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.

 

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Must haves in the kitchen- Gnocchi

I’ve shared before how it’s best to keep certain things stocked in your pantry. It makes it easier to throw something together or easier   for the weeks that maybe your budget is a little lean.  I like to keep things in both my pantry and freezer that I could whip up a meal or at least just buy a few little things to make a meal out of.

Gnocchi is one of those things. I feel like it cooks up even faster than spaghetti, so it makes for the ultimate fast food kitchen dish. All you need to do is add a little sauce or veg to it and maybe some sort of protein and your ready.

I have in my index of recipes a few gnocchi recipes this is a play on one. Just switching out a few things to make it different. I was craving kale and the guys in my house can always eat bacon. Actually if i put bacon in a dish it almost is a forgivable that there is not a big old meat side for them. Almost that is.

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Gnocchi with Bacon and Kale

serves 6

  • 2 pkgs of gnocchi
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of fresh kale , washed and cut up
  • 12 oz container of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 10 package of bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil for cooking the gnocchi in.
  2. While water is heating up, in another pan, heat up olive oil, I use about a tablespoon. To the hot pan add onion and cook untill soft and translucent. Add kale to the pot and stir untill starting to wilt. Add cherry tomatoes and continue cooking untill kale has wilted. Season with salt, pepper and spices. Go easy with salt as you will be adding bacon next and don’t want it to salty.
  3. By now water should be boiling. Cook gnocchi according to package. Usually takes 3- 5 mins. When gnocchi floats to top they are done. Drain.
  4. Add bacon to vegetable mixture, then add gnocchi and give a good stir.
  5. Serve with parm or cheese of your choice and enjoy!

Not Tartare but still good- Sausage Mix & Kale Sandwich

I love the restaurant issue of Bon Appetit. It gets me dreaming again about working in a professional kitchen. Which tends to inspires me to get in my kitchen after feeling sort of blah. That tends to happen with me as seasons changes. As summer ended and fall is starting , I am really ready for menu changes.

It was the “dish of the year” that caught my attention in this issue. Tartare. (check out the  sexy food video here )   There were two tartare dishes that won are restaurants that sit right next to each other. The one from Joule that inspired this far from a tartare dish I cooked. I know crazy but it looked so beautiful and with my pregnant daughter living with us, I really can’t do tartare. Sure seems to be a lot of new food rules with pregnant women. Hello safety of our food supply? Rant for another time.

I decided to take some of what sounded delish in the tartare recipe and cook it up and make a hearty sandwich for dinner. The result was clean plates, fully bellies and smiles. Not bad.

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Sausage Mix & Kale Sandwich

    • Grinder rolls
    • 1 lb hot italian sausage (bulk or out of casings or your fav mix of meat, like lamb and beef even)
    • small onion – chopped
    • Scallions-chopped
    • pine nuts-toasted
    • beef steak tomatoes (or leftover tomatoes from your garden this time of year) -Chopped
    • tomato paste
    • herbamore seasoning
    • basil
    • Kale- cut or torn up by hand
    • cooking sherry
    • salt and pepper to taste

     

What you do:

    1. In a hot heavy skillet add olive oil and cook onions and scallions.
    2. Add sausage and cook till browned
    3. Add a sprinkling of pine nuts,  tomatoes and tomato paste. Adding water if needed to thin out tomato paste. Cook for 1- 2 mins more
    4. Season, taste and adjust if needed
    5. KALE- in a large pan heat oil, add garlic and cook for 1 min till releases scent. Add another sprinkling of pine nuts. stir.  Add kale and cook untill wilted. Add a splash of sherry, mix.
    6. Toast rolls, split and serve with kale and cooked sausage mixture inside.