Market Haul Pt 1
Confession. I haven’t been to the farmers markets much this season. Covid-19 kept me away. Although they are outdoor markets, customers dart fast in and out of vendor tables, grabbing like pecking hens. And I know, I have hens now! It’s disturbing.
But I sucked it up this past Saturday, and strolled into the Webb City Farmers Market, masked up and ready. I went at 10am, hoping to miss the crushing mass that arrives before or just at 9. I missed the crowd, but also missed the corn! Oh, well.
Lots of folks support our local markets, and buy up lots of fresh produce. But lots of folks also get home, put it all in the crisper right away, and let it rot. Tip number one: only buy things you like. Even with roasting, grilling, or a great sauce or vinaigrette, if you don’t like mushrooms, you still won’t like them after those preparations. Tip number two: prep the veg right away, or at least find recipes right away and keep those in sight.
I scored tomatoes, red onions, beets, eggplant, peaches, banana peppers, bell peppers, and long beans. And wholesome bread and almond biscotti. I wanted more, but I knew I’d be cooking for one this week, and sharing a bit with my clients. I came home, photographed the gorgeous pile, and immediately found recipes to transform that goodness into delicious snacks and meals.
The following are three recipes that I made and ate immediately as a meal. Next week I’ll share three more recipes from this particular haul, and the abundance of my own garden.
Roasted tomato basil bisque
4 cups tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup coconut milk (or milk or cream)
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
Set oven to 400. Cut the tomatoes into half and deseed them. These can be any kind of fresh tomatoes. Arrange the halves on baking tray and drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
Roast the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and let the tomatoes cool down.
Heat olive oil in a deep saute pan or dutch oven. Add garlic, onion and bay leaves and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add roasted tomatoes, basil, stock, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and cover the pan. Cook the bisque on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and discard the bay leaves. Add milk and sugar.
Blend the bisque using an immersion blender. For even creamier soup, blend in a blender in small batches. Top with homemade croutons, fried onions, and fresh grated parmesan cheese.
Banana pepper dip
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium banana peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 2/3 cup)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium. Add 2/3 cup sliced banana peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl of a mini food processor, and let cool completely, about 10 minutes. Add feta and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Process until thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl as needed. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside. Serve under sliced grilled chicken with a cucumber, tomato, and banana pepper salad on the side.
Makes 4 pints
3 pounds fresh beets
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground allspice
Scrub beets under running water. Trim both ends of each beet. Cover with water, bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 25-35 minutes until beets are tender. Drain, let cool, and peel beets carefully with a paring knife. Cut into equal bite sized pieces, or keep whole if already bite size.
Add beets back to empty pot. Add water, vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for ten minutes. Let cool and pack into jars. Will last a few weeks in the refrigerator. To last for several months, you need to can them.