Market Menu: October 7

It’s time for another Market Menu!

While fall brings some cooler-weather items back to the market, the list of offerings is HUUUUGE compared to spring! I don’t ever get tired of roasting root vegetables, and I could probably eat them every day, but I might not say that in a couple more weeks. So I definitely want to put some casseroles or soup into the freezer for busy weekdays later on. The roots don’t freeze so well, but most everything else does!

I’d love to get another batch of red pepper soup together, and maybe some chicken and vegetable. Neither are very labor-intensive, and they’re super tasty in the middle of winter. I’ll post recipes on our facebook page, such as they are.

So, what else is on the menu for the week?

Breakfasts:

Fall marks the return of some hot cereal options in my house:

whole wheat berries with fuit and honey and a splash of cream or yogurt. Once cooked (and they take quite a while to cook!), these keep well in the fridge for a second day, so I like to make a batch on the weekend. They’re even tasty cold, in a pinch.

For something hot and hearty, a big pan of frambled eggs with kale, magic sauce and some local sausage will do the trick. They actually aren’t bad pre-made and portioned into cups for enjoying later in the week. I like to chop the kale and sausage and mix them in with the eggs before putting into individual portion-sized containers. Add magic sauce when you reheat during the week (before putting in the microwave).

For a treat, how about some french toast (Pekara’s Paesano bread is AMAZING for this) with bacon and maple sirup? (if you still have some left!)

Lunches:

Leftovers are a life-saver for a busy October; I’m planning on making more stuffed peppers (before this amazing crop stops producing!), some casseroles and soups to enjoy for easy lunches. But I’ve also been playing with big mash-up bowls of goodies:

hummus, roasted sweet potato, lettuce, pickled beets, watermelon radishes, shaved carrots, quinoa and a little cheese, with some lemon-tahini dressing on top.

roasted carrots and parsnips, toasted bread, hard-boiled eggs, garbanzo beans, and feta or chevre.

Autumn Market Salad – Bon Appetit. With butternut squash, arugula, walnuts, oj and lemon.

Now playing at the market: Winter Squash!!! If you’re a fan of the acorn, butternut, hubbard, kabocha, delicata and other squashes, this is your time!

Dinners:

Potato-Leek Gratin – something to do with your leeks and potatoes besides soup!

Roasted Vegetable Pizza – the combo is up to you! I love little bits of things: pickled fennel, olives, dried tomatoes, sauteed onions (slow and low, to get them caramelized), chevre and pork sausage, with a little shredded mozzarella on top.

Butternut Squash, Apple and Onion Galette w/ Stilton – Food Network (but many versions of this recipe are out there, including this one without the apple, and this one with brie). A galette is a sort of pie with a freeform crust. Instead of baking in a pie plate, galettes are usually baked on a pan, with the edges folded over the ingredients (but not all the way to the center).  Don’t be intimidated by the pastry! A quick trip in the food processor will combine the ingredients, and a large ziploc bag works wonders at bringing the pastry together without making a mess. Galettes are fantastic to have in your repertoire, because you can use the pastry to wrap sweet or savory ingredients. And just like pies, you *could* freeze them for future baking.

Enjoy the last few weeks of the market! And don’t worry – – we’re not going away when the outdoor market shuts down for the season. We’ll be talking to our farmers about their winter cover crops and planning, writing about working through stored produce, and hunting for those elusive winter crops!!

Market Menu: September 30 – The EAT LOCAL Challenge!

Throughout September, the central Illinois chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local is hosting the Eat Local challenge.  The challenge is to spend $20 a week on locally grown food during the month of September.

A week of meals based on $20 of local food? We’ve got this!

Five Days of Breakfast:

Carrot and apple smoothie – from Oprah.com
Market items: carrots, apples

Local oats (or wheat berries!) with your favorite toppings – from Epicurious. Oats are inexpensive and store easily, and it just might be chilly enough this weekend for a hot breakfast. The next time I make oatmeal, I’m going to try adding in some of my homemade applesauce — which is basically just chopped up apples left in a crock pot until they’re soft.
Market items: Oats! 

Crispy egg on toast – from Smitten Kitchen
Market items: eggs, bread

Scrambled tofu with greens – from Yup it’s Vegan. This is a great way to incorporate vegetables in your breakfast, if that’s a thing you want to do. You can also add in leftover roasted vegetables – sweet potatoes are delicious in a breakfast scramble, too.
Market items: greens!

