Archive for the ‘Farmers Markets’ Category


Monday, August 29th, 2016

I spent last week in Hawaii … What I thought was going to be a hiking and biking trip turned into a foodie trip due to rain. Oh, the fruit. I can’t wait to go back!

Day one shopping ...

Day one shopping …

Pineapples ... my mouth is watering .

Pineapples … my mouth is watering .


Dragonfruit ...

Dragonfruit …

Lilikoi - Passion Fruit

Lilikoi – Passion Fruit

Sweet and tart lilikoi ... I want more.

Sweet and tart lilikoi … I want more.



Papaya ... oh, mya!

Papaya … oh, mya!

Yes we have bananas today! Apple Bananas, that is.

Yes we have bananas today! Apple Bananas, that is.

Fresh coconut ... o.m.g.

Fresh coconut … o.m.g.

Avocados and Rambatons (similar to lichee fruit).

Avocados and Rambatons (similar to lichee fruit).



Oh, and then there was the coffee, the chocolate, the vanilla, the fresh fish …  and … the beaches and warm rain and volcanoes and hot lava and cold observatories and …  those will have to be later blogs. I have to switch out of vacation mode and back into regular life mode soon. Oh, sigh … that was an amazing week.

A Glorious Day for a Ride

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Yesterday was cold, wet, and windy. Today was glorious. The air was clean and fresh, the sun was warm, and the breeze was gentle. It was perfect weather for an afternoon ride. Overall, this was a pretty good weekend!

I enjoyed a rare trip to the Davis Farmer’s Market.

Romanesco Broccoli ... something about the light at this display really caught my eye.

Romanesco Broccoli … something about the light here really caught my eye.

I had a craving for lamb, so I picked up a nice piece at my local Costco. I marinated it in some coffee, herbs, red wine, and balsamic vinegar. I cooked a bit of it last night and served it with spinach fettuccine, a rustic charred heirloom tomato sauce, and wild mushrooms.

Rustic Lamb Hunter-Style Pasta Dish ... what would you call this? It was amazing. The photo does not even begin to do it justice.

Rustic Lamb Hunter-Style Pasta Dish … what would you call this? It was amazing.

The photo does not even begin to do this dish justice. If I may say so myself, it truly was at least as good as any dish I’ve had in any restaurant.

The rest of the lamb marinated overnight and is now in a pot of Irish Lamb Stew made with Stout and Coffee. It smells delicious. I’ll be serving it shortly on a bed of Colcannon (simply smashed Yukon Gold potatoes with some baby kale mixed in). Photos to follow.


Lost Summer

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Summer of 2015 isn’t quite over yet, but in some ways it feels like it was over before it even started. For various reasons, I have hardly cycled at all. Summer 2015 brought with it lots of pain, stress, and difficult decisions, but the best one I made is to move back to Davis.

Buh-bye 45+ minute morning commute and sometimes even an hour or more commute heading back to Sacramento.

Hello 10 minute commute … and that’s “rush hour” in Davis.

Once I get settled a bit I will be bike commuting. This has been a multi-phase move as I unexpectedly had to move before September 1st, which would have been a nice thing to know before I signed a September lease. Aah, this too shall pass. The upside to this is that I have been staying with a lovely family in Davis in a beautiful home, complete with a sweet cat and darling Beagle.

As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”

The goal is to focus on the positive.

I've been getting some nice sunrise walks in in the morning...

I’ve even been able to get a couple of pre-work rides in!

Morning ride, out on Road 29

Oh how I love to start my day with a beautiful sunrise!

And there’s always the Wednesday Night Market in Davis …

Beautiful, Mouth-Watering Heirloom Tomatoes

Here’s wishing you a deliciously beautiful day!



Fresh Fruit Tart

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Fresh Fruit Tart

Be sure to dock the dough well to avoid excess puffing.

I love fresh fruit.
I love dessert.
I love this dessert.

This tart is best with a homemade shortbread crust, but if you’re in a pinch for time, you can use a pre-made pie crust. I like the Trader Joe’s frozen pie crust – it’s more natural than other brands, and I’ve had pretty good luck with it.

Bake the tart crust according to the recipe or directions on the packet.

Have ready to go some finely chopped dark or white chocolate to sprinkle on the crust immediately after removing from the oven. Evenly distribute the chocolate onto the hot crust, wait one to two minutes to allow to melt, then gently smooth to the edges with a knife or spatula. Allow to cool completely.

While the tart shell is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk together about 3/4 cup each of Mascarpone cheese and non-fat plain Greek yogurt, 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey, and the zest of one lemon. Whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or two, or up to overnight.

