As is usually the case, we've been traveling a lot this summer so having three whole days in a row at home on a long weekend is considered quite a luxury. I spent four days last week enjoying time in Des Moines, Iowa all of the great folks who raise pigs for Niman Ranch. It was quite an experience and I loved every minute of it (especially the hayride through native prairie grasses at the Dream Farm, owned and operated by Niman Ranch Pork founder, Paul Willis and his wife, Phyllis). The food throughout the multi-day event, was also a highlight (pig roast, homemade pies, an extravaganza of heirloom tomatoes — all raised on the Willis farm). YUM!
At yesterday's farmers market, we went a little overboard with all we bought (easy to do in Santa Barbara the first weekend of September), so we've spent the weekend washing, chopping, and cooking tons of fresh veggies. One of our all-time favorite things to do on Saturdays after the market is to steam 2 or 3 large artichokes from the Lompoc farm, "Life's a Choke," and then eat them throughout the day with my homemade paprika mayo. It's delicious and easy to make even using store-bought mayo. Just add 1 tablespoon of picante Spanish paprika (or more if you like) to one cup of mayo and blend well. It makes an amazing dip for artichoke leaves.
Other things we brought home from this week's farmers market: baby bok choy, green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, baby turnips, lettuces, hardneck garlic, onions, peaches, golden raspberries. You see, we really did go overboard!