Mercado Kitchen: Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelette)

After last week's gazpacho recipe, I thought I'd share another one of my favorite dishes I came across when I lived in Barcelona. Tortilla de patatas is a staple in Spanish households and perhaps one of the best-known Spanish dishes. Locals Read more

Mercado Kitchen: Traditional Gazpacho

Surprise! I have another tomato-based recipe for you! Gotta take advantage of the season while you can; am I right? Gazpacho is a cold soup made of raw fruits and vegetables originating from Spain. This recipe is very close to Read more

Mercado Kitchen: Bruschetta

I am admittedly a tomato fanatic and I can honestly say that there are very few things that I look forward to more about summer than ripe tomatoes. Every week I fill my basket with at least a couple pounds Read more

Know your Peppers with Happy Boy Farm

Posted on by EmilyN in Blog, Happy Boy Farms, Mercado Kitchen | Leave a comment

When I asked Ash of Happy Boy Farm to talk to me about the difference between Padrón and Shishito Peppers, she exclaimed, “Well, for starters, they come from two totally different parts of the world!”

To the naked (and uninformed) eye, baskets of these two small green peppers often found at MCM this time of year might appear indistinguishable. But guess what–they each have quite a story to tell, with properties that make them unique. I decided to delve into the history behind these two fraternal twin peppers a little more to find out what makes makes them special.

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Padrón Peppers

The most famous produce of the Spanish city Padrón are its peppers. Franciscan monks first brought pepper seeds to the area from Mexico in the 16th century, which then were adapted to the soil and climate of the area.

Most of the peppers taste sweet and mild–like tiny bell peppers–though some are particularly hot and spicy, which can give some special character to a dish prepared with these little guys. The popular Spanish saying,“Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non” meaning “Padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not” captures this sentiment perfectly. Although it’s not always the case, some have found that the peppers grown later in the season (towards August and September) tend to contain more capsaicin–and thus are spicier–than the grown in June and July. A couple sources I found said that about one in every 20 peppers will be hot, and the rest will be mild. However, sometimes you’ll get a basket with a slightly higher ratio. It really is a game of spicy roulette when you eat these peppers!

Shishitos on the other hand, come from Japan, halfway around the world, as Ash told me.

shishitos at market

Shishito Peppers

 The Shishito pepper is small and finger-sized, slender, and thin-walled. The name refers to the fact that the tip of the chili pepper looks like the head of a lion (“shisho”) and in Japanese it is often abbreviated as Shishitō.

Though apparently some varieties of Shishitos do form capsaicin and become spicy, Ash assured me that I wouldn’t find a spicy pepper in my basket–and I didn’t. The peppers generally become spicy in hot, dry conditions, and we won’t often get such weather here. According to Ash, Shishitos are also more “buttery” than their Padrón counterparts.

The easiest way to tell them apart is the fact that the Shishitos are usually more slender and wrinkly, while Padróns tend to be fatter, and have an appearance more similar to Jalapeños.

Lucky for us, both varieties of peppers cook up easily and with much the same simple preparation–toss them in a glass baking dish with some olive oil, coarse salt, and black pepper, and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350 ° F until slightly browned in parts. It doesn’t get much easier than that! I like to sprinkle them with some goat cheese or feta if I have it on hand.

Enjoy the rest of our San Francisco summer, and happy pepper picking!

Featured Vendor: Boffo Cart!

Posted on by EmilyN in Blog, Boffo Cart, Vendor of the Week, Vendors | Leave a comment

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If you haven’t yet had a chance to taste some of the delicious dinner options from Boffo Cart, you’re missing out on some of the best food that MCM has to offer.

Operated by Rhasaan Fernandez of Sam’s Log Cabin in Albany, this street food vendor joined the market in April 2013. Boffo Cart offers a unique menu each week that has something for everyone–vegetarians and omnivores alike. The best part is, everything is made with organic, in-season produce. Rhasaan makes his own calzone and piadina dough, and can often be found shopping for his ingredients from the MCM vendors before the market. Come on down to see what this talented chef has whipped up with all the produce from the vendors you’ve come to know and love.

Featured on the Boffo menu this week:

  • The Italian Chopped Pork Sandwich (Pasture raised pork seared with onions, marjoram & basil)
  • Piadina (thin homemade Italian flatbread) with tomato, basil & mozzarella
  • Eggplant Parmesan Calzone with a twist, featuring Japanese eggplant, thai basil, tomato, and bird chilies
  • Panini with Gypsy peppers, onions & mozzarella

Get on down to MCM this Thursday 4-8pm, and come hungry!

