Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mystery Spinach

Thursdays are great for me. I have a ukulele class in the morning, and then I roll right down to the Daly City farmers' market. I love this market because it's not in San Francisco, which means everything is cheaper, and there's less chance of being elbowed out of the way for the best basket of mushrooms. The market is held in the Serramonte Mall parking lot, which is a little surreal. I'm sure half the people in the mall have no idea why there are tents set up outside.

Today's market was good: three full rows of vendors with everything from duck sausage to purple yams. The oyster dudes were there, and the fish lady, and chicken guy A (raw) shooting stink eye at chicken guy B (rotisserie). And, of course, all manner of folks with produce and flowers and breads and honey and olives and so on.

Today's haul:
  • Navel oranges (for years I thought this was "naval" as in, anti-scurvy)
  • White nectarines
  • "Ugly" shiitakes - $3 instead of $8 since they're not pretty
  • Cherries, Bing and Rainier
  • Radishes (for salad), onions (for grilling), and yams (for oven fries)
  • Peppers (red, green, yellow, and Poblano)
  • A gorgeous baguette from the grumpy French baker at Brioche. His un-sunny disposition is nicely offset by his amazing bread and croissant.
  • Mystery Leafy Green Vegetable, possibly Indian or Chinese Spinach
So yeah. About this spinach-y thing. It's a lovely variegated dark green and purple, and the leaves do indeed look a lot like spinach. (I'm modeling it in the photo, clutching it to my chest like Miss California with her roses before she got canned by The Donald.)

The guy I bought it from didn't speak English, so he couldn't tell me what it was called. But one of my fellow shoppers said she thought it was called Indian Spinach. Another said, "No, no, no. Chinese!" A third looked dismayed: "This isn't basil? [expletive!] NOW what do I do with it?"

I assumed it was a rhetorical question, so I didn't offer any advice. But what I'm going to do with it is heat some olive oil in a wok, saute five cloves of garlic, toss in the whatever-it-is-spinach with a splash of chicken broth, and let it steam down for three minutes. Then toss it with the olive oil and garlic in the bottom of the wok. Give it a quick grind of sea salt and see how it is.


  1. Let me know how it turns out! I've also seen that before but had no idea what it was!!!

  2. i only wish i lived in your part of the state so i could invite myself over for dinner (particularly on a thursday!) good luck with the blog!

  3. Eaterrific is going to be a regular destination for me! I kinda burned out on cooking about 2 years ago - I'm a good cook and had always loved the creative side of throwing stuff together to see what flavors emerged - but after my daughter left for college and i had no one but me at dinnertime, i went for the Cheerios most nights. Yer blog is making me excited about returning to the world of food. Just the fact that you mentioned yams for oven frying made my mouth water in anticipation!

  4. There is nothing like an open air market with tons of stuff from the farm. I can practically smell it from here (unfortunately I'm in rainy NJ) but I'll live vicariously through you. Yum. :-)

  5. When are you and your lovely family returning to the Indian Arm abode? You can braise our prawns anytime!! If Mystery Spinach works, I will add it to the Fathers Day menu, OK maybe swiss chard cause why would the Coquitlam Farmers Market have such an exotic treat?
    PS yoo rite grate, two.

  6. I can't believe you didn't know why navel oranges have their name. They are a hybrid. I do not think they were even in existence in the tall ship era.