Tag Archives: farmer’s market

Rustic Potato Leek Soup with Garlic Kale Breadcrumbs

I know, I know. It’s freaking 80 degrees and I’m making soup. So sue me. I like soup.

Moreover, soup is a great way to use up some of the vegetables that are literally taking over my kitchen. They won’t fit in the fridge. They are overflowing. My weekly farm boxes have been generous, wonderful, delicious. But…plentiful. Plentiful to the point of having to work to eat it all. We went out to eat once or twice this week so I was falling behind on the vegetable consumption project. I’m trying to be creative so we eat more than just gigantic salads every night but there has been salad. A lot of salad. So. Soup. I’m breaking up the salad and rice bowl parade with soup.

This is similar to potato soups I’ve made before but the yummy kicker on this one is the crunchy pile of – stick with me here – kale breadcrumbs! Crazy, right? They were delicious. Garlicky, crunchy, salty. They were the perfect complement to the soup. And who knows? The leftovers may find themselves gracing a salad too.

Rustic potato leek soup with crunchy kale breadcrumbs.

Rustic potato leek soup with crunchy kale breadcrumbs.

6 red potatoes, diced
2-4 leeks (mine weren’t very big so I used 4) – reserve a little thumb sized chunk of leek to blend with the breadcrumbs
2 cups cabbage, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dill
1 bunch kale (I used red russian kale, but any variety will do)
1-2 large clove garlic
1/4 cup parmesan
2 slices sourdough bread
Sea salt (I used infused sriracha sea salt from lordsofsalt.com for an extra kick but any coarse sea salt will work just fine.)

Cover potatoes and cabbage with water in a soup pot. Add a big pinch of salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat a bit and cook until tender. Drain off most of the water. Using a potato masher mash potato mixture (a little or a lot depending on the texture you like – I left mine pretty chunky but if you prefer it really smooth, put it in a blender and puree and then return to the pot. Add broth, cream and seasonings to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.

While potatoes are cooking, sauté leeks in a pan with the butter. When soft, blend up in a blender or food processor with a little broth or cream to help it blend smoother. Add leek mixture to the pot.

Heat oven to 400˚. In a food processor, blend up reserved leek chunk, garlic, sourdough bread, kale, and a pinch of sriracha salt (or regular sea salt) until it makes coarse crumbs. Spread out on a large cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment and bake 15-20 minutes or until crunchy, stirring about every 5 minutes.

Taste the soup and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve in a bowl with a little (or big!) heap of breadcrumbs.

Serves 4-6.

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Italian Style Marinated Veggie Salad

Sometimes I go crazy at farmer’s market and the veggies start to take over. I went a little nuts this week and I have a ton to use up, but I ate a big green salad last night so tonight, although I wanted some sort of salad, I decided to go a different direction. This salad is all about the veggies, with a little pasta and cheese thrown in for richness and texture. I tossed it all with some fresh greens at the end but in this one, the marinated vegetables are the star. This is a great way to use up lots of vegetables that are threatening to expire.

For maximum flavor, make the vegetables at least an hour in advance (or even the day before) so they can really soak up the marinade before tossing with the other ingredients. I usually make a huge batch of the vegetables so I can have some for the next day. The vegetables will keep for several days, and will improve in flavor the longer they marinate. Toss with the greens and pasta right before serving. Not in the mood for lettuce? It’s just as good without it (and travels better if you are making it for a potluck or picnic).

This is the perfect sunny day meal. What do you cook when it’s too hot to cook?

Marinated veggies. Mmm.

Marinated veggies. Tortellini. Mmm.

Italian Style Marinated Veggie Salad

1 zucchini or globe squash, cut into thin slices
2 cups green beans, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup black olives
2 tbsp. basil pesto (buy your favorite prepared or make your own)
2-3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed into a paste
A pinch of crushed red pepper
Salad greens
Parmesan cheese (shaved or shredded)
1 package tortellini

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cauliflower. Cook 3 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together pesto, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Add green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, and olives. Toss to coat veggies in the marinade and let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour if possible.

