Market!

Sat, Sep. 10th, 2011 11:40 am
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
OMG I finally made it to the farmers' market! Despite being in California the entire summer, I've only gone a few times over the past few months, largely due to weekends being taken up by parental invasions, hanging out with sister, volunteer training, hanging out with CB and his friends and his family, and wanting to sleep in the few weekends I don't have something planned.

Unsurprisingly, I have something Sunday (and was going to have something today, but it got canceled), so instead of hightailing it to the bigger Sunday market, I have settled for the smaller Saturday one instead.

PEOPLE! I DID NOT MISS ALL THE PEAS!!!!!!!!

Granted, I got them once or twice before, but there's been a remarkable lack of Sunday afternoons shelling peas while watching Good Eats and munching on assorted market goodies. And these are probably on the tail end of the season, but I tried some and they weren't starchy, so hopefully my entire batch is good.

Also! I have been dying for stone fruit this summer; I got cherries before much of the busy-ness kicked in, but there's been very few peaches or pluots. This makes me sadface! T_T I was scared they'd be pretty much gone already, and it is still the tail end, but I got some good yellow peaches (Summerset) and pluots (Flavor King). YAY! The white peaches at Trader Joe's are a good stopgap measure, but damn I missed my market.

And I got some ears from the last batch of white corn!

ALSO! TOMATOES!!!!!!!

I feel that is all that needs to be said on that subject.

... except now I clearly must make it to the bigger Sunday market next week, as it has the tomato guy with samples.

I am fairly certain missing the market regularly is why this summer hasn't felt much like summer to me; on hearing that everyone's starting school again, I am constantly surprised because I feel it should still be May or something.
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
I went to my market today, only to find rows and rows of parked cars where tents and vendors should be. "Ok," I thought, attempting not to freak out, "maybe they are in the next parking lot over."

I checked the next parking lot over.

More cars. No vegetables. Much trauma.

Thankfully, I wasn't the only one standing around with an empty canvas bag and a woeful expression. After thinking a bit and realizing that people were still walking by with full bags of fresh produce, we turned around to notice a six-foot-long, rather helpful sign that proclaimed "Farmers' Market Now in New Transit Center Location!"

"Ahhhhh!" said the lot of us, as we trekked our way over to the new place.

Then I had my second freak out of the day, as I realized.... I had no idea where my pea vendor was! Trauma! Woe! I walked around the entire market very slowly, getting a little calmer as I saw familiar stalls in a different context. Mushroom guys, check. Honey guys, check. Cheese guys, check. Acme Bread, check. Finally, I made it to the peas, and the guy still had some. I also grabbed a pound of cranberry beans, which I have no idea what to do with. Joy tells me that they can be steamed or boiled, and I figure steaming will be less damaging to the structural integrity of the beans, which is good, since I was planning some sort of bean salad. Since I did not plan ahead and was constrained in grocery shopping (I am going to go to NYC next weekend!), I have very few ingredients. I was thinking champagne vinaigrette (as I handily have champagne vinegar), cooked beans, diced tomatoes (heirloom, of course), and... uh. Some dried herbs, since I am sorely lacking in anything else.

Plus, fresh heirlooms make everything better.

Obviously, I got more heirlooms (yellow-green little stripey ones and the really ugly red-green ones; I don't know any variety names, woe!). I also got more peaches, some yellow raspberries that I saw the lemon vendor eating, lemons, a blackberry galette (tasty!), and some very fresh goat cheese. Oooh! I will put goat cheese in the salad as well!

Chez Panisse )

I have decided I very much like Berkeley and wish I could spend more time there; it actually reminds me a great deal of Madison. Very indie college towns, and of course, Berkeley endeared itself to me with the scads of restaurants everywhere, several used and indie bookstores, several used and indie music stores, and assorted randomness and lots of dogs on the street.

Aside from Berkeley, I also watched Laura at the old-fashioned theatre here that has an organ (sadly, my friends and I missed Gilda, which I adore, because... Rita Hayworth! Rita Hayworth taking off her gloves!). And I ventured out to check out the art and wine festival going around, except I got distracted and randomly found a library sale going on and got around 12 books for $7.50. Er, book embargo? What book embargo? I will not even mention the piles of Heyers that I found at the used bookstore on Friday, or the very bad yaoi manga I bought for the heck of it (used).

Truly, I cannot get shelves soon enough.
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
My dad is here on his quarterly business trip, which means free food for me! We first went to a so-so Japanese place. I've now become the ordering person and tried very hard to persuade my dad that he wanted to get the beef tataki instead of a more boring bento combo of tonkatsu and yaki niku. Alas, no. I think we would have been better off with the beef tataki. We also had a very strange roll with something like General Tso's chicken on top. Again, quite odd. But I also got hirame usuzukuri, which I adore! It's very thin slices of hirame with a tangy ponzu sauce poured on top. It wasn't the best I've had, but I never get to have it much anyway. And agedashi tofu.

After that, I desperately wished that I were in LA so I could go to Furaibo and have real izakaya food, as opposed to a somewhat pale imitation of it. I need to find out if there are any izakayas around here, because for some reason, it feels more "real" than sushi places do. I also need to find a good Japanese curry place as well. It's just funny, because when I did homestay in Japan, we ate more of that type of thing than sushi, largely because we were trying to save money.

Then I complained to my dad for a good four hours about work! Poor dad.