Freezer-friendly breakfast burritos – from The Kitchn
Market items: eggs, potatoes, peppers, bacon or sausage

 

Five days of Lunches

Carrot Salad – This is a fantastic grated carrot salad with parsley and lemon, from Once Upon a Chef. While not a meal on its own, it would go well with some cheese and fruit and/or another assortment of things.  I’d put money on this going well with feta cheese, in particular. 
Market items: 
carrots, parsley, cheese, apples

The Peppers and Sausages below make great leftovers, if you chop up the sausages before packing into individual serving containers. Add some rice or bread for a hearty lunch.

My favorite and most reliable lunch these days is chicken and sweet potatoes and applesauce. We’re in the heart of sweet potato season now, so I suggest that you stock up. I like to peel and cut my sweet potatoes into large chunks and boil them (and then mash), or else cut in small-medium (1/2″) cubes and roast. I’ll bake the chicken with a glug of italian dressing and foil over the baking dish, and then retain some of the liquid that remains after cooking (otherwise the chicken can get dry). If you’re going to chop the chicken up after cooking, be sure to let it rest first — otherwise, you’ll definitely have dry chicken.

 

Five days of Dinners

Spicy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – filled with rice, spicy pork, and fresh napa cabbage. Made by the Serious Eats folks, in their “Cook the Book” series, from Faith Durand’s Not Your Mother’s Casseroles. As the Serious Eats staff note, the filling can easily be customized for your family’s tastes:  less or more spicy, different vegetables, substituting ground beef for pork, etc.
Market items: Ground pork

Peppers and Sausages – done in the slow cooker, to serve in a bun or over rice.

The recipe is dead simple, and takes only 10 minutes in the morning.  Slice the peppers and onion (I’d probably do this the night before, and wrap gently – who wants to go to work with onion hands? not I!). Then you add whole-grain mustard and beer, and put the whole sausages on top, and let it cook for the day.

Not only has the weather turned perfectly just in time for hot dinners, but this has been an AMAZING season for peppers! Just check out these beauties at the market!!
Market items: Peppers, onions, sausages

 

 

Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs and Cabbage – from Food52. This calls for a head of green cabbage, and chicken thighs or drumsticks, and a simple quick marinade of sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha and salt and pepper. The cabbage goes in later – this is the key with sheet pan dinners, is getting the timing right. If you haven’t roasted cabbage or brussels sprouts before, you’re in for a treat. If it were me, I’d make some mashed potatoes to go along with this hearty dinner.
Market items: cabbage, chicken, potatoes

Roasted Root Vegetables and Hummus – if you’ve ever felt like making a dinner of appetizers, then this is your recipe. A combination of roasted vegetable chips and three different hummus recipes, to which I’d add some cooked quinoa and roasted broccoli, and maybe a hard-boiled egg. Some crusty bread, maybe.
Market items: beets, turnips, radishes, broccoli, eggs, bread

Vegetable Mulligatawny Soup – I adore this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. I’m not a vegetarian, but I make this at least once every fall, with an array of local vegetables. It calls for a long list of vegetables, but a small quantity of each: potatoes, carrots, turnips, basil, garlic, onion, plus fennel, cumin, coriander and peppercorns that you dry-roast in a pan and then grind fresh. It calls for vegetable stock, but chicken would be just fine if you eat chicken.
Market items: potatoes, carrots, turnips, basil, garlic, onion

The Eat Local Challenge: Eating Well at the Market, On a Budget

Throughout September, the central Illinois chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local is hosting the Eat Local challenge.  The challenge is to spend $20 a week on locally grown food during the month of September. When Buy Fresh Buy Local asked us to collaborate on the Eat Local Challenge, Steph and I jumped at the chance to share some resources and ideas for eating well at the market without breaking the bank.

Deals at the Market: Buying in Bulk

September is an amazing time to get deals at the market. Vegetables like summer squashes, peppers, and tomatoes are nearing the end of their season but are still producing at a prolific rate. Traffic at the market also sometimes slows down, so farmers find themselves with a lot of produce that they are willing to sell in bulk, which is a boon to shoppers.

Keep your eyes peeled for signs that offer “two for one” bunches and “bulk” anything! The key is knowing which veggies are “bulk-ready” and using those items in your meal planning.

Prices on vegetables at the market can also change over time. According to Katie Bishop of PrairiErth Farm, when a crop first comes into season, there isn’t much of it but there is a lot of demand – think of those shoppers lined up for first-of-the summer tomatoes. Farmers may leverage this demand (that is, charge a little more). After a few weeks, they will drop the price because the supply is so much greater and they need to sell it. Tomatoes that were $4 per pound in July are now $3.25 in September – and they are probably available for far less if you’re buying in bulk. (Click here and here for ideas on preserving bulk tomatoes for later use.)

