Market Menu: July 15!

Can you believe it’s mid-July already? So many weeks of the market, it’s hard to keep track without having a calendar handy. So we’re switching to dates in the title instead of week numbers.

I visited the farmer’s market in the adorable town of Port Townsend, WA last weekend, and there were some noticeable differences in available produce: cooler-weather crops like fava beans and radishes (since it’s still in the 50s-70s there!), and a large variety of currants. Market day was a “hot” one, which meant upper 70s, possibly low 80s in the sun. Dry as can be, though, which was a nice contrast to our current weather of 90+ F and 90+ humidity! The currants were lovely, and I might have been tempted to grab some and make a quick pot of jam, except that I knew there were currants waiting in the Refuge Food Forest here in Normal!

 

Back in Bloomington-Normal, our extended heat through July-August means several things for your weekly local farm and garden haul:

  • chickens may slow down or stop laying for a bit when it’s this hot, so you may have to ration those eggs!
  • cilantro and basil in your gardens will likely bolt, sending out seed heads that you can save and replant, or let nature do its thing and replant them for you.
  • lettuces are going to bolt as well; without a hoop house to keep the temperatures low, farmers can’t grow lettuce in this kind of heat. Give it some time, and you can replant in the fall.
  • provided they get sufficient water, your tomatoes are going to be happy and ripe!
  • chile peppers of all varieties are going to start coming with a fury! they love the heat, and give it right back to you in flavor ūüôā

In addition to the Saturday morning market, you can also find local produce at Common Ground in downtown Bloomington, and Green Top Grocery just east of downtown on Washington Street. And just this week, Browns’ Produce opened their farmstand on Brown Street just off of West Market — be sure to stop by!

This Week’s Menu:

I’m feeling like salads day and night right now, and other things that are FAST and require little tending on the stove. Here are a few of my favorites:

Slightly Savory Granola – an unusual granola recipe from the NY Times, made with olive oil! It’s a tad addictive, especially with yogurt. I used to buy Traderspoint Creamery yogurt in Indianapolis, but haven’t found a new local favorite yet — recommendations always welcome!

Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza – From Smitten Kitchen, and a perfect way to use those ever-growing zucchini, and the amazing chevre from Prairie Fruits Farm

Beet Salad w/ Plums and Goat Cheese – From Bon Appetit. Peaches would be just as delicious, of course.

Summer Pasta with Olives, Roasted Peppers and Capers – Also from Bon Appetit. It’s a warm dish, but it honestly is just as good served cold as a pasta salad.

Eggy Polenta w/ Mushrooms – From The Kitchn, and a great way to incorporate local grain (corn — I know, not technically a grain) and mushrooms AND eggs! I’d be inclined to use those gorgeous duck eggs I’ve been seeing lately at the market… they’d be delicious!

Chicken Meatballs and Polenta – There are a number of different variations on this recipe; I like chicken instead of turkey, and kale makes a nice addition at the end to plate with the dish.

Spicy Coleslaw w/ Cumin-Lime Dressing – Bobby Flay’s NOT-creamy coleslaw is hot and delicious!

Cumin-Scented Black Rice and Quinoa – This recipe from Bon Appetit takes a little time to cook (the grains cook separately), but once made, it’s easy to reheat and enjoy through the week. You can add chunks of sweet potato, some greens and a little tahini dressing, and you’ve got a quick meal.

Is it gazpacho season yet? Are you drowning in tomatoes? If not yet, I’ll put this here for later. I generally make Mollie Katzen’s version, which is full of veg and herbs, but I’ve also posted the NY Times version above. Regardless of which recipe you use, make sure to let it rest in the fridge for a few hours before serving; the flavors take a little time to develop.

THAT BEET DIP recipe (as promised)

OK, so from what I can tell, Amy got this recipe from another friend, Laurel. So they both get credit. Yay for sharing recipes with friends and neighbors far and wide!  Thanks to both for sharing.

Here’s the recipe I was telling you about in the last post (the one that makes nice people throw elbows to get to the snack table at a party).