Weekly market run )

After that, my dad and his friend for some reason decided to have brunch at the new Four Seasons hotel around here, and I gladly tagged along (read: leapt at the opportunity). It was very tasty. More food babbling )

Then I went shopping and ended up getting two cute new coats (one is red crushed ... something that looks like fake fuzzy velvet) and a very girly short-sleeved fitted coat with a sort of deep, round collar, and a pair of pants. I can't decide if the pants are pajama pants, exercise pants, or just very trendy, because they are made of super casual material but flare out like a giant skirt. But it was on sale, so I figured for $9, it could work as any of the above, and I wouldn't feel bad. Everything was super on sale!

I have also discovered my deeply coveted item of the season: vampy red peep-toed stilettos like this (Nine West has a red suede-ish one that would go with my new jacket too!). They would be the most painful things ever to wear, but they are so cute! And I could actually wear them a lot, since most of my outfits are black and white, and a touch of red would be nifty and fun. Oh well! I shall wait till the new season comes in and see if any are left on the sales racks.

For dinner, I had carpaccio, some warm goat cheese salad, a bit of poached fish, and pesto pizza. And then pistachio and tiramisu gelato for dessert! Not all by myself, of course: I stole a ton of stuff off my dad's plate and his friend's.

So I am well-fed and happily imagining myself in black and white and red. For some reason, that is my new color scheme, though for a while I veered away from it to go more toward baby pink and grey (I am sure this is because of the subliminal brainwaves that the fashion industry has been injecting into my subconscious, but I will pretend it is because I am actually stylish). I still avoid the browns in general, for no real reason that I can fathom. Well, except for pretty brown fifties-style halter dresses with white polka dots. But then again, I will go for any fifties-style halter dress with polka dots. Fun!
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
I was going to be conservative this market, given that I keep not finishing all my peaches. But then, there were some tasty white peaches that tempted me, and pluots! I didn't get the dappled ones that I did last time, but I got these gloriously fat purple ones, deep red on the inside. I can't wait till even more of them come out. And oh, if I hadn't told myself to not get too many stone fruits, I would have gotten so many! There are just loads and loads of peaches and nectarines piled up, large and fuzzy and wafting their lovely peach scent.

"Hello, lovely, try a sample?" asked someone, and I couldn't resist the combination of flattery (usually not very effective with me), free food (always a winner) and peach.

Of course, I went to my pea vendor first thing, and finally (!) asked him his name. Eep! I've been buying peas from the guy for a year now. I'm not very good at the socializing thing; it's taken an entire year of market-going to feel comfortable enough to actually talk to the vendors and randomly chat with the other market-goers.

I also got a ton of blueberries, and apprently they'll be gone in a week or two, sigh.

Alas, no romanos this time, since I still have some left over from last week.

I was also going to pass up the heirlooms as well -- I know, heresy! -- but I haven't been eating all the ones from the past weeks for some reason. Then, of course, I came across a vendor with a plateful of samples, and I ended up leaving with some small, cute green-striped heirlooms, and some green-red heirlooms that I'll munch on as a snack.

And finally, corn galore! Oh, and the discovery of flour-free cookies, which I bought for a colleague who's allergic to gluten. [livejournal.com profile] amphibiouswords, would you like some too?

Then, I went shopping and fortuitously bumped into a friend, who gave me his 30% coupon for the Gap! Muhahaha! So there was a nice discount on some already discounted stuff (I got a pair of work pants, machine-washable, for abour ten dollars), and I found a good pair of work shoes at Ann Taylor at an extreme discount as well. Counting today as a shopping success.

Weekend report

Sun, Jul. 30th, 2006 08:06 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
I managed to snag more peas and romano beans from the pea guy, along with some strawberries, raspberries, more heirlooms, and... pluots! Yay pluots! They still don't have my favorite varieties out yet, but I did get one of the dappled ones. I also ventured out and got a scone and a linzer tart, although the scone is too dry and nowhere near as good as the rhubarb ones at Madison.

I checked at home, and apparently I buy around 6 pounds of peas every week.

I boggle.

After that, I headed off to my local yarn store to take advantage of their swift and to ball my laceweight yarn. The first six hanks of alpaca went quite well. Then I headed on to the 1000 yards of silk/wool blend, cobweb weight.

Um, yes.

Let us just say that it took more time to ball the cobweb than it did to ball the first six hanks.

Let us also say that the cobweb is still in two balls, connected on the outside.

Let us also add that the (very nice) yarn store ladies had to unlock the door to let me out, despite my going there a full four and a half hours before closing time.

Let us also say that argh hate that yarn so much omg tangles tangles tangles woe!

Birthday market!

Sun, Jul. 23rd, 2006 12:11 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
Ok, not really a market just for my birthday, but it is a farmers' market on my birthday!

I do actually still have IBARW posts, but I haven't gotten around to writing them because [livejournal.com profile] sophia_helix and [livejournal.com profile] actoplasm are visiting me! Yay!

I dragged them all off to the market, despite the fact that it's around a hundred degrees outside. I think they were both a little overwhelmed by the blitzkrieg approach I take and the sheer amount of stuff I get.

"How in the world do you carry all this?" asked [livejournal.com profile] sophia_helix.

"Um," I said. "My arms get tired a lot, and my mom suggested that I buy one of those baskets on wheels so I'll look just like the old ladies at the traditional Taiwan markets."

Thankfully, even though we got out of the house late, the pea guy still had peas!

