Wheatless Wednesday – Kusshi Oysters with Jalapeno Mignonette


I’m not sure if oysters really make you fall in love, or even lust, but the possibility is certainly a fun concept.  The last two times he’s been to the Farmer’s Market my husband has come home with fresh oysters. Hmmm…  ‘Oysters have always been linked with love. When Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of  love, sprang forth from the sea on an oyster shell and promptly gave birth to  Eros, the word “aphrodisiac” was born. The dashing lover Casanova also used to  start a meal eating 12 dozen oysters.” (www.globalgourmet.com)  Regardless of their effect on our love lives, oysters are at the very least  nutrient rich and low in fat and calories (57 for 6 medium for those counting).  High in protein and low in fat, oysters are an excellent source of vitamins A, B1(thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), C and D. Four or five medium size oysters supply your daily allowance of iron, copper, iodine, magnesium, calcium, manganese and phosphorus. Oysters also provide large amounts of zinc;  a mineral which boosts prostate health, so maybe there is a germ of truth to the folklore.  (Nutritional Data from www.hogislandoysters.com)

We bought two kinds of oysters from the Santa Rosa Seafood Company at the Marin Country Mart Farmer’s Market on Saturday.  Kusshi ( meaning precious in Japanese) is a West Coast oyster, grown in Deep Bay, British Columbia.  They are small, sweet and very clean tasting so we decided to serve them raw with a tasty jalapeno mignonette called “Hog Wash” by the Hog Island Oyster Company.  My husband has become quite an expert shucker, armed with an oyster knife and oven mitts to protect his hands from the sharp shells.  I would not suggest trying to shuck your own oysters without the proper tools.  Click here for a video on how to shuck oysters: http://hogislandoysters.com/kitchen/shucking-oysters


The other oysters, local Drake’s Bay, are very large and meaty, more than bite size, so we just popped them on the grill whole. Once you hear them ‘pop’, you can pry the top shell off and top them with barbecue sauce.   We used the rest of the yummy Chipotle Butter (also a  Hog Island recipe) left over from the  last time we made them. Since I have already posted that recipe I won’t repeat it.   To see that original post with complete recipe and directions click here:  https://goodmotherdiet.com/2013/12/21/grilled-oysters-with-garlic-chipotle-butter/


Jalapeno Mignonette

  • Servings: 3/4 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
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Jalapeno Mignonette (aka Hog Wash)

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup natural rice vinegar
1 large shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large Jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro
juice of 1 lime
  • Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. For a chunkier mignonette, just dice the shallots, jalapeno and cilantro finely and combine ingredients.  This is mildly spicy, so for more spice, include some or all of the jalapeno seeds.


Meatless Monday – Farmer’s Market Pasta & Balsamic Marinated Beets


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Do you know where your food has been?  Do you care?  I finally got around to checking out the Farmer’s Market at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur (California) and I can’t believe it took me so long.  I have really been missing out! This is an open air market where you can buy gorgeous fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, wild caught seafood, artisan cheeses, flowers and baked goods, all locally grown and crafted.

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While I perused the various stands, my husband stood in line at the Santa Rosa Seafood stand.

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It was a beautiful sunny day.   The only problem is that I had a terrible case of buyer indecision.  I wanted everything, even to grind my own flour!   Do I buy gluten free goodies from Flour Craft Bakery or Granola from Café Fanny?  Why didn’t I bring my knives which could really stand to be sharpened?  Why didn’t I learn to knit? (I almost bought the yarn anyway…)

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This market is also a great family destination with live music, kid crafts and several hot food stands, including one that specializes in grilled cheese. Yum!  It’s open Saturdays from 9am to 2pm. Click here for a listing of vendors and schedule of events. (http://marincountrymart.com/farmers-market)

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Why buy local?
Buying locally-produced food is good for your body, for the earth, and for our local economy.  Because your food doesn’t travel long distances to get to you, it is more nutritious.  Fewer fossil fuels are used in distribution and shipping when you buy local.  Supporting GROWN LOCAL helps keep farming families in business and our dollars in our own communities. (www.buylocalmarin.org )

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To find a farmer’s market in your area, check out the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, an interactive site with information on farmer’s markets all over the US.   (http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/)  Here is another great (and more complete) source for finding farmer’s markets, , family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area http://www.localharvest.org/.

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So what did we end up with?  My husband came home with two kinds of oysters (which I will get to on Wednesday so oyster lovers stay tuned).  After much agonizing, I bought a gorgeous bunch of multi-colored beets, purple asparagus (which I couldn’t resist because of the color) and a bag of mixed greens (chard, kale, mustard and a few I don’t recognize).  I also bought Devil’s Gulch cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and Fig and Black Sesame Jam from Blue Chair Farms which made an excellent and simple appetizer.  Just add crackers.

Farmers Market 25I didn’t have any particular dish in mind when I selected these vegetables.  I was buying purely with my senses and allowed myself to be seduced by their glorious colors.  Once home I decided to make a winter version of pasta primavera and serve roasted, marinated beets on the side.  The resulting dish was very colorful and delicious!  Plus I could feel good knowing I was supporting some local hardworking folks.

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Fusilli with Braised Greens and Asparagus

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fusilli with Braised Greens and Asparagus

3/4 pound whole-wheat fusilli
4-6 cups mixed greens (chard, kale, etc), chopped and rinsed
1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1 or 2 inch pieces
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil (or a combination of butter and olive oil)
4 sliced garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Freshly shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
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  • Cook pasta as package directs. Drain and set aside.
  • If your pine nuts are not toasted, heat them in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes.  Set aside.
  • Add oil to pan, add garlic and chile flakes.  Cook stirring until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add asparagus and salt. Cook for a minute or two.
  • Add greens and broth.  Cover and cook until greens are tender, about 5 minutes, stirring several times.
  • Stir in pasta and pine nuts.
  • Top with parmesan cheese (optional)

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Balsamic Marinated Beets

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Balsamic Marinated Beets

small bunch of beets
1-2 Tbsn olive oil
1 orange (optional)
Marinade/Dressing(see directions below)
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  • Cut tops off of beets taking care not to cut into beet.  Leave skin and tails intact.  Wash, dry and place beets in a baking dish (or a large piece of aluminum foil).  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with foil and cook for about an hour at 425 degrees.  Larger beets might take longer.  They should be easy to slice with a knife. 
  • Remove from heat and let cool.  Skins will come off easily.  Use a papertowel to keep your hands from getting red.
  • Peel orange and slice crosswise into thick slices.  Section into triangles.
  • Slice beets.  You can marinate them for 30 minutes or overnight, or you can arrange them on a plate, top with orange sections and drizzle with balsamic dressing.

Marinade:  Combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 minced shallot, salt and pepper.