C17: Cherimoya, Chard, Collard Greens & Ciabatta

I went a little ‘C’ crazy at the Farmer’s Market last Sunday. I was thrilled to see these pictures on a local blogger’s site this morning. And, I will also lead with his picture of the ‘soulful little trailer park’ where I live. It’s across the street from the Farmer’s Market. I put the soulful part in quotes because the blogger titled it this way.

This week is about the ‘C’ of clean. Winter vegetables, especially dark greens are of the most cleansing. This is a separate post today. But first I want to rejoice in the things I bought on Sunday. Though I spent a bit more this week ($15), it’s all enticing.

Cherimoya is cultivated in many places
throughout the Americas, including California, where it was introduced in 1871. I had cherimoya once last year and wasn’t that thrilled. I think of it as avocado’s sister. The taste is described as custard-like. But, I think it is time to try it again (and again and again). This is a challenge to get out of my comfort zone and eat locally, eat seasonally. I just love that it is a good example of nature’s tessellation and fractals.

Chard, in particular Swiss Chard is a favorite food of mine. For one thing, I think it is so beautiful I have used it as an ornamental bed for food at dinner gatherings. I have also used it like a bouquet. I love the different colors available locally, although the red is still my favorite.

Collard Greens date back to prehistoric times, and are one of the oldest members of the cabbage family. The ancient Greeks grew kale and collards, although they made no distinction between them. The only conundrum for me is that I didn’t want to fix these with ham hocks, the traditional Southern recipe. I want a meatless version. Well, I sauted onions and decided I love them – even without the onions. I was not looking forward to the smell when the collard greens were cooking that I read about. Actually, that was no big deal. We can all be pretty prissy about things can’t we?

Ciabatta was an impulse buy because the bakers were such warm people and the breads looked so fresh. This little mini-ciabatta was their least expensive offering at $1 and I fixed a fried egg sandwich the next day. I used some cheese spread I made from letting yogurt drain through cheesecloth I’d hung above a bowl. Yum.

"What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds."
-- Will Rogers

Later in the week I decided that Carrots were the obvious ‘C’ food. I find them boring and rebel against them being one of the only recognizable vegetables to the population that seldom eat whole food. But, a bit of Googling showed me that this popular vegetable has a right to its fame. There is much to celebrate about this classic orange root.

Carrot is mostly known for being a powerful antioxidant due to its high beta-carotene content, the precursor of vitamin A (light cooking of the vegetable improves the assimilation of beta-carotene in the body). It is used to maintain health and prevent cancer and night blindness. Carrot protects the lungs, fortifies the liver and spleen, regulates hormones in combination with beets, reduces acid flux, cleanses the digestive tract from parasites and bacteria and stops diarrhea. Beta-carotene in carrot has an anti-inflammatory effect on the mucus membrane. Silicon in carrot improves the absorption of calcium and builds connective tissue. A daily glass of carrot juice or eating some can supply the body with all the above benefits.

Well, damn. Time to buy some carrots.