 

Jarred Spring Garlic Dressing w/ Roasted Potatoes & Peppers

Posted on by Dana Crary in Blog, Blue House Farm, Happy Boy Farms, Jarred SF Brine, La Cocina, Mercado Kitchen, Recipes | 1 Comment

Photos taken by Daniel Sullivan Jr. Instagram: @dsulliphoto

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Emiliana Puyana from Jarred SF Brine aims to positively impact the world through tasty, crunchy pickles. After growing up in Venezuela, Emiliana pursued her love of food by attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Now she has created Jarred SF Brine, a pickle business that operates out of La Cocina using local and sustainable fruits and vegetables picked at the peak of their seasons.

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Before talking with Emiliana, we didn’t know much about cooking with pickles. Pickles are usually eaten straight out of the jar, right? Thankfully Emiliana has a wealth of knowledge about easy ways to pep up everything from salads to cocktails using her delicious creations. She offered the inspiration for this recipe and has many more ideas to give. Check out the recipe page of her website, or better yet, stop by her stand at MCM this thursday to taste her pickles and ask for some inspiration on how to cook with them.

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This Pickled Spring Garlic Dressing recipe can be used in endless ways–try it as a seafood marinade or for dipping artichokes. We decided to roast Fingerling Potatoes from Happy Boy Farms thanks to their buttery texture and thin skin which doesn’t need to be peeled. For a little smokey spice, we added Padron Peppers from Blue House Farm. You can find the full recipe after the jump.  Read more

Welcome Rosi Bustamante to MCM

Posted on by EmilyN in Blog | Leave a comment

Greetings and saludos!  I am honored to serve as the new Executive Director of Mission Community Market and look forward to hosting our beloved open air market and the future Mercado Plaza.  I have been a Mercado fan since it opened, and can’t believe my luck that I am now helping it grow!  I look forward to partnering with vendors, local organizations, the City, neighbors, youth, schools, and YOU to make the Mercado our own and use it to build a stronger community.

Just a bit about myself:  I am from Tijuana, Mexico, and have lived in San Francisco for 15 years.  I moved to The Mission to raise my kids in a Latino environment, which is why my two boys attend a Spanish Immersion school, Buena Vista Horace Mann, two blocks from el Mercado! My professional background has always been in the nonprofit sector, focused on fundraising and building partnerships–two ingredients essential to MCM’s growth!  We will need everyone’s support to make that happen, though – please be on the lookout for opportunities to help us grow to meet community needs in a fun, welcoming, and healthy way. Feel free to drop me an email as well if you’d like to collaborate.

Come and say “Hola!” at the market every Thursday – I will probably be wearing red, and would love to meet you and your family.

Salud! [meaning ‘cheers’, but also, ‘health’!]

Rosi Bustamante

Executive Director

Spotlight on Dirt to Dish

Posted on by Dana Crary in Blog, Dirt to Dish, Vendors | Leave a comment

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A relatively new vendor to the market that we’re excited to feature is Dirt to Dish Raw Juice Cooperative. The organization’s founder Maria offers free tastings of all her revitalizing juices on Thursdays at the market.  Dirt-to-Dish juices come in 12, 16 and 32 ounce sizes. Since her freshly-pressed juices last for 3 days you can take yours to-go in handy mason jars that Maria provides free of charge and enjoy juice all weekend long!

Maria uses fresh, seasonal produce primarily sourced from farmers’ markets. Her best seller, the Green Refresher, is a thirst-quenching concoction of Cucumber, Kale, Apple, and Mint. Another popular hit, El Diablo, is a modern take on a traditional Mexican recipe with Orange, Carrot, Beet and Ginger. She loves working with various veggies for their for their medicinal abilities, especially Fennel which has anti-anxiety properties. She also provides free delivery to your front door, so you can get your juice fix anytime!

Many MCM patrons may not realize that this vendor reinvests the profits from her juice into programs for local youth. Maria established this non-profit organization and after-school program in an attempt to fill a hole within the public school system that she found while caring for her son Devan. Devan was born with a Sensory Processing Disorder, and as he grew Maria quickly learned the challenges of attaining the support he needed within state and public programs. Now she hosts workshops at the Joseph Lee Recreational Center and after-school classes which give kids the extra attention they need. Activities include hands-on exercises in outdoor gardens, such as planting seeds and transplanting starts, where children can get their hands dirty and connect with nature to increase their emotional intelligence and mind-body connection. They are also creating a skateboarding club and organizing field trips to local farms. Workshops have been on hiatus over the summer but they are starting up again on August 23rd with a juicing workshop. Maria fundraises for her after-school program primarily through selling raw juice.

To learn more about this commendable organization, check out her website at www.dirt-to-dish.org or stop by the Dirt to Dish stall at MCM every Thursday, 4 – 8 pm.