There’s no stopping the list of fresh local produce available at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers Market and other sources. It’s practically endless!!
- Melons! Cantaloupes and Watermelons of many varieties
- Sweet corn!
- Chile peppers: poblano, cubanelle, jalapeno, banana
- Sweet peppers: minis, giant red bell peppers, purple, yellow, green, bullhorn
- Tomatoes: including determinates like San Marzano, Amish Paste, plus cherry tomatoes, lots of varieties of heirloom, and canning boxes of seconds
Still going strong: beets, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, patty pan squash, potatoes, scallions, shallots, summer squash, turnips, zucchini
This week, we wanted to feature recipes that allow substitutions — recipes (or styles of cooking) that let you throw whatever you have on hand into a dish that you’ll enjoy.
When we polled readers on our facebook page as to their favorite dish in this category, stir-fry was the most common. So, here are some ways that you can enjoy seasonal vegetables in a stir-fry.
Equipment: Having a wok is not essential; a large skillet or other large pan with a flat bottom will work, too. Make sure to start with a hot pan, and hot oil (something other than extra-virgin olive oil). Then add aromatics like ginger and garlic or onion first, then your veg.
- Ginger and Garlic – for 2-4 servings, start with 1 T oil, 1 T fresh ginger (grated or minced), 2-3 cloves of garlic (crushed or minced). Keep it moving or keep stirring for about a minute, until the kitchen smells amazing. Then add your vegetables: green onions, carrots, summer squash, kale — whatever you have on hand!! You can even cube kohlrabi and add it to this. Just be conscious of how long each veg will take to cook, relatively. I generally add carrots, kohlrabi, and broccoli stalks first; summer squash or peppers in the middle, and kale later. When you add your veg, also add 1-2 T of soy sauce. Keep stirring for a few minutes until everything is cooked to your taste. I often do veg-only stir fries, but lately I’ve been using the high protein extra-firm tofu from Green Top, and it’s great in this. You can pre-marinate it, or just add it in with your vegetables. If you want meat, I usually cut up my chicken into bite-sized pieces first, then add to the hot pan at the very beginning of cooking, with the aromatics.
- Garlic Sauce – I haven’t tried this, but for fans of dishes like tofu in garlic sauce, this looks like a winner!! It includes soy sauce, chicken broth, rice wine, sugar, sesame oil, pepper, garlic, and ginger. I’d definitely try this with green beans, if you have any around.
- Sweet and Sour sauce with Ginger – this is pretty close to what my mother made for us growing up (as taught to her by our Cantonese neighbor). The main difference is that she would cook the meat and vegetables with everything except the sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch. She’d mix the sugar and vinegar together and then add it to the pot and cook for a bit, then mix the cornstarch with a little cold water, and add it once the sugar-vinegar mixture was boiling.
- This list of stir-fry sauces includes some coconut and lime-based Thai sauces, which look interesting!
For me, having lots of veggies on hand and no plan for them usually means making a frittatta or tortilla espagnole. The latter requires (waxy) potatoes, both require eggs, and the frittatta definitely needs some cheese. But the more critical thing is time; the tortilla espagnole starts with thin-sliced potatoes, which make a sort of crust at the bottom of the pan, under a layer of egg and vegetables. Delicious! But slicing and pre-cooking them adds about 15 minutes to cooking time, compared to the frittatta. Here are a few options for each.
Tortilla Espagnole – simple recipe from Food tv, though you can certainly add to it!
Frittatta – Alton Brown has a great recipe, as does Epicurious (so great that I think I’ve posted it before!) and the Pioneer Woman (who emphasizes the nearly-endless versatility of this crustless quiche!)