The crust and/or filling can be made a day ahead and kept refrigerated. Keep them separate – don’t fill the shell until right before assembling the tart.

Depending on the type of fruit you want to use, you’ll want to prepare it shortly before assembling and serving the tart. Whole berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries should be rinsed and drained well before assembling. Cut fruit should be sliced right before assembling and serving the tart.

To assemble the tart, spoon the filling into the prepared crust and gently spread to the edges of the crust. Top with your choice of fruit, arranged attractively, of course.

If you’re going to prepare the tart ahead of time, especially if you are using cut fruit, you can glaze it to help keep the fruit fresh-looking. When possible, I prefer to assemble the tart just before serving so I don’t glaze the fruit. A really simple way to do it is to heat up some apple jelly a bit to make it “liquidy” and simply brush a little bit of it onto the cut fruit with a pastry brush. Just be sure to glaze very lightly or it can become cloyingly sweet. What I like about this recipe is that it is fairly light and not too sweet.

You can make it even a little lighter by using a low fat cream cheese, but I really prefer the taste of the Mascarpone cheese.

This tart is a wonderful excuse to take a trip to your local Farmers’ Market to pick up some beautiful fresh local fruit – go get inspired! Enjoy!




Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

I am thankful to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my mother. This year will be a little different. Rather than having Thanksgiving at her home, we are joining her friends and neighbors in a potluck. I’m bringing homemade bread, a salad, and a fruit & cheese platter.

Hearty homemade whole grain bread with whole wheat, pumpernickel, oats, millet, and polenta.

The loaves are still warm as I type this and the house is filled with the satisfying aroma of freshly baked bread.

Salad will be a light and fresh mix of baby kale, chard, and spinach with crisp-sweet Fuji apples, toasted walnuts, and a light honey-mustard vinaigrette I whisked together.

After work today I was pleasantly surprised to find the Davis Farmers’ Market happening downtown and picked up some lovely red grapes, persimmons, and a couple of artisan cheeses that will make for a festive platter. I haven’t decided which cheeses to bring tomorrow, but I’m leaning towards these four: an herbed goat, a smoked cheddar, a Stilton with cranberries, and a “Foggy Morning” fresh cheese (perhaps served with some fig jam).

Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, but I do hope to get at least a quick ride in in the morning. I haven’t been riding nearly enough! It’s not quite light enough in the morning anymore to ride before work, so I’m back at the gym or out walking on nice weather mornings. It’s been chilly, but beautiful!

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! I hope you get to spend it with your loved ones!

Good Morning Sunshine!

Beef, Lamb, Vegetable, & Barley Soup

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

I woke up to a chilly, very breezy morning in Davis, and we even had a bit of rain last night. It’s getting to be soup weather – just in time for Fall 2013 Quarter at UC Davis! This makes a large batch of soup and the leftovers will freeze well. This soup will be great fuel for studying, so load up on veggies this Saturday at the Davis Farmers’ Market and make a batch this weekend. Remember to freeze some individual servings to keep on hand for midterm time.

Beef, Lamb, Vegetable, & Barley Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large carrots, diced
2 large ribs of celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 pound of lean beef, cut into about 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 pound lean lamb*, cut into about 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 to 1 cup each: peas, corn, string beans, (fresh or frozen)
2-3 cups of fresh baby kale, coarsely chopped
8 ounces of barley**
2 quarts of beef broth
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc.)

Hearty, nutritious, and delicious!

Clean and dice the carrots, celery, and onion; set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook on medium-low heat until they’ve softened a bit. Remove from pot and set aside.

Depending on your pot, you may want to add just a touch more oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the meat. You’ll want to brown it a bit.

Reduce heat to medium-low and return the carrot mixture to the pot. Add the remaining vegetables. If you’re using frozen vegetables, you’ll want to thaw and drain them a bit before adding to the pot. Add the barley and stir to combine.

Add the stock and tomatoes and give a good stir. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the barley is tender. Give a stir now and then. A little bubbling is OK, but you don’t want this to boil; that would overcook the vegetables. Cooking time will be at least an hour, even if you use a quick cooking barley.

While the soup is cooking, prepare the biscuits. When I’m pressed for time, I like to use the Trader Joe’s multi-grain pancake and waffle mix as a base for biscuits. This makes a nice biscuit on its own, or you can easily dress them up with just a few modifications. I increased the amount of milk called for by about 20% and substituted about half of that with non-fat Greek yogurt. For flavor, I used olive oil and about 1 teaspoon of my favorite Herbs de Provence mix. Mix and bake as directed on the package. They had great flavor and a nice, tender crumb.

