Fresh from the Farmer’s Market: Pink Oyster Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelet

March 25th, 2007 yum Posted in Eggs, Local Food Movement, Vegetables No Comments »

vegcollage.jpg As you may know, I like nothing better on a Sunday morning than wandering over to the local farmers market and browsing the locally grown, organic produce. Of course, it’s not all organic- some is transitional, some isn’t sprayed, and some is just plain traditional. (i.e. sprayed etc.) But in order for it to be sold at the market, it all must be locally grown in California. I like the idea of the local food movement, even if I’m not ready to commit to it at this point, so I feel good shopping here. I am starting to get to know the various sellers as well- there’s the lavender lady, the kiwi man, the lemon guy, the woman selling Indian chutneys, several nut people… you get the idea. There are still a few stands I haven’t tried yet, though- and today, I finally broke down and purchased some cage free hen eggs from their very genial tender. The eggs were brown, with a pinkish tinge, and uneven in shape, which to me, just made them more appealing. I also finally broke down and bought some exotic pink Oyster mushrooms from- you’ve got it, the mushroom guy. He explained that they needed to be eaten quickly, as pink oysters apparently begin to decompose faster than other varieties, but they looked so lovely- and were only $2 for a box. I couldn’t resist. And, with those brown eggs in my bag calling to me, I began to dream up a breakfast feast for my still slumbering DH- omelet with pink oyster mushrooms and sprinkled with basil- my beloved misshapen kiwi and fresh strawberries… what a feast I could make. For some homemade vegetable stock and other recipes for the week, I picked up some fennel, green apples and leeks. Since I’ve come across a million enticing cauliflower recipes lately, including one by the fabulous recipe crafter Gluten Free by the Bay and a recipe featured in Cooking Light, I purchased five baby cauliflowers, enticingly round and sweet and fresh. But the stars of the day had to be the pink Oyster mushrooms, so shocking and lovely in color.

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When I got home I immediately melted a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil (or less), and sauteed my mushrooms until a brown salmon color and the smaller leaves got all brown and crispy on the edges. I seasoned them with lemon pepper and perhaps 1/4 tsp of GF tamari for added depth of flavor. Then I whisked four eggs, seasoning them with freshly ground lemon pepper and made them into an omelet, sprinkling one half of the omelet with some locally produced dill seasoned goats cheese. When it had half melted, I added the smallest, brownest, crispiest mushroom bits to the filling and folded the omelet over. I served the omelet topped with more sauteed pink oyster mushrooms, fresh basil, and the barest sprinkling of goat cheese. Then I sliced one of our favorite misshapen kiwis, and added fresh strawberries from the market and a dollop of fruit flavored yogurt. Truly a feast, and all the ingredients were produced locally and healthfully in the sunny state of California.

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Script of the day:

Me, preening: Here is your Pink Oyster Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelet…made with eggs from happy hens.
DH: Did you interview the hens? Do you know they were really happy?
Me: Um… Ok, happier hens… They’re cage free… Don’t you think they’re happier than the average hen?
DH shrugs

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Living Locally- Discoveries at a Farmer’s Market

February 21st, 2007 yum Posted in Brussels Sprouts, Chinese, Local Food Movement, Vegetables, Vegetarian 7 Comments »

Bounty from the Mountain View Farmer's Market Take Two Some time ago I read about a food philosophy called the Local Food Movement, which holds as an ideal “sustainably relying on consumption of food products that are locally grown.” The idea is that by purchasing goods produced in your local economy, you can support local farms and businesses and also discourage the long distance transportation of goods, which is harmful to the environment. Further, this movement is interested in promoting organic foods and local specialties, as well as heirloom varieties of vegetables and fruits that are not considered hardy enough to withstand long distance shipping conditions. I like the idea of supporting local farms and local products, especially here in California with the wonderful vineyards, olive groves, and fresh produce. But at the same time, I think it would be difficult to exclusively consume local produce, and probably more expensive. Also, I have to admit- part of me really enjoys the variety of produce available in our supermarkets year round thanks to globalization. But- because I am interested in local goods and fresh, wonderful produce, one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is go to the local Farmer’s Market and wander around, looking for fresh, bright, colorful produce that calls to me. First I circle like a hawk, scouting out my prey, and then on my second round through the market, I begin filling my bag with various things. Fresh beets, REAL baby carrots with fronds (not those hateful things masquerading as “baby” carrots in the supermarket packages), purple cauliflower, broccolini, avocado, tomatoes… My market also has some wonderful stands specializing in Chinese vegetables where you can sort through a pile of enticing and unfamiliar greens, a honey stand with notes of rosemary, lavender, orange, homemade body soaps, fresh cut flowers, cheeses, even sausages. (Not my thing, but the variety is amazing.)

