Although this is a recipe blog most of us have days when we'd rather not cook. Let's look at the options for market items on those days.
Salad is an obvious first choice. Greens are most abundant in the spring and fall but can be found most weeks year round. Some vendors wash their baby greens, sparing you of even that step. But don’t limit yourself to the basic lettuce, spinach, arugula, or baby greens. Edible weeds are often found at market, including henbit and chickweed (Tant Hill) as well as purslane (currently offered by Healthy Kitchen). Microgreens, essentially older sprouts grown in soil instead of water, are often available from Spring Creek Veggies and Land Before Time Farms. A few snips and you have ready to eat tender greens.
Sunflower Sprouts from Spring Creek Veggies (photos by Zachary Cross)
You don’t have to limit yourself to a greens-based salad, though. In The Moosewood Cookbook, Mollie Katzen says: “Most vegetables can be eaten raw if cut properly.” She recommends grating or finely mincing your vegetables to make a salad that looks “like edible confetti.”
There are plenty of other vegetables and fruits at market to add to your salad as well. Pick smaller or baby produce - cherry tomatoes, carrot thinnings, berries, etc. - to cut down on prep work. Vegetable ferments from Harvest Roots Ferments and/or pickles from various vendors round out your vegetable options.
For protein add goat cheese (Rafting Goat), cubes of hard cheese (Sequatchie Cove Creamery), or smoked salmon (Wild Alaskan Salmon and Seafood).
There are options for your bread as well. Bread & Butter has various sourdough breads while Colvin Family Farm offers gluten-free options as well as traditional breads.
Are you looking for heartier fare? Ansley from Wheeler’s Orchard has been making main dishes such as Shepherd’s Pie as well as smaller bites such as egg rolls. Ansley made sweet potato pie, too, an option that lends itself to either the main meal, or dessert, depending on your inclination. Our family tried it last week and enjoyed it. Our older daughter recommended that it be served with coconut cream which she thought would complement the flavor better than regular whipped cream.
Also for dessert there are cookies, sweet bread and pastries, or jams (various vendors). Or you could eat your fruit and cheese for dessert - an idea that both brings to mind a fancy meal and also makes me think of the Saturday morning cartoon PSAs encouraging kids to eat cheese or fruit.
Drink options include kombucha from both Blue Indian Kombucha and Harvest Roots.
And remember the food for your eyes! Southerly Flower Farm has lovely bouquets, currently dahlias.
So next time you don’t feel like cooking, or think you won’t in the coming week, don’t feel like you have to skip market and opt for takeout or the grocery store. Take a look around at the options various vendors have and enjoy a no- or low-work meal.
It was raining and blowing last night, with a chill in the air. Zachary was baking bread, which smelled wonderful, and I was contemplating what to make for supper. It was definitely soup weather! Looking in the fridge I realized I had plenty of celery so I decided to make a tried and true family favorite. After some recipe fails last week it was nice to have a recipe success!
I don’t know about you but when I think about celery I think of eating it raw, perhaps with a dip or spread, or as an ingredient along with many others in a soup or casserole. It also works as the main ingredient in a creamy soup, perfect for these chilly evenings that feel like fall.
Celery is a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae) and you can see its resemblance to flat-leaf parsley, if not visually to carrots. Sometimes it’s grown for its bulb, known as celery root or celeriac, but in the United States it’s mostly grown for its stalks. In the grocery stores the celery you see tends to be very pale as a result of blanching, or covering the stalks to stop photosynthesis. This also makes the stems more tender and keeps the flavor mild. The celery you will find at market will likely be a nice green, both from lack of blanching and also from more nutrient-rich soil. It will be a stronger flavor raw, but that can be an asset in soup, where cooking already mellows the flavor.
The celery you find at market may also be a variety with thinner stalks and more leaves, known as Chinese, leaf, or herb celery, among other names. I found this to work well in soup, too, though I had to add the leaves to have enough celery. That’s not a problem when it’s all blended up anyway.
I often do not use a recipe when cooking, and especially when making soup. I got out the cookbook for this one, though, so I could share the recipe and what I did with it. Like most soups, though, it’s flexible, and you can adapt it to both taste and availability of ingredients. It takes a full bunch of celery to make the recipe as written but you can make do with less and add some more potato, though as you might expect there will be less celery flavor.
This recipe is adapted from Mollie Katzen’s first cookbook, The Moosewood Cookbook. Originally published in 1977, we own the 1992 edition, from the heyday of low-fat diets. In this edition Katzen removed some of the deep-fried recipes and reduced eggs, butter, and cheese in the rest. She went a little overboard removing the fat so I usually add some back and did in this case. One last change I made from the original recipe is to eliminate the celery seed and white pepper called for. The taste of each are a bit harsh and, besides, the celery and onion have plenty of flavor on their own. If you want, add up to a teaspoon of celery seed and white pepper to taste. Katzen often also left out or reduced salt in the interest of health but the salt in this recipe is just right.
The recipe as written calls for three pots to be used cooking this soup. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to wash more pots than I have to! Two of those are for first boiling the potatoes and celery and then the second for holding the finished soup, so the first saucepan is an easy one to eliminate. Simply cook the potatoes and celery in the pot the finished soup will go in. The third pan is for sautéing the onions and celery that are not blended to add to the texture and flavor. If you would prefer a completely smooth soup just use one large pot, and start by sautéing the onions and some of the celery. Then add the water, potatoes, and remaining celery and cook until soft. Purée and add the remaining ingredients. For puréeing soups I highly recommend an immersion blender so you can blend right in the pot.
Adapted from Light Cream of Celery Soup from
The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
2 average person’s fist-sized potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chopped celery (1-inch chunks) (plus more celery a few ingredients from now)
3 cups water
1 ¼ tsp salt (plus more later)
2 to 4 Tbs butter
1 cup finely minced onion
1 cup very finely minced celery (preferably innermost stalks)
1 cup milk
4 to 5 Tbs sour cream, half and half, or heavy cream
Minced chives, parsley, or other green garnish
Additional sour cream as desired
Photo by Zachary Cross
Apple butternut tartlets (with caramelized onions, thyme and local cheese).Fall is (almost!) here, and you know what that means–pie. I’m a fan of fruit plus a crust in any variation: pumpkin pie, apple tarte tatin, plum galettes … but I have to admit, I’m not the biggest sweet treat eater. I tend to prefer savory things, so with my bounty of butternut squash and apples from last week’s market, I decided that I would stick with the crust plus fruit equation that always makes me happy, but that I would make them for dinner, instead of dessert.
Apple butternut tartlets
For the crust
To make the tarts
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large saute pan or skillet, caramelize caramelize the onions over medium-low heat in a little olive oil, butter or a mixture of the two. When the onions have caramelized, remove from the heat and stir in the thyme leaves.
Meanwhile, roll out the dough for your tarlets. To do this, I rolled the dough into a rough triangle, 1/4″ thick, and cut out circles using a large biscuit cutter (mine was 3 and 5/8″), then rolled the circles out further until they were 1/8″ thick.
Arrange on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. In the center of each circle, spread 1 T. of the onions, leaving a roughly 1″ border on all sides. Sprinkle 1 T. of cheese over the onions, then layer with a piece of butternut squash and several slices of apples.
Fold the edges of the tarts back over the filling, crimping as you go, if you like. Brush the dough with the egg and water mixture and bake for 20+ minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the bottom of the tarts are no longer soft.
Cool slightly before eating and serve warm, or at room temperature.
Makes 10-12 tartlets.