Potatoes also tend to cost less as the season goes on. “New” potatoes must be hand-dug and washed, says Katie Bishop. It takes a lot of hands-on labor to get those beautiful spuds out of the ground. But potatoes in October are mechanically harvested and machined washed. There is less work for the farm, so they can drop the price. (And who doesn’t love potatoes?!)

Ask For Seconds

Most farmers put only their most beautiful products out at the market – but they’ve probably got a few bins in the truck that hold less-than-perfect but still perfectly edible items. Farmers would far prefer to sell those items than to compost them (especially if they don’t have to haul it back to the farm). Ask your favorite farmer if they can offer any deep discounts on these veggies. With a few extra minutes of prep (to cut off bad spots, for instance), you’ve saved a lot of money but still ended up with great food.

One great item to ask about is carrots. “Juice carrots” might not look beautiful but can be pureed, juiced, peeled, shredded, etc. – and the taste is just as good as the cosmetically perfect carrots. Peppers are another item that can be incredibly cheap in bulk and as seconds (try cutting them up and freezing them in small amounts to use later in soups, a stir fry, or chili).  Peppers can also be roasted and frozen for a range of uses later.

Resources for Eating Locally On a Budget

Our blog focuses on easy meal preparation that features great, fresh, local food. For that reason, we love Lee Ann Brown’s Good and Cheap – a cookbook designed for families utilizing SNAP benefits (formerly known as good stamps). Shoppers can use the Illinois Link card to purchase items at The Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market every Saturday.

Good and Cheap is available at no cost here. Brown’s website is also fantastic, featuring an extensive recipe index and other great tips. Her recipes are for everyone who likes tasty food with easy prep!

Buy Pantry Staples in Bulk, Too! Other good things to buy (and cook/prep/freeze) in bulk include:

Both Green Top Grocery and Common Ground Natural Grocery in Bloomington have extensive bulk selections. (Green Top is a cooperative grocery, and is owned by members – and anyone can shop there, no membership needed.) We’ve got some great ideas on prepping and freezing in earlier blog posts, too. (More tips on buying in bulk here.)

Recipes for the Eat Local Challenge

You might be surprised how far you can make $20 go at the market. We are also happy to feature a number of recipes from Good and Cheap below.

Five Days of Breakfast:

Lunches and Dinners:

Did you accept the Eat Local Challenge? We would love to hear from you.

Have a great week, and see you at the market!

 

 

 

Market Menu: September 16

by flickr user simpleprovisions

While there’s plenty of grain, flowers, lavender, meat and other produce at the market, the theme of this week’s Market Menu focuses on all those hearty late-summer vegetables that we love to ROAST.

Pretty much everything you could ever want in your midwest farmer’s market is available right now, and it’s getting to be the last chance for some of the summer vegetables, so seize the opportunity! Gazpacho season is passing quickly. But personally, I’m excited to see all the winter squash and cooler-weather root vegetables, because they all take to roasting so well — and it’s such an easy way to enjoy fall flavors.

So instead of our usual breakfast / lunch / dinner arrangement, I’m going to separate this into some vegetable-specific groups that include roasting:

Carrots:

Winter Squash:

Turnips:

Sweet Potatoes:

Brussels Sprouts:

New Potatoes:

Beets:

What I really love to do with roasted veggies is use them throughout the week as the primary ingredient in Buddha Bowls. Along with homemade hummus or beans, some greens if they’re handy (even finely-chopped kale will work), and some brown rice or farro (or the grain of your choice), they make a really hearty lunch or dinner. If you want more protein, roast up some chicken or bake some tofu and add it to the bowls. A nice garlicky lemon-tahini dressing brings it all together nicely.

Roasted vegetables are also good for quick panini or doctored-up grilled cheese sandwiches. You can toast some nice hearty ciabatta or other bread (the Paesano loaf from Pekara would be amazing for this) and spread hummus and some warmed vegetables, or add the veg to a grilled cheese before putting the second piece of bread on. It’s the one place where I prefer provolone cheese to all else, but I’m sure others like gruyere would be amazing.

 

Market Menu: September 8

Do you remember September?

