Saturday, September 15, 2007

Big Day


A vegetarian diet requires vegetables, and Tony hadn't been out to the primo organic produce stand here in Oliver before. So after breakfast we took the ten minute trip up the road to Covert Farms and Pancho's Organic Market.

Once you turn off the highway you take a steep and twisting road, narrow and sort of crumbling at the edges. Today we had the good fortune to be stuck behind a bale-laden hay mower, which was moving at the blistering speed of 10 mph. We crept along until there was a short stretch of visible road and we eased around him with a wave. This is farm country after all.

The market is a big open shed, with fresh-from-the-field produce spilling from huge wooden bins. Faced with such a feast of colours and shapes, I always go overboard and buy three times more than we can possibly eat.

Today I was bewitched by the many colours and shapes of peppers. I bought four (five?) different kinds, including a poblano which is used to make mole', but I could have gotten many more. There were five or six varieties of tomatoes, including huge beefsteak, heirloom green-striped zebras and yellow ones. We got a big bag of our favorite Romas, with their thick, meaty walls, and a container of tiny sweet "grape" tomatoes, each the size of a (!) grape.

Squash is another of my weaknesses. The pumpkins were all too large, but we got a spaghetti squash, green and yellow zuchinni, yellow pattypans, and one each of festival and delecata squash. To those we added a yellow baby watermelon.

Since it was noon by this point we decided to have lunch, and each had a bowl of the most fabulous squash soup, an order of dolmans and a teeny piece of cheesecake. The cheesecake was a tiny round, less than 4" across, topped with strawberries.

For those who would like to try the soup here's the recipe:

Pancho's Squash Soup

Ingredients:

3 Festival squash
3 Delecata squash
3 bulbs roasted garlic
3 yellow peppers
3 red peppers
1 onion
6 cups soup stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 TBSP curry powder
2 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
Yogurt and green onion for garnish

Method:
Bake squash open-faced with 2 tsp butter in each at 325 degrees F for 1 hour - should be very soft and slightly brown on top

roast peppers and onion on BBQ until soft.

Blend squash, garlic and peppers in food processor. Place in pot, add stock and spices.

Serve with dollop of yogurt and a few strings of green onion for garnish.
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On the way home we stopped at Panorama for nectarines, pears and apples. Then I left Tony in the truck while I went into the grocer's for a cartload of things not to be found in produce stands.

My neighbour went to a fair farther south today and I promised to walk her dog, Doc. Doc is an Australian shepard, and a real character. He was happy to have a walk and read the news, and by the time I had walked him and come home to put away the groceries I was ready for a rest.

We had a simple dinner of herb buns, corn on the cob and a ratatouille I'd made yesterday. I walked Doc again after dinner, in that period after sundown when the sky is still luminous and full of light. As he snuffled happily in the dog run I heard strange ulating cries overhead. I looked up to see a group of about 30 sandhill cranes, close enough to see their red heads. A few minutes later one of the local red-tailed hawks landed on a fence post nearby. What a lovely day! Life might get better, but I'm not sure how!

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