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market day 2 (click to enlarge)

This week's list:

-golden beets

-red beets

-blueberries (three baskets this time. Last week's basket lasted a total of 5 minutes before Husband found it and ate every berry)

-broccoli

-baby artichokes (so cute. so very very cute!)

-tangelos

-honey whole wheat bread

-lemon basil (what should I do with it?)

-squash blossoms

Off to the SLO farmer's market Saturday. June Gloom kept the sun at bay until well into the afternoon, so the morning market was quiet. I was a little confused at first. Some of the vendors had switched places, or had been asked to move. I overheard the Artichoke guy from Oxnard (the one who uses pesticides) retort, "Yeah, they keep moving me around because my artichokes are so much bigger than everyone else's." (it's true, they're abnormally HUGE) I couldn't stop myself from saying, "That's because you're one of the only ones here who use pesticides and chemical fertilizers*." A woman at the table with me looked down at the ENORMOUS artichoke in her hand, asked, "You use pesticides?"

"Yeah," the guy answered with a sheepish shrug. "We're trying to get away from it, but we still use 'em."

"Oh." She said, as she dropped the artichoke, and then walked away.

Me and my big mouth. I felt bad… but I thought it was in bad taste for him to publicly measure his produce up to his neighboring farmers like that, even if it was meant as a joke. He was young, and I'm sure he didn't mean any harm to anyone else, but it was a snarky thing to say anyways. I apologized, but he waved it away. "You didn't say anything that wasn't true. If she'd have asked me up front, I would've told her, and she wouldn't have bought from me anyways." I said goodbye, and moved on.

There were a few new vendors, but not much to note in the way of new market finds. Wait, I take that back. Baby squash was everywhere, but I've never been much of a fan of baby squash. The complexity of flavor isn't there yet, and it tends to just be bitter in my opinion. But this did not deter me from picking up some with squash blossoms still attached. Stuffed squash blossoms…. mmmmmmmmmmm. Can't wait.

So, that's my "new adventurous ingredient of the week."

Oh, so I guess it's not that adventurous. After all, I've eaten squash blossoms before in several ways. But never have I prepared them myself.

I need to sit down and make a game plan for those blossoms. Maybe I should make up a squash blossom sampler: some stuffed and fried, some chopped and sauteed with saffron and pasta, some sliced and thrown in a salad…

Any other options?

*For the record… I don't know if that's REALLY why they're so much larger than anyone else's artichokes. Maybe they're just a different kind or something.

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So about the One New Market Item each week thing? I guess I had this image in my head of myself that wasn't quite accurate. Maybe I'm not as adventurous as I thought…

For the past few weeks I've been tingling in anticipation of my new ingredient of the week. Each time I opened my top veggie drawer, I'd catch a glimpse of my maroon Lamb's Quarters, and I'd smile. They were just so cute, so promising and open to opportunity. I checked all my cookbooks for recipes for Lamb's Quarters. I consulted the internet. I finally decided to just wing it and feel it out as I cooked.

I washed the lamb's quarters, I spun them for a second or two in the new salad spinner*, and I planned to sautee them with shallots, garlic, magda squash, and white wine, then throw them over some rotelli with Cypress Grove herb chevre. That was the plan.

But then the lamb's quarters had this dust or something all over them that stuck to my tongue when I took a bite before throwing it in the pot. And the husband was giving me this look that said, "You're not going to put that stuff in my food, are you?"

I chickened out. In a split second, our meal plans changed. I poured in a splash of diced up some marinated artichoke hearts, threw them in the pan with the other ingredients, dashed out to the porch for some fresh basil and oregano, dice dice dice, toss them in as well, then a quick shaving of Pecorino Romano, and voila.

So I'm a total food-wimp. A flop. A failure! What'd I do with the Lamb's Quarters? I dumped them in the compost bin. Absolutely atrocious. SACRILEGE!

 Anyone out there have any prior experience with Lamb's Quarters? Anyone at all? Should I try it again? Maybe when the husband isn't watching me cook??
*We melted the old one in the dishwasher. By "we" I mean the husband, of course