Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday Farmer's Market

The Sunday Farmer's Market is after me, trying to make me a vegetarian. Me. A vegetarian. Improbable as it sounds, I cannot resist going to the market every Sunday morning, just to check what's new this week, and almost every time I end up cooking a vegetarian meal. OK, I am a Sunday-only vegeterian, you can have this. And I'd still serve pâté for an appetizer.

Well, they do sell meat and fish there too, but there was nothing inspiring at the fish stand this time, and the meat... I know, it's probably one of the most expensive markets in the world (I haven't been in Tokio yet). What we pay here for is 1. The luxury to live and shop in Marin county, and 2. Getting fashionably organic, locally grown, and totally fresh produce directly from the grower. And the meat stand sells it's hugely overpriced selection of organic beef, lamb, pork, and yes, goat, in huge chunks that are vacuum-packed!

I still buy from them once in a while, when I can find a cut that's good for one or two people.

But if they just had a whole animal carcass hanging there and cut from it, I would do it every time. It would match the organic-local-fresh concept so much better! I know, refrigeration would be a problem, but I am supposed to pay $25/lb for even a humble cut, so think of something, give me a show and cut to order. Anyway, the market is not my favorite place to buy meat, so it's a vegetarian Sunday again.

This sunday catch was heirloom tomatoes (can't live without them), an assortment of summer squashes, new Yukon Gold potatoes, Cowgirl Creamery crème fraîche, giant oyster mushrooms, and, this week's star, fresh porcini! Each carefully cut in half to make sure there are no worms, clean, at a handsome price of $30/lb. I was so excited just to smell them that I forgot to ask where they come from. In California, porcini season is in January. Where does it rain in June?

You see, if you cook the new potatoes in their skins, then roughly mash them, skin and all, with some sweet butter, salt, and finely chopped garlic, and while the potatoes are cooking you slice the porcini, giant oyster 'shrooms, and some white mushrooms that you had in your refrigerator, sautee them in a mix of EVOO and butter (salt and pepper added righ away), add minced garlic and shallot 5 minutes before they are cooked, and then add crème fraîche and just warm through, you cannot add meat to this already perfect dish.
Oyster mushrooms have meaty texture, porcini give wonderful taste and aroma (white mushrooms are just for volume), and potatoes and cream match the mushrooms wonderfully and have all the richness you need in a dish. Meat is not called for here, especially if you had a nice thick slice of pâté for starter.

I'll have to figure out what to do with the summer squashes today.
Either a pasta or risotto, or I'll marinate them and use to garnish steaks. I still eat meat Monday through Saturday.

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