Category Archives: Farmer's Market

Wok’s Up With Chard?

We have found this technique is great for a variety of vegetables, Chard, Broccoli, Romanesco, Cauliflower, Rapini, and Broccolini. You can have it on its own, as a side dish, on grilled or toasted bread with a fried egg on top, you can mix it with cooked pasta and parmesan cheese, and you can add it to chicken stock and make a brothy soup. It will keep in the fridge for a week.

Half a red onion {big dices the size of your little finger nail}
A bunch of Swiss Chard {about a dozen leaves} de-stemmed and washed clean and torn into 2 inch pieces
3 cloves of sliced garlic
1/3 cup of Canola oil
1/4 cup of good olive oil
2 pinches of Chili Flakes {optional}
1/4 cup of tap water
Salt and Pepper to season

Heat the wok on high gas, for about a minute, then add the canola oil, let it get hot for about 30 seconds, add the diced onion, they will sizzle fast, so swirl the wok and cook the onions for about a minute, or use a wooden spoon to stir around, if its too hot, lift the wok off the heat, the onions around the edge will cook faster, keep stirring, add the sliced garlic and cook for 20-30 seconds, then add the Card {its OK if its wet} Turn the Chard over with the onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. It should wilt, add 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup of good olive oil and sprinkle with Chili Flakes, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook for about 10-15 minutes turning occasionally. You should have a little juice in the wok when finished. If it’s too watery drain the juice. When doing Cauliflower, use a white onion and add a little chopped mint right at the end. All these vegetables are done the same way. You can experiment using sesame oil and adding soy sauce if you want do an Asian slant. Can’t say enough about Veggies cooked this way.

Courtesy of Seamus and Shelly


Asparagus & Wine Pairings

We are pleased to introduce our good friend and guest blogger Zinfreek!
Two of my favorite things (plus chive blossoms): Local springtime asparagus in California, and a Franciscan Ware platter (part of the collection I inherited from Mom and Dad Palmer, who received the set as a wedding gift in 1956).

Asparagus gets a bad rap when it comes to wine.  Alas, it’s true, as many wines can take on a weirdly sweet yet metallic, artificially canned fruit kinda flavor when paired with this iconic spring delight.

Not to worry, tho, for two reasons.

The first is that you’re probably not sitting down to a lonely platter of asparagus for lunch or dinner; unless you’re me and do do that, it’s probably just one part of a larger meal, so grab a nice bottle of whatever you find works with the main event and sip away.  If, however, asparagus is the star attraction and you wish to hone in on a pleasant match, you may want to bear in mind a basic rule of thumb (we’re talking white, here): choose something really fresh, crisp, lean and acidic even, with zero oak treatment I would suggest.  Sauvignon blanc naturally comes to mind, and world-wide this wine is better than ever as winemakers learn to leave it alone and let the grape’s aromatic, pungent personality shine.  Sancerre from the Loire Valley in France is a classic, or a Touraine sauvignon for an even less expensive choice.  A slightly less tropical and less bodacious New Zealand offering can do the trick, as can a balanced California version from Lake County or Monterey County, to name a few.  Other suggestions include an honest, zesty Pinot Grigio from Italy, of course (thinking Friuli or the Alto Adige), or a citrusy Rueda from Spain.  And whatever you do, do not forget about Grüner Veltliner from Austria (or try one if you’ve never before), one of the current darlings of the wine world: a slightly peppery, mineral laden white wine, and a great foil for vegetable-based dishes.  Finally: a pale, firm and dry (and ever so slightly earthy) Mediterranean-style Rosé, another of my favorite springtime indulgences as the newest vintage comes to market, and a wine that needn’t be fussed over.  There’s a bevy of other fine options out there, and most of them can be easy on the pocketbook, so chat with your neighborhood wine merchant to get some more suggestions.

Grüner veltliner was going to be my second tip (especially a lighter and leaner expression), because it’s so damned adept at succeeding where other wines fall a bit flat, but I already mentioned it.  So my second suggestion is to squeeze a bit of fresh lemon and a couple grinds of cracked pepper on top of your log jam mound of asparagus (maybe some minced chives, too); a no brainer as the threesome go hand in hand, but one that seems to help mitigate the sometimes difficult or awkward food/wine match.

Eat real food, people.  And eat your veggies.

Peter J. Palmer


In Southern California Farmer’s Markets many fruits and vegetables are available year round, but this doesn’t mean we don’t have seasons.  Strawberries are a perfect example, you can find them almost year round looking gorgeous, plump, ruby red.  Yet most of the year despite their appearance they are tart and flavorless.  Starting right about now strawberries are coming into to season….how can you tell?  By their aroma of course!  I never buy or eat strawberries until I can smell them, steps away from the Farmer’s Market Stall on Sunday I could smell their lovely aroma wafting up from the table and I knew spring had arrived and it was time to eat strawberries!