May 5, 2018: Market Opening!!!

One year ago: we were awaiting market opening, but also the opening of the new co-op, Green Top Grocery! It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since then. This year, the weather has been quite different, with the cold temps hanging on all through April, so it’s possible that farmers’ offerings of early favorites like greens and rhubarb might be delayed by a week or two. But there will still be plenty to cheer about at the outdoor market this week!

(We’re so excited for the market opening, we tried to publish a new post before we got it written!!)

Jenn posted some of her favorites and long-awaited treasures below, along with ideas for what to make with them.

I thought I’d add some of the things that I’m particularly looking forward to:

  1. Fresh herbs! I’m not sure what the farmers will have for us this week, but I’m hoping for anything fresh and aromatic. On one of these suddenly-it’s-summer days, a glass of cold iced tea with a sprig of fresh mint, thyme, or basil is going to taste amazing. Some ideas here.
  2. We can get local eggs year-round now, between Green Top Grocery, Common Ground Grocery, and others, but I’m looking forward to seeing the farmers and buying from them in person.
  3. Oats! I’m out of local oats, and need to stock up! See last year’s posts on oats here*.
  4. Plants? I’m hoping for some herbs, at least.
  5. Asparagus? Dare we hope?

Check out Jenn’s post below for some cooking ideas, check out our post from one year ago for more, and let us know what you’re doing with your #legitlocal buying!

*Did you know that you can use the list of categories at the right to find previous posts that highlight certain market items?  Check it out!

Market Menu: July 29!

What to make when you have EVERYTHING available at the market? It’s almost hard to choose!!

Breakfasts:

I’m partial to toast and jam or steel-cut oats and peanut butter, but eggs are always a delicious breakfast option.

How to Poach an Egg, by a self-described terrible egg poacher – Smitten kitchen
Worth a read/try. I won’t swear by any method, as I am also a terrible egg poacher, but when you get it right, it’s so rewarding.

Muesli / Refrigerator Oats – Epicurious
I know this has been going around Pinterest for a while, but I can’t think of a better time of year to give it a try. No need to put anything on the stove, not even a pot of water. Check out the Ackermans at the market for local oats, and the Food Forest in Normal is bursting with berries that you can add as-is, or make into preserves.

Radish and Turnip Hash – The Kitchn
If you still have turnips taking up space in your produce drawer, (I do!), here’s a good and tasty way to use them up.

Lunches:

I found these at the grocery store last week while shopping for lunches and snacks for my office while absolutely HANGRY.

I was intrigued! Veggies I hadn’t thought to put together, chopped and raw, with just a small packet of salsa and some cheese, and you microwave them to soften and mix. They weren’t bad! But there’s no reason I can’t make these at home, since they involve no pre-cooking at all.

 

My version of the southwest nourish bowls is below. This made 7 portions, and I plan to add some chicken to them for lunches.

Ingredients:
1 sweet potato, diced
1 kohlrabi, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 bunch kale, chopped medium-fine
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 jar (about 2 c.) corn & black bean salsa

You could also add egg or meat or tvp, for more protein (I brought some cheese to add to this one).

 

Other easy, packable lunches include:

Smashed Chickpea Salad – from ‘wichcraft, via Smitten Kitchen
Great on toasted bread, but untoasted would also work in a pinch, especially if you have something crusty like a baguette.

Hummus with Tomato and Cucumber – Smitten Kitchen
If you’re in the market for some pita bread to go with the hummus (and the dip below), check out local baker Chad Sanders’ pita at the Garlic Press or the Downtown Bloomington market — delicious!!

Smoky Eggplant dip – from David Liebovitz, via Smitten Kitchen
I like to do the eggplant on the grill, whole but with slots cut in the outside to stuff whole cloves of garlic into. Throw it on the grill after your meal has cooked, but before you turn the gas off. Leave it while you’re eating, just check on it before you reach for that second bratwurst. When it’s all wrinkly like this, blackened in a few areas, you’ll know it’s done. Set aside until it’s cool. Really — don’t try to handle it until at least after dessert and you’ve played a couple board games or watched a good movie. Scoop out the insides, and proceed with the recipe as written. I feel pretty confident you’ll thank me for the grill+garlic tip. It’s that good — and a totally different way to enjoy eggplant.

