Wednesday, September 12, 2007

living it up, farmers market style

So as many of you know, summer is still alive and well in my mind. I calmly go about my day, ignoring Halloween decorations in stores, pumpkins in the supermarkets, bloggers' posts about soups and pot pies, and the weather forecast that says Saturday's high in Syracuse will be around 50 degrees! La la la la la. What's that you hear? The sound of Bazu covering her ears and trusting the calendar that says it's still summer, goshdarnit!

Daiku and I made a trip to the farmers market and came home with the booty that you see, above. We got: tomatoes (red and yellow), romaine lettuce, broccoli rabe, garlic, canteloupe, plums,

And a couple of the wonkiest white eggplants you are likely to have ever seen!

First of all, can I say, fresh local garlic is a revelation?? Ok, for someone who supposedly blogs about the joys of local food, this is going to sound pretty lame, but I never really buy garlic at the farmers market. It's one of those things that's so easy to throw in your cart at the supermarket and then forget all about. But these huge bunches of garlic were so fresh, so fragrant, so potent, it was a revelation. Like much else, garlic tastes better when it hasn't been shipped for thousands of miles and stored for months. *slaps forehead*

So with this revelatory garlic, and the broccoli rabe and multi-colored tomatoes from the market (and some fresh basil and oregano from the garden), we made this pasta dinner. It's a really improvisational dish, so I won't give a recipe, rather a guide to what I did:
  • boil some water for pasta, boil some water for the broccoli rabe
  • blanch the broccoli rabe by dunking it in salted boiling water for 1 minute, drain
  • while pasta is cooking, warm up a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil on medium-low heat
  • add a bunch of red pepper flakes and crushed garlic, allowing them to release their fragrance
  • add drained broccoli rabe, some salt, and pepper to the oil and heat through
  • turn off heat, add some diced tomatoes, a tiny bit more of garlic, and some chopped fresh basil and oregano to the mixture. cover and allow the flavors to blend
  • drain pasta and add it to the veggie mixture. stir to combine, then serve, garnishing with more fresh basil and oregano.
  • from chopping to dinner on the table in way less than 30 minutes - take THAT, Rachael Ray!

These Italian plums remind me of my mom, who used bring home huge amounts of them, and then laugh as I would proceed to eat them all. They are just so fragrant and delicious, with sweet flesh and tart skin, the way a plum should be!

And perfect for baking, too! When I saw this recipe on Emmie's blog for almond plum pie, I just knew I had to have it! I saved it for a special occasion and made it for our anniversary last week. Oh man, it's good. I'm not much of a pie baker, so these pictures aren't that great, but I assure you, the pie is. I loved the cinnamon/cardamom/almond combination, it was definitely the perfect flavor combo.

I didn't have the apricot marmalade called for in the glaze, so I used plum jam instead. I think it worked o.k. Thanks, Emmie!

As for the mutant eggplants? That's for a future post...

One year ago today: What I was blogging about on 12 September 2006



Theresa said...

I love wonky eggplants! I always pick those ones from the markets!

And, it's just getting to be springtime/summer here, so if you need to transport yourself to somewhere warm in your mind, Townsville is the place. Think blue skies, gentle breeze, hot hot sun, birds and flowers.

Celine said...

this eggplant is the bomb!! I need to head to the market soon in hope of adopting one too. ;p

Emmie said...

Oh wow, your pie looks so good. The colours are just perfect.

I've been trying to shut my eyes to autumn but it really isn't working, It's full on here now with yellow leaves and rain. It's beautiful but also terribly depressing.

I love your description of how you used to eat a buttload of plums as a kid, I used to be like that with grapes and mandarin oranges around xmas. Mum would buy a small crate of mandarins and before she knew it I would have eaten all of them, leaving only a pile of peel as proof.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Dontcha just love eating local?! Gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside.

This is actually the time of year when living in Houston aint's so bad....we are still in the 80s and 90s and no end in sight! Fall is certainly one of the better seasons (along with our non-winter).

THat plum pie looks amazing, all glisteny :-)

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

lovely produce - can't wait to see what you have in store for the white mutants! I feel like kicking summer aside, it's too hot for me -- bring on Fall! :)

Vanessa said...

mmmm, fresh garlic and italian plums!
I just picked up some plums too and they're like candy - too good to eat just one but I'm trying to pace myself until I get back to the market next weekend.

Hannah said...

All of that produce looks amazing... I'm completely jealous! I don't think that there are any farmer's markets nearby my college, and it's been hard enough just to get fresh fruits and veggies, local or not. I would sell my soul for a haul like that right about now!

Anonymous said...

That produce looks fabulous! It would be easy to pretend that fall is a long way off with colors as fresh and vibrant as that...

Your pie photos are lovely and the pie looks delicious, as always.


Anonymous said...

that eggplant is adorable! your plum pie looks so delicious... i hope it cools down here soon so i can enjoy some warm desserts :)

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Happy belated anniversary and plum pie!

And you are so funny with the eggplants!

aTxVegn said...

This is one of your best posts, Bazu! It's so colorful and full of good eats. The pasta and pie are gorgeous. The eggplant, however, kinda looks like a penguin.

KathyF said...

I don't think that eggplant is vegan, Bazu. It looks just like a cow udder.

Kati said...

That is one freaky lookin' have set out to prove that the odd looking veggies really do tasty better than their picture perfect counterparts. Lovely pie!

Emilie said...

holy freakish eggplant!

perfect pie crust!



dreamy said...

The pie looks delicious! I could do with some of them now :d

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary! I think the plum tart sounds like a great way to celebrate. I love the word wonky. Why don't people use it more often?