Laguna Hills Farmers Market–April 23, 2010

After leaving late and realizing I only had 10 dollars in cash for the market, I finally made it to my Friday morning destination.  This week’s bounty–arugula, red and yellow onions, mesclun, garlic, rapini, cilantro, lemons, kumquats, Asian pears, sugar snap peas, fava beans, avocados and Chinese eggplants. I always hit my 4 favorite vendors first and then look for items they don’t carry elsewhere.  Unfortunately, one of my favorite bakeries in OC, Bread Gallery in San Clemente, does not have a stall at this market. [Gunther and his wife Dawn make some of the best bread]

The amount of  produce at Ha Orchards is slowly shrinking as production slows on the apple and Asian pear trees.  Ha is my favorite purveyor of apples, pears and related jams–growing rare Asian varieties of apples as well as standards such as Fiji and Gala–and not the sand-textured ones available commercially, but red and yellow orbs of juicy, crunchy goodness.

Once you shop at the Farmers Market and grow your own vegetables, the produce at the grocery stores will no longer taste fresh. Even Whole Foods, which has some of the best grocery store produce in OC,  is still “less-than” the produce straight from the farm.

The only thing left to do is to decide what to make with my fresh produce!

Sugar Snap Peas are great fresh and raw.  My favorite recipes for cooked sugar snap peas is simple, easy and delicious.

1/2- 3/4  pound of fresh sugar snap peas

1 T of Meyer Lemon Juice-freshly squeezed

2 T of Extra Virgin Olive Oil-a good bottle from a single olive variety

3 cloves of fresh garlic

Salt/Pepper to taste

1. Whisk together Meyer Lemon juice, EV Olive oil and salt and pepper.  Add finely chopped cloves of garlic. Let stand while cooking peas.

2. Steam or Parboil peas until barely cooked. ( bright green color -2-5 minutes depending on technique)

3. Strain peas and rinse with cold water.

4. Add to dressing, toss and serve.

5. Peas taste great eaten right away, after sitting for a few hours, or heated gently as leftovers.

BONUS RECIPE

Increase the Meyer Lemon juice to 2 T and the EV Olive Oil to 3 T.  Make 2 to 3 servings of pasta and toss with peas and dressing.  Add freshly grated Pecorino or Reggiano cheese.

MMMMMMMMmmmm…fresh, yummy spring in a bowl.

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