Summer Observations

25 Aug

This is most definitely the best time of year for produce at the farmers’ market. Just about everything that is available at any time of year in the Bay Area is in season. My favorite things available right now are the fresh beans (black-eyed peas, cranberry and edamame) the wonderful berries (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry,) fresh mission figs and dry farmed heirloom and early bird tomatoes. There are plenty of squash varieties too and lots of interesting melons. I love keeping track of when certain things are in season. Blueberries, edamame and figs tend to have a relatively small window of availability and I look forward to the different seasons of produce.

This is also the time of year for tourists. The city is full of visitors right now and, as I live in one of the most visited parts of San Francisco, I run into them frequently. It is interesting to see the different kinds of tourists, where the are from and how they respond to the small mountain of steps they must walk up or down when visiting Coit Tower. The gardens on Telegraph Hill are in full bloom right now, and continental Europeans walk up and down the hundreds of steps with ease, while British and American tourists voice there disbelief at the thought of anyone actually living here. How do people go shopping? Do they have to CARRY everything up and down these steps? How much further is it? What do you do if you need to run and get some milk?

Sometimes I feel like a bit of an oddity as I turn towards the building I live in and away from the people-filled steps as they watch me carrying groceries or household items. My cat is fond of following us up and down the steps as well and sometimes I catch her posing for photographs with the tourists. It’s terribly adorable and I often get the urge to tell people that she is my cat. She walks around like she owns the place.

Now, back to the food! Below are the recipes that I have made today, using the wonderful local ingredients that we picked up today.

Sesame Edamame (recipe inspired by the edamame served at Butterfly restaurant)
This recipe gets 3 Purkle Stars

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb fresh edamame
  • TBS sesame oil
  • tsp black sesame seeds
  • tsp brown sesame seeds
  • salt to taste

Wash and boil the whole edamame until soft (steaming them works too, but tends to turn the beans an icky gray color). Drain beens and put in large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Server warm or cold. Makes a great snack for 3-4 people.

Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce (a new take on my mother’s recipe)
This recipe gets 7* Purkle Stars

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium Pork Chops
  • 10 large tomatoes, mix of heirloom and early girl (dry farmed)
  • basil, oregano, parsley (dried or fresh) to taste
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Wash and slice all of the tomatoes. Pre-heat oven to at least 400 degrees. Coat large glass baking dish with a little olive oil and place all tomato slices in dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Bake for 1-2 hours, or until slices on top start to caramelize and much of the liquid has been drawn out of the tomatoes and is bubbling nicely. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes. Mash tomatoes with potato masher or similar, stirring the liquid and making a rough tomato sauce. Add sauce to large pot and add all seasoning. Put pork chops in pot and make sure they are completely covered by the tomato sauce. Cook on low heat for at least an hour making sure that the sauce has cooked down a bit and thickened and the meat is cooked through.

When done, pork chops can be served with pasta, or with nice steamed vegetables, bread or potatoes. Plenty of sauce will be left over and flavored from the chops. Freeze or refridgerate for future use!

* Anyone who reads this blog probably knows that the purkle star rating goes up to five. After dinner this evening, my significant other told me that this was the best tomato sauce he had ever eaten. I’m still slightly in shock.

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3 Responses to “Summer Observations”

  1. Veronique August 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm #

    It’s heirloom tomato time here too. I’m going to have to try that tomato sauce. It sounds wonderful. The current batch of tomatoes, however, are destined to be part of a tomato bread salad.

    I know what you mean about green beans (although I don’t know edamame specifically). Some veggies I steam. Others seem to work better in a small amount of water. I don’t know why.

  2. rootietoot June 17, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    ok, you have my attention. Do you mind if I link your blog to mine?
    thnx, Rootietoot

  3. mindfulindividual June 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    It was the header photo of the cat, wasn’t it? 🙂
    Nice to meet you!

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