Sunday, May 10, 2009


I woke up bright-eyed this morning at ten after seven, though my alarm was set for eight. It was one of the first sunny Saturday mornings for the farmers market, and I could barely contain my excitement. It was like Christmas morning (in Hawaii), for Portland cooks. I immediately questioned which would get me there faster, walking or the bus. I took the bus and arrived only minutes after the market opened. All of the choices lay before me, before anything could be sold out. Piles of radish varieties, asparagus, and greens of every type. I could actually choose who I wanted to buy my eggs from, instead of just trying to find a vendor with a dozen left. It is indeed a treat to to have the first pick of everything. I felt further justified for both my excitement and my early automatic wake up call when I noticed Scott Dolich, head chef at Park Kitchen (whose cooking I have posted numerous blogs about)picking through the same basket of pink fingerling potatoes. "Wow, these are beautiful potatoes," he commented. A little later, I spotted Naomi Pomeroy of Beast shopping at the market as well. I can't help but admire chefs who cook all night in their restaurants, and wake up early the next day so that they can peruse the freshest of seasonal produce. For a second I contemplated going to Park Kitchen that night to see what would be done with the potatoes, but quickly realized that I'd bought enough produce for a week's worth of cooking at home.

So, what did I end up bringing home? As usual, I brought more money than I expected to use, and spent all but the last dollar.

My shopping list:
1. Favorite breads from New Cascadia Traditional Bakery ("the gluten free artisans") to bring home to slice and freeze: Seeded loaf, Portland Sourdough baguette, and a slice of surprisingly delicious coffee cake. This baker is amazingly skilled - his pastries are delicate and delicious, not only by gf standards.
2. Free range farm eggs (brown and green and white)
3. A small grass-fed lamb sirloin roast, from SuDan farms to prepare in a version of Paula Wolfert's Lamb Tagine, using some of the preserved lemons I canned this winter.
4. Flat leaf parsley, for the above recipe and quinoa salad. I also like to use parsley as a green in side salads, because it keeps well in the fridge and I love it's strong flavor (as a kid I used to eat the parsley garnish off the rest of my family's plates in restaurants).
5. Basil, so happy to see it, finally! I have been craving pesto, and am so excited to make some, to spread on bread with goat cheese and radishes.
6. Radishes - just learned that you can saute the greens too - delicious!
7. A cucumber.
8. Kale for a new simple salad recipe that a friend gave to me.
9, Green garlic - so delicious to saute with greens. It's fun to see the bulbs at the market grow bigger each week as the season progresses.
10. Dry pinto beans - grown locally! How cool! I've really been into making a pot of beans to snack on and keep in the fridge - SO much tastier than canned.
11. Finally, I had $7 left in my pocket. I debated between a slice of rustic pate from Chop, and a tub of pickles from Picklopolis. With summer coming and bikini time in mind, I opted for the pickles. And, they let me select a mix: spicy carrots, red onions and green beans.

I couldn't leave the market without a treat from one of my favorite vendors - Northwest Heritage Pork - purveyors of pigs-in-a-blanket, and carnitas tacos (for breakfast, love it). I had already had that coffee cake, so I asked to buy just one of their breakfast sausages, and the sweet lady handed it to me with a smile and a "don't worry about it." What a perfect day!

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