Friday night in Clovis

Last friday I had the opportunity to check out another farmer’s market: Old Town Clovis Farmers’ Market

Our first stop (oh wait, after the tri-tip sandwiches – which I didn’t get a picture of because my hands were drippy) was the corn! Oh – did we search out the corn…

And wow – this is some special corn! It’s fire-roasted in the husks, then stripped and cleaned. Next, the corn starts to receive layer after layer of tasty-goodness: starting with butter, followed by mayonnaise, followed by parmesan cheese and lastly followed by cayenne pepper!

Exchange it for a few dollars and you’re off to enjoy the rest of the farmers’ market…

Let me introduce you to my friend Heather – she likes the corn! (And that’s an understatement!)

Take a walk with us… see what we saw!

If you haven’t had the chance yet… find a farmers’ market near you! They are full of people-watching opportunities, great fresh produce and some really great times!

But don’t take my word for it… check it out for yourself…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…


This week’s Farmers’ Market loot…

It’s Tuesday… and you know what that means! I most likely spent the afternoon strolling around the block a few times at the Downtown Escondido Farmers’ Market.

When I saw these Rainier Cherries I simply couldn’t help myself… have you ever had one of these?! They’ll make you wanna slap your Grandma! And I’m serious about that!

And these plums? So fresh and so sweet…

I also tried some amazing pesto… Basiltops makes many different varieties of fresh/organic pesto! I tasted 2 or 3 different flavors… but didn’t have any more cash with me to buy one! Hmph… next time!!!

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Bistro 221 – pie by the slice on Tuesdays!

I’d like to talk to you a little bit today about carbonara. If you’ve never experienced carbonara you’ll need to find time to seek it out and enjoy it prepared properly. From the taste of it, Bistro 221 in downtown Escondido knows how to do it just right. (I’m not even sure it’s on their regular menu… but it should be!)

Here are the key ingredients: pasta (sometimes spaghetti, fettuccine, etc), bacon or pancetta, pecorino romano cheese, salt/pepper, cream and eggs. The eggs and cream are first whipped up and then tossed in with the other ingredients right at the end. The heat from the steaming pasta just cooks the eggs and the mix becomes this creamy sauce … it really IS a perfect dish!!!

While strolling through the farmers’ market last Tuesday I stumbled across a bit of gourmet pizza: carbonara pizza.

Yes, that’s pasta (in this case fettuccine) on top of that pizza! I think they used slightly different ingredients (I think there was some ricotta in there – see it oozing off the side?!) And it certainly was amazing…

I clearly remember enjoying carbonara for the first time – in Geneva, Switzerland. My parents were visiting while I worked there for a few months and we were strolling around town looking for a quick bite to eat. I had never heard of “carbonara” before… but was feeling adventurous! And was I ever blown away…

I’ve made it a few times at home… but it’s just not the same as it was that cool Spring day in Geneva. Good times…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Rajas Tamales

Back in December I enjoyed a “rajas tamale” for the first time… and since then I’ve been hoping for another chance to have another. Yesterday, my prayers were answered… I was at a local farmer’s market and stopped to read the menu at the tamale booth. And there it was … in all it’s glory… #5 “Chile and Cheese (rajas)” !!!

But what exactly is “rajas”? That was MY question! (Honestly, after tasting it, I didn’t really care WHAT it was… I just wanted to know how to get my hands on more of it!)

Here is what I found:
Rajas – roasted peppers cut into strips and mixed with melted cheese

Thought to self:
Well, of course you can make a tamale out of those scrumptious ingredients!

So, I bought some… you don’t have to twist my arm!

Let’s unwrap this thing and see what the tamale looks like. Tamales are a very traditional mexican food.

The “filling” can be whatever you want… chicken or beef or pork, some contain vegetables only or cheese only or a mixture of some of the above ingredients. But the trick is getting just the right amount of “filling” wrapped in the right amount of masa.

What is masa?
My un-culinary-like definition is this: a dough or paste made of ground corn.
And for a more technical answer, see this link: masa

In the above picture, you see a corn husk wrapping up the masa and the filling. When you enjoy your tamale, this is what wraps it all up for the cooking process. (It kind of acts like aluminum foil around a filet of fish for the cooking process. It keeps it all together so that the ingredients don’t wander too far off.)

When you are ready to eat your tamale, remove the corn husk. Or simply unwrap the package like a beautiful birthday present… and stare at it for a while.

Then when you are ready… you can cut into your tamale. You can cut it however you want… usually I start by peeling off just a little bit of the masa encasing the filling and see what I’m getting ready to eat.

In the above picture you see strips of poblano peppers (the darker strips on the left) and a half of a serrano pepper (the light strip on the tip/right, with the rib and seeds still attached). And all that gooey cheese? Do you SEE that?!

Excuse me… it’s lunch time…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…