I suspect it's because most sane people don't go out to the market when it's a hundred degrees outside.

But! More peas for me! He also convinced me to try the romano beans, which were cute and flat and green and fuzzy. I also got heirlooms (WHOO!!), lemons, seascape strawberries, raspberries (must see if they're still tasty), the last of the cherries just for the heck of it, blueberries, peaches, corn and cucumbers for cucumber-dill-yogurt sauce. Must remember to buy yogurt and dill. And soy milk.

Mmmmm. Fruit and vegetables!

Next, birthday plans involve going to the Best Burger Place Ever, going to Kitchen Porn Store (aka, William Sonoma) and buying myself my pink stand mixer. And then, maybe, going to see a movie (air con!), sitting in Borders and reading manga (air con!), sitting in other places and being cheap and not buying stuff (air con!).

Yay! I am a quarter of a century old today! I can rent cars! How exciting...

Farmers' market

Sun, Jul. 9th, 2006 11:49 am
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
EEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! HEIRLOOMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I managed to miss the last of the cherries the two weeks I didn't make it to the market, though. I mean, there were a few baskets left, but the gloriously cherry ones from last time are already gone.

But! HEIRLOOMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They have even temporarily upstaged the exclamation points that I normally reserve for peas!

I nearly missed the peas today, because I overslept. Luckily, though the normal pea guy was out, I found some more in the corner of the stall with the heirlooms. We shall see how they are.

I also skipped over the pluots and the various stone fruits, with the exception of yellow peaches from my former cherry vendor, because they are so good. I am amazed at my willpower -- while I was picking out the peas, I could actually smell the wonderful peachy nectar smell from the next stand over, even though my nose was stuffed. Next time!

I made away with blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries for my fruit quotient, four pounds of peas, heirloom tomatoes, white corn, green onion bread, olive bread and salmon spread.

And it's the Obon festival today! I think I'll go down to San Jose to check out the taiko.

Weekend!

Mon, Jun. 19th, 2006 12:10 am
oyceter: (midori happy)
Since the week was so stressful, I decided to spoil myself silly this weekend. Got to see some high school friends yesterday, which meant.... fooding!

Food porn )

Then we headed down to my favorite coffee place ever (they roast their own beans), which is next to Bed Bath and Beyond. I splurged and bought myself a kitchen scale. And a little towel rack. And a new broom. Bed Bath and Beyond is difficult to resist. I also met one of my classmates' girlfriend for the first time, and it turns out she likes free food as much as me! My classmates stared at the both of us as we said things like, "But... free food! How could you not go?" Also, she likes food as much as me!

This is probably not a surprise, given that she likes free food as much as me, but it's always good to find another person who talks about food as much as me! I told her some of my favorite places around here, and she told me of a good ramen place in San Mateo that I haven't heard of. Obviously, I must go and report.

After which, I went to a co-worker's place for a barbeque and had even more lovely food there!

And then!!

Farmers' market )

After I staggered out of the market with all my goodies, shelled, cooked and ate some peas, I proceeded to get more coffee at the favorite coffee store, have a little more lunch (to supplement the peas), and headed out to the Super Fancy Expensive Outdoor Mall so I could a) buy my third (3!) router (thank god, this one seems to work, hallelujah!), b) buy a salt cellar from the Store of Kitchen Porn (otherwise known as Sur La Table, although Williams-Sonoma also counts, as do other places), c) get a pedicure and d) sit in Borders and read Naruto.

For some reason, I can't for the life of me find a salt cellar with a flippy lid like the one Alton Brown uses.

But I did manage to get a working router (yay NetGear!) which is also really pretty because I'm shallow like that. And I got a pedicure, which I've never done before, so that was fun. Then, instead of going home, I wandered about with a hankering for seafood. Alas, the very New England-y seafood place was teeming, so I shall just have to go some other time to get raw oysters and deep-fried seafood, but I did manage to get a seat at the bar at Left Bank.

More food porn )

It was such a lovely weekend! I just realized that I haven't felt this happy and this unstressed at home for a long, long time (WisCon doesn't count because I didn't have to worry about dirty dishes and such at WisCon). Next week I shall be responsible and fold laundry and cook and do dishes, but oh, I feel much better now.

Also, I have three volumes of Naruto to read!

In conclusion, I need to start making food as good as the restaurants so I can eat like this ALL THE TIME!

Farmers' market

Sun, Jun. 4th, 2006 12:16 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
I almost don't want to write about this, because I want to keep the cultural appropriation posts up near the top of my LJ.

But I'll post on that later.

Anyhow, I went to the farmers' market, and after a weekend away at WisCon, I returned to find that there were no more sugar snap peas, that the cherries have now come out full force (Tulane and Bing, mostly), and that.... peaches and pluots and nectarines, oh my!

There were only a handful before I left, and now they're everywhere! I only got a few, because I suspect the ones next week will be better, but still... I have pluots! Little purple ones, not the dinosaur ones that I love or other types like Flavor King and Flavor Queen, but still! I also have white peaches, and the guy says that white nectarines are coming next week!

I also have three baskets of blueberries, half a pound of fat, ripe Bing cherries, and, of course, a ton of English peas, sweet and fresh and crisp.

No vegetables (besides peas) for me this week, largely because all the things I bought before WisCon are still in the fridge, awaiting cookery. I think I'll finally attempt potato-leek soup if I have time today.

