Farmers Markets start to bloom

So this spring I thought I might get  my garden back and grow some of my own produce.  It’s been a bit of a while since I had a really nice garden going. What I didn’t plan on was that I have some very invasive mint growing in one garden bed and that the family of rabbits living under my shed that I find “oh so adorable ” would be eating things before I could get to them.   So the kale is gone along with a few other things. My radishes didn’t come in like I hoped and well I am having a good laugh. I will have a small crop of peas if all things work out right and my rainbow chard looks beautiful. Of course the raspberry bushes I have had for to many years to count and we cut back to nearly nothing , have come back with a vengeance.

What’s going very well is the pots on my little deck outside my kitchen. Herbs and tomatoes I have growing there, It’s my little zen spot so maybe it’s the energy along with the lack of wildlife having a snack.  I will be trying a trick one of the chefs in the kitchen I work in shared with me to keep the creatures at bay. If it works I’ll share.

Thankfully the farmers markets all start up locally this week. I am a farmers market junky. Which is good. I have a neighbor I ran into at the local farm/garden center who saw I was buying tomato plants and he laughed said he just picks up the produce when they sell them at the farm store. Easier that way. I laughed and put my plants in my car. After this spring start, I almost see his point.

Happily I had Saturday off this past weekend with great excitement I looked forward to going to the local farmer’s market. I decided to even go without a list and see how much good stuff I could find and then make a menu for the week around my haul.  I was surprised at what I found. My favorite farmer just had plants at the moment. But new to the market (to me anyhow) was a certified organic farmer with produce at really great prices. I think everyone was excited and there was a line which I happily waited in and picked up all that I could along with hubby holding items,  and was shocked when he said it was all under $20.

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My husband and I also found a farmer with meats. Guess it is a turkey farm but they also have sheep and goats. You say goat meat to me and I get excited. I picked up mutton sausage and goat stew meat for some meals this week.

My brain began to create dishes as we hit the local ice cream truck with it’s amazing and odd flavors. Yes, we were eating ice cream before 11am. It’s how I adult.  My hubby and I found a shady spot next to a local resturaunt that was on “Chopped” that was cooking up breakfast goodies  from items they purchased at the stands  at the farmers market (Rainbow Gardens if your curious is the place) and I realized I needed some bread from the local bakery to round things out.  A loaf of honey flax seed bread went into our bag and we were off. By the time we drove the 10 mins drive home I was read to write out my menu and run to the local grocery store to complete my shopping.

I’ll be sharing the recipes that are simple, from what I am making with my farmer market finds.  First up was the mutton and beautiful purple and dark green kale.

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Mutton Sausage & Kale One Pot Saute.

  • 1 pound of mutton sausage , casings removed
  • 1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of red quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • sage
  • red pepper flakes (for serving)
  • lemon wedges ( for serving)
  1. In a large skillet head olive oil. Add onion and saute till soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 min or until you can smell it.
  2. Add the mutton sausage and break up in the pan. Cook until no longer pink.
  3. Add quinoa to the pan. Stir and and then add water. Give a good stir. Place lid on pan and lower heat. Cook for 25-30 mins on low until water had dissolved and quinoa is cooked.
  4. Add chopped kale to the pan and fold in until the kale is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and sage to liking.
  5. Serve with red pepper flakes and lemon wedges and a crusty bread. Enjoy!

 

Next up how I used that alien looking root vegetable, Kohlrabi. It’s got a lot of great uses.

If your cooking with farmers market finds I’d love to hear from you. Or if your nervous about how to use something you saw or bought let me know. I’d love to help.

 

 

 

 

You can follow me on Instagram (shellyscookery) to find out what I am up to between posts and what’s cooking in the kitchen or check out the local food adventures I am up to.

 

The simple things; Citrus Avocado & Salmon salad.

  • I love fresh simple easy meals.  I love complicated meals too. You know the kind that take a day of cooking on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But as the days get longer and warmer cooking simple fresh meals seems almost more rewarding than an afternoon of slow cooking.

