I am blessed that my daily commute for the past several years is past a year round outdoor produce stand. This is one of the many events that inspired me to learn how to cook. I LOVE this market. It is something I could never have imagined as a youth growing up below the poverty line. Meals were a rare occasion and hunger was often my constant companion. When a meal did arrive outside of the school lunch hour, it NEVER contained fresh fruits or vegetables. These items came out of a can. So to discover this market as a professional adult, I felt like I had arrived.
I have had friends, students, and colleagues ask “How do you know when you achieve success?” Being able to purchase and create with fresh produce is one of the privileges that help me know I am living my dream (What does success look like for you?). To honor this achievement I developed two solid rules- buy only what I could consume in a week and each visit buy one new item I have never tried. This last has led to many to culinary challenges in my kitchen (can someone please tell me what to do with dragon fruit?).
I will NEVER forget my first culinary challenge, which was several tomatillos. I had no clue what they were, but I was attracted by the husk and my love for tomatoes. I remember buying a pound then and staring them down on my kitchen counter, thinking “now what?” Thank God for Google! I found a recipe for Roasted Salsa Verde (PLEASE click link for full recipe, Adam and Joanne deserve all the credit for their fabulous creation). This is now a staple for me. Over the years I have added tomatoes, scallions, or a bell pepper. If I feel their shelf life is numbered, the key is to ROAST EVERYTHING. As you gear up for your Netflix marathon or Halloween party, think about whipping up a batch of this beautiful condiment. It’s also a great way to impress your friends. When they taste it and ask where you bought it, you can say smugly, “oh yeah, that’s homemade