This Saturday my boyfriend Andrew and I went to the Grand Lake Farmers Market in Oakland, California once again (a favorite Saturday ritual of mine). A recent purchase of a used “ Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza and Calzone” recipe book by Alice Waters that I bought at the local used furniture store inspired yet another “Yolanda and Drew cook off duel” .
We love Alice Waters’ recipes because they are simple and down to earth. If you like French or Italian country style – her recipes require only a few ingredients often found in your pantry. In other words, you don’t have to drive to end of the world to find that esoteric spice or vegetable to make a delicious and unique dish. The big plus is that her dishes are vegetable heavy (I’m a Veggie) and she encourages seasonal cooking. Her book inspires us to shop at the local farmers market down the street which usually carries seasonal produce and gives me the opportunity to cook with a vegetable new to me. For example, I have never cooked fresh artichokes and my new fall pasta dish calls for it so this gives me the opportunity to face a nice challenge.
With an Alice Waters dish, you can never “mess up” trust me, that is why I lover her. Besides, I LOVE her aesthetics just take a look at her website for her Chez Panisse restaurant and you’ll know what I mean.
In conclusion, I made the artichoke hearts, prosciutto and fettuccine dish and I substituted the mushrooms for the prosciutto and it was light and tasty.
This dish and the adventure in making it got me thinking of how the farmers market reminds me of when I was a child visiting my Granny Margarita in Cuernavaca, Morelos Mexico. She used to drag me to the market to pick up cheese, sour cream, meat, nuts, and produce. She would buy me corn on the cob with lemon and chili, or a seasonal fruit treat.
As I write this I realize that I have to praise the local farmers and our local chefs even though I have to forgo going to the movies or other costly attractions in order to afford good organic and local foods that will feed me throughout the week! Where you live, do you recommend a local restaurant or do you have a favorite recipe book? Do you know your local Chefs? What do you sacrifice for good food?