For my vegetarian and vegan friends – you can easily make this vegetarian or vegan. Simply omit the meat and use vegetable broth. For added protein, you could add beans, which combined with the barley will give you complete protein. For texture and flavor, some shiitake mushrooms would be fantastic.

* If you’re not a fan of lamb, then simply omit it.

** I used Trader Joe’s 10-Minute Barley.

Getting a Late Start This Morning

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Fresh Tuscan Melon, Blueberries, and Raspberries

Originally I had planned to be out on my bike by 7am, but sometimes you just have to sleep in and sleep won out this morning. It would have been nice if sleep had won out over insomnia at about 2am, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

There may be a quick trip to the Davis Farmer’s Market this morning, but that might have to wait until Wednesday at this point. I need to get some miles in today!

Farmers Market, Breakfast, Ride, Pizza

Monday, May 27th, 2013

I’m quite behind on posts! Here’s a quick summary of Saturday:

Whole Wheat Rye Fennel Pizza Dough

2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup room temperature water
1/4 cup rye flour

1 1/8 cup room temperature water
3 cups flour (I used 3/8 cup high protein whole wheat, 3/8 cup rye, 1 1/4 cup whole wheat, 1 cup all purpose unbleached)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fennel seeds

Bench flour for shaping

Make the sponge: pour 1/2 cup room temperature water into the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over and allow to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of rye flour. Cover with a towel and allow to rest about 15 to 30 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 cup water and begin mixing in the flour on low speed. Mix in the olive oil on low speed. Check the consistency and if too dry, add a little water or olive oil.

You want to make sure this dough is pretty wet when it finishes mixing – the fennel seeds will absorb water as the dough proofs.

Continue to mix on low speed about 10 minutes, then add the salt. Turn on high and mix on high for 2-3 minutes. Add the fennel seeds in the last 30 seconds of mixing. Turn the dough out onto a floured board. If you are making pizza, divide the dough into two pieces and gently shape each into a ball. Place each dough ball into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. The dough is ready to use once it has doubled in size. I like to use the dough within 2 days of mixing it. This batch makes enough dough for two 15-16 inch pizzas.

Note how wet this dough looks

Turn the dough out onto a floured board.

Gently shape into a ball.


Davis Farmers Market







Our bounty!





Breakfast at Cafe Bernardo

Breakfast burrito

Oatmeal with Bananas & Pecans


A rare treat




A nice jaunt to Winters and back, with a quick stop for some icy cold refreshment.

Homemade pizza for dinner

Mushroom, Grilled Veggies, Golden Tomato Sauce

A nice, light sauce of golden tomatoes gently cooked down and run through a food mill, then reduced over low heat to just the right texture, with a touch of fresh thyme and rosemary, was just the right base for mushrooms and grilled veggies. We used a combination of mushrooms we picked up at the Farmers Market this morning: oyster, maitake, and beech oyster mushrooms. I picked up a few shiitakes at the store, too. We had some leftover grilled veggies from Friday night: eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash.

We fired up the grill and cooked the pizza outside, to avoid heating up the entire house. I placed my baking stone on the grill, and turned the heat up as high as it would go. The end result was a light, airy crust, but the bottom was a little dark and the top not quite done enough – I like the cheese to bubble and brown a little. But overall, it was a success and a nice end to a nice day.

Coming soon … reporting on foodie adventures in Ohio!


Congratulations – Davis Farmers Market!

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Congratulations to the Davis Farmers Market for being named “Bill Streng Business of the Year” award by the Davis Chamber of Commerce!

Coming Soon … Wild Mushroom Lasagna

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Tonight we’re making Wild Mushroom Lasagna with organic shiitake, oyster, Royal Trumpet, and maitake mushrooms from Solano Mushroom Farm; that recipe will have to be posted by a guest blogger. I can tell you, though, that it will have smoked mozzarella and fresh thyme.

I’m in charge of appetizers, salad, and dessert. For appetizers, a little cheese and bread … I made a goat cheese with fresh lemon and thyme spread. For salad, some lovely fresh greens lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, maybe some fresh tomatoes, whatever looks good. Yesterday at the Davis Farmers’ Market I picked up 3 absolutely stunning baskets of berries (strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries) and restocked on fresh lemons, so for dessert, I’m making a low fat lemom curd tart with fresh berries.

Well, I’d better run! Got lots to do to get ready for company tonight! Gotta’ shop! Gotta’ clean! Gotta’ ride! Gotta’ cook and bake and play with some fabulous food!