Playing With Produce

A couple weeks ago I was gifted some produce – some monster produce.  I’m not sure there’s anything better than free produce from someone’s garden.  It’s home grown, local, and most importantly, free.  This bag o’ veggies included what might be the world’s largest zucchini, seen here with a “normal” zucchini for comparison.

I had been abstaining from baking since the kitchen here isn’t really set up for it, but what’s a girl to do with a huge zucchini, especially with a fantasy football draft and a PPK meetup that weekend?  Make chocolate zucchini muffins, that’s what.  I found some great looking recipes online, but I wanted to keep the ingredient list to a minimum since I’d have to buy everything new, right down to flour.  So I settled on this recipe, which is actually a brownie recipe.  I figured if they tasted good in a pan surely they would also taste good in muffin form.  Problem was, the batter didn’t come together at all.  There wasn’t nearly enough liquid, it was kind of like a big lump of chocolate sugar and flour, which really isn’t that bad…but it wasn’t bakeable.  So I added just over a cup of soy milk (I had doubled the recipe), and lo and behold they baked up pretty well.  They weren’t exactly brownie-ish and they weren’t exactly muffin-ish, but they were mighty tasty.

I had more batter than the pans would hold, and I was just going to keep it in the fridge to eat raw later (ah, they joys of eggless batter), but I decided to see if it would bake up after sitting around for a half hour.  Sure did!  The second batch even had nicely rounded tops.

At the aforementioned PPK meetup I got to try golden watermelon!  I have a slight aversion to regular watermelon for reasons we won’t discuss here, but this golden watermelon was great.  I’m glad I got to try it.  (Look at that beautiful grass!  There were geese all over the park too.)

Back to the veggie present.  Here’s the rest of what I got, along with the remainder of the zucchini.

With these goodies I made ratatouille, which I had never tried before.  It was good but a little bland, so I added a splash of balsamic at the end and that did the trick.  Served with chickpeas over whole wheat couscous.

BF had an interview in San Francisco on Tuesday, and I remembered that there was a farmers market at the Ferry Building on Tuesdays.  Needless to say, I jumped at the chance.  I spent about an hour walking around and looking at everything, and ended up with all this for $23!  Whole wheat pain au levaine, bell peppers, long beans, baby bok choy, fresh tofu, hot banana pepper, white nectarine, dapper dandy pluot, salad mix, purslane and radishes in the bag, and fingerling potatoes.

I didn’t set out with anything in mind because I wanted to try some new things, but a few meals came together as I went along.  Dinner that night was a salad that I wasn’t entirely certain would work.  Fortunately it came together fantastically.

Salad mix, purslane, lentils, roasted radishes, red and purple peppers and grapes with goddess dressing.  The sweet and savory with the contrast of textures was right on.  Plus, anything tastes good with goddess dressing.  A word on roasting radishes:  They’re really good, try it!  Just don’t cut the pieces too small as they shrink a lot while cooking.

Here’s what purslane looks like, if you’ve never seen it.  It’s supposedly really good for you, high in vitamins and omega-3’s.  I liked it raw but have also heard of people sauteing it.  It’s hard to describe the flavor.  There’s definitely a strong flavor, but it’s not bitter like arugula.

The next meal from my farmers market greatness was tofu scramble with the hot banana pepper, red bell pepper and zucchini, steamed long beans (cut into shorter beans), and roasted fingerling potatoes.  I knew I’d love the fingerlings.  BF said they were kind of like homemade french fries.  The outsides toughens up while the insides stay nice and soft.

And lastly, a “what do I have left in the fridge?” meal, braised sesame eggplant and baby bok choy.  This was just okay.  My Chinese-style food always seems to be lacking just a bit in the flavor department.  I like to think it’s because I don’t use msg.


  1. Jennifer said

    That IS a mondo zucchini! They have a tendency to get a little ambitious in their growth. And it happens so quickly too. We’ve had instances where we’ve gone to our garden and a cute little baby zucchini is growing, we go back a couple of days later to check on it and it is flippin’ massive, how does this happen?!

