I don't know what it is about strolling through the stalls at the farmer's market that relaxes me so completely. Maybe it's the sounds of street musicians creating a party-vibe from a block away or the wafting smells of mouth-watering street food or the lush piles of rainbow-hued produce laying in wait... chock full of potential. Maybe it's taking the time to chat with the vendors and explain what I did with their ingredients last week or what I'm planning to do with them this week. Maybe it's just shopping outside. Whatever it is, the combinaton makes me smile each week.
Interesting ingredients continue to appear, so here's what I cooked for the family last week...farmer's market ingredients are listed after the day of the week. You can click on the links for recipes and vendor info.
MONDAY :: stinging nettles | rainbow chard
I never got to my stinging nettle quiche from last week, so I whipped it up for Monday night dinner. Using tongs and scissors, I was able to cut all the leaves from the stems and get them into the dish without getting stung. Booya! The recipe called for puff pastry, but I had planned to use a frozen pie crust instead. At the last minute, I went with the puff pastry and loved it! Totally easy to do and it was d'lish. I will definitely be using more puff-pastry when I want to impress. The quiche itself was ok. I would use less greens and switch to a goat cheese if I make it again.
This recipe calls for kale, but I made it with rainbow chard. I've made it many times with all different kinds of greens and it always works beautifully. It's one of the recipes that gets better the longer it sits in the fridge, so you can make a big batch and enjoy if for a few days. Brandi taught me her trick to make it even more nutritious by adding 2 cups of cooked quinoa to the recipe. LOVE it!
TUESDAY :: lion's mane mushrooms | kamut | cauliflower
Tuesday's dinner was all about the side dishes, so I made it easy on myself and picked up a roast chicken from PCC for our main course. That way I could focus my attention on these two amazing sides...
How cool are these Lion's Mane mushrooms I scooped up from Cascadia Mushrooms? I love mushrooms and make a point to seek out unusual ones whenever I can. These were totally new to me. Look at that texture! The grower told me his favorite way to prepare them is to tear them into pieces and gently cook them over medium heat in a dry pan to release some of their moisture. Then add butter and garlic and sautee until soft. He informed me they have a dungeness crab-like texture when cooked, but I didn't quite get that. They were delicious though.
The starch and veg component of dinner came from this Whole Foods risotto recipe. As luck would have it, I recently purchased a small bag of locally grown kamut from Whidbey Island Prairie Grains . (I know how ridiculously "foodie" that sounds, but if I hadn't just bought the grains, I probably would not have noticed the recipe.)
Hadn't planned on being able to find cauliflower yet, so I was very excited to spot a huge pile of overwintered cauliflower at Nash's Organic Produce. I snapped up two small heads and finished off the last bag of frozen cauliflower from my garden last year. Roasted cauliflower is amazing by itself...almost seemed wasted in this risotto. I did like the risotto though and would make it again with asparagus or broccoli to give the dish more color.
After dinner, the chicken bones went into a pot along with an onion, some carrot and celery stalks, a few bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, thyme and water to simmer overnight. (I always simmer bone stock for at least 12 hours to get the full flavor from the bones.) The stock was ready in the morning to be used later in the week.
WEDNESDAY :: fresh beet pasta | asparagus
One of my favorite stops at the farmer's market is La Pasta. They always have a nice assortment of different flavored pasta including beet, red pepper, spinach and sometimes even squid ink, among others. And don't get me started about their ravioli flavors! Mmmm. For this recipe I chose a gorgeous fresh beet pasta that featured fresh beets from Full Circle Farm. I also went with halibut instead of cod, because that's what was fresh and local...lucky me! The leek topping was amazing...probably my favorite part of the dish, after the pasta. (P.S. Gratuitous food porn photo below from bell'alimento.)
On the side, I served a hefty portion of locally grown asparagus...check out that gorgeous purple color...I had envisioned it being so gorgeous with the pink pasta, but it faded to green and my pasta wasn't that pink either. Oh well! Was still pretty and yummy.
THURSDAY :: andouille sausage | scallions
This was the big hit of the week. OMG - so good! I picked up some locally made andouille sausage from Olsen Farms. Their beef is naturally raised, 100% grass and potato fed. (The farm also grows potatos, so they feed their cattle what they grow.) Mixed up with local green onions, leftover leeks (instead of onions b/c somehow I ran out of onions) and homemade chicken stock (made from the chicken I'm served on Tuesday) it was d'lish! Thick slices of crusty bread slathered with butter turned out to be the perfect accompaniment...the dish was HOT! The bread and butter helped put out the fire a bit between bites.
FRIDAY :: take-out
Friday night turned out to be burger night. Seattle is blessed with numerous local burger joints...most of which use high-quality, locally raised beef, potatos, etc. to make really good burgers and fries. My husband and daughter had a "date-night" at Dick's while I helped out my friend Tina of glam.spoon fame at her first ever trunk show at Frock Shop. (Watch for my trunk show recap post coming soon! Was a fun night!!) After the trunk show, I had a hankering for a burger, so I stopped at Burgermaster on the way home. So good!
Saturday and Sunday were date night and Mother's Day, so I did not cook. As much as I love to cook, having someone else cook for me is such a treat! This week, I'll be working on some recipes from one of my favorite cook books, so I hope you'll check back next Monday for Farmer's Market Fresh No. 3 with the scoop from the farmers market, plus recipe reviews.
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P.S. If you've never been to a farmer's market, you are missing out! You can find one near you by visiting LocalHarvest.org. All you need to do is put in your zip code and they will tell you what's closest to you.