Posts tagged farmers market

And Now, a Word About Farmer’s Markets (and a $21 Challenge!)

I know, I know.  I “ooh” and “aah” about my Farmer’s Market all the time, and you’re like, “Get over it, Punky.  JEEZ.”  So, I thought it would be good to show you why I’m so emotional.

"Vat ah BAAAAGEN!"  (Say it out lound like my Jewish grandfather and it'll make sense.)

"Vaht ah BAAAGEN!" (Say it out loud like my Jewish grandfather.)

I used to be just like you.  That is, if you are the kind of person who goes to the occasional farmer’s market, heads straight to the pastry table, buys a scone or an apple turnover, and then heads-out, overwhelmed by the whole experience.  I FEEL YOUR PAIN, YOUR ISOLATION, YOUR FEAR.  Punky knows, believe me.

BUT!  What I’ve discovered, is that my love of cooking grew with my trips to the farmer’s market, because the farmers themselves would tell me what to make with their produce!  How to bake a butternut squash, what a kumquat is, where you can put dried fruit, etc.  (That sounded dirty, but anyway.)  And the more I go, the more my mind opens and my IMAGINATION ignites, to the point where I’m creating flavors in my head and then seeking them out on the tables.  Sometimes I simply pick something up, a sprig of cilantro, a blood orange, an ear of corn, and just by smelling it, my gears start to turn.  (And I’m sure all the farmers appreciate my nose on their products.)

There is also, of course, the financial benefit to shopping at a farmer’s market.  This week I only had $21 on me, so I decided to see how much I could get for it.  A $21 Challenge!  The picture above shows you my bounty, going clockwise from bottom left, and with prices on the ones I remember.  (Some are by weight and I can never keep it straight):

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Roasted Poblano Pepper Farmer’s Market Burrito! (Poblastically Pepptastic!)

Awww, yeah.  This ain’t your mama’s burrito, people.  THIS burrito is wrapped inside a ROASTED POBLANO PEPPER from the Farmer’s Market!  Kin ‘Ah git a UNGH UNGH!!

POBLUSCIOUS!  PEPPERIFIC!

POBLUSCIOUS! PEPPERIFIC!

Yes, Sunday is Farmer’s Market Day here in Hollywood, California, and I found myself hypnotized by this gorgeous poblano pepper!  (So much so, that apparently I am unable to take a photo that isn’t blurry.)  Chiles Rellenos are my fave Mexican meal, so I have quite the love for the poblano, but had never tried cooking with one myself.  Still, the bumpy, crazy green guy stared up at me longingly, saying “Please Punky Chef, take me home.  I promise to be FABULOUS for you.”  Really, it said that to me.  I mean, just look at it:

Please, lady.  Make me somethin' SPECIAL, won't you?

Please, lady. Make me somethin' SPECIAL, won't you?

How could I resist?  Plus, once I lifted it to my punky nose and inhaled that sweet, tangy, spicy, slightly smoky aroma, the deal was signed.  And then I tried to stuff the little guy with roasted corn, black beans, organic Roma tomatoes, sweet onions and pepper jack cheese, but discovered in the process that it’d be better just to roll the whole puppy up, burrito-stylie.  And so was born the Roasted Poblano Pepper Farmer’s Market Burrito!  The POBLITO!  The PPB!  The Chilito Pobluscious!  Ah, forget it.  Just come with me, already…

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Bad-Ass Bruschetta…

Oh yes, I did just say that.  And I mean “Bad-Ass” as in “kick-in-the…”  Hey, I AM the Punky Chef, after all.  And when you taste this version of a classic appetizer, you’ll understand WHY!  Witness: Bad-Ass Bruschetta.

Get ready for a kick in the pants, people.

Get ready for a kick in the pants, people.

Yes, this ain’t ‘cher madre’s bruschetta.  This is Bruschetta with a KICK, thanks to pepper and fresh chopped garlic.  We’ve also got some other special treats like shaved Parmesan and fresh julienned basil.  You can get almost everything for this delish dish from your local Farmer’s Market, and the whole thing takes like 20 minutes, so saddle-up my punky friends!  And don’t forget your padding.  Come with me…

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Napoleon Dynamites! Plum Tomatoes, Seasoned Breaded Egglant, Pesto, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil

Yes, you heard me right.  These scrumptious layered belly-pleasers are called Napoleon Dynamites and almost EVERYTHING you need to make them comes from your local Farmer’s Market!  Need I say more?

