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A Farmers Market Dinner

Saturday brought me some wonderful finds at our local farmers market. I have been coming up with some tasty recipes this week!

One of my favorite growers showed up with bags of blue and white potatoes, dug up the night before. How could I pass that up? A potato salad seemed like a great project and I loved this one. Over the years I have never made a ‘great’ potato salad, most were barely passable. This one was different. Was it super fresh potatoes? Organic mayonnaise? Clean pickles? Honey? I don’t know but it was the salad I had long craved. And no bitter celery seed to be seen!

Blue and White Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb blue potatoes
  • 1 lb white potatoes
  • 2 large or 4 smaller stalks celery, diced
  • 12 slices bread and butter pickles, diced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

Wash the potatoes and place in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil gently until fork tender, drain and cool. Peel with the edge of a paring knife, cut into chunks, add to a large mixing bowl. Add the celery and pickles.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together, add to the potatoes and stir to coat.

Refrigerate covered or if desired serve warm.

Buy smaller beets, they are usually more tender than over sized ones which can get “woody”. But do buy them! And eat them!

Beet Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch beets, peeled and trimmed, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 15 ounce can cannellini or white beans, rinsed and drained
  • Juice from ½ large lemon or 1 small lemon
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, dried or fresh, minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp each fine sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Cooking oil, used sunflower

Directions:

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil, add a pinch of salt and the rice, cover mostly, turn down to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high, add the onion and turn to medium. Saute until softened, then add the beets. Cover and let cook until they are tender, stirring periodically. Take off the lid, add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds and then swirl the vinegar in to deglaze the skillet. Take off the heat.

Mash the beans in a large mixing bowl till mostly smooth, add the hot rice and vegetables, lemon juice, remaining olive oil and all the spices. Taste if it needs more salt, then add the flour, stirring till it mixes in. Divide into 6 balls, flatten into patties.

Let rest in the refrigerator for an hour or two, remove 30 minutes before cooking.

I used 2 skillets to cook with, as I wanted to eat all at once, though it can be done in 2 batches. A stainless steel or cast iron skillet works better than non-stick. Heat the skillets over medium-high, add a Tablespoon or so of oil to each pan, add 3 burgers to each pan. Cook for 3 minutes, flip over and cook for another 3 minutes.

Makes 6 burgers.

I was inspired to make this side dish with some vibrant yellow zucchini balls I can find:

Zucchini Parmesan Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs small summer squash, used yellow zucchini balls
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp Italian bread seasoning
  • ½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, diced (4 cheese-sticks worth….)
  • Additional Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450° and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the zucchini into coins, about 1/3″ thick. Add to a large bowl and toss with the olive oil to coat.

Mix the bread crumbs, cheese, herbs and pepper in a bowl. Dredge each slice in the breadcrumbs, place on the baking sheet. If there is any left over topping, sprinkle across the wheels.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove and lower the oven to 400°.

Add 1/3 cup of the marinara sauce to an 8×8″ glass baking dish, spread across. Make a layer of zucchini slice, dot a bit of sauce on each piece and 1/3 of the cheese, along with a sprinkling of more Parmesan. Repeat the layers, ending with cheese on top. Bake for 15 minutes, let rest for a couple of minutes, slice and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

~Sarah

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Brown Rice and Lentil Salad

I came across this recipe on another foodie blog (Chewsy) which in turn led me to its source, Eating Well. I altered it by cooking the carrot, including cooking directions for the rice and a few other minor tweaks. The smoked paprika really makes a difference and is worth having on hand (I pick mine up at Costco on the cheap).

Before dressing ~

After dressing ~ the paprika gives a lovely shade to the salad:

Brown Rice and Lentil Salad
Ingredients:

•    2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
•    2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
•    1 Tbsp freeze-dried shallot or dried onion (find in spice aisle)
•    1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
•    1/2 tsp smoked paprika
•    1/4 tsp kosher salt
•    1/4 tsp ground black pepper
•    15-ounce can lentils, rinsed and drained or 1 1/3 cups cooked lentils
•    1 Tbsp dried parsley
•    1 cup raw brown rice
•    1 carrot, peeled and diced (about ½ to ¾ cup)
Directions:

  1. Bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil, add in the rice and carrot, bring back to a boil. Cover tightly , turn to low and cook for 45 minutes. Take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff up. Add to a large bowl and gently toss with the lentils and dry parsley.
  2. Whisk oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl, let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Gently fold the dressing in till coated. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Serves 3, about 3 ½ cups.

~Sarah

Couscous and Chickpea Salad

This salad can be eaten warm or chilled beforehand. Season to taste with salt, my version isn’t heavy on it.

Couscous and Chickpea Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lower sodium vegetable broth (or chicken for a non-vegan version)
  • 1½ cups couscous
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled

Dressing –

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar (or honey for non-vegan version)
  • 1 Tbsp dried or fresh green onions
  • 1 tsp dry parsley
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste, if desired

Directions:

Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan, add in the couscous. Take off the heat, cover tightly and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff up the couscous with a fork into a large bowl, toss with the chickpeas and almonds. Pour the dressing over and toss to coat.

Serve with more almonds on top.

Serves 4 to 5.

~Sarah

First Harvest Of our Garden

The weather today was what I think everyone needed here – sunny and warming up after so many cold nasty  months.

I had put in a small garden but could never get the excitement to finish it. Kind of hard when it is raining non stop to weed. So I happened to be mowing a soaking wet lawn this afternoon when I checked on my plants. My late growing peas are looking great, my tomato plant has nearly tripled in size, my herb plants have come back from the hard winter well – it was the first winter in 15 or so years where I lost a plant. I lost one of my rosemary bushes and nearly lost a second. Not sure why either – I think though I might have starved them – as I had laid down black fabric this past year around many of the items. I gave everything a deep organic feeding. So far everything is looking better. The rosemary has put on flowers, always a good sign. The sage plants are green and healthy, the many lavender plants are putting on first buds.

On a lark I had planted a set of 6 mixed organic Mesclun plants that I had picked up for $3 or 4 dollars. And then forgot about them. Oops! They had gone to town so I went out and picked a big bowl of greens, carefully popping leaves off the plants, taking the outer ones, leaving the younger ones behind. Came in, chilled them, washed and shook off, then chopped up for dinner. I added in diced dried cherries and diced sweetened/glazed walnuts. Yum!

saladmix

The salad tonight paid for the salad starter, so mission accomplished.

If I work at it, someday I may have a real garden once again. But ah, yeah, the weed bed is another story for another day. I gave up on that thing and covered it weed fabric. I’ll come back next year when everything is dead and then deal with it 😉

~Sarah

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