Sunday, March 25, 2007

Farmer's Market Bounty, a Special Meal, Chocolate Fun!

Hi Everyone,
Sorry I haven't posted for a few days - I've been busy! I just got home from a 5 1/2 hour yoga workshop! Phew! I was looking forward to cooking, but I can't say I was too disappointed to walk in and see Musty with a bag of Chinese delivery. :) Here are a few highlights of interest:


Well, I gotta say, the food here in Northern California is just so insanely amazing. Here's what I brought home from the farmer's market one day this week (I go at least once, sometimes twice a week). It's all organic, and all local! Rutabegas, English cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, little gem lettuce, asparagus, chard, kiwis, 2 grapefruits and a pomelo, and STRAWBERRIES! Oh yeah! I -heart- strawberry season!

2 nights ago I spontaneously made this wonderful, wonderful meal! hoorah! I've had a little tube of that pre-made Trader Joe's polenta in my cupboard for quite a while now... waiting for inspiration. First, I sliced up a red onion into a bunch of rings, and started slowly caramelizing them in a 1/2 tsp or so of olive oil (I used a special porcini mushroom olive oil, for extra flavor). Then I cut up about 4 tomatoes, into 1/4 inch slices and started them roasting in the oven at 400 degrees. I drizzled them with a very little amount of oil (Hot Tuscan Olive Oil) and sprinkled a little bit of salt before popping them in the oven. Then I cut 8 discs from the polenta tube, about 1/2 inch thick and sauteed them in a little olive oil. Meanwhile, I started a quick steam sautee of my big huge bag of spinach, with a couple cloves of coarsely chopped spinach. When the tomatoes were almost done, I sprinkled on some fresh, chopped rosemary. Yum! I made some little timbales with my polenta discs... A polenta disc, a scoop of tofu ricotta, a couple roasted tomatoes, a little more ricotta, another polenta, more ricotta, and topped with another tomato or two. I served with some steam-sauteed garlicky spinach, fresh corn, and extra roasted tomatoes. Musty declared this to be one of the best meals I have ever made. Right on!

I don't eat that much chocolate - but I was really in a mood for it this week! So I got us a bunch of different ones to sample and enjoy: Terra Nostra Rice Milk Truffle, Terra Nostra Raisins and Pecans, Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Mink, & Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Blueberries. Both of us agreed that our favorite was definitely the Rice Milk Truffle bar - which sort of surprised me because I am a big fan of dark chocolate. It was so so good, creamy and yummy!

Here is the last remaining piece of the "Versatile Vanilla Cake" from Fran Costigan's book "Great Good Desserts Naturally." My nephew was over again yesterday, and he wanted to make a cake. What a clever little guy - he knows I can't turn him down if he asks to bake sweeties! I really, really like this book by Fran Costigan - the desserts are very yummy, she uses no refined sugars and lots of whole wheat pastry flour - so as long as the little guy and I are baking, I don't feel too bad about him eating this. It was also meant to be a layer cake, so we both kept one little thin layer. I love the simplicity of the white frosting and the sprinkles! Cute.

Also - check out this deal! The other day I accompanied Musty to "his" store (i.e. the "normal" grocery store, as compared to all the natural foods stores I frequent). Around here, even all the normal stores have pretty extensive natural foods selections (which is awesome!). Anyhow, as he was sampling a free piece of chocolate (not vegan), I noticed a freezer case full of discontinued items for 99 cents each! I looked inside and they were all organic hippie products! I got a bag of organic edamame, organic corn, an Amy's brand Indian Korma meal, and a whole entire Tofurkey meal!!! For 99 cents EACH! I was so excited I could hardly believe it. If we had more room in our tiny freezer, I woulda bought more.

Hopefully I'll do some more cooking soon, & have more stuff to share with you all!




17 comments:

  1. no way- 99 cents for Tofurkey?!!!! And an Amey's meal? That kind of deal would make my day- nay, my week! How cool. I also love your perfect meal- the polenta timbales are so elegant. And roasted tomatoes... mmmm. What a haul from the farmer's market- yay for the season's first strawberries! Such deliciosity.

    Yes, I totally feel your pain from your yoga workshop. Although your workout was more intense than mine, I'm sure! I'm really interested in the idea of 28/29 being good years. I have to tell you, I'm ready for some good years! Thanks for the thought. =)

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  2. Those polenta timbales look great! In fact the whole meal looks great. I'm totally jealous of your farmers market. Fresh tomatoes are at least a couple months away here and strawberries haven't arrived yet either.

