Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Farmers' Market; buy fresh, local and seasonal!

For me, one of the best parts of spring is the start of the farmers’ markets. Here in Philadelphia, they are becoming more popular every year. I think this is wonderful, because the ubiquity of farmers’ markets indicates a social awareness of the benefits of fresh, locally-grown food. For me, going to the farmers’ market is foreplay for my creativity! I feel so alive surrounded by an assortment of healthy, organic, fresh, locally-grown vegetables and fruits. Their colors are brilliant. You find unique varieties that you have never seen before. These vegetables have vitality. They whet my appetite. They appeal to my sense of beauty and inspire me to get creative in the kitchen. George Ohsawa, the founder of modern day macrobiotics, said that we are to marvel at nature. Beautifully grown vegetables are a physical manifestation of nature’s energy. We can share an intimate part of this energy when we eat fresh vegetables.

Denny and I recommend having vegetables with every meal. Doing your shopping at the farmers’ market makes eating lots of vegetables easy, because there is such an abundant variety of produce to choose from. The farmers’ market also facilitates menu planning, because, unlike the grocery store, everything at the farmers’ market is local and in season. Even better, freshly-picked vegetables stay fresh longer. From an economical standpoint, shopping at the farmers’ market will also save you a considerable amount of money on your weekly grocery bill. To sum it up, you can’t go wrong with a weekly visit to your local farmers’ market! To sample one of my inspired creations, try my recipe for Arugula and Wild Mushroom Salad, yum!

Arugula and Wild Mushroom Salad
This was so delicious I just had to take a picture!

Fresh Arugula - rinse well to remove any debris
Wild mushrooms - I used Beech and Maitake
Half moon slices of red onion
Tofu Cheese - seasoned to taste with umeboshi vinegar (See earlier posts for a description of this ingredient).
Organic Extra virgin Olive oil
Sea Salt (Just a pinch, about 1/16 of a teaspoon)
Shoyu - 1/4 teaspoon
Mirin - 3 to 4 drops

Place the washed arugula in a bowl.
Add the tofu cheese on top of the arugula.

To Prepare the mushrooms:
Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.
Add the red onion and begin to sauté.
Add a little water, a pinch of sea salt and 2 to 3 drops of umeboshi vinegar.
Add the Beech mushrooms, cover the pot and simmer for 1 minute.
Add the Maitake mushrooms and lightly season with shoyu and mirin.
Continue to sauté for another minute to cook the mushrooms and blend the seasonings together.
Pour the warm mushrooms and onions over the arugula and lightly toss.

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