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.

Toss salad greens with marinated vegetables, parmesan cheese and tortellini until all ingredients are combined and coated with dressing. Finish with a bit of sea salt and cracked pepper if desired. Serves 4.

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Roasted Veggie Salsa

Salsa is my favorite condiment. It goes way beyond chips for me. It goes in omelets and frittatas, it goes in salads, it lands on top of chicken and fried potatoes. It gets eggs poached in it like this. I almost always have a batch of it in my fridge. You never know when you’ll need some.

It may be the first week of fall, but the weather is still nice and farmer’s market (at least here in Oregon) still has beautiful tomatoes. All of the ingredients for this showed up in one of my weekly farm boxes and on the grill and into the fridge it went immediately. This is a great way to use up ripe tomatoes if you have a bunch. After you turn them into salsa they last for weeks. If you don’t happen to have fresh tomatoes, or if you read this in the middle of winter when there are no good ones available, just use a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes instead. It works like a charm, and best of all, you can always have one hiding in your pantry for when the salsa monster rears its head.

This recipe is very similar to my normal, un-roasted veggie version, but kissing those veggies with a little heat and getting that char flavor in there does add more depth and oomph. Take the extra few minutes and give it a shot!

I need more chip to dip.

I need more chip to dip.

Roasted Veggie Salsa

1/3 – 1/2 red onion, cut in big wedges
1 jalapeno (or less if you don’t like it spicy)
4-5 tomatillos, peel husks and wash
3-4 tomatoes (or you can use a can of fire-roasted tomatoes)
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
A handful of fresh cilantro (1/3-1/2 cup or so)
1-2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

Veggies on the grill pan. You could also do them on an actual grill, or under the broiler.

Veggies on the grill pan. You could also do them on an actual grill, or under the broiler.

Heat a grill pan (or grill, or broiler) and coat with cooking spray. Lay out all your vegetables. Let them grill until they are starting to turn black. Turn once or twice to cook on other sides. Your onion may stay in a wedge or it might fall apart. It will be fine either way. Put everything in a blender. Add seasonings, lime juice and cilantro. Blend until everything is chopped and combined. If you prefer a coarser salsa, pulse in a food processor instead of using the blender.

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CSA Week 2: Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup

I have been told that summer is not the time for soup. I say phooey on that. Anytime is the time for soup, and summer is the perfect time for light, zingy soup made with the freshest veggies. This take on broccoli soup was satisfying but not heavy and a great way to use up a bunch of produce. It also freezes quite nicely if you don’t feel like eating it all at once.

I had the broccoli already, but from my CSA box, I added the spring onions and parsley. The goat cheese also came from farmer’s market, from one of my very favorite stands, Briar Rose Creamery, manned (womanned?) by the beautiful Jenny (a.k.a. goat cheese gal). She reeled me in with her amazing goat cheese chocolate truffles (I know, they sound weird but think chocolate cheesecake rolled up in a little ball), but I keep coming back for the cheese. You could use any cheese you like in the soup, but the tangy goat cheese offers a really nice balance with the earthy broccoli and herbs.

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup

1 head broccoli, including stems, chopped
2 spring onions, white and green parts (about 1 cup chopped – sub other onions if you don’t have spring onions)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
3-4 oz. goat cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan or soup pot, saute onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add broccoli and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes until broccoli is tender. Add parsley and cream and cook 1 more minute. Puree with a stick blender (or a regular blender) until there are no big chunks. I made mine pretty smooth, but if you like it chunky, that’s your call. Add salt & pepper and goat cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and incorporated into the soup. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Starts with the good stuff. Broccoli and Spring Onions

Starts with the good stuff. Broccoli and Spring Onions

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CSA Week 1: Bowties with Fava Beans, Morels and Mascarpone

We loved this recipe from this week’s CSA box (see this post for this week’s box contents). The morels were not in the box, but I bought them at farmer’s market the same day. I had never tried them, and they are not always available, so I thought it would be a fun treat. Yeah, I’m a little strange that way. If you don’t have morels, you can substitute shiitakes or crimini mushrooms instead. Although there is no meat in this one, the mushrooms really gave it a meaty quality and using the beef broth (feel free to sub veggie if you are not into beefiness) lended an almost beef stroganoff flavor when combined with the mascarpone. Thumbs up all around.

