Pink Pearl Apples
For some reason the market was filled with qualifiers that day: "Organic, really!" and "Surprisingly delicious." Are these apples normally unpalatable? The streak of hot pink does remind me of the Wicked Queen's apple a little, and they have the whole ugly outside/beautiful inside thing going, but that kind of salesmanship leaves me a tad suspicious of the other wares. But to get off of my pedantic digression, these apples are lovely and share the name of my favorite eraser. They are on the tart side, so they would be best in a salad or with a rich, creamy cheese. Be sure to coat them in a little lemon juice to maintain their brilliant hue.
Reason #127 why I love the farmers market: mushrooms at half price.
I have seen these gorgeous mushrooms sold at $40/lb, but at the farmers market, they're only $20/lb. Why? Who cares! Less money on mushrooms = more money for wine. Wine I used for the risotto I cooked them in. When sliced these deep coral mushrooms look like cooked lobster and have a wonderfully firm, but not rubbery texture. Technically they are not mushrooms, but a parasitic ascomycete that grows on mushrooms, turning them they're unique hue. Either way, they're especially meaty, have a slightly seafood/spiced flavor, and are perfect served with fish or shrimp, and would be a fantastic foil to a delicate pasta.
Pecan and Pear Wood Chips
Erik, the chef guru who makes the best cappuccino in town, told me about how he experimented with smoking some white fish for a potluck the other night. He filled the fish with herbs and smoked them over pecan and plum wood until perfectly seasoned and fall apart tender. I've never branched out into the world of smoking, in any capacity, but have a weakness for its delicious, heady flavor. After Erik's simple description of how to pull it off, and his awesome gift of a 1/4 lb of pecan wood, I now have no excuses. I went to the market to find more wood for my prospective barbeque, and found that the pecan was sold out, but they had plenty of plum, persimmon, and pear left over. I went for pear because of its innate fruitiness and cannot wait to try it out. Next time you swing by your farmers market, ask a couple of fruit farmers if they have any to sell. You'd be surprised by how many people have wood chips for sale in the back of their truck. Happy smoking!