Wait, it’s only early September…still PLENTY of veggies pouring into the market every week. (By the way, this song plays in my head every year, basically all September long. Now it’s your ear-worm. I am sorry. It’s groovy, though! Dance with your veggies…) Look, it’s been a long week (you, too?) and I offered to help Steph with the Market Menu this week and I might be a little goofy-punchy today.

But that’s because the confluence of school getting into full swing, days getting shorter, and the air getting cooler means I’m totally energized by the beautiful veggies that are available this time of year. It’s pretty amazing, because you have the tail-end of (still truly fresh and delicious) summer veggies like peppers and tomatoes, the return of more delicate greens and lettuces, and NEW potatoes, squashes, and various root vegetables. To me, that spells menu inspiration.

Steph and I were chatting about what we love to make and eat this time of year – and we both landed on soups and salads. It’s really a perfect match for that summer-into-fall mood. Maybe we’re not ready to let go of summer’s bounty, but (admit it) we’re kind of excited to see fall colors and maybe even shift our energy level to a different space. The recipes below play off the idea of combining those seasonal vegetables in straightforward, fresh ways. Serve with bread and you’ve got a great lunch or light dinner.

Summer-into-fall minestrone and roasted beet salad with goat cheese

Yukon potato soup (optional add-in: bacon) and vegetarian Italian chopped salad (any sturdy lettuce will work here; salami or other cured meat optional)

Moroccan red lentil harira soup and cucumber pepper salad

Tortilla soup and Mexican cabbage salad

Roasted Thai-inspired carrot soup and cucumber melon salad with mint

What’s that, you say? Pressed for time? Right there with you. How about some hands-off, slow-cooker recipes for weeknights?

Red and Green Chili (great for those market sweet and spicy peppers) and roasted carrot salad

Sweet Potato Soup and arugula and watermelon salad

Vegetarian Black Bean Tacos with Fresh Cabbage Slaw

Got just a bit more time on your hands? Here are some things I love to make when the temperatures start to dip just a bit:

Sauteed Delicata Squash with Parmesean

Roasted vegetable lasagna (you can do it without noodles too)

Spicy green bean stir fry (you could use any protein here)

Arugula and tomato salad

We hope your fall is getting underway beautifully – and see you at the market!

 

 

 

 

Leek and Potato Soup

I have to admit, I don’t think I had ever a) tasted, or b) cooked leek and potato soup until just a few years ago. I’m not actually sure I’d ever had a leek before then! But my friends whom I gardened with raved about leek season, and about the soup in particular, and finally I got up the interest/nerve/time to try it. Or to look at recipes, at least!

Some recipes I like:

Alton Brown’s Leek Potato Soup Recipe

New York Times Golden Leek and Potato Soup

Serious Eats’ Food Lab: Potato and Leek Soup

 

I don’t know what I’d been waiting for, honestly! It was really fast and delicious. You can make it quite creamy or less so, but it doesn’t require any sort of fussing-over or precise measurement. Just cook and blend, and you can toss it in the freezer for later.

A basic ratio to use for this soup is 1 # leeks, 1 # potatoes (yukon gold or russets, or a combination of both), a knob of butter, 1 c. heavy cream (or half and half, or not), 1 qt chicken or veg stock, and some herbs (bay, or parsley/celery, or chives, though a touch of nutmeg can also be delicious!).

On our Facebook Live video, we used:

  • 822g of yukon gold potatoes,
  • 700g of leeks, and
  • about 3T of butter,
  • a quart of chicken stock,
  • salt and pepper to finish

No cream! We’ll freeze this, as it made about 6 qts? of soup – which is more than we can eat in the next few days!

When we thaw and re-heat it, I’ll probably add about 1c of milk or 1/2 c of half & half and 1/2 c. of water to thin it a bit.

 

 

Week 9 Market Menu: Cookout Time!

It is the height(heat!) of summer, and the market is going to burst with produce this weekend!!!  Check out this list:

Seasonal: Basil, Beans, Beets, BLUEBERRIES (limited!), Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Chard, Collards, Cucumber, Dill, Garlic, Green Beans, Greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mint, Onions, Oregano, PEACHES, PEPPERS, Potatoes, Radishes, Scallions, Spinach, Summer Squash, TOMATOES (limited!), Turnips, Zucchini!!  And lots of flowers, herbs, and other items!

 

 

This week, we have lots of suggestions for your barbecue, cookout, or staycation.  We’ve gathered recipes into four groups:  grilling, Side dishes, Condiments, and Desserts. Mix and Match, and have a happy and safe Fourth!

