The Saturday Ritual

I have a lovely Saturday ritual. The upside of routinely getting up early (yay, employment!) is that even on Saturdays I am up at the crack of dawn. Most Saturdays I hop on the bus and head down to the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building.

The first step of my ritual is to wait in line for a cup of Blue Bottle coffee. Their regular coffee is dripped to order and it is divine: rich, not bitter, and perfect with just a sprinkle of sugar. Once fueled, I scope out what looks good in my favorite stalls, sometimes making a few quick purchases, before heading to Primavera for breakfast. I always seem to order their chilequilas, scrambled eggs and those heavenly refried beans. After the requisite people-watching and agua fresca slurping is complete I finish my shopping and, heavily loaded and in need of a Sherpa, I grab a macaron from Miette before hiking to my bus stop.

But some days I change up my routine and conduct a tour for In The Kitchen With Lisa. I have been having a blast being an official culinary concierge for Lisa. I really enjoy meeting new people and sharing my knowledge and love of the Ferry Building and the farmer’s market is just a natural fit for me.

A recent tour was particularly fun as my guests were locals who wanted a more in-depth experience of the market. We sampled our way through the delights of the Ferry Building and then prowled and sampled our way through the stalls in the outside market. I shared with them my favorite vendors and discussed what was in season and many options on how to use things in their cooking at home.

We were treated to a talk by Mark Pastore of Incanto on the salumi at Boccalone.

After the tour I kept running into my guests as they explored the market on their own and shopped at the stalls we visited together. I also met several people I know and it gave me such a sense of belonging to a small town or a community instead feeling like a lone bean rattling around in the vast barrel of the city.

But after my tour I wasn’t in the mood for my usual breakfast and was lured instead to the joys of the Roli Roti cart and their seductive porcetta sandwich. The lines were fearsome but friendly.

The buskers were pretty good though, singing hip blue-grass kind of ballads.

My fellow line-mates were entertaining too.  This little girl was determined to pet the friendly dog, I think it was her first effort and the dog was patient, albeit bemused.

Finally I can order my porcetta!  But I also order the roasted potatoes too.  They have been bathed in pork and chicken fat and juices, and are tender, crispy and pretty heavenly.

Watch the porcetta roast! and check out the potatoes below. Who could resist?

And Behold! Isn’t it beautiful? I love the micro-arugula. And that the chef always heaps my sandwich full of extra crispy pork skin.

I <3 you, Chef. And your porchetta too!
I ❤ crispy pork skin too! and you too Chef!

After my porcetta was devoured and I managed to tidy up my hands and face, for dessert I ate one of the white peaches from Frog Hollow, pure heaven.

It was almost a sink-peach. You know, where you need to eat it over a sink because the juice runs down your arms into the sink? It is hard to choose what most represents summer to me, the bounty of luscious tomatoes or a perfect peach.

With my usual charm and waving about of my iPhone, I prevail upon my bench-mates and they let me photograph their lunch before they even take a bite. Here is a Prather Ranch hot dog in an Acme roll.

The Prather Ranch pulled pork sandwich almost made me regret my porcetta. Almost. Even with a bite gone it is still a thing of beauty.

A self portrait, wind blown and happy and full of porcetta.

I did a little shopping, and scored a club roast from Marin Sun farms, and the beautiful peaches from Frog Hollow.  The peaches became my first batch of fruit ice cream, and the roast was rubbed in chopped herbs from Eatwell Farm and roasted in my new porcelain chicken roaster, a lovely birthday gift from dear A___.

A peek into my market bag. The lemon verbena was intoxicating!  Our delayed summer resulted in spring onions still being available in September.  They went in whole into my roaster with the beef.

Even at 2:00 pm the market was packed full of people. It was a gorgeous day down by the Bay. Closer to the Roost, however, the fog was thick and chilly. You can see it blowing by the clock tower!  I think the Embarcadero was the only sunny spot in the City that day, certainly by the time I came home it was socked in and blowing Force 10.

I love this sign, it is indeed the understatement of the year.