The big version...

The big version...

The small version...

The small version...

 I am still trying to find the best way to “plate” these things – they’re downright messy once you get to presentin’ ’em.  But believe me, they make BEAUTIFUL COLORS inside your mouth!  We have here breaded, seasoned eggplant, layered with fresh buffalo mozzarella, fresh leaves of basil, garden vine tomatoes, PESTO, and if that all wasn’t enough, baked chopped WALNUTS on top!  I know.  I know.  Dynamite, eh?  Come with me… Read the rest of this entry »

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Triple-Threat Quesadillas!

Awww, YEAH! This is a triple threat. And so easy.  So get’cher frying pan and your big knife, and let’s get on down to the Caramelized Onion, Black Bean, Pepper Jack Quesadillas!

lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!

lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!

Ahh, yes.  A classic.  And SO easy, it’s stupid.  But also this is one of the most flexible recipes in the world.  You can vary the kind of cheese, tortillas, veggies, herbs, meat, beans, you can add guacamole, skip salsa, even STEAM the tortillas instead of frying them!  So for the sake of a clear path, I’ve made a decision, and chosen pepper jack cheese, organic black beans, caramelized onions, and a white, low carb tortilla.  Vamanos, mis amigos! Read the rest of this entry »

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Not Grilled Cheese, it’s THRILLED CHEESE!

Oh you know I crack myself up.  And I have really done it this time, I tell ya.  What happens when you make a grilled cheese with pesto, Parmesan, calamata olives and tomato?  It’s a Thrilled Cheese!  And just wait for the special surprise ingredient.  Come with me…

Um-yum-yum-yum, Um-yum-yum-yum...

Um-yum-yum-yum, Um-yum-yum-yum...

What’s that?  CLOSER, you say?  How’s THIS?

So thrilled, I was shaking the camera a wee bit... sorry.

So thrilled, I was shaking the camera a wee bit... sorry about blurriness.

Yes, just when you thought grilled cheese had become frightfully passé, here comes the greatest thing to happen to it since– since PESTO!  And just WAIT for the awesome alternative to butter I used.  Follow me, my friends… Read the rest of this entry »

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Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato Sandwich – God Save the Queen!

Need a quick, beautiful, tasty sandwich that will make you feel like royalty? Get’cher Farmer’s Market loot and combine with some fresh, floaty mozzarella and some healthy wheat bread, and you’ve got it! Witness: Mozzarella Basil Tomato Sandwich – or as I’m calling it, the God Save the Queen!

Like flags in a royal procession...

Like flags in a royal procession...

Yes, if your mouth isn’t watering now, you’re just not human. Or a dog or a bug. (Because I think bugs would like this sandwich, too.) But I digress! This sandwich is also so easy to make that you can do it with only one ankle. (I know this because on Wednesday night, I broke my ankle. Yes. So there’s not a lot of tossing and whipping around the kitchen happening for this Punky Chef at the moment.)

At least it looks punky, eh?

At least it looks punky, eh?

So, get ‘cher boot on and here we go. Now, technically, this combo would be called a “Caprese Sandwich”, but we’re calling it a “God Save the Queen,” because my good friend Carolyn has told me I should name all of the Punky Chef creations after punk bands and punk themes. Trouble is, most punk bands have names like the Velvet Underground, which makes me think of mold in the fridge. (However, it would be the PERFECT name for a red velvet cake recipe, but I don’t like red velvet cake, so I will never make it for you.) Or you could name something a “Sid n’ Nancy,” but then all we think of is heroin and blood, and that’s not very appetizing, though it could make a great cocktail, I suppose. Even the thought of eating something called a “Sex Pistol” – well, I don’t have to tell you.

But then I thought, wait – there is nothing so classic and filled with pageantry as a fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomato sandwich, and what else is classic and filled with pageantry? THE QUEEN! So we arrive at the title for this fabulous and fast sandwich – and you can imagine the most famous Sex Pistols song, or you can imagine carriages, crowns, and receptions. Either way, it’s damn tasty, so let’s get started!
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