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Friday, May 6, 2011

Vegetables for Coastal fog from SF and Seattle


Cardoon

Since our climate in SoCal has decided to mimic an English spring (cold and  rainy) vegetables from San Francisco and Seattle are suddenly apropos.

Cardoon, a favorite in Victorian kitchen gardens, could  be a fall planted vegetable in SoCal. It needs 5 months of cool weather--we've got 'em. Cardoon is  spectacular and still highly favored in parts of France, Spain, Italy and New Orleans where ..."chef Mario Batali calls the cardoon one of his favorite vegetables and says they have a "very sexy flavor"  (W)
 In San Francisco, Chinatown has an array of vegetables to puzzle and inspire.
Daikon
Daikon an astonishing radish, is rich in magnesium, vitamin A, copper, --all this and pickles  too.  (Japan, Korea, see W)  In Pakistan, the leaves are used ---"flash fried in heated oil, garlic, ginger, red chili and a variety of spices".

Bok choi, kohlrabi ---  don't usually think if that one--- pale celadon with odd bumps here and there. See -http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/kohlrabi/


Kohlrabi (W)
 "a stout cultivar of the cabbage that will grow almost anywhere.."(W) It's somewhere between a turnip and a cabbage.... the reader is warned. If you like turnips or cabbage------ kohlrabi is a star.

Slim  Japanese eggplant  are  wonderful for grilling. Likes our foggy  coastal summer weather just fine. Also makes superb pickles. Easy to grow.

Japanese eggplant

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia), is a staple in Chinese cooking,
It would be a summer vegetable for us. It's bitterness is prized. Bitter Melon is anti-viral, increases insulin sensitivity (good!) and is used for folk healing all over Asia.


Bitter Melon Sambal
For adventurous cooks and gardeners. The vine looks a lot like a cucumber.
If you go to Seattle, Pikes Market is a fabulous place to see vegetables you've only encountered in seed catalogs.



Fresh truffles and mushrooms beyond belief -- like fresh shitake , and decorative
romanesco and baby purple artichokes.
Romanesco-right- artichokes- middle
 Can't leave Pike's market without seeing the fish market, where a whole wild salmon affordable at $7.99, filleted free.

Seattle has two gigantic nurseries, Swanson's (  see their website  http://www.swansonsnursery.com/Edible/Edibles.shtml   which has lots of detailed notes on growing edibles.. Swanson's has a glass house the size of the grapery at Blenheim Palace.

Rain may be falling, but who cares?



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