ETA: I think, for the first time in history, I may have bought too many peas. The mound awaiting shelling is slightly intimidating, although I doubt I'll think so when I have more peas to eat for tomorrow!
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
Yesterday I got up at an insanely early hour to go to the Madison Farmers' Market with [livejournal.com profile] heresluck and [livejournal.com profile] oracne. Apparently, the famers' market here is one of the largest in the world -- it's eight blocks long and encircles the capitol building, which is large and white and looks like it belongs in DC, except with beautiful green lawns and trees all around it.

After [livejournal.com profile] oracne and I got coffee and [livejournal.com profile] heresluck mocked us for our sleepy faces (I think mine was particularly bad), we set off! And oh, I don't know how to describe it! I mean.... it's a farmers' market for eight entire blocks! And there's tons of cheese, of course, and a stand with maple sugar candy, and several places with maple sugar and honey and beeswax candles and all sorts of cheese curds and flowers and vegetables galore!

Sadly, there were no peas. I was quite devastated.

On the other hand, there was an extremely excellent bakery there, and I got a rhubarb muffin for breakfast (v. v. tasty).

And I got to see pea vines, which are cute and curly with little leaves!

[livejournal.com profile] heresluck got morels, which looked quite tasty, and I had cheese curds for the first time. They squeak in your mouth! It's so cool!

I like foods that make noise in my mouth. Unless it's alive. Then it's just sort of disturbing.

Anyway, since I couldn't really buy many vegetables and take them all the way home, given the four-some-hour flight, not counting the layover and etc., I ended up getting preserves from a stand with every possible flavor I could imagine. I had a really, really tough time deciding, because everything looked so good (Blue Damson plum! Strawberry-rhubarb! Many berries!). Also, every time I started deciding, [livejournal.com profile] heresluck would give an additional recommendation. It was quite evil.

But I ended up with gooseberry preserves, which are a lovely pale yellow with lots of seeds and tastes a bit like cloudberry preserves, which I first had with [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink's corn scones, so many good memories and tastes were associated with it. And cherry-rhubarb! And I also got a loaf of bread and goat cheese for eating here, some green salad because I miss vegetables, and peach scones for all the people who aren't quite as insane as me and didn't get up at 6:30 for the market.

Oh! And I got a cute canvas bag that says "Madison Farmers' Market" on it, because I can bring it to my farmers' market, though I do feel vaguely disloyal. The one very odd thing was that there was very little fruit around, though there was tons of asparagus. I suspect this is because California is California, but all the same, I missed the piles of strawberries and cherries and the blueberries.

But! It is a wonderful, wonderful market, and it was so fun walking around and seeing the lovely piles of radishes and carrots and leeks and root vegetables, which were all cute and clean and beautiful! Vegetables! Everywhere!

Ohohohoh!! I nearly forgot.

I saw ramps!!!! I had no idea what they were, but apparently they're wild onions of a sort and can't be domesticated, but they were there, and young and somewhat purple with wide leafy tops, and they smell like garlic and onions, and they were the cutest things ever! I am very jealous because [livejournal.com profile] heresluck gets to take them home and eat them. I wish I could.

Weekend fooding

Mon, May. 22nd, 2006 02:21 am
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
Yesterday we went to a trendy Vietnamese-inspired fusion restaurant. Thankfully, it was less trendy than the last place, which meant the noise levels were conducive to actual conversation. Since I had to wait for a table and since my dad apparently likes perusing the wine lists even more than perusing the menus, I got to order for the entire table.

Vietnamese fusion! )

Farmer's market! )

Fancy restaurant and wine! )

Market day!

Sun, May. 14th, 2006 05:07 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
I beelined to the peas. After loading up, I browsed around, not really having anything I had to get. I ended up with leeks (I think I will make vichyssoise or however you spell it and have it chilled, mmmm. Anyone have a good recipe?), lemons (not as good as the lemons yesterday; I think I got there too late), 3 baskets of strawberries, one basket of cherries (YAY!!!! First ones of the year), and olive bread, which I am having with the absolutely delicious olive oil I got at the Ferry Building. I never used to believe that olive oils had varied tastes, like wine, but the one I have is delicious.

I went on to make Middle Eastern spinach soup, which is a lovely shade of green when pureed, but had my Moroccan tomato soup, caprese salad and olive bread for lunch with [livejournal.com profile] cychi. Thankfully, he does not dislike tomatoes. I always forget to ask people about these things before I feed them, which is very bad! The Moroccan tomato soup tastes really good after having spent a week in the fridge, thereby completely alleviating my guilt about letting things sit for too long in there. And the spinach soup tasted lovely as well (at least the bites I had), but I'm waiting for it to chill. Then I'll stir in the yogurt and have it for dinner with PEAS PEAS PEAS!

After that, we ventured to a powwow, which was extremely hot. I didn't actually go around and see that much, because it was very hot. Also, I seem to be getting allergies, ugh, and all the straw strewn everywhere didn't make my nose too happy. However! I got fry bread! With honey and cinnamon and powdered sugar and oh, so good! I've only had it once before, but it was so good that I still remember it. Plus... fried dough with honey! How could that be wrong?

It's really hot outside, but I have fresh fruits and vegetables and oh, my kitchen is in use again! Joy!

Weekend!

Sun, May. 7th, 2006 02:34 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
I feel like I should be happier than I am, given that I am eating my first peas of the year! And yet, I am not on cloud nine, like I usually am after a day at the farmer's market.

