December 11, 2010

Farm Fresh Diary: Pardon the delay

I've been absent for longer than I would have liked, but this week was not conducive to blogging. Work was really busy (we had a big Holiday community event), I came down with an icky cold, and I was preparing for today's Holiday Bazaar. Thankfully things have quieted down a bit: the event was a success (despite the rain), I am nearly 100% recovered, and I completed all of my items for the Holiday Bazaar. Too bad I won't be able to reward myself for work well done--and a week finally over--with a trip to the farmers' market. Ah boo...

Instead I'll share photos and thoughts from my shopping last Saturday.

A new vendor has moved to the market: a Christmas tree lot! The market was lovely last Saturday: a little damp, not too chilly, and filled with fresh pine scent. The Christmas tree lot has squished all of the other vendors closer together, a new arrangement that I actually like. Although, I'm sure I would feel very, very differently if I had experienced this new configuration later in the day when it is busier (aka filled with people who are oblivious to how their actions affect others and/or are at the market with coffee in hand and child or pet in tow).

All I really needed this time was an onion and parsley (for making chicken broth), but I ended up getting some other goodies as well. I figured that fingerling potatoes would be nice, as would some heirloom carrots, which I roasted with cauliflower (yum!). I sampled a bit of satsuma and then picked up 4. And I also got something that I've never tried before. If I remember correctly it's called rapini. It's the green leafy veg on the right; I've seen it at the market for quite some time now, but I was wary of trying it. Happy Boy always provides preparation suggestions alongside its produce and for some reason the thought of sauteing this green with olive oil and garlic sounded really good. So I picked up a bunch and prepared it as such. And I have to say that I liked it--it kinda tastes like kale, but is much more tender. It also cooked quicker, but the yield was less than I had expected. At any rate, I think I'll get it again.

No one responded to my mystery veg post :(
Oh, well. It happens. It's called cardoni. According to Internet sources it is a vegetable that resembles celery in form but is actually related to artichoke hearts and is a favorite in Italy. I couldn't find many recipes but I knew that we had to try it. So I braised it in chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and tarragon--just like how I braise artichokes. One source that I found gave two words of advice: 1) soak the cadoni in salted water to remove the bitterness, and 2) cardoni is cooked when it is fork tender. I followed these instructions, but unfortunately it did not turn out very well: the cardoni was way undercooked and really, really bitter. I still haven't decided if I'm going to try to make it again. But it has disappeared from the supermarket, so I guess I have some time to think it over.

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