I have been salivating over pictures of “ribbon cut” vegetables for far too long, so I broke down and purchased the “Williams and Sonoma Spiralizer”. You can make long ribbons of cucumber, carrots and radishes for salads, or apple spirals for apple slaw. Cut onion rings, potato chips, shoestring potatoes or curly sweet potato fries in seconds. You can even embrace the current health-food trend for raw zucchini “pasta”. I am a sucker for “kitchen porn” and this was a “must have”. I must say, my initial impressions are very favorable, I made an English cucumber and carrot salad with rice wine vinegar and Splenda that was both delicious and low calorie.
Also known affectionately as ‘Vic Market’ or ‘Queen Vic’, the Queen Victoria Market has been the heart and soul of Melbourne for more than a century. A historic landmark spread over two city blocks, it’s a vibrant and bustling inner-city market where you can shop for everything from Australian fruit and vegetables, and local and imported gourmet foods, to cosmetics, clothing and souvenirs. Because there is so much to see, I have broken the post into fruits and vegetables, this is obviously the vegetable portion. Although the variety of vegetables looks similar to an American supermarket, the species and names are often different. I love farmers markets and while I understand many will find these posts less interesting, you cannot understand the food on your plate without understanding the ingredients. The watchwords of the new cuisine are local, fresh and renewable.
As we have discussed in my previous post, the food in Paris is amazing. This is the second part in a series I am doing on Paris produce and today I would like to focus on onions. All onions originated in Asia and have been differentiated into over 50 different species. The Paris Silverskin Onion (Allium cepa) is a French heirloom that produces those wonderful small pure white onions needed for the classic dish Coq Au Vin. Sometimes called a “pearl” or “cocktail” onion they are actually a different species. Paris Silverskin is somewhat larger and is a beautiful onion, it also serves well in salads and pickling. Every produce market in Paris has these on display and they remind me of scallions on steroids. When they are as fresh as those shown above, the entire plant is edible, both white bulb and green stems.
One of the greatest things about Paris, as we all know, is the food. The photo shown above is a collection of varietal tomatoes I found in a local produce store. One of the reasons the food is so great is because of the quality of the raw ingredients. In every neighborhood of Paris there are weekly produce markets where you can find an astounding array of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, poultry, meat, fish plus non-food items such as household goods, clothes, dishes and so on. In Paris there are unusual forms of fresh produce that are simply unavailable in US markets. I thought I would share some of them with you in this post, although I expect there will be more posts on this subject.