I think only getting five hours of sleep may be part of it -_-;;. The other part is -- I miss my little city. I love the current condo, and will love it even more once it's unpacked and not a huge mess, but... I miss my little city. I'm still getting used to the new little city, and it's a delightful place with wonderful nooks and crannies, but I'll miss the old one dreadfully for a while.

But enough of that!

I went to the farmer's market for the first time in five months! Why did I forsake it for so long? It was sunny and I found parking, because now I have to drive there instead of being within walking distance. But that was probably a good thing, considering the amount of stuff I got.

I still miss the old pie stand, sigh. And I forwent (forgone? forgoed? weiiiird) the delicious green onion bread and salmon spread and went all out for fresh fruits and vegetables! Originally I was only going to get scallions, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, spinach, lemons and peas peas peas peas peas, but on the way, I got sidetracked by the last of the mandarin oranges.

"Have a sample, last of the season!" said the sample guy. "Ok!" I said, since I never turn down a sample. "Ooooooo!!!" I said, delighted by the unexpected sweetness. "Those are good!" The guy nodded, "Yeah they are."

Needless to say, I got quite a few.

I also got three baskets of strawberries, even though they're not quite as intense and simply strawberry as the ones I had in Taiwan last winter, which tasted exactly like they smell. These are still a wee bit watery and sour, but oh, the smell! The redness!

And I ended up getting two bundles of asparagus because I've been craving them from [livejournal.com profile] jonquil's posts, except I shall have to experiment with a way to cook them. Woe! My copy of Joy of Cooking is in a box and I can't consult!

Sadly, there were no heirlooms in sight, so I consoled myself with vine-ripened ones for chilled Moroccan tomato soup.

Also, there is a new (?) stand at the market that's selling mousses and pates and blood sausage and the like! I didn't get anything because today was the day of vegetables, but I tried the truffle mousse, and oooooo. Must get at future point with bread from the bread place. There's also a stand that solely does lemons and grapefruit, and they had the most gorgeous Meyer lemons, deep yellow and so soft that the peel kept breaking when I juiced them just now. I think I could eat them in slices, they're that ripe.

I ogled at the avocadoes and artichokes and leeks but passed due to my arms not quite being able to lift all the stuff I got, passed longingly by the little garden store selling heirloom tomato plants and herbs (must get when I start the balcony garden! Eeeeeeeeeee my own tomatoes!!!!!!!), marvelled at the last (?) of the apple cider, and grinned when I passed buckets of tulips in every color.

Forget sleeping in! I have to get back into the habit of going every Sunday! I missed it so much; I had the widest grin on my face as I wandered through the stalls.

And most wonderfully of all, there was the art and wine fair going on in the street, and after I put my loot back in the car, I wandered up and down, got myself my very own Angry Dieter's Fork (see my icons), bought something for my sister, and splurged on a beautiful wire and pearl choker confection thing.

I have also inaugurated my kitchen with [livejournal.com profile] sophia_helix's peas with lemon dressing, though I still can't figure out where half the things are. I think I've forgotten how to cook peas =(. This batch (I bought four pounds, muhahahaha!) probably should have been cooked a weeee bit longer, and next time I'll just sweat them the way I normally do instead of doing the lemon dressing and squeeze lemon on top. The dressing's a bit too much oil for me, though I adore the lemony tang on the green sweet freshness of the peas.

Oh peas! How I have missed you!

Farmers' market

Sun, Jan. 8th, 2006 12:39 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
Yay! It's back! After a two-week hiatus! I haven't actually finished all the satsumas and Fuji apples that I got two weeks ago, but that is probably because I went a little overboard and got six pounds of satsumas and then ate out with my parents a lot. But I only had about two or three left, so it was time to restock anyway.

I got leeks (so cute!), garnet yams because they sounded pretty and I like the orange color, lemons, and more satsumas. Amazingly, that was it! I still have so much food in the fridge that I'm not really supposed to cook much more this week. Oh dear. But... I am making a Whole Foods run later for canned chickpeas for chickpea pancakes and potato-chickpea stew. Yay chickpeas! Well, except I'm going to use the yams instead of potatos because I adore yams. Hopefully it won't taste too weird.

Also, I now need more squash recipes because my butternut squash and leek Thai curry is really really tasty and I want more squash. Mmmm, squash.

It's odd, because I always thought I wouldn't like squash. But no, it is indeed tasty!

And I'm not quite sure what to do with the leeks, but they were pretty. I blame the curry as well. Perhaps I will just sautee them with my leftover celery and toss it together with some random stuff. I also saw fennel and wanted to get some but had to curtail myself. Still have lots of food in fridge! Must stop!

Hrm, must start foisting food onto other people....

Weekend report

Sun, Dec. 18th, 2005 11:51 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
Sadly, it is the last market of the year. I won't be able to go again for two whole weeks!

I managed to drag myself out of bed at the early hour of eleven (ehm, yes, am very much a night owl) and walk all the way over, hoping against hope that it wouldn't rain. I kept getting sprinkled on, but I couldn't tell if it was the wind blowing water from the trees, or actual drizzle.

It was actual drizzle. The good thing about this was that there was still plenty to pick over at the market -- usually by eleven, things are looking a bit scanty. And there were much fewer people, so I didn't even have to wait in line for bread! I tried to get enough for the three whole weeks the groceries would have to last, but I was a little limited by how much I can cook in a week and how much I could carry. Actually, the carrying capacity was more the concern. However, this didn't stop me from buying 6 pounds of satsumas! They'll probably be gone by Friday...

