Welcome back, friends!
Fall is definitely here, and so is the end of a fantastic outdoor market season. (The indoor market season continues once every month at the Coliseum.)
The good news is: you get to start planning for the Thanksgiving Market! The first indoor market of the season is Saturday, November 18 – doors open at 10am at the Bloomington (Grossinger Motors) Coliseum. It’s a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season, just in time to shop for Thanksgiving Day meals. Also, we’ll be putting out a special Market Menu just for Thanksgiving.
But for now, let’s make some plans on how you’re going to use the fantastic local veggies you’ll find at THIS week’s market. The colder weather has us thinking of comfort foods to take away the chill, and easy and/or hands-off recipes that let you maximize your time away from the kitchen this week.
I’ve been doing a lot of shopping in the bulk isle, especially for beans, lentils, and other hearty proteins. Green Top Grocery and Common Grounds Natural Foods both have well-stocked bulk aisles – it’s a great place to experiment with new-to-you proteins and grains. Last night I needed a quick dinner that wouldn’t involve takeout and spied a jar of dried yellow split peas in my pantry. Pea soup! I sautéed what I had on hand in the pressure cooker pot: some onions, celery, and a couple of carrots, all diced. I added two diced potatoes and two cups of yellow split peas along with 8 cups of water and broth. I had some roasted tomatoes from the summer in the freezer (a can of tomatoes of any type would also work), so I added those along with a bay leaf. Put the top on, locked it, brought it to pressure and cooked for 30 minutes. Once the pressure released I opened the lid to see a velvety soup – that was dinner! We loved it.
My point is: it doesn’t take much to make a great, hearty soup – some beans, lentils, or split peas, some version of mirepoix, choose a spice profile, and add in whatever other veggies you’ve got on the counter (chunks of potato or diced squash) or in the fridge (add spinach, kale, or collard greens at the end, right before serving).
The following recipes can all be made in a slow cooker, instant pot/pressure cooker, or on the stove top. If you’re accustomed to dried green split peas, you might give yellow ones a try – they’ve got a milder, somewhat sweeter flavor and I think they cook just a bit faster. If you have a pressure cooker, they cook in 30 minutes or less. Like any bean or lentil, there are a gazillion flavor profiles you can choose from for a hearty, delicious soup:
Not a split pea fan? Plenty of options for your final outdoor farmer’s market meals.
Vegetarian chili with butternut squash and avocado
Pork carnitas (this would do just fine in a slow cooker)
Corn, chicken and poblano chowder (in the pressure cooker/instant pot)
Pumpkin chicken curry (in the slow cooker!)
And SQUASHES! We wait all year for these. Have you tried…
Stuffed butternut squash (meatless)
Here are a plethora of spaghetti squash ideas…
Late fall salads are also on my radar. You’ll find lots of wonderful greens at the market this week – and try thinking outside the “greens salad” box (though I never get tired of a great greens salad!):
Fennel celery salad with walnuts (and blue cheese, or sub feta, etc.)
Did you really think you’d get past this last post of the outdoor season without a kale salad recipe?
I skipped ahead…these are great recipes for lunches or dinners. What about breakfast?
It’s hot cereal season! (Think add-ins: nuts and seeds from the bulk aisle; fresh local apples from the market.) Also:
A pumpkin muffin for you pumpkin spice lovers out there..
From both of us at Legit Local, we thank you for spending this outdoor farmer’s market season with us. See you at the market! — Steph and Jenn