One thing I’m fairly competent at growing is herbs. I have a nice little start to an herb garden in my back yard. For this recipe you could use whatever fresh herbs you like or have. I happen to love thyme with mushrooms, the earthiness of both just go so nicely together. I also threw in a little basil and chives, because hey, why not?

If you haven’t worked with fava beans, they can be a little more labor intensive than some veggies. They come in big giant pods, so you shell them like peas. Then you blanche them in boiling water for a minute, rinse them with cold water, and then each bean (mine were about the size of nickel) needs to be peeled. It doesn’t take long (the skins come right off due to the blanching), but if you’re in a hurry, feel free to substitute shelled edamame or green peas.

Bowties with Fava Beans, Morels and Marscapone

Bowties with Fava Beans, Morels and Mascarpone

Bowties with Fava Beans, Morels and Mascarpone

1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 cup fresh or rehydrated morel mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup fava beans (after shelling)
3/4 cup beef broth
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. fresh basil, sliced in ribbons
1 tsp. fresh chives, snipped
1/2 cup mascarpone
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add fava beans and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Remove outer skins from beans. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil and add onions. Saute for 3-4 minutes until tender. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add fava beans, beef broth and herbs. Turn down heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until liquid is reduced but not gone. If it dries up add a bit more broth or water so there is 1/4-1/2 cup of liquid in the pan.

Add mascarpone, salt and pepper to pan. Drain noodles and add to pan. Gently toss until everything is combined and mascarpone is melted.

Serve with parmesan to sprinkle on top.

 

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Farmers Market Frittata

Not sure what you guys do with your Saturdays but mine usually start at farmers market. I go and get a mocha from the coffee cart and then start my rounds. This usually includes eating enough samples to qualify as breakfast and filling up my giant market bag so full I can barely carry it back to the car.

For this frittata, you can put just about anything in it that you happen to have on hand. This week I had purchased zucchini, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and red onions. And eggs! Don’t forget the lovely eggs from happy happy chickens who wander around and peck things and live like chickens should. Feel free to substitute ingredients if there is something you like better or need to use up!

This makes a dandy breakfast, but I’ve also been known to serve it with a giant green salad and call it dinner.

Farmer's Market Fritatta

Farmer’s Market Fritatta

Farmer’s Market Frittata

1 zucchini, sliced
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup red onion, sliced
Goat cheese
Parmesan
5 eggs
Salt & pepper

Chop veggies. Beat eggs with a bit of salt & pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Heat 10″ skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil. Add onion and cook for a minute or two. Add zucchini and tomatoes. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes until zucchini is barely tender.

Veggies in the pan. Just a quick saute is all they need to bring out the flavor!

Veggies in the pan. Just a quick saute is all they need to bring out the flavor!

Pour eggs over veggies. Swirl to cover veggies evenly. Dot with goat cheese and sprinkle with a bit of parmesan.

If some of your veggies stick out don't worry about it, it will all come together just fine.

If some of your veggies stick out don’t worry about it, it will all come together just fine.

Cover and turn heat down to medium low. Cook for 5-10 minutes until eggs are set on top. Cut into wedges and serve hot. Pairs perfectly with a side of fruit or salad.

 

 

 

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Polenta Veggie Bowl

I have so many recipes picked out and marked on my weekly menu, and yet…they sit there mostly ignored lately. The reason is that fresh produce is happening, and when I go to farmer’s market, I don’t really make a list. I just buy whatever looks great and is priced right. Usually whatever is coming off the plants is not only the tastiest, but also the cheapest, since it is ripe and plentiful. Of course I buy more than I plan to, because everything looks delicious and then I have a pile of stuff that needs to be used pretty quickly. Aside from the veggies, there is hummus, and fresh goat cheese and oh my, so many wonderful things. And all of this lives in my kitchen during these months. Which all adds up to ignoring my recipes and throwing random ingredients together.

