Saturday, September 30, 2006

One faux pas, but an otherwise uneventful trip

Green, green, green. Everything other than the squash is green these days, and half of it is bell peppers (which I hate), and broccoli (which I love, but which I can't buy because my photo assistant hates it). Maybe it was because I got up too early, but I had an unfortunately blah trip to the USG today...but I still managed to make some interesting choices.

Today's (mostly-green) selections:
1/2 lb. salad mix
1/3 lb tat soi
1 bunch Swiss chard
3 zucchini
4 assorted peppers - Anaheim and "El Diablero"
3 poblano(?) peppers
1 lb. seedless green grapes
1.5 lbs. nectarines
10 assorted apples - Honeycrisp, Mutsu, Macintosh, Macoun
1.5 lbs. whole wheat flour
Total spent: $36

The apples are for lunches - though I'm almost ready to settle down and make some applesauce. Maybe next week...though I don't look forward to carrying 15 lbs. of apples home on the L train! The Mutsus seem to be likely applesauce candidates, but I'm trying multiple varieties this week. Usually I use two types of apples in my applesauce, and nothing else.

I'll use the peppers like I did those from week before last - roasted in a big pot of black beans. The combination of poblanos and Hatch chiles I had last time was terrific, so this time I wanted to try new varieties. The Anaheims are mild, and the "El Diablero" were labeled medium, despite the ominous name. The poblanos I bought bagged, and there's about a 30% chance they're actually just very-dark green bell peppers. Luckily I have peppers to spare, in case they prove unusable.

The two dark green leafies will, once again, be used instead of my dear spinach; last week's chard wasn't as bitter as I expected. I heard about tat soi on a food blog message board as an alternative to spinach. Raw, it tastes a bit like a really mild sorrel. The tat soi, which I got from the weirdly antiseptic "microgreens" vendor I'd never bought from before, was the reason for my USG faux pas. I picked up a leaf to sniff it, to see if it smelled bitter or spicy, when one of the proprietors ran over. "Please don't touch anything!" she said, in a terribly alarmed tone, and threw away the leaf I'd touched. "Everything's washed." I apologized, and wanted to leave without buying anything, because of her unfriendly, accusatory tone, but I had to try the tat soi. Her attack wouldn't have been so offensive if there had been any signage up anywhere in their stand notifying customers not to touch the produce, but there weren't. It's the greenmarket. People touch stuff! But all their produce looked nice and clean, so maybe she had a point.

I'm not a huge fan of grapes, but my photo assistant is, so I bought him some seedless green ones (next time I'll remember the exact variety) as a surprise. We'll see what he thinks. The sample I had just tasted like grapes. As far as fruit goes, the options are rapidly diminishing. Peaches weren't looking very inspirational, so I went with some little organic nectarines - the kind that are "so organic that they're all blemished, but in a lovable way" - as well as the aforementioned apples and grapes.

In general, I've known "the change" would happen - fall, then winter, with fewer and fewer produce options - but that doesn't make me any happier about it. I'm going to have to start researching squash recipes in earnest; pumpkins and the like have been taking up more and more greenmarket real estate every week. Though I'm looking forward to getting to make soups, stews, and baked goods now that the weather's cooled off, it's hard to accept that berries are gone until next year, that tomatoes will soon be unavailable, that soon enough the last of the corn will disappear. But I'm optimistic that fall/winter will force me to try/enjoy more new vegetables than week I'm starting with celeriac!

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