pepper and serve as a side dish.

Buon appetito!

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