This is a terrific weeknight meal, since it only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and uses no weird ingredients (if you consider any of these ingredients weird you can swap it for something more “normal” if you’d like). As far as vegetarian meals go, this one is very satisfying.

So set aside your Pinterest recipe board and your cookbooks and magazines, and join me by throwing together whatever random veggies and cheese YOU like and using them to top off a bowl of piping hot and creamy polenta. Mmmm. This is the combo I made, but feel free to substitute. I don’t mind a bit.

Polenta Veggie Bowl

Polenta Veggie Bowl with Goat Cheese. 

Polenta Veggie Bowl
(serves 2)

1 cup polenta
Olive oil
1-2 zucchini
6 (or more) cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
6-8 olives (I used green castelvetrano olives, but any kind is fine)
Basil
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup milk
2 oz. goat cheese, divided

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water or broth to a boil. Add polenta and a pinch of salt. Give it a stir, cover, and turn down heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed and polenta is soft and creamy. Remove from heat. Add butter, milk, half of the goat cheese and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk into the polenta until creamy.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Add onion and cook 2-3 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so. Add zucchini, tomatoes and olives. Cook 2-3 minutes until zucchini is softened but still firm. Taste and season with salt & pepper if needed.

Scoop polenta into a bowl and serve the veggies on top. Sprinkle with remaining goat cheese.

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Spicy Rainbow Chard with Bacon and Polenta

Even though I love veggies, I still occasionally come across one I haven’t tried before.  This week at farmer’s market, a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard caught my eye.  I had to buy it.

Rainbow Chard.  Isn't it pretty?

Rainbow Chard. Isn’t it pretty?

I asked the vendor how he normally cooks it and he sheepishly admitted that he’d never actually tried it himself.  What?  So…left to my own devices I went home and dug up some recipes online and hit on one that we all really liked.

I’m usually not a big fan of greens.  I didn’t grow up eating them, so I’ve slowly introduced myself to them.  I like almost all of them raw, and just recently have started cooking them now and then.  While I would not consider chard (or any leafy greens really) to be an entry level vegetable, I really enjoyed this.  While raw, it was quite bitter, but a quick saute mellowed the bite substantially.  The sweetness of the shallot and vinegar and smokiness of the bacon complemented the slight bitterness of the greens, adding up to a tasty dish indeed.   Add a creamy, cheesy polenta for contrast and it was absolutely delicious.  If you’re wondering if the kids will eat it, I can only say that mine both cleaned their plates with a smile on their faces.

Spicy Rainbow Chard with Bacon and Polenta

Spicy Rainbow Chard with Bacon and Polenta

Spicy Rainbow Chard with Bacon and Polenta
(from Sunset)

1 cup polenta
1/2 tsp. salt
4 slices thick cut bacon
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large bunches rainbow chard, ribs cut into 1/2 inch sections and leaves roughly chopped
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Cook polenta with salt as package directs.  Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels.

Discard bacon fat and heat olive oil in the same pan. Cook shallots, garlic and chard ribs until softened, about 4 minutes.  Stir in chard leaves, chile flakes and 1/3 cup water.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until wilted, 2-3 minutes.

Stir butter and cheese into polenta and spoon into bowls.  Toss chard with vinegar and spoon over polenta.  Crumble bacon and sprinkle on top.  Serves 4.

Note:  This meal can easily be made vegetarian by simply eliminating the bacon.

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Spinach Salad with Spring Onion Vinaigrette

A fruitful (ha) trip to farmers market resulted in a whole counter full of veggies and me wondering how the heck I was going to eat them all before they went bad.  And more importantly, where the heck to put them all in the meantime.  I got a good start on solving both problems by throwing together this wonderful  main dish salad for dinner.