    I'll take your word for it on the rice milk truffle but I like to stick with the dark chocolate. I like the Endangered Species one with the cocoa nibs. That and Trader Joe's organic dark chocolate are my favorites.

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  3. Your meal looks good and is so inventive. How was the polenta? I was told by some that the premade roll is not good. I wanted to keep one on hand for a fast meal.

    You are lucky to have such a great farmers market. Here in San Diego East county we have littel to choose from. I went to a small one about a month ago and was sadly dissapointed. Yours offers such a variety.

    Wow the deal you got at the market. Oh I wish I could find some deals like that. Way to go!!!

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  4. Hi Bazu,
    Yeah, I was pretty excited to find such great deal. Deals are always fun. :) The roasted tomatoes were great... I sometimes forget about how rich and simple roasted tomatoes are. And I sure hope that 28 is a wonderful year for you! 30 was one of my favorite years of all - so that's something fun to look forward to!

    Hi Chris,
    Yeah, I know what you mean about dark chocolate - it is still my first love. I do appreciate a "melty" texture though, & I found that the Endangered Species bars were more brittle than last time I tried one (which was quite a while ago). Also the truffle filling on the "milk chocolate" bar is dark chocolate - so it's not all a straying to the "light side". Hee hee. Sorry to hear that tomatoes are still a ways off in your part of the world - but I bet that the strawberries will come soon. I think of them as an early summer treat.

    Hi Veg-a-Nut,
    I thought the polenta was really good - no complaints at all! Maybe if you ate it all alone it wouldn't be great? But with all these flavors and textures, we both loved it. I'm so surprised that you don't have more variety at your farmer's market in SD - it seems like all that good weather would lead to year-round bounty! :)

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  5. Yay -- I love your "look what I got at the farmer's market" photos! And yay for strawberry season. Also, what a great idea for the polenta. I have a tube of polenta that has been sitting in the cupboard, too -- I will try this soon.

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  6. Wow, farmers markets already? I'm so jealous - I have to wait two more months!

    That "wonderful, wonderful meal" really does look wonderful :)

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  7. Those are such, such amazing deals - but you know that.

    I am so jealous that your farmer's markets are going on, we have 2 weeks here and I'm about to start counting the days.

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  8. haha "organic hippie products" - you are too funny! I can't believe that Tofurky deal - that's really unheard of.

    Your farmer's market haul looks wonderful! Oh, the magical produceland of Northern California...

    Hope you recover from your yoga workshop quickly! Use this as an excuse to do lots of savasana. =)

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  9. Hi Amey! Your polenta dish looks amazing. That is a must-try for me in the near future. :-)

    I wish I could've participated in your 5.5 hour yoga workshop. What fun! Maybe you'll venture to L.A. to teach one sometime. :-) The longest classes I've attended (outside of yoga teachers' training) are 2-hour "intensives" that are hard-core workouts. I'm sure you already know this, but my yoga mentor always says to throw big chunks of fresh, peeled ginger into your bath after a serious yoga class to keep soreness at bay.

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  10. What a bargain on the hippie food! You really scored. And hooray for strawberry season is right. Chase's birthday is coming up and he's ready for strawberry pie, although that cake looks very tempting!

    I love your polenta dinner - just beautiful.

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  11. Beautiful dinner there... and what a score on the frozen goods..

    I am sooo jealous of your farmer's market bounty! In New Hampshire, we are no where near fresh, local produce..

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  12. Oh how I miss the farmers markets in Santa Cruz, I hope ours here in Boise starts up soon. I also love reading this blog too...lots of great yummy adventures in veganism.
    Carey :-)

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  13. 99 cents for Tofurky??? Holy crap. They cost 25 bucks at my grocery store!

    I'm so jealous that you have a farmer's market to go too - the produce looks so good!

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  14. I love the polenta and tomato stacks. That's one of my favourite ways to eat polenta! (not that I eat polenta all that many different ways...)

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  15. Thanks for taking us shopping with you. You found some great bargains and bounty. I love hitting the motherlode like that.

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  16. Your polenta idea sounds fabulous. I'm definitely going to give it a try. What an awesome score on those frozen foods. Especially the tofurky meal. Wow! I wish we lived closer to a farmer's market. We're about 30-40 minutes away and it makes me so sad.

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  17. I ADORE the timbales! They look great, thanks for the inspiration!

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