More on farmer's market )

I was in a pretty bad mood all day too. It rained all of yesterday, but that was ok because I stayed at home and cooked polenta and watched Omoide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday) and scritched rats and knit. I did venture out into the rain, but for a yarn expedition and a Borders run (manfully resisted temptation and didn't get anything, but did read vols. 16-18 of KareKano). Today I had to walk home in the stuff, which wasn't so fun, although satsumas and farmer's market was worth it.

Nutcracker )

I ended up going right after anyway, mostly because I had to go back to the car to get my umbrella because it was pouring, and decided what the hell, just go. I would like to note, by the way, that 9x9 pans are really hard to find. Argh. So again, I spent too much money and got more cooking equipment (whisk, 9x9 pan, 9x13 pan) but couldn't find a silicone spatula (I, er, sort of melted my current spatula....). Maybe they were hiding. Maybe I will make my mom go with me to a fancy kitchen porn store and I will get myself happy colorful spatulas. Also! I got the coolest things ever! They are color-coded flexible cutting boards! I love them! I can cut things up on them and carry them over to my pan easily! And there are four of them (red for meat, yellow for poultry, green for veggies, blue for seafood) so now I can avoid important things like salmonella! So cool!

I also splurged and got myself a knitting magazing, haha! The patterns actually aren't that great, but it has a nifty article on short rows. Well, the patterns could be good, but I hate seaming, so I need to figure out a way to convert patterns so that I can knit them in the round, or just as one, really large flat piece for cardigans. Am now apologizing to Elizabeth Zimmermann for being grouchy at her book and going back to research. But I was still grumpy from the rain and the wet and the grey skies and the crowds.

And then, I went to the best coffee place ever and had their dark chocolate mocha, which is wonderfully smooth and doesn't have the often grainy texture of most mochas and topped with whipped cream. Also, did I mention the dark chocolate? And their coffee is just so tasty and dark and rich to begin with! So I sat in a comfy bowl chair and read my knitting magazine and sipped my mocha and ate my quiche lorraine (complete with eggy, custardy, cheesy center and tasty crust) and felt much, much more human afterward.

Cooking bits )

Farmer's market

Sun, Nov. 20th, 2005 06:12 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
Farmer's market, how I missed you! Even though I just missed you once last week... but I shall not be able to go next Sunday, due to being in NYC.

There still are peas! Otherwise, the entire market has shifted to autumn -- the berries are pretty much gone, with the exception of a few strawberries here and there, and there are persimmons galore. I wish I liked persimmons more, but I tried a few samples, and they're too sweet without enough of a kick to interest me. The tomatoes have slowly been going away as well; there still are some, but I didn't get any because [livejournal.com profile] jonquil's last farmer's market report mentioned that they didn't taste tomato-y anymore.

I checked with the current sugar snap pea vendor (different from the English pea vendor, who stopped having good peas in early October), and she thinks that they'll only have peas for a few more weeks. The peas today were still good, but they're getting really fat and round (they look just like the peas in my icon now!), which means that in a few weeks the pea skins will start cracking and the peas will be all starchy instead of sweet. Le sigh. Then no more peas for me =(. So I bought a lot because I wanted to make [livejournal.com profile] cychi eat peas as well, but alas and alack, I turned on the heat too high and so some of them got mushy! At least both Cy and [livejournal.com profile] fannishly reassured me that the peas still tasted good. Apparently, my mission to proselytize the goodness of fresh peas continues unimpeded.

And, excitingness! There are satsumas! Satsumas everywhere! It's definitely the holiday season now! I associate giant, fat ponkan oranges with Chinese New Year, and ever since having holidays at the boy's parents' place, where the only fruit consists of satsumas, I've started associating them with Thanksgiving and Christmas. The boy's parents would put out a lovely spread of food, but after all the heavy rich stuff, I really just wanted to eat fruit after munching on cheeses for a good two hours. The samples I tried were still a bit sour -- I think American oranges will always have that sour tang, but that's ok too. I forget how much I love peeling refrigerated satsumas in front of the TV when it's chilly outside and having the citrus smell permeating the apartment and staying on my fingers.

The chestnuts are still there as well, and since I'm going to be here over Christmas (my sister is coming! And my mom! And maybe even my dad! How exciting! Exclamation point!), I have to get some later! The apples are still there, and I got cider again. To my dismay, I completely didn't realize that my normal apple guy had apple juice (sometimes I want juice instead of cider), but next time. And no bread this time, just because.

The sad thing is that my normal pie and pasty stand is apparently going out of business =(. So both me and [livejournal.com profile] fannishly stocked up on pasties, and I got myself the normal fruit pie (boysenberry this time). Apparently Palo Alto is buying them out to build condoes where their store is. Sigh. But! They had mince pies this week! I've never had mince pie before, but I've read about them all the time! It was very exciting. I asked the lady what they were exactly, and she sort of looked at me and said only older people buy them, out of holiday nostalgia. Apparently "young folks" like me do not like them so much. But... mince pie! (I only wish there were mincemeat as well.) Mince pie report to come later, hopefully.