This time of year I’m always happy to find spring onions at the market.  I never see them at the store for some reason.  But I love them.

Spring onions.  Like scallions on steroids.  You can eat both the green and white parts.

Spring onions. Like scallions on steroids. You can eat both the green and white parts.

If you can’t find spring onions, feel free to sub red onion or scallions instead.  For the potatoes, I found tiny pebble sized potatoes but you can use bigger new potatoes if you can’t find the tiny ones.  Just half or quarter them to make bite sized pieces.

Spinach Salad with Spring Onion Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Spring Onion Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Spring Onion Vinaigrette

6-8 cups fresh spinach leaves, big stems removed
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1-2 cups baby potatoes (the smallest ones you can find, cut in half if needed to make bite size)
3 tbsp. olive oil
3-4 spring onions, divided into white and green parts
1 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1 tsp. raw sugar
1 tsp. coarse dijon mustard
3-4 tsp. red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

In a small saucepan, cover potatoes in water and bring to a boil.  Boil 8-10 minutes until fork tender but not mushy.  Drain and set aside.

Wash spinach and pat dry, remove any large tough stems.  Put in a big serving bowl.

Yummy fresh spinach from farmer's market.

Yummy fresh spinach from farmer’s market.

In a small bowl whisk together sugar, dijon and vinegar.  Add a pinch of salt & pepper.  In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add white parts of onions and sauté 1-2 minutes.  Add cabbage and green parts on onions and sauté another minute.

A quick sauté on the veggies to soften just a bit and bring out the flavor.

A quick sauté on the veggies to soften just a bit and bring out the flavor.

Add vinegar mixture and potatoes to skillet and toss to combine.  Cook and stir gently 30 seconds or so to heat through and let the vinaigrette permeate all the veggies.  Pour over the spinach and add tomatoes.  Toss everything together.  Serve warm.  Makes 4 main dish servings or 6-8 side servings.

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Four Onion Chowder

I’m definitely becoming a farmer’s market addict.  This week I came home with so many goodies, I planned almost my entire menu around it.  A rainy evening was the perfect time to pull out my onion chowder recipe.  And it was the optimal showcase for the spring onions, chives and fingerling potatoes I bought at the market this weekend.

Fresh chives, spring onions, red onion, and shallot.

If you aren’t familiar with spring onions, they look like green onions on steroids.  I usually only see them at farmer’s markets and usually only in the spring.  I’m only guessing here, but that might be how they got their name.  In any case, if you can’t find them, or if it’s not spring, you can use leeks instead.  With spring onions, you can use all of the white and green parts, just like with a green onion.  With leeks, just the white and light green parts.  Really, I think with this recipe, any combination of any types of onions you like would work beautifully.  As for the potatoes, I used fingerlings because I had them (and because they don’t require peeling!), but feel free to substitute any potato you like or have on hand.

For a vegetarian version, I would suggest simply eliminating the pancetta.  Add a little liquid smoke to replicate the smoky flavor if desired.  Use veggie broth instead of chicken.

Four Onion Chowder

Four Onion Chowder
(Adapted from Food 52 three onion chowder recipe) 

2 tbsp. butter
4 oz. pancetta, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 bunch spring onions (or leeks)
1-2 shallots
2 stalks celery, sliced or chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
2-3 cups chicken broth
1 pint fingerling potatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
2 cups half & half
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped
Salt & pepper

In a soup pot or dutch oven melt butter and cook pancetta.  When some of the fat has rendered from the pancetta, toss in the onions and shallots.  Saute until tender, but don’t brown or your soup will be brown.  Add garlic, thyme and bay leaf.  Stir to combine.  Add chicken broth.  If you like a thicker chowder, just add 2 cups. If you like it a little soupier, add 3 or more.  Add corn.  Bring to a boil.  Add half & half and potatoes.  Turn heat off.  Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Add chives, parsley, salt & pepper.  If needed, turn on the heat for a few minutes to make it hotter, but don’t bring to a boil.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

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