Grilling:

Brats – There are several local farms that have brats made from their pork, including Destiny Meats and Triple S Farms. You can find brats and other sausage at the market, Green Top Grocery, Common Ground and even perhaps at some other local groceries.  My tip for cooking brats:  Boil them first!  I like to use 1/2 water, 1/2 beer. This helps ensure that they cook evenly throughout, before you put them on the grill or in a pan. It also helps the casing to cook slowly as the brat swells, making them thin and snappy, rather than tough and chewy.  Enjoy with mustard, chopped onion, or even some homemade relish!

Burgers

If you like some heat, Bobby Flay has an awesome recipe for a green chili burger.  He also has a flavor-packed turkey burger recipe that I’m anxious to try soon!

Whatever you’re grilling, consider local farms when you select meats!!

 

Sides

Slow. Cooker. Baked. Beans. Right? Right. This is going in my crock pot first thing tomorrow morning.

Potato Salad, anyone? This list of 50 potato salad recipes should work!!

And coleslaw, of course. There’s no shortage of cabbage in my fridge right now, and coleslaw will do just the trick in helping me use it up.

 

Condiments

Why not make some relish to go with those hot dogs and hamburgers?

Homemade dill pickle relish sounds pretty great about now — and it’s simple! This one is a little bit more involved, and has a few more ingredients, but it’s still pretty easy.

For something a little different, why not try pickling some zucchini slices instead of cucumber? This recipe looks fantastic, and it’s always good to have things to do with zucchini this time of year.

For something a little more mustard-y, why not try a quick Piccalilli?

 

Desserts:

Slab Pie – a template for use with any fruit. Anything at all, they’re all delicious.

Grilled Peaches. Try with some vanilla ice cream. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake – a perfect application for those fresh berries up at the Food Forest!

For no fuss at all, try a cobbler. Amazing with peaches!

Crushed Ice / Granitas – another great application for those berries!!

Week 2 Market Menu:

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

Seasonal: More greens, and lots of vegetable plants for your gardens! Arugula and Spinach and Collards and Chard and Kale, Carrots, Chives, Mint, Potatoes, Radishes, Rhubarb, Turnips, and more. And confirmed with at least one vendor that there will be asparagus!

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’s Market Menu:

The name of the game this week is “work with what you have!” We have a lot of turnips, so I’ve gathered several recipes to help us make salads with them. But if a recipe calls for something you don’t have, don’t worry! I substitute heavily when I cook, with a few notable exceptions:

  1. vinegar – try to use the same kind specified. If there’s one kind of vinegar I try never to run out of, though, it’s plain white.  At the very least, it won’t overpower a dish if you have to use it in place of apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar. I’ve made the mistake in the past of keeping a deep pantry of balsamic, and then finding I was out of every other kind of vinegar.
  2. spices – omit something you don’t have, rather than substitute (or at least taste first!)
  3. butter/oil – follow your heart and taste buds here, but I like to use whatever the recipe calls for.

Breakfast Ideas:

Wheat Berries w/ dried fruit & nuts – New York Times
Pantry Check: Wheat Berries, optional spices (anise or fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg), raisins or other dried fruit, nuts, yogurt, brown sugar or maple syrup

 

Fried-and-Scrambled (aka Frambled) Eggs – Epicurious
Pantry Check: Eggs, Butter, optional add-ins (sausage, greens)

 

Lunch Ideas:

Salad w/ New Potatoes and Pickled Spring Onions – Smitten Kitchen
Pantry Check: new/fingerling potatoes, asparagus, spring peas or beans (optional), radishes, spring onions, white wine vinegar, whole-grain mustard, smooth dijon mustard

Your Custom Salad: Green, Big, and Single-Subject Salad, and Dressings! – New York Times, “How to Make Salad”. I plan to make several versions of this throughout the week, using whatever greens I grab at the market. Arugula for sure.
Pantry Check: whatever looks good to you!!

