52 Foods Week Forty Three: Prickly Pear

“Gimme danger little stranger, and I’ll give you a thrill,” Iggy Pop sang, and he could well have been referring to the prickly pear, the fruit of cactus native to Mexico and the Western United States. Prickly pears, reddish ovoids that grow off the end of flat cactus pads, are dotted with tiny spines that easily become lodged in skin, leading to their foreboding name. Inside the unfriendly peel, the fruit is mildly sweet, with a flavor somewhat like kiwi, but less tart. I picked up six of the spiny fruits the Towani Organic Farm booth at the Farmers Market.

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52 Foods Week Forty Two: Tomato

With the school year in full swing and a busy month of birthdays, out of town guests and costume parties, it’s sometimes hard to carve out time to cook. Fortunately, this lack of time coincided with the end of tomato season, a confluence that naturally led to cooking a big batch of tomato sauce that we could freeze for nights when boiling pasta water is about all the cooking energy we can muster.

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52 Foods Week Forty One: Black Radishes

Some foods are charismatic by virtue of their story. The Poulet Bleu’s development in North America is as exciting as its blue feet, and while Jimmy Nardello peppers look entirely commonplace, their name, and the history it alludes to, give them a leg up on other, similar foods. Still others wear their oddities in the open in odd shapes and colors, such as the Black Spanish Radishes from Fiddler’s Green Farm that we picked up at the Farmers’ Market.

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52 Foods Week Forty: Misome

Last week at the Farmers’ Market we discovered misome, a hybrid asian green designed for high temperatures. High temperatures are exactly what Fiddler’s Green Farm, a Yolo County grower, contends with. We brought home a large bunch, unsure what to do with it. Misome resembles a cross between baby bok choy and kale, with dark leaves and thin, pale stalks. Raw, the stalks are firm and a bit creamy and the leaves taste like broccoli, with a tinge of spiciness at the end.

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52 Foods Week Thirty Nine: Red Ruffled Pimiento

The end of summer is truly the best time for the Farmers’ Market, both due to the tremendous selection and the incredible colors of the peppers, tomatoes and zucchini that populate so many tables and produce baskets. Among the notable specimens a few weeks ago were the red ruffled pimientos from Lloyds’ Produce. These pimientos are bright red, about the size of a nectarine and a little squat. I grabbed five of them in a trip that also yielded three pounds of bacon, some heirloom tomatoes and I can’t recall what else.

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