Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Saturday: Santa Monica Farmers Market

There were friends booked in for supper at the Venice house, and Miss Whistle & So Lovely had recommended the Santa Monica Farmers Market for our grocery shopping so we sketched out a skeleton menu and headed off in my white chariot to see what was in season over here.

strawberries; Santa Monica farmers market
There’s great pleasure to be had from filling a hessian shopping bag with fresh produce: for the grilled vegetables I had planned, I chose a plump head of fennel with two feet of fronds, a fat bunch of young asparagus, each stalk the width of a pencil, spring onions (scallions), and big round red onions. JK found local honey for her chicken marinade, sweet smelling tomatoes, a great bunch of fragrant basil, unwaxed lemons and tiny crisp cucumbers, and we added three yielding avocados, bok choy and organic eggs to the haul.

lemons; Santa Monica farmers market
It was almost incomprehensibly cheap to New Yorkers used to paying at least $3 or $4 dollars at the Union Square Greenmarket for any vegetable. Here the fennel and bok choy were a dollar a throw, and so on.

lemons; Santa Monica farmers market
With a pit stop at the supermarket for essentials, our menu became grilled chicken with a ginger, garlic & honey marinade. I bashed up the basil & minced garlic with a glug of olive oil to baste the fennel, asparagus, scallions and red onions before grilling them.

Pudding was simply the three pints of strawberries I had bought from a farmer in the Santa Ynes valley on Friday afternoon. The avocados, tomatoes and lemons became handmade guacamole with aid of some of the red onion, minced, and a shot of chili sauce.

As we prepped the food in the vast, airy and light filled kitchen, we turned up the music and sang along to cheesy MTV hits. As I finished chopping and mashing the gauc ingredients, we started to scoop it up with plain tortilla chips, washing our mouthfuls down with swigs of Corona. A perfect evening, before the guests had even arrived.

guacamole; homemade guacamole; avocado; avocados