Turnip and Cabbage Slaw with Yogurt Dressing – New York Times, “In Praise of Turnips, Year-Round”
Pantry Check: turnips, green cabbage, greek yogurt, dill

Shaved Turnip and Radish Salad with Poppyseed Dressing – Splendid Table
Pantry Check: lemon, Dijon mustard, shallot, poppy seeds, honey or maple syrup, turnips, watercress, radishes, asparagus, chives

Dinner Ideas:

Swiss Chard Pancakes – Smitten Kitchen
Pantry Check: milk, AP Flour, eggs, onion, chives, shallot, garlic, parsley, chard, yogurt (optional)

Creamed Chard and Spring Onions – Smitten Kitchen
Pantry Check: swiss chard, onions, butter, AP flour, milk

Green Chickpea & Chicken Curry w/ Swiss Chard – The Crepes of Wrath (apologies in advance for that page being VERY heavy with photos. It takes forever to load completely on the iPad I use in the kitchen, but I promise the recipe is worth it!)
Pantry Check: chicken thighs, shallots, green curry paste, chili paste, ginger, coconut milk, chickpeas, swiss chard

Kale Puree (which you can use in nearly anything) – Edible Manhattan (they suggest using it in a polenta, but I love it as an alternative to tomato sauce on pasta)
Pantry Check: garlic, kale, sea salt (Maldon, ideally), extra-virgin olive oil. That’s it, really!

 

Bonus: Maple-Butter Collard Greens!  This is my favorite way to enjoy collards, and doesn’t require anything you don’t probably already have in your pantry. If you haven’t tried them before, give this recipe a shot! Chop collards roughly and discard stems. Slice a yellow onion and cook over medium heat in a large pan with a little olive oil until they start to caramelize. Add your collards and a splash of water — you want enough water to keep the collards from burning in a dry pan, but not so much that you’re boiling or braising them. Continue cooking over medium heat for about 15 minutes. When greens are tender, set the greens aside in a bowl and wipe out the pan. Add the following to the pan over medium-high heat:  2 Tbs butter, 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbs maple syrup (the real stuff!). Cook while stirring, until the combined and slightly reduced to make a sauce. You can either put this on the table in a small gravy pitcher, or toss the collards in the pan with the sauce before serving. This makes 2-3 servings of sauce, but you may want more.
Pantry Check: apple cider vinegar, butter, maple syrup (REAL maple syrup!)

Extra-Bonus: Magic Sauce – 101 Cookbooks (this stuff is like liquid gold… use it on eggs, pasta, potatoes, just about anything)
Pantry Check: fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, fresh oregano, paprika, garlic, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, lemon juice

 

Week 1 Market Menu: Greens!

Every week in this section, we’ll bring you a preview of what’s expected at the market (depending on availability), and a set of links to recipes that feature seasonal produce, with ingredients to help guide your market and other shopping.
This week marks the start of outdoor market season, as well as the opening of our brand new co-op, Green Top Grocery! I hope you’re as excited as we are about this new opportunity to shop for locally-grown produce, in addition to Common Ground grocery in downtown Bloomington.
lettuce-farm

Expected Offerings at Market Week 1:

Seasonal:  Greens, greens, greens!  Arugula and Spinach and Kale, Carrots, Chives, Mint, Potatoes, Radishes, Rhubarb, Turnips, and more. And maybe, just maybe, some asparagus.
All summer: Eggs, chicken, beef, oats, wheat, cornmeal, pork, cheese, honey, baked goods, and much more. See the complete list of vendors at this year’s market for more information.
A note about the recipes that follow: they were selected to make use of seasonal local products, with room to alter them to fit your family’s needs. This week features vegetarian recipes, but suggestions for meat additions will be included as well. In the shopping lists that appear below each recipe, we’ll assume that you have the following in your pantry:  Garlic, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper. Click over to the recipe at its source for complete lists with amounts (and instructions).

Breakfast Ideas:

Steel-Cut Oats or Whole Oats

 
No matter the weather, I can always eat steel-cut oats for breakfast. You can cook them the night before and then reheat in the morning, set up in the crock pot overnight, or just cook them in the morning (if you have an hour or so). Alton Brown’s recipe is deliciously rich (containing butter, milk, and buttermilk!). Bob’s Red Mill version is simply oats and water. I like a ratio of 1:3 or 1:4,  1/2 c. oats, 1 1/2 c. water, and 1/2 c. milk (added at the end, so that it doesn’t boil for too long). Very recently, I’ve started adding peanut butter — the fresh-ground kind, which you can grind yourself at Green Top. Optional additions include maple syrup or honey, nuts and/or dried fruit, or preserves. (If you have any fruit left in your freezer from last season, this is a good time to get it out and make some quick refrigerator preserves!).  Note: if your oats are whole, rather than cut, you can cook them in that form, too. To release a bit of the starch and make the finished oatmeal more creamy, just pulse them in the food processor a few times.
1/2 c. dry oats will serve 2, with each serving containing 152 calories, 6.6g protein, 26g carbs, 2.7g fat (oats-only).
Pantry Check / Shopping List: steel-cut or whole oats, milk (optional), optional additions.

