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Livin' La Vida Locavore


Having grown up in gatherer/gardener mode, I'm more than ready to espouse the locavore creedâ??all the while scoffing just a tad at the come-lately creds of many of the movement's movers and shakers. Nevertheless, I dutifully try to make it to the Pearl farmer's market, and others, with some regularity. It was at Pearl, for example, that I first tasted Humble House's Camberti (and, most recently, their addictive, lemon-spiked ricotta), as well as the lamb products of Menzies Farm. (Okay, to be honest, the lamb shanks are still in the freezer, but soon, soonâ?¦)

Despite the rainâ??or, hoping for a reduced crowd, because of itâ??I managed to get there last Saturday. Many of the stands had been moved into the Full Goods dog-trot interior, but the produce vendors had been forced to tent it in the rain. In sympathy for both of us, I bought Poteet strawberries, some shelled (thank you, Jesus) English peas, a beautiful bunch of red spring onions and a generous handful of spinach. The spinach awaits consummation.

The strawberries, contrary to expectations, but understandably because of the cool and rainy weather, were an extreme disappointment; they tasted watery and wan. The Mexi-Cal versions, currently available at HEB for half the price, were twice as good. I hate to say this, but just did. The peas, on the other hand, were crisp and faultlessly fresh. Here's what I did with them.

I took one of the large spring onion bulbs and roughly chopped it. Tossing a knob (a little more than a tablespoon) of butter into a pan, I briefly sautéed the onion, adding a little freshly ground (it goes without saying) black pepper, and, later, a healthy sprig of fresh oregano from a pot on my patio and a scattering of kosher salt. I next added the peas and about a half a cup of chicken stock I just happened to have hanging around in my freezer. On went a lid. A few minutes later (keep checking), the peas were ready, and they were fantastic. Another knob of butter might have been added for more richness, but I didn't. Less is sometimes more, though you didn't hear that from me.

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