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

Hello my little dumpling

Hello friends!  I hope everyone is having a great weekend!  I am super excited to share this recipe with you… this might just be the BEST thing I’ve ever made!

Soooo, a little background… on Christmas Jonathan and I BOTH got dumpling presses in our stockings (we, I mean Santa, inexplicably had the exact same idea… one of those really cool marriage moments).  Well, we put them to good use this weekend!  I did my usual ‘roll with what we have in the fridge’ approach and the dumplings came out better than I could have imagined.
Butternut Squash Dumplings 

  • butternut sqash, cut into small cubes (1/2 lg squash, or 1 smallish one)
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into thick slices
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • bunch of fresh spinach, chopped
  • wonton wrappers (in the regular grocery store near the tofu)
  • salt, pepper, olive oil

dumpling ingredients

Drizzle the squash, onions and garlic with olive oil and a bit of salt.  Roast at 450F until soft, about 45 mins.  I keep the garlic skins on so they don’t dry out, just squeeze it out after cooking.  Mix with the chopped spinach and mash the ingredients to make the filling.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Place a wonton wrapper diagonally on the press.  Add about a teaspoon of filling, wet edges, and press… voila!  Place the dumplings on wax paper and keep pressing.  The recipe made about 2 dozen.

Heat 1-2 Tbs olive or sesame oil in a skillet on medium high heat.  Cook in a single layer, 2-3 minutes per side, or until crispy.

pressdumplings stick

Oops!!  The first round totally stuck… (this did not stop us from devouring them straight from the pan)  I definitely recommend a NON-stick skillet for these delicate little babies:

dumplings nonstick

Aaaahhhh…. perfection!

And,what’s a dumpling without sauce… if you answered ‘not very good’ then friend, correct answer!  So I did a little trio of dipping sauces.  This sounds more complicated than it was because two of those sauces came from bottles  😉

Dipping Sauces

  • Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Citrus Ponzu sauce (the brand I picked was too citrusy for my tastes, so I toned it down with some tamari and water)
  • Spicy Peanut sauce: 2T peanut butter, 1T rice wine vinegar, 1T tamari, 3-4T water, 2 shakes cayenne.  A mini food processor is great here, or whisk like crazy with a fork to get that PB into solution.

I also did a little raw broccoli salad.  I used a bag of the Green Giant brand ‘Rainbow Slaw’ pre=chopped veggies (it was next to the wonton wrappers and just jumped into my basket).  I dressed the slaw with a mixture of: 1T sesame oil, 1T tamari, 1T citrus ponzu, 1T sweet chili sauce

Drumroll please…………

dumplings!!

The most delicious meal ever!

In other news, I went to a class this afternoon on cleansing with whole foods.  I left feeling nourished, energized and inspired.  The cleanse starts Friday… so stay tuned!

xox!  Kristen