Some of the things in my market basket last Sunday, after a visit to the Centris (formerly Sidcor/Lung Center) market in Quezon City. Amazing, the things you can find at the crack of dawn… :) Besides the Cape Gooseberries, that btw I thought were a unique find but readers seem to think is relatively commonplace up North, in the previous post, I found some nice purple basil, freshly picked and peel patani, fantastic looking and tasting kale, and some purple long beans. I also ended up with nearly a dozen blooms/stems of birds of paradise, some of them 5 feet long!
First up, at Eli’s Organics, whose edible flowers I have featured before here, I found some nice organically grown purple basil, spectacular mint, purple long beans and some wonderful greens. Eli’s is a quirky stall, filled with wonderful pickings but whose line to pay can sometimes stretch to a 15+ minute wait. I don’t mind waiting for good stuff, but perhaps a second cashier would speed things up. :)
At another stall, I got some patani, or lima beans or also referred to at butter beans, that I took home, blanched, shelled and turned into a wonderful spread. Taking off from this recipe from years ago, I added the blanched and peeled beans to a food processor, added lots of grated pecorino romano, salt, pepper, and some boiling liquid and blitzed this while adding a constant thin stream of superb extra virgin olive oil until a spreadable consistency and added the juice of one lemon to brighten this all up. The spread was a bit thick, particularly after refrigeration, but it tasted delicious and was enjoyed by several guests who were surprised somewhat by its humble beginnings as patani beans… Great with crackers or chips, or I suspect as part of a chi-chi vegetarian style sandwich. :)
Next, the purple long beans, that honestly, I have no idea what to do with except add to pinakbet or cook adobo style. I think the color is a quirk of nature, a mutation of sorts… The flavor doesn’t seem to be an different from the green ones.
Finally, some spectacular young kale from the Benguet University stall. I bought three bunches, most of which ended up in a massive vegetable soup I cooked to use up 8-10 different veggies we had in the fridge. Kale is NOT easy to find in Manila, and yet so many people ask me or email me to ask where to get it. So farmers out there, take note, there is a DEMAND for kale. The more people figure out how healthy it is, but more importantly, how delicious it can be, the more readily available it should become, I hope. Also at the Benguet stall, were some spectacular cherry and mini-cherry tomatoes, and some delicious totally organic strawberries, no insecticides is a big deal when it comes to berries. It was quite wet with an occasional downpour while I was at the market, so I didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked, but I should return more often… I keep telling myself that, despite it being at the other end of town for me.
P.S. Also ran into a friend from my banking days 25+ years ago. She came up to me, called me by my first name, and proceeded to chide me for not remembering her name. Don’t you HATE it when people do that? I always go up to long lost friends and say, “Hi XXX, it’s Marketman, how nice to see you…” but I never assume they remember my name… At any rate, besides the veggies, I found some old acquaintances, so this is a shoutout to Alice, just in case you read this and never figured out that Marketman and I are one and the same person. :)