Recently one of my meals looked like this. A simple crab salad served on a crissont with baked organic sweet potato chips and a glass of rose grapefruit  wine. Nothing fancy or hard to make but I think honestly it was just the atmosphere that night. Peaceful, slow,  and relaxed. I could have been easy to toss things on paper plates and eat standing in the kitchen that night. But I made sure to take time to make things pretty. Just like I would enjoy if I had gone out to eat on a Friday night. image

 

 

A few nights later my husband and I shared in getting dinner cooked up. We had gone out and picked out the salmon together and had a nice visit with our fish monger. Enjoyed a day together and then working on our own projects and then came together to cook and enjoy the evening.  While the meal was light, I felt more full as I tucked into my salad and enjoyed the conversation with my husband and two sons. It’s nice to reconnect like this. My tummy was full but so was my heart and soul.

That’s what mealtime should be about. A time to sit, relax , reconnect and catch your breath. Feed your body but also your soul. For some that’s beautiful plates, candles, . It might be having family gathered around the table. Stop and think what a really good meal means to you. From the food and drink to the atmosphere.

So here’s the simple salad my husband I cooked up. You can have dinner on the table in less than 30 mins.

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Citrus Avocado & Salmon Salad

  • Baby spinach
  • Avocado
  • Grapefruit
  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Green Onions
  • Salmon fillet
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar (optional)
  1. Wash the baby spinach.  Chop the green onion. Take the skin off the grapefruit and segment it into a bowl.  Cut lemon and lime into wedges.
  2. Slice the avocado into slices and then squeeze lime wedges over the avocado to keep from browning and give it extra flavor.
  3. Season salmon with a little salt and pepper and cook on either cedar plank that has been soaked or cooked on a well oiled grill untill done.
  4. To plate up the dish place baby spinach on a plate, then grapefruit, avocado and top with piece of the salmon fillet. Sprinkle on green onion.  Dress the salad with juice from the lemon wedges. Or you can use a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

 

 

Bring on the heat, Spicy Chicken Tacos

Last week I went out to dinner dressed in jeans, a beaded camisol top and sandal high heels. Two days later I am being thankful that I didn’t pack up my boots and sweaters as I watch the snow fall outside my window as I sip coffee.   Yep, it’s spring in Connecticut.

As cheesy as it is , I do like doing the whole Taco Tuesday thing in my house. Just get bored with doing the same old taco with ground beef deal. While I like to make my own seasoning as the packets in the grocery store are salty as all can be it’s just fun to mix it up a little. I do quesadillas , fajitas and whatever taco like food catches me. This past week I saw a recipe in Yoga Journal for “Chicken al carbon” tacos.  Al carbon means cooking over fire. It was cold and icy here and the grill is still packed away in the shed. So I did this dish a little different and I admit I didn’t do things the way the recipe stated.

As we sat down to dinner and tucked in, my sixteen year old son said , “you can forget that it’s cold outside eating these”. I was sweating as I worked on my second taco. He was right. But it wasn’t the kind of heat that takes you out. It was that addictive , I need another one kind of heat.

The original recipe called for you to marinate the chicken and that you could do so overnight. I am not so sure I would do that. I noticed that after 4 hours the citrus was starting to change the color of the chicken. I won’t say it was cooking it like it would on seafood but I think if you let it marinade overnight you might be dealing with mushy chicken. I’ve read that chicken really only needs two hours to completely marinate. Maybe it would be different if I was using larger pieces, instead of the breast tenderloins that were on sale.

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Spicy Citrus Chicken

  • 2 lbs of chicken breast tenderloins
  • 3/4 cup of orange juice
  • juice from one lime
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, cut up
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • corn tortillas
  • Lettuce, or any type of slaw or mixed greens.
  • salsa
  • lime wedges
  1. In a food processor or blender, add orange juice, lime juice, garlic, jalapeños , and cilantro. Pulse until smooth.
  2. Place chicken in a glass dish, pour marinade over chicken and cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hrs.
  3. When ready to cook , heat grill and cook untill cooked throughly. Or put tinfoil on a baking sheet, coat with a thin coating of oil, place chicken with a bit of marinade on baking sheet. Broil for 4-5 mins per side or untill cooked throughly through.
  4. I warmed my toritillas in the oven by placing damp paper towels on the bottom of a baking sheet, putting a layer of tortillas then another layer of damp paper towels and placing them in the bottom of the warm oven for 4-5 mins.
  5. Serve the chicken on warm tortillas with greens and a fresh salsa and lime wedges.