2009-02-27

oh, and

there are cardoons. lots of cardoons. a project for next week.

my local markets, train-food

The Paris marchés alimentaires are great, but certainly no more so than a typical American farmer's market. They are, as anywhere, dominated by distributors who sell the same stuff you'd find in the neighborhood produce-shop (these are what's shockingly absent from American streets). A few of these have connections to producers or suppliers of unique products. For example, most have peruvian mangoes and bizarrely, avocados are 3 or 4 for 2€ , definitely a good deal. One vendor had these, plus the only unwaxed Italian lemons in the entire market! (Everyone else's were neither.) Some sell olives out of giant tubs, others out of smaller vessels with their own flavoring additives.

Then there are the few producers. The scale of Belleville/Père Lachaise (they abut one another) is approximately the same as Soulard in St Louis, but all stretched out in the middle of the boulevard. There is one place with yellow turnips; only one with interesting colors of carrots; one or two with unwashed mâche; one grower of multitudinous varieties of apples (I got a selection the other day, one was really not good, one was excellent so far)… but the ratio of actual producers to distributors appears to be approximately identical to Soulard.

There are a few bakeries, creameries, butchers – I haven’t begun to investigate many of these, but none looks great. I bought a camembert au calvados from one of the smaller, more focused fromagers; he also had free-range eggs (in contrast to the palettes of mass-produced ones elsewhere). From my more or less regular bakery (still on the fence about them, really) I got a small bread for the train to Amsterdam tomorrow – so apple, camembert, and boule de campagne.

There are several biologique markets, which I expect will be more like Green City. The St-Quentin covered market has some nice looking butchers. My charcuterie allegience is already in the direction of the place by Voltaire, at least for pork products.

update: nice write-up at in praise of sardines.

Tomatoes

As if one needed another reason to avoid store-bought tomatoes out of season. From Gourmet:
Immokalee is the tomato capital of the United States. Between December and May, as much as 90 percent of the fresh domestic tomatoes we eat come from south Florida, and Immokalee is home to one of the area’s largest communities of farmworkers. According to Douglas Molloy, the chief assistant U.S. attorney based in Fort Myers, Immokalee has another claim to fame: It is “ground zero for modern slavery.

this would be totally easy and delicious!

Shells and Creamy Basil-Tarragon Pistou with Crab and Sweet Peas

2009-02-25

sad but true

And so we’re in a space where the people talking about food are the people who are least suited to getting others to talk about food. Being a professional culinary elitist doesn’t make you wrong. But it might make you ineffective. On the other hand, if Waters wasn’t writing these op-eds, who would be?

2009-02-24

things to make

When not eating bread, cheese, and charcuterie (more for lunch). I went to the two big indian grocers today, spent less than 20€, and am prepared to make several indian dishes.
From Madhur Jaffrey's _World of the East Vegetarian Cookbook_: : : 1.5 lbs okra : : 6 T veg. oil (you really can use much less....very definitely!) : : 2 onions : : 6 cloves garlic : : 1/2 tsp turmeric : : 1 1/2 tsp salt (can use less of this, too) : : 1/4-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper : : freshly ground black pepper : : Saute the onions and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes. Add : the okra and saute another 5 minutes (the okra should be a : bright green after this). Add the spices and mix to coat the : okra with them. Add 1/4 cup of water, cover, and simmer for : 15-20 minutes or until the okra is tender. Uncover and cook down : until any water is gone.

2009-02-14