Making the best of winter… an outing to the winter market

Hi everyone!  I have to admit, I am less than impressed with today’s snowstorm.  I mean, tomorrow is the first day of spring!!  Apparently Mother Nature did not get the memo…..

So, one great thing about winter is the great selection of local WINTER farmer’s markets.  Yes, that is correct, you can get fresh local vegetables in the winter, even in New England  😉

One of my favorite markets is in Exeter, NH and I had the pleasure of going this weekend with my friend Heather.  Heather worked on one of our local farms a few summers ago… for me, this experience (you know, second-hand friend-experience) started me on this journey of farm-fresh food and healthier whole food eating.

I’m pleased to report that the farmer’s market is so much more than just vegetables.  There is so much to see, and taste, that I could (and did) spend the whole morning there!  The highlights……..

The Heron Pond Farm farmstand… this is where Jonathan and I usually do our CSA membership!  Tons of fresh produce, always a treat…. and the owners are really great.  Come to think of it, I’ve never met a farmer that isn’t great… must be something about all that fresh air and fresh food that makes a person happy 🙂

market veggies

Fresh bread and local cheese….. (I ONLY refrained because we are still working our way through a loaf of foccacia at the house)

market bread

Fresh pasta!!  Need I say more?  Well okay, I do have more to say… Valicenti Organico is has tons of pasta options, including some made from farro and grains other than your traditional wheat.  He also had so many different ravioli choices.  I was ten minutes deciding… I went with the multi-grain portobello with spinach and chevre.  Yum!!

market pasta

White Heron is another favorite.  I just love their teas.  I enjoyed an iced cranberry ginger at the market.  They also had a tasty looking quinoa salad… I didn’t buy it, but I did stare at the label long enough to memorize the ingredients.  Can’t wait to make a batch 😉

market tea

And here I am with Heather, Shelly and Tamara… Shelly is one of the owners at Burnt Swamp Farm.  I plan to get her fresh eggs until Jonathan lets me have some pet chickens.  She has 224 chickens… I would be happy with just 3-4, totally manageable, right?  😉  And I would be remiss if I failed to mention her greens.  Fresh spinach and kale, delish!  I also love the market because it’s a chance to catch up with friends and chat with new people.

market girls

If you are curious about the market schedule, and live near me, you can check it out here (this is not an exhaustive list!)

Hmmmm… now what to do with all this fresh food?  A delicious meal, of course!!

Winter Market Bowl

This meal combines some of winter’s best harvest.  Paired with a gingery soy sauce, this bowl is tasty and satisfying.  This recipe was also my first use of wheat berries… SO GREAT!  Of course, you could serve this with rice or quinoa, but once you try wheat berries, you won’t want to.  Serves 2 with extra wheat berries.

  • 2-3 small beets, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup broccoli, broken into small pieces
  • ~2 cups kale, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • sauce: 3Tbs tamari or Bragg’s, 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar, 1Tbs olive oil, 1 tsp tahini, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/2-1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • toppings (optional): chopped almonds, nutritional yeast

Start by getting the wheat berries going… bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add a dash of salt and 1 cup wheat berries.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until all of the water has absorbed and the berries are cooked, about 45 minutes.  The veggies will cook quickly, so give the wheat berries about 30 minutes of cook time before starting the vegetables.

Chop the carrot and beets.  Roast at 450F for 5 minutes then add the corn kernels and roast an additional 5-10 minutes.  I like my veggies a bit crunchy.

Here’s the coolest thing ever… Jonathan got me a bamboo steamer!

bamboo steamer

It is so quick and easy, and vegetables come out perfectly!  Bring an inch or two of water to a boil over high heat.  You can just pop this steamer on top of the pot… if you don’t have a steamer, a collander works well too.  The broccoli and kale were cooked to perfection in 5 minutes.  Here it is in action:

bamboo steamer2While the veggies are cooking, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients.  The raw garlic and ginger can be a bit heavy for sensitive taste buds, so you may want to strain the sauce before serving to remove the bits.

Easy assembly… add cooked wheat berries to a bowl… top with veggies.  Drizzle with sauce and (optional) top with chopped almonds and nutritional yeast.  Not to toot my own horn, but this was seriously one of the best meals!

market bowl

Mmmmm… transport me to southeast Asia… away from all of this snow!!  Tomorrow is the first day of spring.  I’m crossing my fingers that I wake up to 50 degree weather  😉

Stay healthy… winter is almost over!!

xox, Kristen

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An Apple a Day

Today I had lunch with my parents… the food was great and company was even better!  Over a spicy pumpkin chipotle soup and delicious quinoa salad (which I can’t wait to recreate at home), the topic of the flu came up.  Jonathan and I are currently cable-free at our casa, so it’s easy to fall behind on current events.  Well, apparently, the flu is quite bad this year.  If you, like me, were blissfully unaware of this little tidbit of information until now, not to worry!  There are many things we can do to stay healthy, starting with the foods we eat.  A perfect time to share some immune-boosting recipes.

They say garlic is as good as ten mothers due to its incredible healing properties.  Try this super easy soup next time you aren’t feeling like your usual fabulous self:

Garlic Lover’s Soup

  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • huge handful of chopped fresh spinach

Slice the top off the garlic and rub with olive oil.  Wrap in foil and roast at 425F until soft, approx. 45 mins.  Squeeze the cloves into a soup pot and smash up with a spoon.  Add the veggie stock and simmer 10 mins.  Add the spinach to wilt just before serving.  Makes one big bowl of soup.  (okay, here’s a little secret…. Carl’s Meat Market in Kittery, ME sells whole heads of freshly roasted garlic… you could definitely short-cut this recipe)

Ginger tea is another favorite of mine.  I don’t always love ginger’s potent flavor, but this brew is mellow enough for me to enjoy.

Ginger Tea

  • small piece of fresh ginger, peeled, about 1/2in chunk
  • honey and lemon

Simmer the ginger in 2-3 cups of water for 15 minutes.  Add honey and lemon to taste.  I like two lemon wedges and about a tablespoon of honey.  That was so easy, it hardly qualifies as a recipe!

ginger

Tea in the works… yum!  Oh, if you are suddenly afflicted with mug envy, I picked up that sweet mug at Salmon Falls in Dover, NH.  It’s worth a visit… you can see the in-progress pottery and purchase the finished goods!

Stay healthy, friends!   xox Kristen