I find great pleasure in visiting farmer’s markets. Just walking the aisles, touching the produce, talking with vendors, and being in a place where artists, growers, nurturers, and locals congregate. I’m happy with making many passes through, window shopping, comparing prices, dreaming of what I would do with this Tootsie Roll shaped yam or that bushel of apple mint.
One thing that makes the farmer’s market so special to me is that I am able to get there via bicycle. Something about being outside in the actual air and not just stepping into another closed space to arrive at another destination is…freeing. The world seems real and alive with the sun warming my face, lungs gulping the crisp air, and my legs generating enough energy and friction for me to be moving yet also want to stop and shed my fuzzy jacket.
I especially like how I look while voyaging to and from the market: wavy ringlets of brown hair tousled beneath a white helmet, sunglasses big enough to be a bug shield, brown Muck rain boots, deep purple pants, my plaid flannel flapping behind me like wings, crusty yellow Schwinn Varsity with straight handle bars, and a backpack hugging my body, exposing the bounty of frilly red lettuce and thick rods of white and green leeks out the top.
Plugged into nothing, just swimming in the sea of wind rushing by me and vehicles whooshing next to me, I must seem ridiculous. Quite a sight to see. But if you could find a happier person, you’d have to look pretty hard.
SWISS CHARD W/ HOT BUTTERED PINE NUTS, YOGURT, & TAHINI
adapted from Conchiglie w/ yogurt, peas, & chile and Swiss chard w/ tahini, yogurt, & buttered pine nuts from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem
Swiss chard, separated – 3 pounds, chopped
garlic – 4 cloves, chopped
sea salt & pepper
Sauté chard stems in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and chard leaves and cook until just wilted. Season with salt & pepper.
unsalted butter – 2 tablespoons
pine nuts – 1/3 cup
red pepper flakes – 2 teaspoons
Pan fry pine nuts in butter and pepper flakes until golden. (The nuts will continue to cook until you remove them from the pan.)
To serve, start with a bed of cooked grains (shown above is millet & buckwheat). Top with Swiss chard, pine nuts, and dollops of tahini and yogurt with a nice sprinkling of cilantro.
Yield 3-4 servings.