Summer in the city …

The weather’s been so lovely, still hot, but without the humidity, we’ve had much of the summer. Can’t get enough of the outdoors. Last Friday I had to go to the bank and the tailor. Ended up walking for more than an hour, just didn’t want to be inside.

That night I had a fabulous dinner with a friend at an Italian restaurant in Yorkville (CIBO). It’s so interesting, there have been several restaurants in that spot and none of them have lasted that long, but this one is packed all the time.

I had farfalle with shrimp, spinach, capers, and lemon, it was delicious! It’s the second time I’ve had it there and I’ve tried to duplicate it at home. Mine is good, but theirs is better.

My friend had vegetable risotto and she said it was marvelous. Her dish inspired me and over the weekend I cooked spring vegetable (leeks, sugar snap peas, and asparagus) and barley risotto. It was very good and cooking the risotto with barley instead of rice is much easier. You don’t have to watch it like a hawk. The flavour is also a bit nuttier and I found it lighter and not as rich.

Then on Saturday, I decided to go to the farmers market. There are a lot of them in the city, but I went to the one downtown, right behind St. Lawrence Market. I picked a hell of a day to go — turns out there was a food festival down there. OMG, the crowds! But I have to say, although I am not a crowd person, it was fun. It was loud — in addition to all the food and all the people, and all the dogs, there were bands and singers and magicians and all kinds of entertainment — but everyone was smiling, laughing and having a great time. You just had to go with the flow, forget about rushing and be part of the party.

It took me 10 minutes to navigate my way through the throngs to get to the market, but I finally got there. Everything in there is local, from Ontario. Bread, honey, baking chocolate, buns, some meat and sausages and tons of produce. I went mainly for fruit because I’m pretty well stocked with vegetables, but I couldn’t resist some cremini and shitake mushrooms and peppers in a variety of colours — red, purple, orange and pale, pale yellow.

But what I really went for were Ontario peaches, strawberries and blueberries. I ate half the box of blueberries on the way home, couldn’t wait, they looked so delicious; and were they ever! Plump, juicy and sweet, sweet, sweet.

Made a pit stop at St. Lawrence Market when I was done at the farmers market for dolmas, marinated artichoke hearts and feta, imported from Greece. It was even more of a zoo in there. Almost stopped for a peameal sandwich, but there was quite a line-up and to be honest, I was baked from the sun by then and I decided it would probably be too heavy for a hot day.

So I had a delicious mushroom, spinach, and feta omelet when I got home, with some strawberries and yogurt — from the market, of course. There is nothing like eating local produce that’s sold when it’s naturally ripe — it just tastes completely different.

Now I’m on a mission. To have a completely empty fridge by next Saturday morning so I can fill it all up again with more scrumptious homegrown fruits and vegetables. I’m not leaving there next weekend without some of the radishes that were bigger than golf balls, zucchini and yellow squash the size of a man’s forearm and … and … and …

 

23 thoughts on “Summer in the city …

  1. Ah Yes Fransi, there’s nothing better than fresh fruit and vegetables from a local Farmers Market, and the taste is always far superior than those super-markets !! I have a few farmers markets in my area, and I love to go go when I get the chance.

  2. Oh it’s lethal buying local produce! I get raw milk from a local farm… and introduced Nick to the stuff. Now he raids the farm ‘co-operative’ shop each week… and could bathe in the amount of raw honey he’s acquired.

    On the downside… they sell home baked cakes, and though I seldom eat them when I bake them myself, their coffee and walnut loaf should be banned 😉

  3. We get a market here every week and the veg is usually local. Once in a while we have a Farmer’s Market, and when we were on the marina, there were several of those a year. Too much for our purse (a boating friend paid £9 for a loaf of specialist bread), but it was interesting and there were a few free samples!

    • Too bad it’s expensive. I found the opposite at the farmer’s market here. It literally cost me a third of what it costs in shops.

      • Our veg in thee market is cheaper and better quality than the supermarkets, but the Farmer’s Markets with cheeses, breads, cakes (£2 for an iced cup cake) preserves, and confectionery is well beyond us. Still, it is nice to look at, and I got some ideas for cards! They were selling handmade ones from £2 each.

      • I couldn’t believe it when somebody bought four and I heard “That’ll be £8 please”. They didn’t seem to be that nice either as I saw several in the gutter or bins. For that price, if I couldn’t eat it, I’d have asked for my money back.

  4. and… and… Fransi next week or the following week you’ll print a copy of the cook book that’s stewing up in the kitchen. have to agree the food markets are the place to shop. Fresh dairy butter, fresh eggs, free range poultry all the goodies you could ask for – no wonder we are looking so healthy…

    • You’re the second person whose told me to do a cookbook, the first was a facebook friend. Who has time???? Live shopping at the market and I did also buy eggs. There really is such a difference. “Healthy,” Chris, or “well-fed?”

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