All About Kale: This weeks seasonal focus

Lacinato Kale and Mint Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
aka “dinosaur” kale, pictured at left.  It’s my favorite — it’s almost blue, it’s so dark green, and its flat-ness means it’s easy to chop finely or slice into ribbons, or shred in your food processor until it’s unrecognizable and hide-able. Not that I would do that.

The best thing about kale salads like this is that they’ll keep a few days, as the kale takes longer to break down than lettuces. The dressing on this particular salad is close to a sesame noodle dressing, but a bit more tangy than nutty. This may actually be a good dressing to mix up and have on hand, just in case you get a hankering for the salad.  [more kale recipes from Food52]


Green Falafel Bowl
Make your own falafel patties with fresh, local greens, eggs, garlic, breadcrumbs, and hard cheese. Make ahead, even, then toss in a bowl with your favorite raw or roasted vegetables, rice or grain (and a swish of that gorgeous beet hummus pictured in the recipe!), for a meal you can repeat through the week.  [more kale recipes from 101 Cookbooks]



Potato and Kale Knish
I am so making up a batch or three of these to put in my freezer for winter. Potato and leek, potato and kale, sweet potato, spinach, maybe even some roasted beet and cabbage.
“as excellent as you would expect from carbs, wrapped in more carbs, brushed with egg, baked until flaky outside and steamy inside and filling enough to require the cancellation of all other meals for the remainder of the day.”
That, my friends, is the knish of my dreams. [more kale recipes from Smitten Kitchen]


The Greenest Green Smoothie
Full of kale, but also banana and matcha and almond milk, which somehow magically cancels out all kale bitterness.

This recipe also includes pineapple, almond butter, and a bit of ginger — all of which are a bit too complicated, for me.

When I have kale growing in the garden, I use the smallest, newest leaves for smoothies, as they’re the most tender. [more kale recipes from Bon Appetit]



June 2, 2018

This time last year, we were making smoothies and buddha bowls, and generally enjoying lots of greens!  We also had a guest post on garlic scapes — those adorable curly shoots which should be at the market this week or next.

This week at the market, we’re looking forward to some first-of-the-season brassicas: broccoli and kale!!  plus lots more greens and herbs!  Here are some recipes to help you make use of all the greens that are available this time of year.

Grilled broccoli and arugula salad – from Bon Appetit; the dressing on this looks AMAZING, like a summery caesar:

Purée anchovy, garlic, mayonnaise, buttermilk, chervil, tarragon, chives, lemon juice, and mustard in a blender until smooth; season dressing with salt.

Heads-up: there’s local buttermilk at Green Top Grocery!

Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad – also from Bon Appetit, from a whole series on broccoli. And if you’re looking for pea shoots to complete the salad, Finding Eminence farms grows microgreens and pea shoots, and they’re available at Green Top!


Kale is often the subject of whole “what do I do with X” posts, so we’re going to take advantage of that here, here, and here.

The quick and global version of “what to do with kale” is this: cold: add to any salad for texture and/or flavor; just chop fine or massage the dressing into the leaves.  hot: add to stir-fries or soups, or just sautee to add to a bowl of mixed meat/veg/salads. Use just a bit of oil/fat, and low, gentle heat until it softens a bit.

This is also a good time of year for frittatas!  Add any vegetables you like, some of those gorgeous local eggs, and enjoy!

May 26, 2018: Part 1

Well, we’ve done it again! We’ve reached the end of another work week, and are looking ahead to the weekend! There’s much to look forward to at the market, and around town! The downtown market event will fill you in on the vendors attending this week’s market. A great guide, if you’re not sure which farmers are alternating weeks!

This time last year: Week 4 (May 29, 2017). We had bok choi! and swiss chard and strawberries!

I’m pretty sure we’re too early for both of those this week, but a little birdie tells me that there might be some cucurbits from hoop houses (cucumbers or summer squash).

And several vendors will still have plants. If you haven’t planted tomatoes yet, this is the PERFECT time for them to take root and thrive. I always have quite a few “volunteer” plants in my garden, but they’re a couple weeks’ behind the plant starts I got from local farmers in terms of size.

