Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer inspiration

Rise and shine, Saturday 7:30am. Shot of espresso, cold shower…, no, warm shower.
Check the shopping bags: one for heavy veggies, one for flowers, herbs and other things that bruise easily; check the camera, extra battery (always forgotten). Check the shopping list, hard to stick to it but let's just pretend I'm capable of some kind of planning; comfy shoes, sunglasses; small bills, lots of change and off I go.... to the farmers market.

It doesn’t get any more beautiful than in the summer, when everything is blooming, bursting with intense flavors, amazing scents and colors. I love how my cooking gets inspired by this wonderful season. With the freshest, organic ingredients I can limit my food preparation to the bare minimum and actually spend more time enjoying it with my friends and family.

I get here early to avoid the crowds and adapt Alice Waters’ approach to shopping at the green market. Her advice is to come with nothing specific in mind, soak up the beauty of summer produce and then decide what to buy. So I make my “inspiration round”: touch, smell, taste whatever I can, stimulate my senses, dream up some dishes in my head.

Summer is all about freshness, beauty and simplicity. I keep that in mind as I make my way through the market. I’m looking for heirloom, ethnic and some other unusual fruits and vegetables, even edible flowers. I talk to farmers; I talk to shoppers like myself, farmers market addicts, ask their advice on what to buy, how to cook or store it. This is one of my favorite parts of shopping at the green market.

I pick some squash blossoms, with baby zucchini still attached they look so adorable. Some curious people stop by to ask me how to cook them. I like them stuffed with spiced ricotta cheese, dipped in light better and then deep fried. I also bought heirloom carrots in all shades of pink, purple and yellow, some calendula flowers(for the salad), green and purple orach, which someone explained to me, is a wild spinach, beautiful two-colored “Zephyr” squash, parsley blossoms, heirloom tomatoes, sour cherries, apricots and a few different kinds of berries. All looks so exciting and beautiful, I can not wait to get home and start my summer-inspired cooking.

I'm curious, how do you work a green market? Do you let it inspire you or plan ahead and stick to your shopping list???
For more inspiration check out this Alice Waters' video here.
It was so exciting to run into her this morning at the market and see in person, what she was going to cook today.
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