Monday, July 30, 2012

Fresh Allergy-Free Farmers Market Recipes

by Kelley Lindberg

Aren’t farmers markets and roadside farm stands great? All those wonderful-looking fresh veggies! But sometimes it’s a little daunting to try to come up with ideas for how to cook what you find there. I know I get overwhelmed in a hurry.

So here are some quick and easy ideas for fresh veggies that may help inspire you to grab that bunch of Swiss chard or that pound of fresh green beans next time you find yourself standing in front of the veggie stand. (Only two recipes involve turning on the oven, so that’s great, too!) Enjoy!

Bell Peppers: Here are two recipes for stuffed bell peppers (one vegetarian, one not). 1) Cut tops off peppers and seed them. Stuff with cooked bulgur, crumbled tofu, sautéed garlic and onion, olive oil, parsley, tomato, and mint. Bake until peppers are softened. (From Sunset magazine's website.) 2) In this recipe for Easy Stuffed Peppers from, you stuff the peppers with cooked ground turkey, 2 cups of cooked brown rice, and a half-jar of spaghetti sauce.

Corn on the Cob: Got a cooked ear of corn left over? Cut off the kernels, then add them to a jar of your favorite salsa. Voila! Your own special-recipe salsa! You can also add a half-can of black beans, rinsed, if your family likes black beans. Just eat it up quickly – with the fresh corn in it, the salsa will only last a few days.

Beets: (This is my mom’s favorite recipe for beets.) Wash a couple of whole beets thoroughly. Cut off the greens (you can cook these, too – see below), leaving an inch or two of the leaf stems still attached to the beet. You can leave the root curl on the bottom, too. Wrap each beet tightly in foil. Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour. To see if they’re done, poke a fork through the foil into the beet. If it goes through (kind of like a baked potato), it’s done. If it still feels hard, bake for another 5 or 10 minutes until the fork test feels right. Then plop the beets into a bowl of water (foil and all) to cool off. When cooled enough to handle, unwrap the beets, then use your fingers to rub off the skin under running water. Slice and serve! Great cold or room temperature.

Greens (spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard, kale, etc.): Wash leaves and, if you want, tear out and discard the ribs (stems). Heat a little olive oil in a skillet, then fill the skillet with the leaves and put a lid on it. Stir every minute or two – you’re sautéing/wilting the leaves, but you don’t want them to burn. (The lid helps keep the steam in so that they cook more quickly and evenly.) You can add a little fresh garlic, coarse salt, or even a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or safe balsamic vinegar (optional). Use the whole bunch of leaves – they wilt down to a small amount! If you want, throw in some fresh diced tomatoes and maybe some chopped onion, too, and let them sauté together. Delicious served over a bowl of cooked safe pasta. (Top with sliced grilled chicken for a complete meal!)

Farmer’s Market Salad: Cut raw snow peas into thin strips, and mix with similarly sized strips of carrot, cucumber, and scallion. (Also try jicama, bell peppers, or zucchini.) Toss with a splash of orange juice, a dash of safe balsamic vinegar or safe soy sauce (or safe substitute), and a teaspoon of sesame or olive oil. (Based on a recipe from Local Food Guide to Rhode Island.)

Green beans: Rinse beans and let dry in a colander while you snap off the stem ends. Dice a slice or two of bacon, then cook the bacon pieces in a skillet until almost done. Add in the beans and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes until they are emerald green. I think they’re best when they’re still firm – not mushy. The bacon pieces give the beans a great Southern flavor, but if you don’t want bacon, just sauté the beans in olive oil. Steaming is another great way to cook them – just put the beans in a steamer set into a pot of water. Cover and bring to a boil, and steam for about 5 minutes or until they are the consistency you like. (You can also throw some pieces of cooked bacon in the steamer, if you like a little bacon flavor but not quite as much grease.)

Carrots: In this recipe for Sauteed Carrots with Lemon and Marjoram from the Food and Wine website, you just sauté a bunch of sliced carrots in oil with some minced garlic, a little sugar (which I would leave out), a dash of salt and pepper, and fresh or dried marjoram. Sounds delish!

1 comment:

Julie A said...

Yum! excited to try some of these!