Chinese VegetablesThis Sunday some notable finds were beautiful broccoli rabe (there was a hand written recipe for a simple Italian pasta dish posted near it, which made it irresistable), delicate broccolini, some of the sweetest, freshest baby carrots imaginable, tiny baby brussels sprouts, deep purple beets, organic baby bok choy, red, red kale, mis-shapen but amazingly crisp apples, sweet round kabocha, seedless oranges with a crimson interior, tiny brown fuzzy kiwi… That first afternoon I made fruit salads and snacked on crunchy crisp infant carrots. Then last night, I used the broccolini and bok choy in Chinese stir frys last night, adding fried tofu to one dish, and serving them with jasmine rice.

Italian Rabe PastaBut tonight, I decided to take my inspiration from the recipe posted at the market stall, and made a recipe from Food Network for Broccoli Rabe Sauce. I sauteed red onions and garlic, broccoli, salt, olive oil and tomatoes, then added some cooked Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli. [Note: This pasta is Gluten free and produced in Canada. There are some reports it is made for TJ by Tinkyada, but it is uncertain. What IS certain is that it is inexpensive, tasty, reasonably healthy and comes in three varieties- a penne, a spaghetti, and recently (Yay!) fusilli.] A little red pepper, freshly ground pepper, salt and just a few slivers of cheese as a garnish, and I had a lovely traditional Italian pasta dish. I also had some fresh brussels sprouts that were lurking in the back of my mind (and lurking in the refrigerator, waiting to realize their potential). I loved BytheBay’s roasted brussel sprouts, but something kept nudging my memory– a newspaper article I’d clipped out extolling the delights of maple syrup, including a very intriguing recipe for Maple glazed brussel sprouts… I looked through my recipe files (yes, I have files of cut out recipes, and you should see my stacks of cooking magazines- the shame, the shame!), and miraculously found the recipe. So, I rolled up my sleeves and threw together this tasty side dish.

Caramelized Maple Brussels Sprouts
Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
3 tbsp Canola Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper
5 tbsp butter cut into pieces and softened (or margarine)
1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
Directions
Trim ends of brussels sprouts and remove outer leaves. Slice through the core to make 4 or 5 slices per sprout. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, add sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Stir fry until beginning to brown about 2 minutes. Add the butter, brown sugar and syrup and stir fry over moderately high heat until the sprouts are crisp-tender and sauce is caramelized, about 5 minutes. Stir in cider vinegar to taste. Serve immediately.

Serving of 6

per serving:
230 calories, 4 g protein, 19g carbohydrate 17 g fat 26 mg chloresterol 31 mg sodium, 4 g fiber

Notes
I made a scaled down version of this recipe with 1/2 pound of brussels sprouts, and it worked very well. The oil and vinegar make a lovely vinagrette sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar, and surprisingly it marries very well with the earthy flavor of the sprouts. It was slightly sweet for my taste, so I think if I were to make it again, I might cut down on the sugar and maple syrup slightly, and add more vinegar. I added the equivalent of 1 tbsp of vinegar, and I might have liked more tang. Zested lemon might also have been nice. Anyway, overall, excellent recipe and one which once again affirms that yes, brussels sprouts deserve to be a Yum!

rabe leaves Brussels Sprouts Sauteed Brussel Sprouts Italian feast

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