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Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market

September 5, 2009
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Buckets of Beans

Buckets of Beans

One of the best things about living in Santa Cruz, CA is the abundance of fresh, organic, local produce. It’s not just fruit and vegetables either. You can get cheese, pork, beef, breads, nut milks, dried fruits and much more.

Farmhouse Sauerkraut

Farmhouse Sauerkraut

My favorite market is held every Wednesday downtown in the public parking lot at the corner of Cedar & Lincoln St. It is open for from 2:30-6:30 but people are arriving by 2. By the time the bell rings to signal the opening of the stalls for business, the place is swarming with people.

I love everything at the market but I always have to stop at the Farmhouse Culture booth to get my sauerkraut. This is the best sauerkraut I have ever had.

Tomatoes & Basil

Tomatoes & Basil

Another favorite of mine is Garden Variety Cheese Co. I love that this farm allows you to adopt a ewe. When you adopt a ewe for $500 you are covering the cost of feeding and caring for a sheep and supporting a local organic farm. In return you get $600 worth of the farm’s product. The farm also invites sponsors to visit the farm and your ewe!

Beets & Carrots

Beets & Carrots

Onions & Eggplant

Onions & Eggplant

By the time I leave the market my bags are full of the freshest produce possible and my belly is full of fresh fruit samples. Going to Wednesday’s market has become my weekly ritual. This week I’m away and I am really going to miss it!

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Tasty Salmon

September 5, 2009
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Tasty Salmon

Tasty Salmon

In my opinion salmon can be the most wonderful food on earth or absolutely horrible. The salmon you buy makes a huge difference in the taste of the meal. I buy only wild caught Alaskan salmon. I like Coho best.

WHAT I FOUND IN THE KITCHEN-

10 inch long fillet of salmon
1/4 tsp ginger (powder)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches of nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TBS agave nectar
1/4 cup oil

WEAPON OF CHOICE- oven baking dish

1. Place the salmon in your baking dish.

2.  Mix all the dry ingredients together. Rub them into the salmon. Drizzle the salmon with agave.

3. Cover the baking dish with tin foil and place it in the fridge. The longer you marinate it the better the flavor will be. Try for at least 2 hours, 4-6 is better.

4. Uncover the fish, drizzle it with the oil. Recover with the tin foil and bake it in the over at 400 degrees. The time will vary depending on the thickness of your fish. After about 10-15 minutes uncover the fish and check it’s progress. Leave the foil off for the remainder of the cooking time. The fish is done when it is flakey. I usually check for this in the thickest part of the fish.

NOTE- The agave may start to burn as it runs the fish onto the pan. If this happens scoop it out before it starts to smoke! Sometimes I add more oil to keep this from happening.

I like this recipe. I have actually made it more than once. The last time was for a big family dinner, photographed above. My mom made the veggies and potato.

Next time I make it, I want to try using fresh ginger and fresh thyme!

Buffalo Bolognese

August 31, 2009
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Buffalo Bolognese

Buffalo Bolognese

WHAT I FOUND IN THE KITCHEN-

1 lb. ground Buffalo (you can really use whatever kind of ground meat you prefer)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 zucchinis, chopped  small
3 large tomatoes, diced
2 TBS oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS italian seasoning

WEAPON OF CHOICE- wok

1. Heat the oil in your wok, or large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the onions stirring frequently until they are soft. Add the buffalo, break it all apart with your cooking utensil (I like a wooden spoon). Make sure it is all cooking and you don’t have any really large chunks. When it is looking like it is about cooked through add the zucchini, tomatoes, italian seasoning and salt. Mix thoroughly. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about an hour.

We ate this over rice with a side of green beans fresh from our garden. It was really good. Today for lunch I wrapped some of it up in a tortilla. It would have gone well with some avocado and cheese!

Lazy Girl’s Salmon

August 31, 2009
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Lazy Girl's Salmon

Lazy Girl's Salmon

WHAT I FOUND IN THE KITCHEN-

1 package smoked salmon fillet
leftover brown rice
1 bunch asparagus, cut of the last inch or 2 of the ends
1 head broccoli, discard stem. I feed it to my dog, she loves it!

