Makin’ Friends at the Farmer’s Market
This week, our Green Media class was assigned to do the same assignment from the week before because everyone’s projects turned out so great. I was stoked because getting out and going to a farmer’s market on a Sunday just seems like they were meant to be done together.
So this week I decided to go to the same exact Farmer’s Market on Divisadero. I got my friend Karli to come with because I wanted to catch up with her since I haven’t seen her in a while (a couple weeks). I met her down at the farmer’s market around 1 and I think I saw her sampling some almonds. I told her that I wanted to try something with a fruit this week, but we didn’t really see anything that caught our eye. Then I told her about how I was afraid to talk to the guy/farmer that sold me my kale the weekend before and (her being super outgoing) then told me that we’re going to walk into his booth and make friends. I just told myself that I needed to redeem myself so I marched right in after her. This is how the conversation went:
Me: Hi! Remember me from last week?
(Farmer looks at me trying to remember my face, but can’t)
Me: Oh, well I bought the kale last week and I’m back again. I have to do this for a school project. What do you think I should try this week?
(To make things less awkward Karli cuts in)
Karli: Oh you could use spinach?
Me: What about this artichoke? OH! SPINACH & ARTICHOKE DIP! Like from CPK.
Karli: So delish
(The conversation was basically between Karli and I at first; I think he is just a quiet man)
Me: What’s your name?
Farmer: Afrin/Efron/Afron (Karli and I couldn’t really understand him & those are the names we came up with afterwards)
Farmer: And this is my friend Giorgio (Giorgio was the guy in the next booth over)
So basically the conversation was really short. He is a really nice guy, maybe I just came on too strong this time. But I found out that he was from Garcia Farms in Hollister, CA. (Who remembers wearing Hollister in high school… haha). I also asked him if he had ever made spinach & artichoke dip before and he had no idea what I was talking about. Giorgio thought it sounded delicious. Quickly pulling up a recipe on Foodgawker, I read that I also needed some garlic and something to eat the dip with. After that I bought an artichoke, a bunch of spinach & a thing of garlic. What is a ball of garlic called anyways? But it was the biggest thing of garlic I have ever seen and it was only 75 cents! Everything came out to be like $1.75. That was waaaaay too cheap, so I threw him a couple extra dollar$.
On our way out of the farmer’s market I went up to a bread booth and asked the vendor that I wanted some bread for my dip. I didn’t even ask what kind of bread it was. I don’t know why I did that. I guess I just trusted her opinion and I love all kinds of bread anyways. Then Karli and I decided to walk up Divis to Haight so I could go grab some sour cream and parmesan cheese from Haight Street Market. That place was super packed and reminded me of a bigger Arguello Super. Then we went back to her place and talked story and pulled an April Fool’s joke on her boyfriend by putting up a bunch of J.Biebs pictures around their room.
Here’s the recipe I used on Annie’s Eats:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup coarsely chopped canned artichoke hearts
4 cloves roasted garlic*, smashed
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. roasted red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, Parmesan, sour cream, mayonnaise, spinach, artichokes, roasted garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Mix well with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are evenly blended. Spread into a small baking dish (I used a gratin dish). Sprinkle additional grated Parmesan over the top if desired. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is slightly browned. Serve warm with baguette slices, pita chips, crackers, etc.
*To roast individual cloves of garlic, I just throw the unpeeled cloves into a baking dish or pan and bake at 350˚ F for 25-30 minutes. Let cool before squeezing the cloves from the peels.
Looking over the recipe I found on Foodgawker, I realized that I messed up big time because I needed more than one artichoke heart to make this dip. For some reason I though the meat inside the leaves could be used for the dip, but I was SOOOO wrong. So today I ran to Trader Joe’s to grab a can of artichoke hearts (what the recipe calls for). That was only mistake #1… Here’s a quick list of the rest:
2. Confused sour cream for cream cheese (1/3 cups vs. 8 oz.)
3. Realized I had only 6 oz. of cream cheese, so I added more sour cream & parmesan cheese to try and even things out
I also had to do a lot of improvising because I had fresh spinach instead of frozen spinach. I didn’t know how to “roast” garlic so I cooked it in a pan with some olive oil. Then it said to “smash” the garlic. I had a great visual in my head, but I just turned to YouTube to teach me how (garlic). Cutting the heart out of a artichoke is a struggle, so here’s another handy dandy YouTube video to teach you how to do it right (artichoke).
After I got all the ingredients into the bowl, I just mixed that baby up and then transferred it into a Pyrex glass bowl to cook in the oven. I also sprinkled some more freshly grated parmesan cheese on top of the dip. Then I put it in the oven for about 40 minutes. During the wait, I watched my new favorite show SMASH on Hulu because I felt like the dip was taking forevs. When the episode finished, I decided to cut up and lightly toast the mysterious bread that I bought at the farmer’s market. When the bread was finished, so was the dip… talk about purrrrrrfect timing.
I have to say something happened because every time I ever attempted to cook something it always tasted like poo. But recently everything has been so deliciously esculent (not to brag). I always order the spinach & artichoke dip whenever I go to CPK, but now I can just make it at home! It tastes different from the one at CPK, but in a good way. Like a homemade-everything-is-fresh kind of way. I also took it over to share with my neighbors next door and Matt told me he’s never really eaten spinach and artichoke before, but he thought the dip was really good. My roommate liked it, I liked it & my neighbors liked it so I was very pleased. I’m glad that I have some leftovers for tomorrow! Nom nom nom.