Hello, Garden-Fresh readers! This week I ventured into Pike Place Market in Seattle in search of fresh veggies and seafood for cooking. Pike Place is known for its fish throwing, spring tulips, and a variety of vendors selling everything from chocolate pasta to sea scallops to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Like any popular Saturday farmers’ market, Pike Place can feel crowded a times, but the energy is inspiring, flourishing with produce, lunch and dinner ideas, and fresh flowers. With my Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden-Fresh Cookbook in hand—littered with Post-It notes—I walked with the exciting bustle of people taking in the wide selection of foods and handcrafted products for sale.
My mission today was to find fresh sea scallops, healthy cherry tomatoes, flavorful asparagus, organic spinach, and something a little extra that I’ve never worked with before, which would pair nicely with the scallops.
Using the Garden-Fresh Cookbook (pg. 312 for those following along at home), I learned a few simple tricks to quickly choose ripe fruit or vegetables. For example, did you know you should always choose produce that is displayed in the shade because sunlight causes fresh produce to deteriorate rapidly? This small piece of advice, I need to remember. Living in a city where it rains 8 months out of the year, I tend to flock toward what’s displayed in sunlight. Yes, there’s a chance I might sacrifice sunburn for a good artichoke!
I quickly found cherry tomatoes: As the Garden-Fresh recommended, they were fragrant with a firm body and no dark spots. I picked out a handful, some for the dish I was planning and some to snack on as I searched for the rest of my ingredients. I found a healthy bunch of dark-green-leafed spinach and then looked for the best bundle of firm, thin-stalked asparagus. Per The Garden-Fresh Cookbook, I didn’t choose white asparagus, as it has the mildest flavor.
As for my never-before-used item, I chose pearl onions, which are a bit on the sweeter side and I thought would go well with the scallops. For onions, look for a firm body that has a dry, bright-colored skin and avoid a strong odor, loose or peeling skin, soft spots, and sprouts. The Garden-Fresh Cookbook made it simple to find the fruit and vegetables I wanted!
The scallops were easy to find. I knew I wanted fresh, not frozen, and with the help of Pike Place Market’s famous fish-throwing, orange-overall-wearing men, I picked out a half-pound of large scallops that would be not only delicious, but healthy, too! Scallops, in addition to their delectable taste, contain a variety of nutrients that can promote your cardiovascular health.
So with ingredients in my tote and my memory card loaded with photos, it was time for a cappuccino on a cold but sunny day, before heading home and putting on my apron!
Stay tuned—next time, using my carefully chosen fresh ingredients, I’ll show you how to make Skillet Sea Scallops straight from the pages of The Garden-Fresh Cookbook.
Jane received her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at Western Washington University where she studied Creative Writing. She now lives in the greater Seattle area, where she writes and drinks copious amounts of coffee. When she isn’t writing, cooking, gardening, or taking photos, you can find her at local shows and concerts, or running to prepare for yet another half marathon.