Donnerstag, 30. April 2015

Farmers’ markets in Santa Cruz.

One of the first things I wanted to find out about in Santa Cruz were the local farmers’ markets – there’s no other place to gain such good insight on local and seasonal fresh goods. 

And I can assure you: 
A visit is truly worth it! 

Apart from the stalls with regional specialties farmers’ markets have a lot more to offer: 
The atmosphere is a little bit like a carnival where you might also find international food stalls and can enjoy the delicacies there and then while listening to live music. 
There are longboarders, surfers and hippies everywhere; everything always seems very relaxed and laid-back. 

The stalls offer exclusively local food, which means that seasonal fruit and vegetables that are not available are not on offer – you’ll look for tomatoes in vain. 
Instead you will find a selection of kinds of produce that I did not even know in Germany; there is an incredible variety of especially lettuces, sprouts and herbs!

In addition everything is presented in small baskets, bowls or boxes in a loving and decorative way, and everything is “organic” without exception – it truly is a great pleasure to look around here. 

On Wednesdays there is a big downtown market, where I usually go with the kids as early as lunchtime. 
First we get our lunch at one of the many food stalls: there are sliders made of organic meat, Mexican food, Indian food or Eritrean food (which is very nice and super healthy). 
And to Ben’s delight always a huge chocolate crepe for dessert. 

Afterwards I buy an espresso at the coffee stall, we stroll through the market and buy pounds and pounds of strawberries, fresh peas, lettuce, herbs like cilantro, limes and very delicate carrots, which I roast in the oven in the evening, simply sprinkled with olive oil – they taste very delicate and sweet. 
We definitely also get some dark wholegrain bread. 

Sometimes also baguette and flowers, and Noelle insists on carrying only those "because it makes me feel totally like a Frenchman."

Ben doesn’t attach any importance to the imagined nationality and has to carry the rest – green beans are not quite so sexy, of course. 

Yet they are nearly the most important things! 
Fava beans are a kind of broad bean – and either I have so far turned a blind eye to them on German farmer’s markets or they carry them very rarely there. 
Here, on the other hand, they are currently all over the place and since I always want to try new things I bought a handful of them right in the beginning. 
Now we are all big Fava bean fans, but later more on that. 

The following two stalls we also never omit: 

- the popsicle stall of two young women who sell their homemade popsicles made of organic ingredients; there are new, delicious kinds every week, such as grapefruit-rosemary or kiwi-lime. 
Ben’s favorite kind, however, is strawberry lemonade, every time. 

- a candy stall that sells hand-made chocolates. 
Tiny, hand-made dark chocolates with a fresh-tasting raspberry ganache filling – at the horrendous price of approx. 3.00$. 
Per. Piece. Yes, it’s true. 
But unfortunately they are the WORLD’S BEST chocolates I have ever…

The stall owner also makes a kind of “Sour Patch Kids” candy, made of fruit jelly just like the Sour Patch candy you can buy in the grocery stores. 
The ones here are made of fresh local fruit such as strawberries, oranges or limes and instead of telling you what they taste like I will say it like this: 
I ALREADY fear the withdrawal symptoms on my return to Germany.

The sour candy is also exorbitantly expensive, but this is now absolutely beside the point, because once you are addicted you pay any price to get your drugs. 

On Sundays there is a farmers’ market right around the corner from our house; I go there first thing in the morning, when the children are still asleep, and return with fresh bread, asparagus and huge, warm strawberry-chocolate scones, such as HERE.

And now back to the Fava beans: 
First remove the beans from the shells and throw them into boiling water for about 5 minutes, after which you free them from their parchment-ish casing – it’s a bit of work, I admit it. 
Brilliantly green, beautiful pearls will emerge.
They taste so mild and nutty that we simply cannot get enough of them! 

So far I have used the beans in anything I could spontaneously think of and by now I could write a “Fava bean cook book”.
So they are sexy AFTER ALL, if you look at them that way! 

In the mean time I only cook the beans in salted water and place a bowl full on the table, as a snack with an added pinch of sea salt. 
Sometimes as an add-on to a meal, and sometimes just like that in between. 

(I think Ben isn’t even aware of what he is eating…I cannot explain his enthusiasm in any other way.) 

Please look out for Fava beans on the farmers’ markets and tell me, if you find any! 

If you don’t want to eat them as a snack you can prepare a quinoa meal with them. 

Please excuse the vague quantities – the recipe was created quite spontaneously (just like the pictures ;)), and on top of this there are no weighing scales in my kitchen. 

Fava bean quinoa casserole. 

Feeds approx. 4 

Approx. 2 – 3 pounds fava beans 
1 bunch small carrots 
Olive oil 
1 1/2 cups red quinoa 
1 onion, finely diced 
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
salt, pepper

Optional: fresh sprouts such as radish sprouts or other 

  1. Preheat oven to 435°, briefly scrub carrots under the running tap (if they are very delicate spring carrots there’s no need to peel them; if you chose bigger carrots cut them in half lengthwise first), pat them dry, distribute them on a cookie sheet, add salt and pepper and sprinkle with about 2 Tbsp olive oil, mix everything well and put into oven until they are slightly browned on the outside, but still crunchy on the inside – it will take about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size. 

2. Cook quinoa (water quantity and cooking time: refer to package instructions), cook in salt water and drain.

3. In the mean time shell beans, boil for about 3-4 minutes in boiling water (depending on size check every now and again: they shouldn’t be hard anymore, but have to be removed from the heat immediately once they are soft), let cool and remove casings. 

4. Heat about 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, sweat the diced onion over mild heat for about 5 minutes, then add garlic, cumin and turmeric. 
Proceed with adding the cooked quinoa and mix, add a good pinch of salt and pepper and mix in the cooked beans. 

Plate, top with carrots and add a big splash of sour cream on top. 

And since the weekend is upon you: off you go to the farmers’ market! 
(After all you are on a fava bean mission now, don’t take it too lightly.) 

I write “upon you” on purpose, as we have lost all sense of time here and our plans for the day are exclusively subject to the waves.   
Admittedly a beautiful way of life ;). 



This post was translated by Eva Ginnell.

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