30 July 2011

The Farm Market: Weekend Stress Relief

"Oh, lovely!" I exclaimed, digging in my purse for my camera as I encountered golden beets in a basket at today's little farm market on the bay.

Two women buying produce laughed. "She's not talking about us," they giggled to the vender.

"Me neither," said the vender, who was indeed quite lovely with a pleasant, slightly weathered face, strawberry blond hair tucked under a pink baseball cap and her change tucked into the pockets of a flowered apron.

The farm market has grown these past five summers, and I have come to know the vendors. This is not the market I visited when I began writing here in 2006, but a newer one across town. There is no CSA this year, sadly, and not all the produce is organic, but the market is back to a grassy spot near the marina, and the light is much better for photographing produce and flowers.

I envy these microbusiness owners for their independence, and I love how nicely they display their wares. They are primarily women with a keen sense of merchandising.

The half hour or so I spend at the market each weekend is as essential to my sanity as a bedside novel, an occasional massage, and regular hair trims.

Here are more images from today's market. Aren't the colors fabulous? The photos below look like painted postcards to me.

03 July 2011

Grilled Mediterranean Salmon

It took decades for me to appreciate salmon, which with its distinct tangy taste is nonetheless extremely versatile though not the blank canvas that is chicken.

When I was a kid, salmon came from a can and was consumed at Lenten lunchtimes with mashed potatoes and creamed peas. It was only when as an adult I began eating lunches and dinners at good restaurants that I fully understood this fabulous fish. Being good for you was an added attraction; always buy wild-caught.

It also took me years to fully grasp the male fascination in firing up a grill as soon as the weather hits 45 degrees. I've never been a huge beef eater so, well, it seemed like a big fuss about nothing.

Then, almost 22 years ago, I married a grill guy and suddenly building a fire and cooking something over it became a pleasant ritual. He was so enthusiastic about experimenting with marinades and seasonings that I got caught up in it. We've gone through a hibachi and a couple of Weber Grills. I can't see investing in one of those fancy-schmancy gas grills, because I like all the trappings of a big old black Weber and its rituals.

Recently, I've been experimenting with grilling vegetables and fruit. A few years ago, I grilled peaches that were luscious but not photo worthy. This summer, I'm going to play around with vegetables wrapped in foil packets.

But I digress. Last night I made Grilled Mediterranean Salmon, using a recipe from the Mayo Clinic Website. (I should note that I always buy wild-caught.)

Fabulous! I used it in a salad along with olives, almonds and Asiago cheese for today's lunch.

What's your favorite way to eat salmon? What's the tastiest meal you've ever made on a grill?