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.

image

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.

image

 

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.

image

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.

 

 

Growth in the garden- Quick easy salads for busy nights

 

One of my sunflowers in my garden. One of my favorite summer flowers

One of my sunflowers in my garden. One of my favorite summer flowers

I enjoyed my usual August time off. This year more so than ever. I had big plans. All of which got cancelled. I could pout about it but it turned out to be the biggest blessing. The first of those blessings being that my car broke down on Monday, the first technical day, of my vacation. Now the cost and trouble  we went through that day were not a blessing but maybe they were and I don’t know it as of yet. All I know is the 4 teenage boys in my car were safe. We had decided to take a shorter trip. My car broke down in a parking lot when I was doing 3 mph not 65 on the highway. See my steering box went, not in as it slowly broke. Nope something snapped and the car was unable to be steered. It could have been really bad. I counted my blessings as the guys raced go-karts and I called the tow truck looking at my front tires going in opposite directions. I can’t tell you how many times I said thank-you we were all safe.

The car had some damage and I was told I would not have it for the remainder of my vacation time most likely. I was disappointed at first but then remembered something from a few days earlier. I had held a Goddess Circle at my home and one of the ladies told me she felt so relaxed at my home and compared it to being on vacation. We had some good food, meaningful conversation,and  smelling of sage,  we gathered around my fire pit where we released our negative habits then gave thanks for new blessings that were coming. Afterwards, in our dreamy states, we took our cool drinks and walked into the night  to watch the moonrise over Long Island Sound. With our feet dangling over a wall and giggling, we enjoyed each other’s company. I even felt like I was on vacation.  As I thought over that night, I realized how even more blessed I am and how right she was. A staycation is just what I needed.

Sometimes you need someone else to point out the simple blessings you have in your life that you over look. So out came my bicycle and the plans to just enjoy my beach-side home. To get my hands in the soil and work in my yard. To enjoy homemade ice tea on the deck with a good book and the songs of birds in the background.

Simple become my motto. Life has been complicated for far to long. There has been too much pain that I let go of into that fire. There has been too much being busy just to hide from what I don’t want to deal with. That all melted away last week. I took time to call the people I love because life is just to short. I spent time with a friend at the beach. I’ve made plans with others and I can’t wait to see them.  I lounged around longer in the morning with a second cup of tea. It was simply delicious and just what I needed.

Summer calls for this  kind of relaxation and for simple meals. Below are two simple and similar salads to whip up in minutes. Nothing fancy here. Just simple. I’ve been blessed to have some beautiful things from not only my garden but from my son’s mentor who has been sharing some produce and even some homemade wine.   If you’re not lucky enough to have fresh produce from your yard or a good friend/neighbor, I suggest hitting a farmer’s market or getting to know your local produce department lead. I am lucky I know several at the local stores I like to shop at. They really go out of their way to find me the best produce if I am less than happy or can’t find something. So don’t be afraid to ask. Also don’t be afraid to substitute things you like. I often like to toss in heirloom tomatoes that are the many colors to add some brightness to my salads.

image

Caprese Style Salad

  • cherry tomatoes – halved, I also used a large garden tomato roughly cut up
  • 8 oz package of mozzarella pearls, drained
  • diced pancetta
  • spring salad leave or spinach leaves
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper

Place your lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella and diced pancetta in a bowl. Toss. Plate and top with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh pepper.  Serve with some great bread and butter. Enjoy on a deck under the evening sky for the best flavor.

 

 

image

Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Stacks

  • 2 small eggplants- sliced
  • 2 small tomatoes- sliced
  • 8 oz mozzarella log, sliced
  • basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • baguette slices
  • balsamic vinegar

Heat your grill to medium heat. Brush each slice of eggplant with olive oil and grill untill soft and has slight marks on them. Take off grill and set aside. Brush bread slices with olive oil and place on grill until golden brown.   On a plate put a slice of toasted baguette, top with an eggplant slice, mozzarella slice, tomato slice and a basil leaf. Sprinkle more olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve with a salad to round out the meal.

I am still working on the changes that will be coming to this site along with a few other fun surprises I am cooking up. So stay tuned my dear sweet friends who follow this blog. I appriciate you more than you know.

Until next time,

Shelly