WEAPON OF CHOICE- pot of boiling water

1. Put the veggies in the boiling water for about 3 minutes. While they are boiling heat your reheat your rice.

2. Arrange your plate

This meal is soooo easy, as long as you already have rice. Sometimes I normally make it with zucchini instead of the asparagus and broccoli. I heat the sliced zucchini in a pan with the leftover rice. I serve it with a salad, OK I put a handful of micro greens on my plate. That is sort of a salad, isn’t it?

A Date

August 29, 2009
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Me on our date

Me on our date

Sander on our date

Sander on our date

This morning I managed to get my Lymie butt up out of bed early enough to go on a breakfast date with my husband.

I even took the time to put on makeup! I don’t even remember the last time I did that. The sick look just wasn’t doing it for me. Of course he tells me that he always thinks I’m beautiful, I know, too sweet. It’s not that I don’t believe he’s telling the truth, I just think he’s blinded by his love for me. That is a good thing, but the truth is I could use a little makeup sometimes.

We went to Zelda’s in Capitola. Not the best breakfast restaurant in the area,that would be Zachary’s. Zelda’s is right on the water and there is no wait. It was perfect, just like the weather.

What are Tomatillos

August 28, 2009
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Tomatillos are those strange little things that look like green tomatoes wrapped in some kind of papery husk. That is actually pretty much what they are. Tomatillos are not tomatoes but they are in the same family. I guess they are more like cousins than brother and sister. They are originally from Latin America. The Aztecs first started cultivating them around 800 BC.

If you want to give them a try choose the firm green fruits with the skin still intact. These will be tart, the way they are traditionally preferred. The softer yellow ones will be sweeter.

Tomatillos are can be eaten raw or cooked. They are used in salads, sauces, salsa verde, stews, and baked entrees. Cooking enhances the flavor.

After you remove the husk from the tomatillos you will have to wash them. They are sticky! A little warm water and gentle rub is enough to remove the film.

Tomatillos

Tomatillos

Pork Butt Blade Verde

August 28, 2009
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Pork Butt Blade Verde

Pork Butt Blade Verde

WHAT I FOUND AT THE STORE-

I was at the grocery store today and I decided I was going to buy tomatillos. I had never bought them before, had no idea how to pick them, no idea what to do with them, I literally knew nothing about them at all. I assumed that green sauce like salsa verde was made with them, but I wasn’t convinced I was right. Maybe salsa verde is made with green tomatoes. I didn’t even know if a tomatillo was a tomato. So I blindly bought seven of them.

I decided that I needed a hot pepper to go with them, I don’t know why it just sounded right. I don’t know anything about peppers either. I do know that I don’t like hot and spicy, so I asked the produce guys which one was mild. It was quickly decided that I needed a poblano pepper. So I was now armed with a bunch of tomatillos and a poblano pepper. Oh, and a yellow onion, I’m pretty familiar with those.

Pork sounded like the next natural ingredient. What do you make pulled pork with? I asked the butcher. I’m not sure he knew either but he sold me boneless pork shoulder butt blade steaks. I had to giggle a little bit, butt blade.

OK SO THAT IS-

Tomatillos in the pot

Tomatillos in the pot

7 tomatillos, cubed
1 poblano pepper, minced
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 boneless port shoulder butt blade steaks
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS oil

WEAPON OF CHOICE- rice cooker, I don’t have a crockpot.

1. Heat the oil in the rice cooker (or crockpot or larger pot) Cook the pork for a few minutes on each side.

2. Add the onion, poblano pepper, tomatillos and salt. Let it slow cook. After about an hour I checked the pork, it wasn’t pulling apart the way I had envisioned. So, I pulled it out and minced it up, tossed it back in, stirred my concoction and closed the lid for another hour.

It turned out pretty good. A little tart, in a nice way. I ate it with rice pasta and steamed zucchini. Next time I would eat it over brown rice instead or use as the meat for fajitas. Something about it was just crying out for sour cream. Oh I wish I could have sour cream, yummy.