December 19, 2009

Musings on the Market, Farmer Style

Be fairly warned. This is a miniature photo essay meant to invoke your deepest, most hidden inner chef. So do not be surprised if you end up cooking bok choy and Buddha’s hand for dinner.

Farmer’s markets are a cross between a food library and a botanical garden tour: they are educational and aesthetically enchanting. In attending a farmer’s market, you will be introduced to an array of new vegetables, crop varietals, and artisan products which, if you so choose to take the challenge, will help expand your culinary repertoire. The more familiar you become with the abundance of colorful, shapely, and sometimes alien looking crops available at the market (and more importantly, their seasonality), the more flexible you will become in your kitchen conquests. The quality of the products and their ultimate freshness also guarantee a level of natural flavor that requires little to no additional seasoning to achieve deliciousness. Which, for a sodium free cook, is especially wonderful. Have you ever tasted really good, simply steamed kale? It has a buttery sweetness all on its own, no additional spices necessary.

Added bonus: the knowledge you acquire at a farmer’s market can also help you keep your food shopping costs to a minimum. You may find yourself swapping products with similar tastes or textures to achieve a better budget.

So hold on tight. Off we go on our virtual tour of the beautiful sights and smells that can be experienced Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. And just so you know, Sodium Girl will be radio silent tomorrow, but back in full force on Monday. Enjoy the weekend and chow on.


Alter this Chickpea Salad by substituting grated and sliced Buddha’s hand for the lemon.

Lower the sodium by using:

  • Eden Foods No Salt Added Garbanzo Beans (30mg per serving)
  • Dried, sun-dried tomatoes (0mg of sodium) that you can soak in olive oil or water or balsamic vinegar (if you want to be fancy) prior to use


Serve up a classic winter dish with this Potato and Leek Soup recipe.

Make it sodium free with:


Let the Pioneer Women take you step-by-step through this delicious Turnip Gratin recipe.

Lower the sodium with:


Use locally produced honey in this Griddled Polenta Recipe which will be featured in the food52 cookbook in 2010.

Lower the sodium with:

  • Heluva Good Low Sodium Cheddar Cheese (5mg of sodium)
  • Half and Half (usually 0mg to 10mg per serving) or SO Delicious Coconut Milk (15mg of sodium) per 1 cup)
  • Sweet (unsalted) butter (0mg of sodium)


End your meal with these chocolate and dried fruit Building Blocks care of Orangette, extraordinary food blogger and food photographer. No low sodium alterations necessary. Now isn’t that nice!

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