Summer at the Santa Monica Farmers Market

The quiet of an early morning is something I truly value. The air smells like fresh coffee while the empty streets await all of us little humans. Early mornings are especially nice at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. It's officially(!!) that time of year when there aren't enough days in the week to cook all of the incredible eats that California has to offer. The other day Rob sent me this image, and I'd say it's quite accurate in both tone and message. Memes are the truth-tellers of our generation.

I've been arriving at the market about 45 minutes before it opens so I can see what's new prior to my favorite stands become trading pits. Market mornings have also been helping me learn how to use the manual setting on my camera...100 photos of broccolini at a time.

Below is some of what's currently in season at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, all of which is on our counter or in the refrigerator. (Info about the farmers and food at the bottom.)

Sugar-free Homemade Granola with Roasted Strawberries and Greek Yogurt

I wrote this post a week ago and then decided to shelve it. The granola I've been making for the last couple of years is good, but something was missing from the flavor/texture and I couldn't put my finger on it.

When it comes to ingredients, I'm not anti-sugar (exhibits A and B) but have always liked sweetening my granola exclusively with honey. I decided to give The Google another spin yesterday and noticed that Sylvie's recipe on Gourmande in the Kitchen includes fruit purée. Interesting. Then I came across David Lebovitz's granola which includes applesauce. Like Cher in Clueless, I suddenly realized that the answer to my sugar-free granola dreams had just hit me upside the head.

(Rob and I drove by that fountain over the weekend - for the 100th time - and it was the first occasion where I actually connected it with the movie. I've lost all of my LA cred.)

Roasted Apricot BBQ Sauce

This week I learned that barbecue sauce is easy to make, open to interpretation, and freezes beautifully. Similar to applesauce, there's just no reason to eat the store-bought stuff when homemade tastes so much better. With that said, the first and only time I tried to make BBQ sauce was a couple of years ago and it was a solid fail. The process felt like it took forever and the end product didn't taste very good (looking back at my notes I can see why). I'm probably sending mixed messages here but stick with me.

To celebrate the long weekend, I decided to give BBQ sauce another go. With my previous failure in mind, it seemed like a sensible idea to use some gorgeous stone fruit I had picked up at the farmers market. No potential for heartbreaking waste in that scenario. Fortunately I'm older and wiser and the sauce turned out to be really delicious. I put it on my favorite crust for the 4th of July since nothing says "Happy Birthday, America" like BBQ chicken pizza.

Nancy Silverton's Pizza Dough Recipe with Peperonata, Salumi, and Pepperoni

Last week was our 7-year wedding anniversary so I decided to make dinner for a relaxed date night. Rob had been saving a bottle of wine from the year we met and since pizza is our love language the menu was a no-brainer.

In terms of toppings, I already had a peperonata recipe but the last batch of pizza dough I tried was pale and, as they say in Kansas, flatter than a pancake. Since Nancy Silverton's Rosemary Olive Oil Cakes were a big success, I figured it was worth trying her dough from the Mozza Cookbook.

Results? Awesome. Beautiful air pockets throughout the outer rim (or cornicione) and the crust's exterior was crispy while the interior was stretchy and chewy. When I ran the pizza wheel through the crust it made the most satisfying "crunch" sound. This may be the birth of a pizza series on Chic Eats.

Similar to my Homemade Pasta, I've included detailed notes and tips in this post.