Veggies Starring as....Themselves

To Market, To Market


When we travel, we are, as a rule, incapable of arriving at any of the great street markets when they are open.¬† I really can’t¬†explain it.¬† I just know that we always arrive as the vendors are sweeping away the leaves from the pavement and packing up for the day.¬† So, when I read that the town of Pistoia deserves much more attention than it usually gets by visitors to Tuscany and that it has an exceptional market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, I dreamed of going but didn’t exactly commit my hopes to making it happen.¬†Perhaps that was the key.¬† Last Wednesday, when¬†the Eastern coast of the U.S. was focused on recovering from a snow storm, I found myself walking the streets of Pistoia, armed with a shopping bag and a handful of Euros!

For me, European markets are an art form that can rival any oil painting.  The combination of beautiful ingredients, flowers, and people who just radiate character makes them the perfect way to spend a morning.

We purchased fresh tortellini stuffed with pork, asparagus, mandarin oranges from Sicily, raspberries, currants, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes.  That night, we had the tortellini dressed with a mushroom tapenade and the asparagus roasted with sea salt and olive oil.


Carpe Diem … and Stone Fruits!


When I talk or write about cooking, I emphasize the value of my kitchen game plans for helping me get¬†a healthy¬†dinner on the table quickly after a day of work.¬† However, there are some things that just can’t be planned, and that’s what crossed my mind this afternoon at my local farm stand. I was wrapping up my shopping, when I saw it from across the aisle.¬†¬†

Each Box  $1.00  


Now, most of the boxes on the table adorned with this sign were: (a) quite small;¬†and (b) full of vegetables that…well, let’s be honest…were approaching the “limp noodle” stage of life.¬† But one box stood out.¬† It was a flat box used for shipping tomatoes, about the size of a case of beer, and it was full of stone fruits — peaches, nectarines, and plums.¬† I could see that several were bruised, but many of them just looked a little miffed that they were being passed over for a centerfold in¬†Farm Stand¬†Quarterly.¬†¬†