Add grilled chicken to any or all of the above, and you have a pretty flavorful lunchbox!

 

Dinners:

I’ve been making a lot of zoodles lately. Well, they’re almost zoodles… but really just thin-sliced zucchini, since I don’t own a spiralizer. Just saute them in a pan with some olive oil and pesto or tomato sauce (or even just some small tomatoes!) until they’re softened, then add some parmesan cheese on top when serving. Cook them like vegetables, but flavor-wise, treat them like pasta. Very tasty, one-pot, and not too time-consuming.

There’s another zucchini-reliant dish I’ve been meaning to try for literally YEARS. I don’t know why I keep putting it off, but as soon as I get my hands on more squash, I’m making New Mexico-style Calabacitas. It’s a summer squash-corn saute with a little tomato, green chiles, cream and cheese. It’s mostly veg; the recipe above calls for 2# of squash and 2 c. of corn, and just 2 T butter, 1/4 c. half and half, and 1 c. grated cheese (both of which are optional).

With all the giant heirloom tomatoes available now, I’m planning to try this caprese quinoa casserole from Delish very soon. It makes use of lots of tomatoes and basil, garlic and shallots, and only takes a few more ingredients (quinoa, mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar). I grew up on cheeseburger pies, and I like that this is a sort of refined version of that. Though now I’m thinking about cheeseburger pie, and if you want to try it, here’s one from Chowhound that looks easy; and one from Food.com that looks like what my mom made (though we used shelf-stable pie crust sticks, which maybe don’t exist anymore? I haven’t seen them in ages). With all the local beef available here, and the broad customizability of this recipe, I should put these recipes into more of a regular rotation, I think!

Week 4 Market Menu: Better Late Than Never!

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

Seasonal: More greens, BEETS, more vegetable plants for your gardens! Arugula, Asparagus, Carrots, Chard, Collards, Kale, Mint, Potatoes, Radishes, Rhubarb, Spinach, Turnips, and more! And some STRAWBERRIES at Olive Berry Acres!

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.

This week and weekend got away from me in epic fashion, but as I get ready to prep some meals for the week, I’m pretty encouraged by what I see in my fridge:  arugula, turnips, carrots, chicken, eggs (including a duck egg from Above Normal!), lots of bok choy, bread from Pekara/Central IL Bakehouse, bacon from Huelskoetter Farms, some chevre, and a pretty good array of staples. Sounds like bacon and eggs for a couple of breakfasts (oatmeal for the rest), salads for lunches (with chicken or hard-boiled egg, and maybe some strawberries), egg salad with radish, a chicken stir-fry with the bok choy, and the carrot-feta salad I posted about in week 1.

 

Nothing fancy! Nothing too time-intensive, or that requires long hours in the kitchen over a hot stove.

Here are some additional notes/explanations/recipes:

  1. When it’s strawberry season, I love them on salads, but only with this poppyseed dressing. Arugula or other greens, strawberries, chopped carrot, maybe a little red onion, and that’s it. Add chicken if you want protein on the salad. A bit of chevre (soft goat cheese) wouldn’t hurt at all.
  2. Grain salads are very forgiving, and will happily accept your fridge full of fresh veg. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of turnips, but I’m working on it. This farro and turnip salad, which uses the greens from the turnips as well, is one I’m looking forward to trying this week.
  3. We posted about roasting your bok choy last week, but I always enjoy it in a stir fry (which doesn’t have to take a long time on the stove!). This recipe from the NYT has you steam before adding them. It’s a pretty simple recipe, though: chicken broth, sherry, soy sauce, cornstarch, oil, garlic and ginger, sugar and sesame seeds.
  4. I’d like to try this radish and egg salad recipe this week (hold the sprouts).

In case anyone is wondering what to do with those whole oats at the market, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of cooking them. I like the nutty bit of a bite to them, but I also like a creamy sort of porridge. For me, that requires a short trip in the food processor or slightly longer time with the stick blender, to break open some of the berries. They don’t all have to be chopped, though. Just enough to let some starch out. Super tasty!

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