    You do fantasy football?! Ok, I am seriously swooning over here. I ADORE football, I am the “office football guru”, all the men come chat with me on Mondays to see what I thought of the weekends happenings. Brett and I even do “picks”, last year, I won! Woohoo!

    Those chocolate zucchini muffins are intriguing and look delicious.

    Isn’t it great how much great food you can get for such a great price at the market.

    That pepper is really curly too!

    I never thought to roast radishes! I was getting tons of them in our CSA earlier in the season and I never knew what to do with them.

    Oh man, those fingerling potatoes! Do you roast them whole, or season them with anything? I’m loving the crispy look to them, and am looking for new ideas of things to do with potatoes.

  2. anna said

    lovely looking food!

    I’ve found with Chinese food that tamari tastes better in it than soy sauce and that the recipes that include a little bit of sugar are always more authentic tasting than ones that don’t. I’d recommend Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Authentic Chinese Cookery, it’s got great recipes for a huge range of stuff and everything I’ve made has tasted really authentic. Probably not helpful if you’re trying to make up your own dishes though!

  3. Wow, that really IS a monster zucchini!

    Out of all the bloggers, your meals are always some of the most beautiful- looking that I would like to steal. They always look so healthy and balanced, yet delicious, which is my favorite way to eat. Don’t be surprised if you find me on your doorstep one day.

  4. Megan said

    So much fresh produce…YUM! All your dishes look delicious!

  5. VeggieGirl said

    I can’t get over how massive that zucchini is, haha! 😀

    Gorgeous meals, as always.

  6. Wow! What a massive zucchini you have! You know what they say about a girl with a big zucchini, right? Just kidding. I don’t think they say anything…but I’m sayin’ all your food looks super tasty. And I’m jealous that you get to go to PPK gatherings!

  7. Nicole said

    I was blessed with lots of monster zucchini this summer, it was great! I do find that they sort of have a funny taste, though.

    I can’t even choose one thing to comment on, it all looks so delicious!

  8. Meow said

    If you are making chinese food, make sure you get real chinese condiments. Don’t get what they sell at the grocery store. Go to the Asian grocery store and get the real deal. It’s also a lot cheaper there.

  9. Carrie said

    That is the King of Zucchinis…those muffins look so delicious!

  10. atxvegn said

    I love all those fresh veggies and all the creative dishes you made. Those giant zucchinis are 50 cents at my farmers market and they last forever!

  11. Nikki said

    Grats on yer big zucchini! What a haul – good stuff. I am dying for baby bok choy as we speak.

  12. That is one well-endowed zucchini! Yowza. That’s cool that you found a nice chocolatey recipe to use it up in. I remember these disgusting chocolate-mint cookies I tried from an old PETA cookbook. They weren’t even slightly edible. Sometimes I think cookbook authors make recipes up without trying ever trying them out! :oP

  13. urbanvegan said

    I got my daily dose of fiber just from looking at these photos!

  14. Tofufreak said

    that. is. a. HUGE. zucchini!!! the chocolate muffin brownie things look super yummy!

    your farmer’s market sounds AWESOME!!! I am soooooo jealous!!! FRESH TOFU!!!!! lucky. too lucky.

    the meals you made with them look yummy too 🙂

    too bad you think of your chinese food so lowly. what do you add when stir-frying?

  15. jessy said

    holy awesome that zucchini is huuuuuuuuge! and your baked goodies look soooooooooooo glorious!

    hooray for free veggies! and homegrown, too! nothing beats it! w00t! i’ve never had purslane – i’m going to see if i can locate some to try. sounds like something i might love! oh, Erin – your ratatouille is so colorful & pretty – so is the salad! damn, you’ve got some tasty foods go’n on!

  16. melisser said

    Ah, the Ferry Building market is so lovely, but typically expensive! I go to the one at Civic Center. Acme bread, droooool!
    I wish I had known those were chocolate zucchini! I should have stolen one for the road, but I was stuffed.

  17. veganf said

    Ah, yum. We’ll definitely have to give those chocolate zucchini cupcakes a go!

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