Hello fellow food lovers,
I am pleased to announce that this will be the first of many posts devoted to food education. We believe that it’s important to embrace diversity, in our fields and in our diets. We grow food to eat food. Gathering Together Farm is a rare breed in that we cook and freely sample our produce at all eight of our farmers markets. Many of our customers have expressed an interest in the specifics of our recipes, and this is our response to that.
For me personally, I grew up with two vegetables in the house—baby carrots, and green bell peppers. Throughout my years working at GTF, I have gotten to know the immense variety of produce that we grow. I have seeded, weeded, harvested, and cooked nearly every single vegetable—I even came to truly love the taste of bitter chicory greens! What I have learned is invaluable, and I feel I must keep that gift in motion. Our goal here at the farm is to share our love of the food we grow with our community.
Every week I will be posting recipes made at the Corvallis Saturday Farmers Market the day after market, in time for Sunday dinner. We will try to incorporate recipes from our other markets as well. Each week we will be sampling produce in its prime season, which will change in step with the weather. Our recipes only emphasize the freshness already present in our produce, and because of this we like to keep it simple. Sometimes the best way to enjoy something is to do nothing to it at all.
Under no definition should I be considered a trained chef, I am just a person who wants to eat local, seasonal vegetables in the tastiest ways I can. Sometimes I burn things and over-salt others. I learn as I go, and that’s all I know. I encourage everyone to deviate from my instructions and do what feels right to them. Though I am not aiming for anything gourmet, what I am aiming for is feasible deliciousness. Anyone can do this.
Yesterday the Corvallis Farmers Market was booming. The bounty of the surrounding counties gleamed in the cool April sunshine as the masses flowed through the streets. Over at our booth, we sampled the following:
HAKUREI SALAD TURNIPS:
Those of you who know me know that I won’t shut up about these turnips. They’re amazing, and that’s the simple truth. Yesterday we sampled them raw, as they are already soft and sweet. Tasting one for the first time, you’d be surprised how much you like a turnip. Kids eat them raw like apples, you can dip them in hummus, or mix them into a salad as the name suggests. These delicate little orbs are cool weather crops, so eat your fill before the heat of summer sets in.
DAIKON RADISH STIR FRY:
- 2 medium shallots, chopped
- 1 bunch daikon radish, thinly sliced (use Hakurei turnips and it’ll be just as delicious!)
- Stems & greens from the daikon radish
- Olive oil
- Tamari (gluten free soy sauce; feel free to use soy sauce instead)
- Put enough olive oil in the pan to coat the bottom, plus a little more. Cook about medium high. Sprinkle a couple shallot pieces in the oil and once it starts sizzling add the remaining shallots.
- Let the shallots get up to temperature, then add about 3 tablespoons tamari. Let sauté about 3 minutes so that the tamari reduces some.
- Stir in entire bunch of thinly sliced daikon radish. Sauté about 3 minutes.
- Add in the daikon stems and greens, roughly chopped. Stir in and add a pinch or two of salt. Let sauté about 2 minutes, and turn off the heat.
- Taste your creation! If you think it needs more salt and/or tamari, add more. We all know how much easier it is to add than it is to subtract.
- Serve solo, with rice, or with whatever sounds delicious to you.
PAN-FRIED PARSNIPS W/ PEA TOP SALAD—recipe adapted from Guillaum, our master sampler at the Newport Farmers Market
- 1 large parsnip, sliced thin like french fries
- 1 bunch pea tops (spinach is also well-suited for this dish, as seen in the final image)
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Coat the bottom of the pan in oil, liberally. Place one parsnip strip in the oil, and once it starts sizzling, add enough parsnips to coat the bottom of the pan in a roughly single layer (you may have to do two rounds to fry up your whole parsnip).
- Stir every couple minutes to prevent sticking. After about 7-10 minutes, many of the parsnips will turn golden brown on the edges. This is a good sign that they are done.
- Fish the parsnip fries out of the pan with tongs, allowing most of the oil to drip off before placing them in a bowl. Sprinkle them with salt immediately. This is the magic secret. If you salt the parsnips while they’re in the oil, they will release water and become mushy rather than crispy. Set aside and munch as you work on the salad.
- In a large bowl, mix together minced shallots, 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil. I do a rough 1:2 vinegar to oil ratio, though I don’t actually measure.
- Chop up an entire bunch of pea tops and toss them in the vinaigrette. Taste a leaf. If you think it needs more balsamic, add some more.
- Serve together for a wonderful combination of crispy salty parsnips and sweet fresh pea tops.
I’d like to thank you all for taking the time to read this. Always feel free to share your favorite recipes, and maybe I’ll try them out at market.