Lunch Ideas:

How do you like your lunch routine? It’s easy to get stuck in a lunch rut during the long midwestern winter, but spring greens give you dozens of options. This week, I plan to make four different “salads” (to use the term loosely). There’s no reason you can’t make these for dinners, of course, but the one thing they all have in common is that they can be prepped and stored for a few days, and taste just as good.

Kale Salad with Wheat Berries and Tofu

kale1
Curly Kale

I really like this Mighty Grain Salad recipe from The First Mess (via Happyolks) as a base for grain salads. It’s flexible enough to make with what you have on hand, but delicious made exactly as written, too.

 

wheatberries
wheat berries

This week, I’m planning to use winter wheat berries for the grain in the recipe.  If you haven’t eaten wheat berries before, you’re in for a treat! They’re nutty and chewy and a little sweet, and available straight from local farmers at the market. Wheat berries can take up to an hour to cook, but they can be cooked in advance and frozen; just make sure to drain them well before freezing.  I’ll use carrots and broccoli for the veg, plus chickpeas, curly kale, parsley, sunflower seeds, and cubed firm tofu, with lemon juice for the acid and just a touch of olive oil. If you wanted to add more protein to your meal, add your favorite meat on the side; roasted or baked chicken breast would be delicious with this.


 

Tip: if you have a food processor, try shredding the carrots with the grater attachment, then switching to the chopping blade. Pulse a few times, until crumbly.  Dump the carrots into a large bowl, and add rough-chopped broccoli into the processor bowl.  Pulse a few times, until the texture is similar. The image at the right is a simplified version of this food-processor salad, using only carrots and broccoli with lemon juice (hemp hearts optional). It’s super tasty, and keeps incredibly well through the week. 

Pantry Check / Shopping List: winter wheat berries, carrots, broccoli, chickpeas, kale, parsley, sunflower seeds, firm tofu.


Carrot salad w/ harissa & feta & mint

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Carrots with tops — which you can use to make a very interesting pesto!

This dish is one of my favorites from Smitten Kitchen, and a great alternative to green salads when you have vegetarians to feed. It’s absolutely amazing when made with locally-grown carrots!! And it’s good with or without the harissa — a spicy, garlic-y paste/spice mix. You can make your own, substitute it with another garlic-y chili paste, or just leave it out altogether — the salad will still be delicious!
Pantry Check / Shopping list: carrots, caraway seeds (optional), cumin seeds, paprika, harissa (optional), sugar, lemon, flat leaf parsley, fresh mint, feta cheese. 


HB Eggs / Egg Salad Sandwiches with Radish Salad

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radishes w/ tops

I’ve been eyeing this Radish and Herb Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing for a while, and it’s the first thing I want to make now that we’ve finally arrived at radish season! I love the combination of rich egg salad with the dry bite of a good radish. You could add some sliced radishes to your sandwich and not bother with the salad at all, if you want to keep it simple. The meyer lemon is lovely, but I think regular lemons are just fine in this recipe. You could also use orange juice.
Pantry Check / Shopping list: fresh crusty bread, white wine vinegar, celery, eggs, whole-grain dijon, mayonnaise, shallots, lemon, parsley, radishes, fennel, capers.


Kale Salad with Sweet Potato and Black Beans

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Lacinato (aka dinosaur) Kale

This hearty “salad” comes from Cookie and Kate. I say “salad” because it’s nothing like a traditional green salad with dressing; it’s greens and grains, roots and beans, and the dressing is tailor-made for it (and easy to make!) All the ingredients are things I tend to have in my pantry, or can easily substitute or omit. It’s great when made with kale, but you can use spinach or another green if you prefer. The quinoa is quick to cook, but you could use rice or another grain here, too. I’ve often made this with homemade hummus instead of the avocado sauce (since buying avocados in the midwest is a bit like playing roulette). The cumin-paprika-coriander and cilantro-lime are deliciously compatible flavors, so I don’t usually mess around with those too much, but otherwise feel free to experiment!!
Pantry Check / Shopping List: quinoa, kale, lime, sweet potatoes, cumin, paprika, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, coriander, black beans, feta cheese, pepitas (green pumpkin seeds).

