farm market walkabout

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month!

Have you been to your local farmer’s market yet?

Here’s what we saw on a recent trip to Reston Farm Market:

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A Few Take-aways:

  • Flower vendors are kind and seem to smile more. Bunches of lavender = a dream of Provence.
  • Giant zucchini prove that bigger is not always better.
  • Clowns making balloon animals do not like to be photographed when they are coughing.
  • Eek, leeks!
  • My love is like a red, red raspberry.
  • 100 Bowls of Soup! Ginger carrot is quite refreshing.
  • Squash multiply like rabbits. It is highly likely they will take over the world.
  • Hooray for samples: salsa, cherries, cucumber, strawberries, tomatoes!
  • I don’t care what you say. Cucumbers standing up are obscene.
  • Rubbery green beans. Boing!
  • Mmmm, whoopie pies! Pause to worship at the altar of baked goods.
  • Lettuce entertain you.

So what did we buy? Basil, rosemary and parsley plants. Ravishing raspberries. Cranberry orange scones, apricot linzer cookies, triple chocolate rockies. Vine ripened tomatoes, blushing with vibrant color and oozing summer flavor.

Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.

Brought home these babies and had a little Insalata Caprese for lunch. So easy to prepare, wholly satisfying, and quintessentially summer: sliced tomatoes at their peak ripeness, fresh mozzarella and basil leaves seasoned with Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper, extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top. Magnificent in its simplicity, laid back and luscious, with each unadorned flavor taking center stage without an ounce of competition. Ti amo! Ti desidero!

*kisses bunched fingertips*

Delizioso! Squisito!

What summer fruits and veggies are you most looking forward to eating?

Buon Appetito!

*swoons and dreams of tooling around Capri on a Vespa with Al Pacino.*


This post is linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share food-related posts (fiction/nonfiction/cookbook/movie reviews, recipes, musings, photos). Put on your bibs and join the fun!


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

cobi’s wakame cucumber salad

My niece Cobi will be visiting Alphabet Soup later this month to talk about her wonderful website, Veggietorials: Recipes-Reviews-How-to’s for all things plant-based.

Perhaps, like me, you’re interested in incorporating more veggies in your diet, or even transitioning to an all plant-based diet for health reasons. Cobi will offer tips and share a favorite recipe to help us celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Meanwhile, thought I’d whet your appetite with one of Cobi’s videos featuring her recipe for Wakame Cucumber Salad. It looks so beautiful and refreshing, and I can’t wait to try making it myself. Luckily, we have several good Asian food markets nearby where I can get the dried wakame (seaweed). Enjoy!

Click here to print the recipe at Veggietorials.


This post is being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where are all invited to share food-related posts (fiction/nonfiction/movie/cookbook reviews, recipes, photos and musings).


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

making mischief with linda ashman

#5 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2012

To behold her sweet, angelic countenance, it’s hard to imagine this author could be capable of such naughtiness. But I suppose it’s further testament of Linda Ashman’s brilliance that she was capable of creating the nastiest, most obnoxious brats in the history of alphabet books. Just one more reason to love love love the work of one of my favorite children’s authors working today.

You may wish to keep a safe distance from the “guest” Linda has brought along to the Potluck. Catastrophic Coco has stepped out of the pages of Linda’s cautionary collection of miscreants, M is for Mischief : An A to Z of Naughty Children (Dutton, 2008), which as some of you may remember, I was brave enough to review here.

Though I’m a little nervous at having Coco in my kitchen, I admit to finding her oddly irresistible, as I do the other 25 characters in the book, which is an unforgettable feast of alphabetical disorder. While Coco’s busy cooking up chaos, I’m going to fill up on Linda’s tempting dish.

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going natural with april pulley sayre

#2 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2012.

April’s new picture book will be out in May.

Happy Poetry Month, and three big cheers for our first guest poet, Geisel Honor winner April Pulley Sayre!

Once again we’re calling upon an author named April to kick off our Potluck. You can see she’s pretty excited about Go, Go, Grapes!: A Fruit Chant  (Beach Lane Books, 2012), which is a companion book to her wildly popular Rah, Rah, Radishes!:A Vegetable Chant, released last year. Do I love a poet who gets kids excited about their fruits and veggies? You bet!

Many of you know that April and her husband Jeff are ardent, adventure-loving, world-traveling naturalists. April is so fond of vegetables, she’s been known “to clap with joy upon discovering a ripe tomato in her garden!”

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a trio of summer salads

Hey, who invited the ants?

Is it hot enough for you?

Now that we are well into the dog days of August, all I can think about is staying cool. Lots of lemonade, iced tea, fresh fruit, slushies and sorbet. We’ve been amusing ourselves with indoor picnics, enjoying our modest spoils in the comfort of air conditioning.

Summertime is salad time. We love them for lunch and dinner, and it’s nice that with just the two of us, one recipe will last several days. This past weekend we made three favorites: Fierce Bad Rabbit’s Carrot Raisin Salad, Sonoma Chicken Salad, and Pasta Salad with Creamy Pesto Sauce. Continue reading