Tag Archives: farmer’s market recipes

Another Way to Be Pink: Watermelon Radish Salad

29 Oct

By Deanne

When I was shopping at the farmers market on Saturday there were a lot of people running around with pink clothing and wigs.  Being a bit clueless, I finally realized that there must have been an event to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.    

Photo of watermelon radish cut into matchsticks or ribbons

Have you heard the term pinkwashing? 

It is an ad and marketing campaign where a company or organization claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.

One way to deal with pinkwashing is to learn more about the product you buy. 

In contrast to just mindlessly buying consumer packaged goods wrapped in pink ribbons, consider this Chinese proverb:

“Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea, let the starved doctors beg on their knees.”

Digging a bit deeper, one learns that radishes are full of phytochemicals like zeaxanthin, lutein and beta-carotene. The lovely pink watermelon radish is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

There seems to be a pattern unfolding on this real food journey:  nutrient-rich, plant based foods can have a large positive impact on our health.  If you agree, join me in developing a FarmerChef lifestyle by shopping and cooking mostly local and real foods. You might even consider planting a raised-bed garden.  It may seem overwhelming at first, but we can make it fun and make a difference to our health.

Francine introduced me to this pink beauty when she returned from China.  I picked one up at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market and decided to make this recipe.  A slight variation to Francine’s recipe which is also very good. The three spices:  cinnamon, turmeric, and cloves are added because of their health benefits and flavor. Photo of watermelon radish Photo of watermelon radish salad

Watermelon Radish Salad

  • 1 large watermelon radish, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 small white onion, also sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (fresh ground)
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Use a peeler to remove the outside of the radish.  Slice radish and then cut slices into lovely pink ribbons. 

Slice onion and place in large mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl mix the juice, oil, sea salt, pepper, rice wine vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric and make a simple dressing to pour over the radish and onions.

Do you think it would be cool to pass out these radishes at the next #bepink event?  Imagine the conversations and education about the value of real food.


How to Bake Spaghetti Sqaush

26 Oct
 by Deanne

Baking spaghetti squash is a fun and easy way to be a FarmerChef.  If you have kids, get them involved in the part where you  “play” with your food by shredding the baked squash onto a plate and then topping it with this recipe from GamerKitchen chef, Luke.

Photo of Split SquashCarefully cut it open and scoop out the seeds.

Photo of Squash in Oven

Before turning the squash halves fleshy side down, brush them with oil and fresh pressed garlic.

Even if you live in city like I do, you can buy the your squash at a farmers market and place it in a tiny apartment-sized oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Photo of Steamy Squash

When it comes out steaming hot, let it cool until you are able to handle the squash and then scrape it with a fork.

Thank you Mother Nature for making a vegetable act like a yummy pasta dish!

For more  Winter Squash recipes check out Francine‘s posts:

What to do with all this squash I, II, III, IV, and V from our first fall of blogging. 

Photo of Shredding Squash

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

7 Jun
by Deanne

We were hoping to serve Coronation Chicken Salad as our Wednesday FarmerChef special, but instead we decided to make and serve a Spinach and Strawberry Salad after picking up some lovely (and tasty!) strawberries from the Mankato Farmers’ Market.  We also wanted to use some of the final cuttings of our spring spinach crop. (The remaining spinach is tucked away in the freezer, waiting until we’d like to use it in soup or quiche during the the hot summer months.)

This week it was neat to be inspired by fresh spinach and juicy strawberries…a FarmerChef is flexible and being a FarmerChef is fun!

Here’s how we made this salad.A photo of the salad

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Adapted from Taste of Home
Salad Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts fresh spinach
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower kernels
Dressing Ingredients:
  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

Place spinach in bowl.

In a separate container make the dressing by mixing all of the ingredients together.

Then add the strawberries and onions to the dressing and mix together.  Then add mixed strawberries to the large bowl and lightly toss to coat the spinach.  Top with sunflower kernels.

*Note…As you can see from the photo, we mixed the salad all together. But next time we plan to serve the strawberries/dressing on a bed of spinach because we think it will look prettier.*

Have you ever made a savoury salad using strawberries?

What to do with all this squash? Part V

17 Nov

A Winter Squash Series: Butternut Squash (3 Ways)

by Francine

Squash is plentiful, long lasting, festive and somewhat of a puzzle. It can be difficult to get through it’s sometimes-thick skin and figure out what to do with it. I decided to figure out this puzzle by picking up four wee squashes at the farmers’ market a few weeks ago. I’ve been researching each one and looking for recipes that are more than cut in half, scrape seeds, bake and top with butter. Stay tuned to find out what I did with each squash, as well as some fun facts.

Winter Squash family photo

I’ve had lots of fun with Butternut squash since I bought the little one, pictured above, back in late September. I turned the little one into a surprisingly savory dish with walnuts and vanilla using a recipe I found on Simply Recipes.A photo of Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla

Feeling inspired, I got a huge Butternut squash from a local squash grower and turned it into a wonderful soup that used peanut butter (!). This soup was featured on a River Cottage Everyday episode, and it was so good that (brother) Luke decided to teach the recipe at his cooking class.

The third recipe (for yet another huge Butternut) used tahini and lemon juice; it turned out to be to be surprisingly rich and filling. Also we discovered that this dish (from Smitten Kitchen) tastes best right after it’s made…the coldness of the fridge takes away some of the lovely flavors.