 


Dinner Ideas:

Green Rice

spinach

This recipe is the result of a mistake that I decided to run with. It’s super tasty if you love spinach, and might even be tasty if you don’t love spinach (yet!).  The spinach is blended into a sort of sauce, which is added to rice as it cooks. So if your dislike of spinach is based on the texture, rather than flavor, this may be the perfect recipe for you (and perhaps your kids). The original recipe was the green rice portion of these sweet potato bowls. My mistake is that I used about 3x as much spinach I was supposed to, but I loved the results. I now make it as the base of a buddha bowl, or to serve alongside grilled meat or fish or baked tofu. I’ve also tried it topped with feta and sunflower seeds for a sort of one-pot / stovetop version of Mollie Katzen’s Spinach Rice Casserole.

Pantry Check / Shopping List: brown rice, vegetable broth, spinach, cilantro, jalapeno or serrano pepper (optional), shallot, plus whatever you’re serving the rice with.


Vegetable Frittata with Greens and Potato

eggsUsing a base recipe for the frittata (we’re a fan of base recipes here!), I’m going to use fresh kale, chives and potatoes, and some fresh goat cheese if I can find it this week! Add some meat, if you like; fresh pork sausage would be delicious. If you’ve never made a frittata before, never fear! The Epicurious recipe linked above is easy to follow and gives you a blank slate for all sorts of add-ins.

Pantry Check / Shopping List: chives, spinach or kale, eggs, potatoes, milk, sausage (optional), goat cheese (chevre).


Polenta with Greens

Polenta is cornmeal which has been boiled, giving it the creamy texture of hot cereal. It may be served hot as a porridge, or cooled and sliced and then fried.  This recipe from Food.com uses it in its porridge form, adds swiss chard and a topping with dried fruits and nuts, as well as cheese. I plan to make it exactly as written, as it’s simple and quick! Note that you can use the same type of greens as in the salad above, if you want to get double-duty out of them.
Pantry Check / Shopping List: Swiss chard, crushed red pepper flakes, golden raisins, yellow cornmeal, milk, grated parmesan cheese, pine nuts.


Bow Tie Pasta w/ Arugula Gremolata

I love this recipe from Mollie Katzen of the Moosewood restaurant and cookbooks. A gremolata is a chopped-herb topping usually consisting of lemon, garlic, and parsley. This version uses arugula instead, and it’s a delicious way to get the peppery flavor of young arugula. I’ve come to think of this recipe as soon as I see arugula in the spring, it’s so simple and tasty. Best of all, it works as a hot dish or as a cold salad making for excellent leftovers!
Pantry Check / Shopping List: bow-tie pasta, gorgonzola cheese, golden raisins (regular raisins are fine), cherry tomatoes (I omit until we get local tomatoes!), walnuts, arugula, lemon zest.


Bonus:

Creamy Asparagus Soup

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Asparagus season is nearly behind us, but I wanted to include this recipe in case you come across any more. It’s my attempt at a very light curry flavor, without losing the delicious asparagus flavor. It’s a simple, quick soup to make, and can easily be made vegan: just substitute coconut oil for the butter.
Ingredients:
3 Tbs. butter
1 shallot, sliced
2 1/2 # asparagus, chopped into 1/2″ – 1″ lengths (remove tough ends first)
pinch of salt
1 14oz can coconut milk
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
Heat butter in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed pot until it starts to bubble a bit. Saute the shallots for 1-2 minutes, until they soften. Add the asparagus and a pinch of salt, and cook about 5 minutes, until they turn bright green and are tender. Turn off the heat and put the asparagus and shallots into your blender. Add the coconut milk — be sure to use the canned stuff, not the cartons sold for drinking. They’re two very different things! You can use the low- or full-fat versions depending on your preferences.  Blend until smooth, taking care to “burp” between pulses if it’s still quite hot.

Return to the pot, turn the heat to medium, and add the sour cream and water, the spices, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir periodically to incorporate, and make sure it doesn’t burn. I like mine with a dollop of sour cream on top, but feel free to leave it out.


Dessert:

Rhubarb crisp! This NY Times recipe is quick to assemble, and might be nice to bake this weekend while it’s still so chilly!  1) Chop rhubarb, toss with sugar and lemon and put it in your casserole dish; 2) mix up the crumble ingredients (butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, rolled oats, pecans) and spread on top of rhubarb; 3) bake at 375F for 45 minutes.  The recipe calls for a food processor, but honestly you can mix the crumble part by hand or with a fork. Gluten-free flours such as rice or oat will also work well here, if you need to substitute for the (wheat) AP flour.
Pantry Check / Shopping List: butter, rhubarb, lemon juice, brown sugar, AP flour, cinnamon, rolled oats, pecans. 
Stay tuned for next week’s Market Menu, to see what’s new!
 -steph