Beet Walnut Dip

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes

Ingredients 
1 pound beets (4 smallish beets), scrubbed
1 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
3 teaspoons sherry vinegar or lemon juice
a few fresh herb leaves, such as marjoram or thyme (optional) 
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt) 
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Greek yogurt

Directions

1.¬†In a small pot of water, covered, over high heat, bring the beets to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer them until they’re tender, 20-45 minutes, depending on their size. I stick a tiny knife in and call them done when I feel no resistance. Drain the beets in a colander, run cold water over them, then relieve them of their stems and skins, which should slip right off now.¬†
2.¬†Meanwhile, toast the walnuts (a toaster oven is perfect for this) at 350¬ļF for five or so minutes until they smell toasty. Let them cool and, if you like, rub them in a dishtowel to remove more of their skins, which can be bitter. Or don’t bother if you don’t mind the flavor.¬†
3. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, whir together the beets, walnuts, garlic, sherry vinegar, optional herbs, and salt, stopping to scraped down the side of the bowl every now and then, until the mixture looks like a coarse puree. 
4. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, then whir in the yogurt. 
5. Taste the mixture for salt and tang, adding more salt or vinegar as needed, then mound in a bowl and serve with crackers, veggies, or pita chips. 

*Ingredient Tips
The¬†sherry vinegar gives the dip a hauntingly deep flavor — a perfect echo of the walnuts — but lemon juice is a good substitute; it makes a fresher-tasting and sharper dip. Brace yourself for how stunning this is.¬†

Enjoy!

— J.S.

A quick post about BEETS!

Oh, boy.

Beets are a pretty contentious vegetable; people usually either love them or hate them. They are marvelously good for you, though, and I’d love to tempt some of the beet-skeptics into trying them.¬† I have a plan…

I’m about to step away from the computer for the holiday weekend and my parents are coming to visit. This is incredibly good timing, because my mom is NUTS about beets.¬† What luck! There will be beets at the market on Saturday. (One of my favorite things to do is to bring guests and family from out of town to the market on Saturdays. I am so darned proud of our market!)¬† Mom is already excited about the fresh beets we’ll be adding to our dinner table this weekend.

So this quick post is to give you three levels of beet-commitment to consider.  Here goes.

Level One: The Beet Lover

Profile: You love beets in any form. You’ll even eat them plain. (I am not one of these people.)

Preparing beets for these eaters is easy. My mom is one of these admirably unfussy people; once cooked, she simply peels and slices them and adds a pat or two of butter with a bit of salt and pepper.  Directions:

  1. Cut off the tops (save for another use) and wash the beets under cold water.
  2. Place them in a large pot and cover with water; bring the water to a boil and simmer the beets until they are soft, to taste. My mom likes them very soft; some prefer their beets a little bit hard.  Use a fork to test for the amount of softness that you prefer.
  3. Drain and cool so that you are able to handle them; gently remove skin with your hands (like I said, make sure they are cool enough to handle).
  4. Add a bit of butter, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, warm, or cold (but Mom likes them hot).

Level Two: Your Beets Need Friends

Profile: Beets are a bit…strong for you, but are much more appealing with contrasting flavors and textures.¬† Fruit, nuts, cheese (especially goat or feta), greens and (try this one!) sliced avocado are great options. The key is having a good dressing; I like to make sure that the dressing is either on the sweet side or the tangy side and a favorite one for me is citrus-based. This one would be great.

A beet salad is a great way to pair boiled or roasted beets with multiple, contrasting flavors. I adore beets with bitter or spicy greens like arugula, but any green will do, including lettuce or spinach.¬† I also love beets with feta – a Greek salad at one of many Coney Islands (that’s a type of restaurant, by the way) in my hometown of Detroit is always served with beets.

Oranges are probably my favorite beet comrades; citrus complements that bossy beet flavor nicely. Many fruits are flexibly beet-adjacent. A quick internet search will give you lots of ideas. Here is a NY Times Food recipe (don’t forget that this app/site is free, just create an account) that combines a lot of these elements. In these kinds of salads, you can be creative with whatever you’ve got in the fridge, on the counter or in the pantry.

Level Three: Beet Boss

Profile: You’re going to show up at that party with a dip no one can resist and its going to be healthy too.

My friend Amy often brings a dip like this * with her to gatherings, which makes her already-surging popularity (really, she is the best) go through the roof. By that I mean to say that the dip goes quickly and that otherwise gentle people with longstanding friendships suddenly find themselves elbowing each other rather aggressively to get to the food table. Trust me: make this dip.

*I realized when I googled this recipe that there, not surprisingly, many variations on this type of dip, so I picked the one with the best looking web site! But I’ll see if I can track down the exact one she uses, because it’s awesome. Serve with those gourmet pretzel chips from the grocery store.

How’s that for some beet love? I dare you beet skeptics to try it. Tell me what you think.

Enjoy! – J.S.

 

 

 

 

Week 3 Market Menu

This week at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market and Artists’ Alley:

Seasonal: More greens, more vegetable plants for your gardens! Arugula, Asparagus, Carrots, Chard, Collards, Kale, Mint, Potatoes, Radishes, Rhubarb, Spinach, Turnips, and more!

