Planning your farmers market menu
In the summer, I plan my menu around what is available at the farmers market or farm stand.
At last week’s farmers market, I purchased chevre, which will be good on bread for breakfast or lunch, with either the tomatoes or sweet Japanese turnips I also bought, as well as feta cheese, which will go well with tomatoes or in salads.
Turnip greens need to be used first. They would also work in a frittata. I like to eat the sweet white Japanese turnips raw, either in a salad or just with bread and butter or bread and a creamy chevre. I also bought some fresh sausage, which will go well with the turnip greens and tomatoes or sauce over pasta for supper.
I bought broccoli for our quick noodles, broccoli and cheese dinner that can be made in 20 minutes on a busy day. And the cheese I bought will be good in this dish, too, though I usually use cottage cheese and cheddar.
I bought eggplant and zucchini. That’s another meal — perhaps shakshuka or ratatouille. I’ll add the tomatoes, too.
I bought a kohlrabi and I have a few carrots left from last week’s market. I will make a side dish for fish or chicken with potatoes, kohlrabi, carrots and parsley from our herb garden.
I bought a bunch of beets. Again, the greens need to be used first, perhaps in beet greens quiche. The stems can be for red flannel hash, and if there is a cool day, I’ll roast the roots for use as a side or in salads.
I bought greens for salad (lettuce, spinach and arugula) as well as cucumbers and tomatoes for salads and tomato sandwiches. The cucumbers might be for a cucumber salad or a cucumber-tomato one, after the greens are gone.
I bought some berries to snack on and eat for dessert, with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
I bought bok choy. I could use it in a salad or a stir-fry.
For busy days, I also bought some ready-made celery root soup and cool borscht.
Here are recipes for some of the above culinary creations.
Greens and Sausage Skillet
This can be made with any greens–cabbage, kale, spinach, chard, turnip greens, and so many others. Even broccoli would fit.
1 link (1/4 lb.) fresh sausage, such as Italian or breakfast
1/2 to 1 onion
2 – 4 ounces mushrooms (such as portobella)
Greens – such as from a bunch of turnips or beets. Can use stems as well.
Garlic or garlic scapes
Few fresh tomatoes, or 1 can diced tomatoes, or some tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons freshly ground sharp cheese, such as Parmesan or Cheddar
Remove casing from sausage and crumble into skillet. Cook on low heat to render the fat and cook the sausage, about 3 minutes.
Peel and dice the onion and mushrooms, and add. Cover and cook another 4 or 5 minutes while you wash and chop the greens and mince the garlic or chop the scapes.
Add chopped greens (it’s ok if water is clinging to them, it will help cook them) and garlic. Stir, cover, and cook another 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cheese. Cook a couple more minutes, to melt the cheese. Taste to see if the greens are tender to your liking. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Option: Add some cooked or canned beans when you add the tomatoes.
Potatoes, Kohlrabi and Carrots
This is a great side dish for fish or chicken.
2/3 cup vegetable broth or water
1/2 teaspoon salt (if using water)
Several small carrots or 1 large
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
1 Tablespoon butter
Peel and dice the kohlrabi. Bring broth to boil, add kohlrabi, lower heat, and cook about 5 minutes. In the meantime, dice the carrot; add. Then peel or scrub and dice the potato, and add. Keep an eye on the amount of liquid; if it goes dry, add a little more water or broth. When vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes), test for seasoning; add additional salt and pepper, if needed. Stir in parsley and butter. Serve warm.
Quick and easy for a busy weeknight supper.
1 quart water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound egg noodles (or other pasta)
1 large bunch broccoli
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, diced (optional)
12 ounces cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Cheddar or Parmesan
Bring a large pot of water with salt to a boil. Add noodles, and cook according to package directions. Rinse broccoli and break into florets. Add to pasta during the last three or four minutes of cooking. Drain.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onion, if using. Sprinkle with salt and cook 5 minutes over low. Stir in noodles and broccoli. Stir in the cheeses, and cook, stirring, a couple minutes until cheeses melt and flavors blend. If you wish, you can add diced cooked chicken for a heartier meal. Or experiment with adding onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes or olives for extra flavor.
Author of the award-winning cookbook “Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers’ Market,” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: cooking and writing. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at email@example.com or on Facebook at Words Are My World.