Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Early Spring?

There were some marvelous surprises at the Little Italy Mercato on Saturday that I wanted to share.

First, huge, red, sweet strawberries from Kawano Farms in Oceanside! I bought a basket and they are ripe and juicy, thanks to our recent heatwave. Tonight, I'll be slicing up what I haven't already noshed on with blueberries and blackberries to enjoy with a slice of lemon cake I made yesterday.

A lovely selection of mushrooms from Mountain Meadow Farm in Escondido, being sold by Kawano Farms, also caught my eye -- particularly the ethereal looking oysters.

They also carry crimini, white and shitakes.

A vendor I hadn't seen at the market before was drawing crowds to her homemade pasta and sauces. Jordan Stone's Delaney Culinary Fresh makes linguini and spaghetti in a variety of flavors, spinach parmesan cannelloni and wild mushroom and homemade pillows of ricotta ravioli. I bought a package of the garlic linguini and the ravioli. All I did to the latter was drizzle citrus olive oil and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over it. The dough is soft and with a little chew to it. The wild mushroom stuffing is subtle.

The sauces and pestos, the flavored butters and tapenades are all freshly made and their flavors are impressive. I tried an artichoke cream sauce, the marinara and a red pepper sauce before settling on a garlic pesto. My plan tonight is to create a pasta sauce with tomatoes, eggplant and the garlic pesto to put on the garlic linguini.

And, finally, I also finally stopped by Joes on the Nose -- the big orange coffee truck in the middle of the market -- and bought a small decaf mocha. Not only is the organic coffee delicious, but that little squirt of coconut infused whipped cream? Really good. Plus, Joe -- actually David -- is a dog lover and had treats and water for the shopping dogs in the crowd. My Rhodesian Ridgeback, Ketzel, was thrilled.

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