All Summer: Eggs, chicken, beef, oats, wheat, cornmeal, pork, cheese, honey, baked goods, lavender, mushrooms, popcorn, and much more. See the complete list of vendors at this year’s market for more information about produce and products.

Coming Soon:

vegetannual (1)
the mythical vegetannual: an imagining of all the vegetables we harvest, as if borne from a single plant, over the course of the year. More on this idea later, but for now, keep an eye on the vegetables that branch out near the “June” label above — they’re coming next!

 

 

Breakfast Ideas:

Muesli! It requires no heat, no chopping, and no prep. As close to “cereal and milk” as you can get with whole foods. 4 parts flaked grain (oats, wheat, etc.), 1 part nuts or seeds, 1 part dried fruit. My favorite is a combo of flaked rye and oats, flax meal (lightly ground seeds) and raw pumpkin seeds, and dried apricots. I may have to switch to it soon, when the heat comes back!

 

Lunch Ideas:

little bloom on the prairie, by prairie fruits farm

Greens w/ cheese and fruit and crackers – boom, lunch! ¬†Last week, I went through a round of Prairie Fruits Farm’s Little Bloom on the Prairie at work with some of their homemade crackers, some local honey, milk and carrot sticks and apples.

But if you’re looking for something more, well, MORE, I’m very partial to The Kitchn at the moment for salad ideas.

 

Kale and Quinoa Salad – The Kitchn
This is a simple variation of the grain-kale salad. No having to choose your combo, just make it as is, and it’s a super tasty one. I’m not sure on local sources for the dates — I love the whole medjool dates that I know you can get at Fresh Market, but check Green Top and Common Ground!
Pantry check: onion, quinoa, lacinato kale, dates, almonds, orange, lime, maple syrup

 

Golden Beet and Barley Salad – The Kitchn
No need to wait for golden beets, this is just as delicious with red! Another easy grain salad that you can make ahead and have waiting for packed lunches for at least a couple of days.
Pantry check: beets (golden or red), barley, red onion, swiss chard, lemon juice, feta cheese

 

“Airplane Salad” (The Kitchn) – so easy, I’ll post the basics here. It’s not that different from the Oh She Glows mighty protein salad, or other grain/green salads; it’s simple and eminently packable, even if you’re traveling.

  • ~¬†3 c chopped kale
  • ~ 1 c chopped carrots or chopped steamed broccoli
  • 1/2 c chopped frozen¬†blueberries or peaches
  • 1/4 c cooked and cooled grain brown rice, wheat berries, or farro
  • 1/4 c nuts (I like pecans), seeds (flax or sesame) and/or craisins
  • 2 T. evoo
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

 

Dinner Ideas:

I don’t know about you, but when it’s as¬†hot as it’s been recently, I don’t feel much like standing over a stove after work. ¬†Grilling, though? Maybe. So this week, I’ve gathered a handful of¬†non-stove recipes that I like. Grill on!

Garlic-Mustard Glaze – Bobby Flay / Smitten Kitchen
Deb (of sk) uses this on skewered chicken, but it’s great on any meat!
Pantry check: Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, rosemary, paprika

  • Lemon-Parsley Bean Salad – Cookie and Kate
    Quick and pantry-friendly this time of year — w/ the exception of the tomatoes! Just don’t bother, until you can find them locally.
    Pantry check: kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion, celery, tomato (not this time of year, but later!), cucumber, parsley, fresh dill or mint, lemon juice.

 

Split Whole Cumin Chicken – Food Network
Wondering what to do with a whole chicken from your chicken CSA? Here’s one option!
Pantry check: 4-6# whole chicken, honey, cilantro, buttermilk, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, fennel seed

  • On the side: a quick carrot salad: ¬†Grate 2-3 carrots, add a bit of minced¬†garlic, toss with evoo, lemon juice, salt and pepper, parsley, and a little cayenne if you like some heat.

 

Chicken Salad w/ Arugula, Lemon and Pine Nuts – Food and Wine
I haven’t made this one before, but I’m definitely going to this week! It’s too early for zucchini around here, so I’ll probably leave it out. There will be PLENTY of time for zucchini-friendly recipes later in the season!!
Pantry check: currants (or raisins or craisins), cumin, lemon, zucchini, shallot, chicken breasts, pine nuts, arugula

 

Perfectly Grilled Steak – Bobby Flay
Pantry check: steak!!

  • Cowboy Caviar – Cookie and Kate
    SO much better than dumping Italian dressing on beans, which I’ve done to great disappointment.
    Pantry check: black-eyed peas, black beans, corn (I suggest frozen), bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, red wine vinegar, oregano, basil, honey, red pepper flakes