Farmers Market Feast

Going to any Farmers Market is one of my favorite pastimes, right up there with cooking and drinking wine. I am very lucky to live in San Francisco and have the opportunity to walk to the famous Saturday Farmers Market at the Ferry Building EVERY Saturday. I try to go as often as I can. You will find me leisurely strolling among the tourists, locals, and executive chefs checking out all of the season's finest produce, meats, cheeses, herbs, nuts, plants...ah it is like heaven.

One recent Saturday started with a lot of rain, thunder and lightning in the Bay area, but it didn't stop me from going to one of my culinary "hang outs". While the weather impeded the tourists and some locals from visiting the market, it enticed Brett and I to step outside, get a good walk in over to the Ferry Building.

It was great to see the Market through a visitor's eyes, especially with the curtain of tourists missing from the halls of the Ferry building and close to 100 or so white-tented stands lining the front and back of the building. Starting with coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee (always worth it), we strolled each and every inch of the market, checking out all of the seasonal produce grown locally. You could smell the fresh tomatoes in the air mixed with the wafting scent of peaches and other amazing stone fruit (and, as Brett noticed, there were a lot of figs). Because of the lack of crowds, we could actually talk to the farmers about their offerings and taste a sample of their hard work.

We walked through the market stalls, taking our leisurely time, checking out each purveyor and talking about what we wanted to get for a Farmers Market dinner. Brett was impressed with all of the sustainable and organic meats, and when we walked by the tent occupied by The Fatted Calf, we immediately spotted what we were going to dine on. The nice girl representing the company pulled out a vacuum-sealed pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin that had been marinated in white wine, rosemary, and mustard; not to mention that the pork was horomone-free and organically raised. Dinner=done.

We then made our way back to Dirty Girl Produce to pick out some small, cherry tomatoes that you literally could smell just by standing next to the produce boxes. We rounded out our purchases with some baby romaine for a salad, chanterelle mushrooms (because they are my favorite), and a couple cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery accompanied by a sour baguette from Acme Bread. We had the makings for a truly organic, sustainable meal to satisfy our souls.

While we got our dinner together and organized, we noshed on our cheese and bread selections: sour baguette from Acme and Truffle Tremor plus a wedge of Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery. It was so fantastic to see the excitement through Brett's eyes about our selections as he literally devoured the Truffle Tremor with the baguette (not to mention that Acme is now his favorite bread bakery, let alone that we went out and bought a loaf everyday after that Saturday, and, with every bite, Brett happily shared, "Oh. My. God. This LITERALLY is the best bread I have ever had.)

As we enjoyed our "first course", I got the oven ready for the pork tenderloin. I pre-heated a roasting pan in the oven at 400*F. While waiting for the oven to heat up, I let our pork come to room temperature. I bent down and took a giant whiff of the amazing scents coming from the pork; the fragrant rosemary, the pique mustard, and the subtle overtones of chardonnay married beautifully with the salt-and-peppery notes coming from the pancetta that surrounded the pork. My mouth was literally watering as I put the tenderloin into my pan to bake.

(This pork is pretty easy to make at home. Mix together about 1/2 C wine, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, and 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix together and brush on pork to coat evenly. Wrap the pork tenderloin with thin slices of pancetta; the mustard mixture will help to adhere the pancetta. Can be made 1 day ahead to "marry" flavors together.)

After about 20 minutes (145*F registered on thermometer), THIS is what pork heaven looked like:

Perfectly cooked - slightly pink and not dried out.

Now, backing up, while the pork was cooking, we washed our baby romaine and amazingly fragrant baby tomatoes for a simple salad. Most people know that I have a strong dislike of raw tomatoes year round due to what I think is their true lack of flavor and mealy texture, except for this time of year when heirloom tomatoes are in season. All I can say is I could not stop eating these red jewels, and we almost didn't have enough for the salad. I had some Caesar dressing in my fridge, so we dressed our produce very lightly with the dressing to let all of the flavors shine through.

Chanterelle mushrooms are perhaps one of my favorite things, so I had to pick some up, even if it was a random addition to our dinner. After the pork was finished, I took the drippings from the pan and heated them in a skillet. I then added some sliced chanterelle mushrooms to soak up that pork goodness while balancing with the meatiness of the mushrooms.

Our Farmers Market meal had finally come together. Each element of our dinner was bright and delicious in its own way, and it felt great to eat knowing that all of our ingredients were local, sustainable, horomone/pesticide-free, and organic. Brett even made a comment that he felt "better" eating this way, and I have to 100% agree, not only for my conscience, but for my health as well.

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