Sunday, October 24, 2010

Feasting From the Market!

I think that if you are a lover of food, you are a lover of farmer's markets. Those neighborhood, seasonal bastions of local produce and compassion towards a communities health. I am lucky enough to have one at the end of my block. It's a small little market with just a few larger farms and many smaller farms. But there tend to be more than one in a town/city now with the movement created by Slow Food, Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver books and ideas like the 100-mile diet. (I highly recommend the book Plenty from those authors!)

Going to the market, usually on Saturdays, is as much as you make it to be. Whether it's trudging down there in your 'cleaning-the-house' clothes and spending 10 minutes getting what you need and getting out of there or it's an event of pursuing the foods, sampling the seasonal items, watching the band play and getting a bit to eat of the tamales, crepes or giant 'sinnamon' rolls. Regardless, visiting the market connects you with those people who grow and harvest your food. They care about the whole cycle; from plant to table, they can tell you about the growing struggles for the year to the best way to cook the given vegetable. I love seeing the children of the farmer's there. Counting pennies, weighing onions and pears, and learning about the legacy of their family.

This past Saturday, I joined my awesome friend Stacia at her Hollywood Market. She volunteers here every weekend and has dove into the community and it's food. We decided to get together and make a meal that came straight from the market. It was fun selecting and discussing what we wanted and the best way to cook it.

Since Stacia is a friend that I adore, but don't hang out with too much, it was a great way for us to connect. You should try it! Share the preparation of a meal with a friend or friends. I recently read about someone conducting Perogie parties that included lots of flour, Russian traditional songs and vodka. That's quite a party, I'm sure you can make it fit your situation and availability for people who speak Russian and know traditional songs. But there's something wonderfully different from just serving friends food to creating a feast with them. Remember carving pumpkins with family? It's that same warm feeling only more sophisticated and you get to hold the knife.

Our meal was the following:

Whipped Cauliflower (of the purple variety; that is not a photoshop trick!)
-Chop the flower into manageable pieces
-Boil until soft
-Drain and put into a food processor or good blender.
-Add a tablespoon or so of margarine and blend.
(I've seen this recipe with *mylk and margarine, simulating mashed potatoes. Your preference!)

Sauteed Greens over Quinoa
-In a giant pot, sautee onions, garlic, and ginger in some olive oil
-When translucent, add the mountains of greens. (We used Russian Kale, Rainbow Chard and Beet Tops. Cut into strips) If the greens are wet, you don't need to add any water because the small amount of water helps steam the greens.
-Last, add any other spices and ingredients that might tickle your fancy. Stacia used basil, red pepper flakes salt and hazelnuts.
-Cook on a medium setting until the greens cook down and are tender.

Steamed Beets
-Cut those beets into circles, trimming off any 'hairy' parts.
-Steam them in a stove top steamer basket until soft.
-Serve on top of the greens

Enjoy with your friend, on a porch preferably. :)


  1. Awesome!!! The purple stuff looks cool! I hate cauliflower... do you think I would like it? I love your blog! I would love to get together and do this. Nice post!

  2. No you would not like the whipped cauliflower if you do not like cauliflower. It is like warm cauliflower-goo in your mouth. Yum!

  3. aww! I'm so excited about this post! (and I think I might get another purple cauliflower tomorrow if they have them again:) Cooking food together is one of the best things EVER--though I suppose it helps if your co-cooker is as awesome as you are;)

    One other thing about the greens: I also added garlic powder (since we forgot to add real garlic like we talked about) and some bell pepper. And the cauliflower was much better once we added some pepper to it.

    Let's cook more sometime! :)

  4. Kim - I've never seen a purple cauliflower but can't wait to find one to try. Does it have a different flavor from the white ones? Have you cooked any swiss chard? I got 2 plants to center with my pansies in my winter garden but they did not have any info re: cooking. Are there ornamental only chards or can you eat any of them?

  5. I've never heard of ornamental chard; In my opinion you can eat chard like crazy! The rainbow chard looks great growing in the garden. You should plant it and give it a try. I think it would say on the tag if it was ornamental only and that you shouldn't eat it.