Want to get the healthiest plants for your garden? DEFINITELY shop local. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had blossom end rot from plants purchased at a big box store. Don’t let your garden take on that sadness. Life’s too short for sickly tomato plants.

Native Plants of IL / Woodland Mushroom Farm will have herb (chervil, sorrel, epazote!) and flower plants, but also shiitake mushrooms!!

This weekend, I’d also suggest you check out the array of local meats at the market:

Destiny meats has a variety of pork products, including bacon and brats.

Witzig meats has beef and pork in a large variety of cuts; sides and quarters of beef are also available, if you want to stock up for summer grilling.

Above Normal eggs has chicken and duck eggs. 

Dearing farms will have eggs, goat and lamb meat, and possibly beef.

Huelskoetter pork has lots of pork! Breakfast sausages and brats and pork burgers.




Tomorrow, we’ll have some recipes and ideas for marinades and summer picnics!



This week, last year: our market menu, featuring the hilariously informative sketch of the mythical vegetannual. We’re currently in the leafy green base part of the season, and will remain there for a few weeks.


My garden seems to have gone from March to June in the last week and a half, totally skipping April and May. Everything’s green (except for the Japanese Maple that apparently died in the fall – major sadfaces here!), and our rhubarb has already shot flower stalks up to the sky. But as with all green things, garden or farm, we take what the weather gives us, right?

So, at the market this weekend, we should definitely be seeing more asparagus and rhubarb, plenty of greens — including fresh cut herbs — and small/shallow roots like radishes and turnips, thanks to farmers with hoop houses, who got an early start!!


If you’re looking for some new recipes for Rhubarb, we’ve pulled a few that might be of interest:

  • Hot Pink Rhubarb Compote – delicious in oatmeal or over yogurt, probably amazing in custard, according to the Brits.
  • Rhubeena – a syrup/cordial, to be added to club soda or other drinks throughout the summer.
  • Rhubarb Crisp – I love the oats and nuts in this recipe, but it would be just as delicious if you were to make it nut-free. It calls for AP flour, but I see no reason why you couldn’t substitute rice flour or another gluten-free option, since the dough doesn’t need to hold any kind of structure.


Asparagus probably needs no introduction, but here are a couple of ideas just in case: 

  • Shaved Asparagus Salad – a little extra work, but if you’re going for something unusual, it’s worth it.
  • Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan – posted for the pictures, and oven temp, but it’s so simple you won’t need a recipe! (olive oil, salt and pepper, sprinkle of parm, roast in a 450F oven about 10 minutes)


The little roots might need a bit of promotion, though.


I really like spring turnips sliced on a mandoline (less than 1/4″ thick), sprinkled with a little salt and pepper, raw. They’re mild in the spring — it’s a great time to try turnips — and the white haukerei variety that’s become more popular in recent years are practically juicy like a fruit. You can also do a quick pickle, with vinegar and salt and pepper and a little ginger. The haukerei are delicate enough, you don’t want to overwhelm them with flavors. But that’s only if they make it in your crisper long enough to get to the pickling jar!! This farro salad with turnips and greens is also super lovely.


I also like to slice radishes on the mandoline (watch the fingers, though — get one of those knife-safe kevlar gloves!), either to add to salads or eat raw. I tried pickling them last year, and didn’t love the results. I usually enjoy radishes raw, but sometimes they do sit in the fridge awaiting an idea for something different; this roasted radishes w/ radish tops (and brown butter!) is the something different I found at one point last year. It’s really nice, mild and perfect for taming the heat that radishes can bring sometimes. Though radishes can be stored short-term, we’re at the peak of their fresh season right now, so enjoy them!


Hope to see you out and about this weekend, whether at the market, Green Top Grocery, Common Ground Grocery, or one of these local farms* (see below):


*Do you know of a local farm doing on-farm events or farmstand sales, not listed here?  Please let us know, and we’ll add it!