Sunday, July 18, 2010

Farmer's Market Bounty


Last Sunday, I blogged (complained) about the effects of jet lag, I had no idea what was in store for us! Five more sleepless nights pushed us to the brink of insanity. The Tea Drinker and the Wife on lack of sleep is not a pretty sight. Stay away. No amount of caffeinated loose leaf tea in the world could cure what ailed us, except a night of uninterrupted sleep! This weekend so far has been restful and we are back in the swing of things: laundry, cleaning, yard work, farmer’s market, grilling, and sorting through our pictures from Japan.

Yesterday's romp through the Napa Valley's Farmer’s Market was great. As the Tea Drinker was at his booth waxing on about Japan, genmaicha and the like, I was out spending his hard earned money. I picked up a variety of fresh veggies and fruit for the week ahead. In Japan, we enjoyed lots of vegetables, most were pickled or preserved. The Japanese term is Tsukemono, meaning “pickled things”. They are served as a side or a snack. Vegetables typically are pickled in any of the following: soy sauce, miso, vinegar, salt, or even sake! We had plenty of pickled things in Japan, ranging from Takuan(daikon), cucumber, cabbage to ginger. My favorite pickled vegetable was Japanese Ginger (Myoga Ginger). It looks like a spring onion, with a slight red hue (photo pictured right). We had it mostly with sashimi. First time we have ever seen it, and will be on the lookout for this treat at Sushi Ran or Morimoto restaurants. Very flavorful, and not as spicy or pungent as the ginger we are used to. A popular belief in Japanese culture is eating too much of Myoga Ginger can make one forgetful—not to worry because you will forget this concern before your next meal, anyways.

With loads of fresh Farmer Market vegetables on hand, we decided to not pickle them this time around (much to the Tea Drinker’s dismay). Obviously, my sense of sarcasm has not waned from eating too much raw fish and pickled things. So, I laid out my bounty before me and selected a variety of treats: yellow squash, zucchini, grape tomatoes, red onions, basil, fennel, orange, red, and green bell peppers. Its summer, so we lit the gas grill, tossed our bounty (minus the tomatoes and basil) in olive oil, sprinkled a bit of salt and pepper, and charred them slightly. My mind wandered to my Dad’s garden (many moons ago) and to summer months of chopping fresh vegetables(cucumbers, peppers, onions and tomatoes) tossing them in apple cider vinegar, with a bit of olive oil, lots of salt and pepper. Tearing off a big slice of Italian bread to dip, soak, and slurp up the juices. Your mouth waters just thinking about it. Bingo! Perfectly charred vegetables came off the grill, chopped into bite size pieces, tossed with red wine vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Crumbled feta, sliced tomatoes, chopped basil were mixed in as a finishing touch. The freshly baked rosemary bread that I bought at the market came out of its bag and we settled into a lovely afternoon at home on our back patio. A tall glass of Drink the Leaf Citrus Rooibos Iced Tea was served. Simply blissful.

Farmer’s Market Salad
Variety of Organic Fresh Vegetables, Grilled or Raw, chopped into bite size pieces
Red Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt & Pepper
Favorite Crumbly Cheese
Basil
Crusty Bread
Drink the Leaf Iced Tea

Make it a blissful day, too!

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