Farmers’ market finds: Roots and citrus


This morning's haul from the local farmers' market

This morning's haul from the local farmers' market

I hit the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market this morning and was greeted by bumper crops of root vegetables and citrus of all varieties. After duking it out with local restaurant chefs who were stocking up for the day’s menus, I came away with this modest though inspiring selection (I tried to keep my purchases to items we’d use in the next few days):

Meyer lemons (50 cents apiece)–I’ll use the juice to make a vinaigrette and the zest to flavor some buttermilk scones.

White (albino) beets ($3/bunch)–The beets will be roasted, sliced, and added to a big salad, as well as used on a pizza. Their gorgeous greens will go into tonight’s stir-fry.


Potato patch: Almost too many varieties to choose from, but they're all tasty.

Russian banana fingerling potatoes ($1.50/pound)–not sure yet if I’ll roast these or steam them for a salad

Redwood Hill Farm goat cheese ($8/5 ounces)–this was my indulgence, but it’s hard to pass up artisanal goat cheese. This will likely be paired with the beets in the salad or on the pizza (or both). Is it too decadent to just eat the stuff as is?

Recipes to follow later this week!

Resolutions that work, part 1: Fruit of the day


Meyer lemons and satsuma oranges

One a day: enjoying seasonal fruit like Meyer lemons and satsuma oranges is a resolution that's easy to keep.

We all do it: After an indulgent holiday season, we crawl into the new year with promises to do it better this time. Lose a few pounds, hit the gym regularly, revamp our diet. We set resolutions with all the hopefulness of the newborn year, but we’re barely into the first week of 2009, and I know some friends’ resolve is already wavering.

I’m a big believer in small, positive changes. It’s easier to embrace an enjoyable behavior than it is to break a bad habit. So in that spirit, I’ve asked friends and colleagues to share their food-related resolutions for 2009. I’ll focus on one a day for the next week or so, with tips to help them stick.

The first one up is courtesy of Cooking Light contributing editor and founder  Lia Huber: Eat one piece of seasonal fruit a day. “I’m not much of a fruit person, so I tend to just skip over them,” she confesses. “But when I do finally bite into an apple or peel an orange, it makes me feel so grounded and good and vibrant.”

I’m in the same boat; fruit isn’t the first thing I reach for when I’m hungry, and I have to make a point of eating the stuff. Which is odd, because I have an impressive sweet tooth that fruit can satisfy. 

Lia’s resolution to focus on seasonal fruit is a smart way to expand your palate and enjoy a terrific variety throughout the year. 

This time of year, I love citrus fruit, and especially satusma oranges. Once you start focusing a bit of attention on seasonal fruit, you’ll realize that there are many ways to incorporate it in your diet Here are three simple strategies:

Expand your fruit vocabulary. If you see something that looks interesting at the farmer’s market, or even the supermarket, pick it up. You can always ask the farmer or store produce manager for ideas on how to enjoy unfamiliar fruits. Or check out the produce distributor Melissa’s Web site. It has a helpful tool that allows you to search for fruit and other produce by season, with tips to buy, store, and cook with it.

Incorporate fruit into recipes. Of course, you can always enjoy a piece of fruit out of hand as a snack, but fruit can play many roles in sweet and savory recipes. This time of year, sectioned citrus pairs wonderfully with salad greens. You can use different fruits in salsa (depending on the season, try pineapple, mango, or peach), or in a smooth sauce (try tart cherries in summer) to pair with roasted meat or chicken. Fruit-based desserts can satisfy a sweet tooth and boost your nutritional profile; the Culinary Institute of America has some great tips for putting fruit front and center in desserts.  Melissa’s site has  plenty of recipes, too, from big-name chefs, as well as from Melissa’s test kitchen. (I want to try their Meyer Lemon Custard to use up some sweet lil’ Meyers I picked up the other day.)

avotrioDiscover the range of flavors and textures. Many of us associate fruit with sweet flavors, but that isn’t always the case. Consider the avocado. It’s a fruit that boasts creamy texture and mellow vegetal flavor. And I’m always happy to eat one.