A culinary tour of the Farmers’ Market!

Today kicked off the start of free, weekly tours of the downtown express farmers’ market. It was fun wandering the booths, talking about how to choose the best beets, beans, eggplant, bok choy, zucchini and more. We shared ideas on how to prepare the offerings this week and the vendors shared some ideas of their own. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! Here are some recipes from this week:

Roasted beet salad with goat cheese and pistachios

5 large beets (2-3 lb without greens, any color of beets)

¼ cup minced shallot (or garlic, onion, or any combination)

2 T fresh lemon juice

¾ t salt

¼ t black pepper

¼ cup olive oil, plus 1T for cooking beets

4 oz soft goat cheese

3 T salted, shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

1 oz arugula, spinach or other greens (4 cups)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel beets with a vegetable peeler and carefully cut them into a ¼ inch dice. Place them on a cookie sheet and lightly coat with 1T olive oil. Roast in middle of oven until tender, about 30-45 minutes. Check beets and stir part-way through cooking. When tender, remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet.

Whisk together shallot/onion/garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Then add oil in a stream, whisk well. Mix together the cooled, roasted beets and the dressing.

Place about 1 cup of arugula/spinach/greens on a plate, with ¼ of the beets on top. Crumble 2t goat cheese on top and scatter with some pistachios. Serve immediately.

**Beets can be diced and roasted 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

 

Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers, or 4-6 small cucumbers (peel if desired), thinly sliced

½ small red onion thinly sliced (optional)

½ cup rice vinegar (more or less to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Serve immediately, or chill for an hour to allow flavors to blend.

 

Ratatouille

1 onion, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 T olive oil

One small eggplant (~3/4 pound), cut into ½ inch pieces (about 3 cups)

1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into thin slices

1 red bell pepper, chopped

¾ pound small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 ¼ cups)

¼ t dried oregano, crumbled

¼ t dried thyme, crumbled

1/8 t ground coriander

¼ t fennel seeds

¾ t salt

½ cup shredded fresh basil leaves

In a large skillet, cook the onion and the garlic in 2T of the olive oil over low heat, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened. Add the remaining 3 T olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened. Stir in the zucchini and the bell pepper and cook the mixture over medium-high heat for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the oregano, thyme, coriander, fennel seeds, salt and pepper to taste and stir. Add the basil and stir well.

** Ratatouille can be made a day in advance, kept chilled and covered. Reheat before serving.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

 

Fruit Salsa

1 cup seasonal fruit (melon, cherries, berries, peaches), diced or coarsely chopped

2T chopped red onion

2T chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional additions: red pepper, tomato, jalapeno, mango, pineapple, avocado, cucumber, corn, black beans

Mix all ingredients together. Serving ideas beyond tortilla chips:

  • A topping for grilled or roasted fish, chicken or pork
  • On a bed of spinach as the dressing
  • Mix with a whole grain like quinoa or brown rice

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