Sunday, July 29, 2007

Just Picked
The soil, clinging to the base of these lovely heads of lettuce, was still damp this morning when I found them at the Orlando Farmers Market. As I headed home with my canvas bag filled with fresh goodies, dozens of possibilities swirled through my mind. The lettuce, briskly washed and rinsed and spun dry would provide the base for several crisp salads over the next day or two.

Freshly harvested lettuce like this, is rich in flavor, abundant in nutrients and can easily stand on its own, very lightly dressed or as an accompaniment to other fruits and vegetables.
The marvel of fresh produce is one doesn't have to spend hours concocting fancy sauces, adding a variety of herbs and spices to camouflage old, tired or stale produce that was picked halfway across the continent, warehoused, shipped across thousands of miles of highways, stored again, then finally transported to the produce section of my local supermarket. Produce involved in that scenario must not only be picked unripe, but must be treated with a variety of synthetic chemicals to allow it to be handled so much and still arrive unbruised and deceptively handsome and appealing. Ah, the marvels of modern technology.

Choosing locally grown, just picked produce not only offers better taste but provides better nutrition. With a fine bunch of Florida onions tucked in my canvas bag along with a head of crunchy celery and a fragrant Georgia pineapple, my list of possibilities kept expanding.

When a recipe calls for green onions, this is what comes to mind. Or as I like to think of them, giant scallions! But these are Florida onions, sweet and mild with just a bit of a bite to let you know that as lovely as they are, they are still onions, a favorite aromatic that adds such depth of flavor to so many dishes.

Without an image to include, let me tell you briefly about a fabulous spinach salad I tossed together. I was too eager to eat it to stop and think about shooting a photo for the blog!


Wash and spin dry some baby spinach, stack, roll and slice (chiffonade). In a large serving bowl, toss spinach with pineapple segments, thinly sliced sweet onion, a generous handful of fresh blueberries and a handful of raw sunflower seeds, a light drizzle of very good extra virgin olive oil, a splash or two of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Slice two or three 1/4 inch thick coins of good French goat cheese, dice and toss over salad. This is especially good if the pineapple is very ripe and juicy.

Remember - To eat well; eat raw!


I raced through a bevy of just released novels by popular authors during July. Some great entertainment!

Joyce Carol Oates . . . . . . The Gravedigger's Daughter

Robert Parker . . . . . . Spare Change

Louise Penny . . . . . . Still Life and A Fatal Grace

Pete Hamill . . . . . . North River

Jeffrey Deaver . . . . . Sleeping Doll

Thomas Perry . . . . . Silence

Ruth Rendell . . . . . The Water's Lovely


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