Now, really, I have *no* idea what a Mog is, just another of the fun sights along the way in the City by the Bay.

Finally at home, I unpack my market bag and spread it out all over my kitchen table; what a plethora of plenty!

Veggie porn…

These are freshly dug fingerling potatoes from Green Gulch, part of the Zen Center.  They supply Greens Restaurant with their vegetables and it is always a joy to be able to partake of produce of this caliber.

Dahlias, dahlin’, from Green Gulch.  I really need to plan a visit there soon.

I managed to bring the peaches home intact.  After a bath they went into the fridge to chill as part of the ice cream prep.

From Green Gulch I purchased a bouquet of tea herbs.   There is spearmint, lemon verbena and a mystery herb with pretty purple flowers.  They rested in my champagne flute while I finished unpacking and washing my produce.

This beautiful herb is borage.  It can be used in herb tisanes, infused into cream for ganache or minced and sprinkled over an heirloom tomato salad.  I am beginning to learn more about how to use borage, how do you use it?

In my family, after any strenuous event, shopping or just for an afternoon pick up we have a tradition of having tea.  After my busy morning and bustling about at home playing with the fruits of my shopping, I was in dire need for a restorative tisane.  I rinsed the tea herbs in cool water, took half of them and placed them in my Pyrex pitcher with a small squirt of raw agave and poured over water fresh off the boil.  After 5 minutes the infusion was ready.  What I did not finish was stored in the fridge for a cool chilled tea later.  You can also gently rewarm a cup in the microwave as a relaxing sip before bed.

Finally, my cup of tea and some of the herbs for that night’s roast beast.

I hope you enjoyed following along with my Saturday ritual, please do share yours!


11 responses to “The Saturday Ritual

  1. Why have I never run into you at the Farmer’s Market? Granted, I haven’t been there in a couple of weeks, but I used to go fairly frequently…

    I’ll keep an eye out for you next time I’m there! Lovely pictures! You look FABULOUS stuffed full of porcetta. ALSO Frog Hollow peaches are amazing. Eat as many as you can before the season is up!

  2. Okay, chicka, I’ll be in SF Nov 15th and the weekend before it. I’m expecting a tour. ; ) Porchetta is definitely on order!

    Ah, and do you have a copy of the Herbfarm Cookbook? (You can get it used on Amazon.) For your herb-loving self there is tons of inspiration in there. You must own it! I’ve had many recipes from that book and loved everyone.

    • It’s a deal, I’m dying to see you!

      Thanks for the book suggestion, ever since I started chatting with Ron on Twitter it has been on my wish list! You will have to share with me which recipes are your favorites.

  3. Scratch that. I just figured out what I’m getting you for Christmas! 🙂 Send me your mailing addy.

  4. Such delicious pictures. Remind me not to check your writings out before bed – now I’m hungry. The peaches – can you e-mail one?

  5. Hi Heather! I’m leaving for BHF ’10 tomorrow and hoping to see you at some point this weekend. Laura mentioned that you’ll be her +1 for the party on Saturday night, can’t wait! 🙂

    Loved sharing part of your Saturday ritual with you, its all so beautiful!

  6. Hmm, being employed in a 9-5 job that forces me to wake up early actually makes me sleep LATER than I normally would on the weekend. Im so exhausted, my body’s trying to catch up on sleep. When I have a string of days off, I gradually regulate to wake up midmorning. But tired from a week of work, I can sleep till noon, 1, even 2pm! Ive never made it to the ferry bldg for the morning farmers market..its so busy! Lots of yummy looking stuff there! 🙂 My Saturday ritual is to sleep in, then my roomie makes us cream of wheat and we watch tv, then I do errands or shopping, and usually eat out, then often go out dancing at nite.

    • I would love a roommate who would make me breakfast! Well, if you ever feel like getting up early just let me know and we can hang out at the market!

  7. ya he makes the best cream of wheat ever. ok in that rare event, ill let you know. 🙂 i DID make it to my noe valley farmers market this sat, which closes at 1, with about 5 min to spare, by not showering & going down practically in my jammies lol.

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