mmm-yoso!!! is a blog about food. Today's episode is written by Cathy. Kirk and ed(from Yuma) are researching future posts.
Hi. This is an unplanned cooking episode/$5 Friday of our blog. Let me explain. Here is a link to the website: SpecialtyProduce.com It's in an obscure part of town, close to the airport. Once you find it, park on the street and walk down near the railroad tracks to the side of the building and up some stairs and go inside the warehouse loading dock (there are footprints painted on the floor). There are racks of kind of fancy and bulk fancy groceries (salts, oils, noodles) and a desk where you check in (and sign a waiver if it is your first time visiting) and then you can walk into the refrigerators and see many many other products. Some are sold by the case and some by the package. There are microgreens and wraps and eggs and Dulcinia cantaloupes and watermelons and stuff that normally restaurants use (cases of squash blossoms, 5 lb bags of mixed lettuces, gallons of heavy/whipping cream). There are no prices marked, but you can ask and compared to other places, the prices are really good for the quality. The cash drawer closes at 4 but the building is open until 6 p.m. daily, when I have seen restaurant owners and chefs coming in to buy stuff for their kitchen.
You can also do what I have started doing, ordering the Farmers' Market Bag (look at the top left corner on the site). You place an order for a bag by Sunday at Midnight and then pick up the bag on Thursday or Friday. You don't know what is in the bag until you pick it up (or see a video of it, posted online about 6 p.m. Wednesday Here is a link to the SP videos of prior Farmers' Market Bags ) (Or click onto the 'Past Boxes' link). The bag is $20, different each week and includes fruits and vegetables from about 12 farms in Southern California. I believe in buying and consuming fresh/local/California products when I can, without having the obligation of joining a CSA , which has waiting lists, membership fees and sometimes gives you pounds and pounds of vegetables you get tired of eating and are basically inflexible with ordering weekly (i.e., you can't skip a box). Plus there are a few variables to the SP bag which you can order (like 2 lbs of fresh seafood from Catalina Offshore for $12, again,not knowing what you will get or a special bread or baguette from Bread on Market, chocolates from Chuao Chocolatier, Jackie's Jams, Peerless Coffee or some California cheese). So, anyhow, this week's bag:
From the top left- two ears of white corn from Gloria Tamai Farms; four Lipstick peppers from Beylik Farms; five Heirloom tomatoes from Coastal Organics; Freckles lettuce form Coleman Farms; sage, rosemary and thyme from Rutiz Farms; a pound of mixed Pee Wee fingerling potatoes from Weiser Farms...but, there is more
From the top left: another pound of all white fingerlings (a bit larger than the Pee Wees) from Weiser Farms; the optional seafood- this week two pounds of skinless ocean whitefish fillets from Catalina Offshore , one of a handful of places I buy seafood anymore; two New Jersey Apples from Windrose Farms; two Goldmine nectarines and a White peach from Fitzgerald Farms; about a pound of Summer Muscat grapes from Murray family Farms and six Cippolini onions from McGrath Farms. So, $32. (The bag is $20 and the optional seafood is $12)and I am going to make three preparations of the fish (one fish fillet per prep, but some will turn into two meals).
Right now it is very hot out. I am going to make "packets" in foil to cook on the grill. For my lunch.
I took the largest fingerlings, tossed in olive oil and tore the leaves off of one of the sprigs of rosemary. I sealed the packet and put it on the grill to begin cooking while I prepared the fish. Pretty much steam from the oil will do the cooking.
The Whitefish is so very fresh that I just want to taste it and not other flavors, so I coated it with olive oil and some dry slightly seasoned breadcrumbs. (I dry leftover pieces of bread and put some Herbes de Provence in the container once I crush the dry bread). Fold the foil tight- again, steam will cook the fish.
Here are both packets on the center grill. The potatoes were on about 8 minutes before I put the fish packet in the center. I turned the heat on high on the two sides of the grill; there is no direct heat under the packets. It is kind of just an oven, without turning on the one inside my non-air conditioned home.
The potatoes are done when you can easily poke a fork.
The fish is done when just translucent. That bottom left end of the photo above shows the fish needing less than a minute more of heat/steam; I re-sealed the foil so the steam cooked it the rest of the way. The fish was on the grill for about 6 minutes; so the potatoes went for about 14 minutes.
I made a salad with about half the head of the Freckles lettuce, a Lipstick pepper and one heirloom tomato, topped with olive oil and balsamic. The tomatoes are so very sweet, the red pepper is pretty much a red pepper and the lettuce has the texture of Romaine but is more delicate tasting, like a red leaf lettuce.
The potatoes still got cooked to a lovely brown crispiness on the bottom, taste so perfectly sweet and the fish just needed the six minutes on the grill. The fish was so perfectly sweet in flavor. I hope the rest of the fillet will be there for The Mister's dinner...
I chopped one of the New Jersey apples -grown in Paso Robles, but never seen anywhere but from Specialty Produce- and put it in a bowl with some grapes and had some coffee for dessert. The apples have the most wonderful strawberry undertone scent and in the flavor...they are different and tart and I like tart apples. They are also a bit softer in texture than a MacIntosh, my favorite. The Summer Muscat grapes are sweet, with a softness in texture. A pleasant grape. The two fruits did not really compliment each other and each could have stood on its own, but I don't want to finish anything without The Mister tasting it.
The Mister got home late Thursday night and everything needed to be reheated, so I took the already cooked fish, topped it with sliced Heirloom tomatoes and some Parmesan and put it under the broiler, just to get the cheese melted, sliced and sauteed the leftover potatoes with some of the red pepper and made a half assed omelete(i.e., an egg pancake instead of the proper fluffy goodness with crispy crust that is an omelette) and filled it with some fresh Mozzarella and sauteed Swiss chard bought on sale, from Henry's, this week. A fresh, filling and tasty dinner.
Specialty Produce is open 7 days a week, so you can drop by on the weekend to see what they have and just enjoy what they have to sell and sign up for a Farmers' Market Bag online by Sunday night. It is always an adventure. A very fresh adventure.
Specialty Produce 1929 Hancock Street San Diego 92110 (easiest way to get there is to be on San Diego Avenue, which goes through Old Town all the way to Washington and then go under the I-5 on Noelle Street. Then right on Hancock. It's on the left (West) side of the street.) 619-295-3172 Open 7 days. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.