A visit to a local farmer's market proved to be a wonderful experience. There was a huge array of tropical fruits, local grown seasonal produce, fresh herbs, sunflowers and more!
What a way to support local growers and revamp the creative juices in my kitchen. There were so many good choices but I narrowed down my list and chose mint, opal basil, baby potatoes, a red bell pepper, mango, corn, fresh local-grown, ripe tomatoes, an orange, bananas and an avocado. I plan to use them during the week and have posted a few recipes and ideas below.
The mango and orange were sliced for a rather delectable breakfast treat. The mango literally tasted like candy, it was so ripe! I plan to try more tropical fruits the next time I go - there were many from the area that I have not heard of before.
The tomatoes were astounding - they were so ripe, juicy and delicious. We ate some of them sliced fresh with just a little oil, vinegar and black pepper. Later on in the day I roasted some of the tomatoes for a simple angel hair pasta dish with roasted marinara, complete with the opal basil that was also at the market.
Why should you attend a farmers' market?
- A fun family outing
- Exercise and Vitamin D from walking around outside
- Learn more about local in-season produce
- Try new foods
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Get produce that is fresher, better tasting, and naturally ripe
- Support local growers
- Motivation to cook at home more
Here is what you should bring:
- Comfortable shoes and sun glasses
- A shopping bag(s) to carry your items home
- Cooler with ice in case you have other errands to run afterwards - some items like leafy lettuce and fresh herbs may not hold up that well in a hot car.
- If you arrive early there is more parking and selections. But if you arrive later you can often get more bargains. Either way be sure to go!
Here are favorite recipes using Farmer's Market Ingredients:
Open-Faced Fish Sandwich Dinner:
1 fillet of fish, baked
1 slice whole grain toast
2 slices fresh tomatoes
1/2 tsp low-fat mayonnaise
- Assemble sandwich with toast on the bottom then fish and tomatoes on top.
- Serve with these items on the side to make a complete meal:
• 2 cups leafy green salad tossed with fresh lemon juice
• 1 potato made into oven fries with salt-free ketchup (bake sliced potato wedges for 20 minutes at 425 degrees)
• 1 cup fresh mint tea (boil fresh mint for one minute and then chill over ice)
Serves 1: 432 calories, 5.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 43 mg cholesterol, 384 mg sodium, 10.5 g fiber, 72 g carbohydrate, 27 g protein
Angel Hair Market Pasta
8 ounces angel hair pasta, dry
3 large, ripe tomatoes, cored, halved and seeded
1/2 onion, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil dash granulated garlic
dash dried oregano
4 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions then drain and hold.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven broiler. Place tomatoes and onion side up in a large baking dish.
- Roast the vegetables under the broiler until skins turn very brown and blisters - about 10 minutes. Place herbs and onions into a food processor or blender. Puree briefly until basil is chopped fine then add the tomatoes and puree until almost smooth. Reheat sauce and toss with cooked angel hair pasta. Sprinkle 1 grated parmesan and fresh cracked black pepper over the top of each.
Serves 4. Each 1-1/2 cup serving: 256 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 81 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 10 g protein.
Simple Boiled Corn:
Husk the corn and boil in a large pot of water for 3 minutes. Drain and serve hot. We like to top with fresh lemon and spray margarine. If you prepare a large amount in advance you can use the leftovers in salads and salsas during the week.
Per cob: 156 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cho- lesterol, 399 mg sodium, 36 g carbo- hydrate, 4.5 g fiber, 5 g protein.
Farmer's Market Salad:
1 cucumber, partially peeled and seeds removed
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh sliced basil
black pepper - freshly cracked - to taste
garlic parsley blend
Toss together and serve.
Serves 4. Each 1/2 cup serving: 13 calories, .5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, .5 g fiber, 0 g protein.
Each meal: 424 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 4 mg cho- lesterol, 481 mg sodium, 86 g carbo- hydrate, 7.5 g fiber, 16 g protein.
To find a farmer’s market near you, visit http://www.localharvest.org/
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.