A photo of Nutty Butternut Squash SoupAll three recipes are uniquely tasty. I happily recommend each one.

Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla from Simply Recipes

Nutty Butternut Squash Soup from River Cottage Everyday

Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad from Smitten Kitchen

Happy making and eating!

What to do with all this Squash? Part III

2 Nov

A Winter Squash Series: Squash-y Memories from Living in China

by Francine

The tiny ambercup squash looks like a baby pumpkin; it also looks a lot like the pumpkin I encountered when I was living in Dalian, China. I picked one up from the vegetable market near my apartment building in Fall 2009. I was feeling festive so I drew a little smile on it. But when I decided to cook it, I realized this little guy was no pumpkin.A photo of the pumpkin I got in Dalian

The skin was nearly impossible for me to cut through. I vividly remember kneeling on my kitchen floor, bracing a cutting board with my knee and trying to keep a round pumpkin from rolling away while wielding a large knife. (It probably wasn’t the safest way to cut something, thankfully the knife was somewhat dull.) The thing that’s important is that I managed to chop that little pumpkin into chunks. I tried peeling it too, but I gave up and decided to boil it, afterwards the skin easily peeled off. I may have I made pumpkin soup, but can’t really remember.

After that experience, I learned the word for the winter squash I had prepared—nan gua (南瓜) which translated means pumpkin. After clicking through multiple Wikipedia pages and ‘winter squash varieties’ Google searches, the best I can ascertain is that nan gua is more exactly a Red Kuri Squash or maybe a Golden Nugget Squash aka Oriental Pumpkin.

While I was in China, I didn’t end up preparing another nan gua, probably because my arms were still sore.  I did get to taste it again, when my Chinese friend ordered a pumpkin and meat dish for lunch.  It was a tasty, saucy, stir fried dish with bright orange chunks in it…a lovely thing to try on a chilly January afternoon.A photo of the cutting process

When I was trying to decide what to do with  the Ambercup squash I got from the farmers’ market, I thought, hmm… this looks a lot like that nan gua I hacked away at on my kitchen floor. As I searched for what to do with Ambercup squash, I also Google image searched 南瓜 since they could be squash twins. I came across a photo of nan gua and beef along with an accompanying recipe in Chinese.

I plugged the recipe into Google translate and then did a bit of my own translating because after reading “until cooked pumpkin, sung out,” I was pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to sing show tunes to get my cooked pumpkin out of the pan. The translation of the author’s description of nan gua is equally humorous, “a pumpkin is simply iron, I use chopped bones, sword, and get tired to grimace in pain be considered open.” I definitely grimaced in pain to get that nan gua open. Although I didn’t use chopped bones, I suppose I could’ve chopped off my knee bone.A photo of Nan Gua

Funny translations aside, I did make Nan Gua Beef with Ambercup squash. It was enjoyed by my family atop steamed rice. Next time, I’ll share the recipe and some tips I learned while preparing Ambercup squash—a little squash with a very thick skin, you could even say it’s ‘simply iron’.

What to do with all this squash? part II

21 Oct

A Winter Squash Series: Sweet Dumpling Squash

by Francine

Squash is plentiful, long lasting, festive and somewhat of a puzzle. It can be difficult to get through it’s sometimes-thick skin and figure out what to do with it. I decided to figure out this puzzle by picking up four wee squashes at the farmers’ market a few weeks ago. I’ve been researching each one and looking for recipes that are more than cut in half, scrape seeds, bake and top with butter. Stay tuned to find out what I did with each squash, as well as some fun facts.

A photo of squash in a box

The farmers from whom I bought the very cute Sweet Dumpling squash from told me that it’s a perfect one person squash. It’s just the right size if you’re cooking for yourself.  Simply cut it in half, roast in the oven, jazz it up with some spices or some sweetness and enjoy.

I decided to make soup for one with a Sweet Dumpling squash.

  • First I cut the squash along its waist and removed the seeds.
  • Next I roasted it for about 25 minutes at 325 F.
  • While it was cooling, I sautéed half of a small onion and one slice of bacon with a little butter (but you could use oil).
  • Then I scooped out the flesh. (I read that the shells/skins of sweet dumplings make great festive bowls.)
  • I added the the squash flesh to the onion/bacon mix.
  • After that, I stirred in some half and half along with water to get my preferred soup consistency.
  • I simmered it for 5-10 minutes.A photo of the soup
  • A dash of salt and I had myself a little bowl of sweet dumpling soup.

The taste?  To me it was like sweet corn and squash mixed together. Very tasty!  Next time I’ll use a few sweet dumplings that way I can share and maybe have some leftovers (but I doubt it). :)

Have you ever prepared sweet dumpling squash? Does it sound like fun to use a squash ‘shell’ as a bowl?

Roasted Corn Chowder

20 Oct
by Francine

My brother can cook, produce videos and make a mean pancake.  He’s kind of awesome. :)

Here’s his most recent video about how to make Roasted Corn Chowder.  I thought I’d share it with you because…

1) It’s very tasty.

2) It’s autumn, which means it’s soup season. (yeah!)

3) He made it with onions and potatoes from our local farmer. (double yeah!!)

The recipe is designed for working professionals and Leisure Gamers (professionals who like to play video games, which isn’t me, but it’s him). The recipes is broken down into “checkpoints” that you can do ahead of time to make things go faster when it comes time for cooking.

This probably won’t be the last video of his that I post on here because, like I said, he’s kind of awesome.