There are two mac daddys of farmers' markets in San Diego: In Hillcrest and Little Italy. Both of these are major events with literally hundreds of vendors and thousands of people. You can get everything from fresh shucked oysters to organic grains and lentils to organic dog treats and handmade jewelry to the most gorgeous produce, flowers and plants you have ever lied your eyes on. I forgot to mention the roasted, organic, free range chicken (which I don't eat anymore but urge you omnivores to seek out...it's as close to French Rotisserie Chicken I have found in the US), the gorgeous vegetarian crepes, beautiful deserts, endless tables of ethnic foods, and freshly baked bread. With all of the vendors and all of the people...and all of the sights and smells......it's a feast for your senses. Not only can you eat like a queen while you attend these events, you can purchase local, sustainable, organic foods to enjoy with your family all week! I highly recommend seeking out your local farmers' markets for your grocery shopping needs. You can get SO much more there than just tomatoes and strawberries...breads, artisan cheeses, dips, chips, teas, chocolates, coffee, salads, fresh fish, etc. Last weekend I went to the Hillcrest location and literally drove around for 30 minutes before I found a parking spot. It is intense...and a far cry from my leisurely strolls in Del Mar and Encinitas! But sometimes you want to pick up some of these gorgeous soaps that my mom and I love dearly.......
Sometimes it's just so fun to go to one of these events and stroll around...observing all there is to observe...including some lovely people watching....
I also found a lovely new organic spice stand...selling lovely teas, peppers, spice mixes, seeds, etc. I bought a French curry blend which was lovely...along with some organic pepper, caraway seeds, and harrissa spice mix. I have already used my curry spice with large zucchinis, baby potatoes, and coconut milk to make a take on Heidi Swanson's new recipe "Summer Squash Soup" from her most recent beautiful book: Super Natural Everyday
I absolutely love Heidi's Blog 101 Cookbooks and also have her earlier book Super Natural Cooking. I have also given this book to several people as gifts. I think Heidi makes healthful vegetarian food that is lovely to look at and lovely to eat as well as easy to cook. Her pictures transport you to her San Francisco Kitchen and make you want to tuck into interesting ingredients like Heirloom Beans and Black Sesame Seeds. I highly recommend her blogs and books for anyone looking to incorporate more beautiful vegetarian cooking into their lives.
Summer Squash Soup, Very Loosely Adapted from "Super Natural Everyday" by Heidi Swanson
Toast 1 heaping TBSP French Curry Blend over medium heat in the bottom of a dutch oven.
Chop one purple onion finely.
Add 1 TBSP Coconut oil and 1 TBSP EVOO to your pot after the spices become fragrant and toasty (my seasons were whole, not ground. You could do this with ground curry powder too).
Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until translucent.
In the meantime, cut 5 small yellow potatoes into cubes about 1/2 inch.
Add the potatoes to the pot.
Sweat the potatoes with the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly so things don't stick to the pan.
Add 1 cup water, 1 cup veggie broth (I used low sodium) and 2 cups of Coconut Milk (I used So Delicious Brand from a carton, but you could also use one can of coconut milk instead).
Make sure to get all the seasonings from the bottom of the pan incorporated.
After about 10-15 minutes (depending on your potatoes cooking time) add in two large cubed zucchinis. Allow everything to soften, but not too much. You don't want mushy zucchini which happened to me.
While the soup is cooking, you can crisp up some cubed tofu in pan or roast in the oven.
Taste the soup and add more seasonings in necessary. I added more salt and some garam masala at this point.
Serve a big bowl of soup with your "tofu croutons" and enjoy!
This soup was wonderful. Heidi called for adding the zucchini before the potatoes which I did, and they became WAY too soggy. That is why I adjusted the recipe here. It was a wonderful soup and not too heavy on a warm spring night. Although a reheated bowl really hit the spot after on of my recent training swims on a chilly evening in Mission Bay.
I had some leftovers which I pureed...and that was great too!