Laura Avery talks beans with James Birch of Flora Bella Farm, which is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills community of Three Rivers. He has green garbanzo beans on the stalk. They come in giant bunches because they are too labor-intensive to pick off individually. In India, these large stalks are placed on a grill and sold as a snack. These beans are tender and full of flavor.
Laura also catches up with Amelia Saltsman, author of the upcoming Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook, who provides a recipe for a springtime nectarine crisp. Amelia also recommends cutting stone fruit in half (like nectarines, peaches and apricots) and placing them in a hot skillet with a small amount of butter. This seals and caramelizes the sugar in the fruits -- delicious and so simple.
1 cup flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for nectarines
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 cups sliced ripe yellow nectarines, about 3 pounds
1 1/2 tablespoons instant tapioca
Heavy cream or plain whole milk yogurt to serve, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together the flour, brown and granulated sugars, salt, and lemon zest. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips or a fork until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand. Set aside.
Place the nectarines in a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the tapioca and with 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice to taste and stir gently. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake until the nectarines are bubbly, about 40 minutes. Increase the heat to 400 degrees and bake until the topping is a rich golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a pour of cream or yogurt.
Adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman.
Music Break -- Lollypop -- Fausto Papetti