Despite the Christmas decorations popping up everywhere, it didn't really start to feel like holiday season until the nights here got chilly, and I saw the chestnuts and satsumas at the market. I suppose it's because back in Taiwan, Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't so big, but Chinese New Year season means the cold snap (han liou? "winter/cold flow" literally) and chilly concrete apartments with no heat, chestnuts vendors on the streets and oranges.
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
I think I spent the entire week [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija was here talking about food. There were brief forays into other topics, such as books, sex, manga, cracktastic elements in all of the above, and assorted anecdotes which (imho) prove that Murphy is the maker of the universe. Or that he is at least personally interested in some people's lives. But mostly, food. As mentioned previously, there was an extended conversation that centered solely on tropical fruit, another one on Indian and Thai desserts, another on fancy restaurants, much extolling of street food and hole-in-the-wall places, and the joys of local food.

I really didn't mean to talk constantly about food! And I swear, it wasn't all that noticeable until the final few days, when we kept trying to talk about other things, but ended up getting sidetracked by food yet again.

I have decided that I need to take a food tour of the world. Rachel will take me around India, [livejournal.com profile] yhlee and [livejournal.com profile] yuneicorn will take me around Korea, K. will take me around the South, [livejournal.com profile] telophase can take me around Texas (barbeque!), [livejournal.com profile] fannishly will enlist her cousins to bring me to Brazil, and of course, then I will drag everyone off to Taiwan and feed them until they explode.

In which I talk about food at great length )

Sunday fooding!

Sun, Oct. 16th, 2005 06:03 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
Ahhhh, farmers' market day!

Luckily, while the pluots and peaches have virtually disappeared, the peas and the tomatoes remain.

I got peas. Lots of peas. I am sorely going to miss having peas for dinner every Sunday when they stop coming =(.

But! I am now trying to switch to slightly more wintery foods!

I got some sun-dried tomato and basil sausages from the sausage guy (I keep trying them and telling myself I'll get them next time), my usual meat and potato pastie from the pie stand (the nice lady wasn't there today, but her husband was), along with a blackberry pie (someday I will move on to apple and pumpkin, but man, I love their berry pies. I also want to try apricot.).

I got there a little late today (poor [livejournal.com profile] fannishly got growled at, literally, when she came to knock on my door, because I was having a very grumpy work dream), and so I seem to have missed the salmon spread =(. And the green onion bread. Boooo. But I still have a little spread from last week, and I got the herb bread, which is good, but not quite as tasty, imho.

And tomatoes! I find that I don't actually much like the yellow ones, my favorites are the greenish-red ones. I wish they'd label them so I knew them name, but I can sort of pick them out because they're totally misshapen and ugly, but they taste wonderful.

And I have succumbed to autumn and gotten apples! I am excited! Usually I don't venture out in the apple world and just stick to my Fujis. Well, there is this one really great apple in Taiwan that looks all rough and mountain-y (I don't know why it looks mountain-y... it just looks like it grew there for some reason) that's deliciously wild and honey-rich and crisp, but I don't know what it's called. Anyhow. I adore the market because I can actually ask the vendors questions, so I asked the apple guy for recs and got some Braeburns, some Jonagolds, some Galas, and (heh) some Fujis, just in case.

So I propitiate the foodies on LJ -- I like crisp, honey-tasting apples that have a bit of bite to them, and I always eat them raw. I really hate the Golden Delicious and Red Delicious and MacIntoshes that you find at the supermarket. I hate mealy apples. Texture is very important. And I don't like it when they're so sweet that they lose some of the punch. And I live in Bay Area.... Anyone have apple recs?

I may ask for a good baking apple later because The Joy of Cooking has this stuffed apple recipe that looks very tasty, but right now I just want snack apples.

And I got five pounds of grapes! Rubies, green ones that I don't know the name of, and flame grapes, mmmmm.

But yes, it was very nice, and then we headed open to the re-opened Kepler's and I got Susan Palwick's Flying in Place. I really shouldn't be buying even more books, but... I figure, I should support Kepler's since they've re-opened.

And then there was a trip to the yarn store! Whoo! Apparently they're having a Halloween sale! Muhahaha! I, eh, could not resist the pretty yarn despite my already frightening stash (one day I will be crushed by either pounds of yarn or pounds of books, or maybe by a Rube Goldberg-esque concoction of yarn and bookshelves and doorknobs and who knows what else lurks in my house). So... yes, my dad is getting a scarf. Someday. After I finish my billion other projects.

But I found that one of my friends in the area is also interested in re-learning to knit, so I may have a third knitting circle in the works! Whoo! I really like going to local yarn stores and farmers' markets and everything because people there are all so friendly, I can walk around and sample things and pat yarns and ogle over what other people are getting.

Anyhow, then there was the trip to Draeger's, which I do not like as much as Andronico's or Whole Foods or Trader Joe, due to their stinginess with samples. Booo. I like samples, damnit. Next time, we go to Andronico's just so I can walk up and down the cheese aisle and taste everything!

Eh, right then. I didn't actually get that much (large haul at the market), but I made [livejournal.com profile] fannishly get quince preserves, because I've never tried them before! I tried making baked quince before, but I think I didn't have enough liquid in there or cook them long enough or something, because they were dry and very boring. They smell gorgeous though. And cherry jam, because I like cherry jam.

I miss fooding with my sister, because we'd always split dishes and pick different things, so there would be an even larger chance of trying new and different foods. Plus, we have fairly similar tastes. Fooding by oneself is not a bad thing, since fooding in and of itself is good and happy, but fooding with lots of people who enjoy fooding is even better!

Ahem, [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija, this means I'm dragging you off to all sorts of places next week. Also, we must go off to the used bookstore that specializes in romances because I really want a copy of Seize the Fire now.

