20081208BroccoliRomanesco.jpg

It was super cold in San Francisco this weekend—around 52 degrees—so I had to don a hat and scarf and coat in order to go to the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. Friends and I giggled as we realized how ridiculous it is that we consider the low-50s to be unbearably cold, but such is the life of a Californian.

While a friend scoured the market for local gifts for faraway friends, I had a goal of buying some basics to get me through the week. I've been in a bit of a cooking slump lately, so while shopping I focused on the basics that would sustain me for the week but not overwhelm my energy level.

Heirloom Organics had beautiful bags of greens: chard mixed with spinach and other braising greens that I will cook up the "Bittman Way." Long ago, I learned to cook most greens in the way advised in most of Mark Bittman's books. You put a small amount of oil in a pan, sauté greens for 2 or 3 minutes over high heat, then add spices and chicken stock (about a cup for a pound of veggies), and cook a few more minutes (I usually cover, but it depends on the vegetable).

The beauty of this recipe is how many variations there are on it. You can cook it with peanut oil, ginger, and a bit of soy sauce for an Asian-influenced dish or with olive oil and red peppers for a more Italian dish. I have used this cooking method with broccoli, cabbage, spinach, tatsoi, chard, kale, and brussels sprouts.

I'm on a cauliflower bender, so bought a large head for roasting this week. I also purchased soup fixings and some fuyu persimmons. While the fuyu variety is usually eaten hard, Knoll Farms was selling the persimmons soft, and I carefully packed a couple in my basket and brought them home to eat frozen.

We are lucky in the Bay Area to have a local, heirloom bean grower. Steve Sando, owner of Rancho Gordo, has been bringing beans to market for a few years and has spoiled us all with unique, New World varieties. My newest obsession is the tiny alubia bean—a small white bean that takes on the flavor of what it is cooked with. I have been keeping them in the fridge to toss with salad, wheat berries, or to mash into a bean spread for toast.

Seasonal Produce Guide

In Season Right this Minute
  • Broccoli romanesco
  • Radishes
  • Meyer lemons
  • Mizuna
  • Persimmons
Coming Soon
  • Tangerines
  • Pomelos
  • Blood oranges
  • Chicory
It's Time To Put Up
  • Limoncello
  • Home-cured olives

About the author: Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. She is the founder and editor of the Eat Local Challenge website and writes at Life Begins at 30, her personal weblog.

Comments

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: