Farmer's Market News...What's in Season

About now I am anxious for the local produce stand and farmer's market to open. Unfortunately, that is still a couple of months off. The produce stand opens first (sometime in April) with produce they truck up from California and eastern Washington. I like to go there since it is in the open air and it gives me a little "Saturday market fix." The big whopper of a farmer's market, The Beaverton Saturday Market, isn't open until May.

So, what's in season now? Mostly produce from the southern states (I will include California in that, since they are pretty much considered to be part of the southwest)...that is some citrus for fruit, but mostly root vegetables and cole crops, such as cabbage and broccoli.

Some people are really missing out on a treat if the only root veggies they eat are potatoes and carrots. I have become addicted to a variety of roasted root vegetables.  It is amazing how sweet and flavorful they become, and are so healthy! I roast two large baking pans full of them in one evening and that will last us for at least four nights' meals.

Here is how I prepare them, and then the dishes I use them in...

Vegetables to roast:
red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled
rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
carrots, unpeeled
parsnips, peeled
onions, peeled
leeks (white and pale green parts only)
turnips, peeled
sweet potatoes or yams, unpeeled
beets (blanch & peel before roasting)
squash, asparagus and fennel (I know, these aren't root veggies, but good)

Cut all of the vegetables into large chunks. Place them in a large bowl(s) and drizzle a little olive oil over them along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. You can also mix in your favorite herbs, such as rosemary and garlic. Toss them with your hands to coat them all. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour until brown and caramalized, stirring and turning the vegetables mid-way. It's not an exact science and is easy to do...when they are brown and smell really good, you know they are ready.


Let them cool and then refrigerate in covered bowls or freezer bags.

Uses:
  • Plain as a side dish right out of the oven is my favorite. But, they are also good reheated and served with any main dish such as pork or fish.
  • Heat some in the microwave and then mash them with a bit of butter and milk. Serve as you would mashed potatoes with meat loaf, chicken, etc.
  • Make a quick au-gratin by slicing, layering them with bread crumbs, cheese and a small amount of cream or milk. Top with bread crumbs mixed with a little melted butter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  • Add roasted vegetables to hot chicken or vegetable stock for a very quick soup. I use an emersion blender for a creamy soup. Add a dollop of sour cream and some chives on top.
  • Toss cold, sliced roasted vegetables with a vinegar and oil salad dressing (Italian dressing) and place on a bed of lettuce for a winter salad. Add chunky croutons or a bit of gorgonzola cheese on top.

roasted vegetable soup....roasted vegetables mixed with penne & cheese

Don't let those parsnips or beets intimidate you! We had a friend in his 50's that had never had fresh cooked beets. He said he didn't like beets (he was used to those in a can!)  Now he loves them and we make sure to plant a few extra to give to him. If you have time, pickle some little beets to use in green salads instead of those rubber tomatoes they have in the grocery store in winter.
Eat your vegetables!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE VEGETABLES FRESH FROM THE GARDEN AND THOSE SOUND SO GOOD! THANKS!

Rhonda Gibson said...
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