Anyhow, are there any particular farmers market foodstuffs that I should be keeping an eye out for now that we're coming in autumn?

Farmers' Market!

Sun, Oct. 2nd, 2005 02:44 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
After missing the Farmers' Market every other week (last Sunday I slept the entire day away, to my great chagrin and embarrassment), I finally went! Of course, I am dizzy with the lack of sleep, since I keep forgetting that no, it's really not a good idea to start Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic: Sandry's Book at two in the morning (I blame [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija, who was the one who recced this series to me), especially when you have a very bad case of "Oh, just another chapter!"

But I managed to haul my lazy butt out of bed anyhow! Triumph! And I was rewarded with PEAS!!!!! Whoo! Although they're probably much starchier and less sweet, given that it's the end of summer... but I don't care! I haven't had peas since August! I will have peas even if it kills me!

Nyaha.

Alas, I think today is officially the last day for peaches and pluots for some vendors, and my usual pluot vendor only had one variety this time (and a not very sweet one at that). Sigh. On the other hand, I saw even more apples this time than I did a fortnight ago (whee! I used "fortnight" in a sentence! I feel very Anne-of-Green-Gable-y). And apple cider. Must get some next time. And this is the first time I've seen pumpkins! I wonder if there will be sugar pumpkins... I want to try making pumpkin soup (although it sort of scares me as well).

Other gets included green onion bread, grapes (I never realized grapes could be so yummy until the market), some more heirloom tomatoes, a meat pasty and a mini strawberry rhubarb pie. I am amused that rhubarb is poisonous! Well, not the stems, but, you know. It's sort of like the farmers' market version of fugu? I was also quite sad to see that the guy who had been there selling frozen dumplings (the Chinese kind that you boil, shuei jiao) wasn't there this time. Maybe next time.

And then the fooding continued with a Whole Foods run, in which I got two seafood soups (clam chowder and salmon chowder). I sadly tried the seafood gumbo after already filling two bowls with soup to find it was spicy and delicious and... that I should probably not get any more soup. I also ran down the cheese aisle and sampled everything there was to be sampled. I love cheese aisles with samples. Antonio's is even better because I swear, they had samples of half of their cheeses! I just went up and down the thing and ate everything. Hey! I am a cheese newbie! (well, I was back then... the boy was very much not a cheese newbie and got me into cheese. Mmmm, cheese.) How else is one to learn except in the supermarket aisles? Well, it was also nice when the boy would buy tons of cheeses so I could snurch them.

Note to self: finagle your way into cheese parties.

On the other hand, last time I was home, it looked like my dad was sticking his toes into the cheese world, having already gone off the deep end of the wine world for several years. I so hit on my parents for free good food. I blame my foodiness all on them ;). I mean, I totally inherited my mom's sweet tooth! It is sad to see us walk by an ice cream store, as we are completely unable to resist.

And I got a pumpkin risotto cake! I have no idea what it is, but it certainly sounded interesting! And two grilled onions.

Note to self: be smart and grill your own onions next time. Or, eh, broil them? As you are sadly lacking a grill.

Anyhow, despite the wonderfulness that is Whole Foods, I still was snobby and somewhat stuck my nose up at the produce department. *pats Farmers' Market*

But Whole Foods has very good prepared foods! Plus, they have an olive bar. Mmmm, olives. I didn't get any this time, but maybe next time they'll have the small herby black olives that I really like. The one I tried today was too salty for me -- haven't had olives in a while and must have gotten unaccustomed.

I was also greatly tempted by the boxes of ready-made sushi, but figuratively hit myself on the head to remind self that ready-made sushi pales in comparison to real sushi and that I am always a little grumpy at them because the rice firms up too much and loses part of the good, sticky, contrasty texture.

The thought of autumn still makes me sad because I sniffle at the waning sunshine and the lack of stone fruits, but it makes me happier to think of it as a season of harvest instead. Harvest=food=happy.

Lalalalala, I love food!

(no subject)

Sun, Sep. 18th, 2005 12:42 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
Alas and alack, there were no peas today at the farmer's market. I fear it's the end of summer for real, even though I continue to flout the seasons by wearing my very Hawaiian sarong and sandals. Bah!

On the plus side, I saw the first apple stand today, and another stand selling apple cider!

Buys today included a whole lot of pluots, white peaches and white nectarines. I've been pretty much bereft of fresh fruit for two whole weeks (2!! TWO!!), and it's been driving me crazy. I.e. I keep wandering around the house looking for something to satisfy fruit cravings and end up munching on olive bread and metaphorically bashing my head against the wall because I want fruit, damnit!

I seem to get really bad fruit cravings. Huh.

Also, I am seriously considering getting a stand mixer just so I can make fresh whipped cream. Mmmmmmm, whipped cream. And if I get said stand mixer, I feel I may be seriously tempted to start baking pizza dough. The farmer's market is totally spoiling me! All this fresh food makes me want even more handmade fresh food!

In other news, my rats have been having a great deal of fun in the empty tissue box I gave them -- I don't think Fool-rat has willingly ventured out of it yet!

And in conclusion, it was so nice yesterday wearing pants that zipped up perfectly. One doesn't tend to appreciate one's zippers until one spends a full day in assorted strange contortions trying to get one's pants down without breaking the zipper again.

Ok, maybe that was waaaay too much information.

But yes. Zippers! I appreciate them now!

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