Saturday, September 16, 2006

Getting out of my USG rut

It sounds simple, but I started on the other end of the greenmarket today. Usually, by the time I slog my way through from the lower, southwestern corner, up to the bend, I've already got bagsful of produce - out of room, patience, and money. And it worked! I ended up finding lots of new apple varieties, and buying my "staples" from different vendors than usual, with the exception of peppers (I had a great conversation with the fellow at my usual pepper stand), shallots, and herbs.

My more-eclectic-than-usual take:
1 bunch fresh basil
1 bunch fresh oregano
6 apples, various types (among them Honeycrisp, Macintosh, Jonamac...)
3 peaches
2 purple plums
2 nectarines
4 shallots
2 heads Rocambole garlic
1 lb. green beans
1 bunch kale
3 Poblano peppers
3 Hatch chiles
5 jalapeno peppers
total spent: about $28

Three of the shallots, half a head of garlic, and most of the fresh herbs have already been simmering in my tomato sauce for a few hours, with unsurprisingly delicious results. (And I now know why most people don't use fresh oregano - after you've rinsed and dried what feels like 1000 little stalks, you have to pluck ten or so delicate, fuzzy leaves from each, then chop all of it somehow.)

Kale was a risk, but since I don't like Swiss chard, and spinach might poison me, I had to do something green and leafy. Luckily, Recipezaar provided a really great-sounding recipe for white beans and kale, so I'll try that one of these nights. The recipe couldn't get more wintry, unless it were served in a butternut squash bowl.

The green beans will have their usual fate - blanched, cold, for lunch snacks - and all the peppers will end up in a gigantic pot of black beans. I'll roast the Poblano and Hatch (as my pepper guy instructed), and probably won't use all the jalapenos, though they are little (and were 5 for $1).

Last week's early goldens weren't as crisp and sweet as before I went on vacation, so I eschewed them entirely in favor of a mixed bag of "crisp"-promising varieties. The Macintoshes I picked up last week were terrific (and I got a couple more this time around), though I feel a bit mainstream saying so.

Speaking of mainstream, I bought Kitchen Confidential today, and I'm devouring it, despite Bourdain being a semi-sexist vegetarian-hater. (I think he just hates vegetarians who are irritating about it when they're at restaurants. But who doesn't?)

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