Today’s classroom was taken to the streets of Santa Monica, CA for the Wednesday Farmers Market. We are on a treasure hunt for the freshest seasonal and locally grown fruits and veggies to prepare in class today. Wait until you see what we cooked with our Farmers Market treasures!
This market is not only the largest, but also a favorite of food enthusiasts and local chefs alike. Farmers show off their local produce and other seasonal favorites while shoppers enjoy the colorful atmosphere.
Our market tour guide is Reisha Fryzer from Farmbox LA. She explains how Farmers Market products are ultra-fresh, and superior in taste. Reisha holds a pimento pepper in her hand as an example of the many different varieties available to the consumer.
At the Farmers Market in California, all produce is grown only in this state.
By shopping at Farmers’ Markets, you are supporting family-operated small farms.
A local shopper models her proud pick of the day… Brussels sprouts with the greens attached. For the less ambitious, baskets are available.
If you don’t know what something is, or how to use it, just ask. Farmers Markets are a wealth of information. You can ask where it was grown, what variety it is, if the product was sprayed, as well as cooking suggestions.
An easy way to be healthy is to eat a spectrum of colorful fresh vegetables and fruits. They are full of great nutrients, including antioxidants and phytonutrients.
From persimmons to peppers, you can find great produce in season at your local Farmers Markets.
After an hour tour of the market, we returned to the classroom to prepare our Farmers Market treasures. Chef Carol arranged different groupings of food, and then our assignment was to make a dish with no recipe. I was so excited to work with the ugliest squash I have ever seen.
This heavily-warted “rock” that only a farmer could love, turned out to be beautiful inside with a nutty taste. If you would like to grow your own funky heirloom squash check out the fun varieties at www.kitazawaseed.com.
Farro was to be the base of this side dish. Farro is an ancient wheat that was among the first plants to be domesticated in the Middle East. It is low in calories, high in both protein and fiber, easy to cook, healthy, and delicious.
I slice the Kobacha very thinly and roasted it. The farro and leeks were cooked separately, then assembled for the final presentation.
Some of the other creations from our farmer’s market treasures.
Haricot Verts with Tomatoes / Heirloom Chicken with Cavolo Nero (kale) and Roasted Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, and Heirloom Cauliflower roasted with fresh herb vinaigrette.
Raw Persimmon, Apple, Fennel, and Beet Salad / Kale, Date and Pear Salad
Fresh Cheese & Strawberries with a Port Reduction Sauce / Pistachio Cake with Fresh Berries / Pumpkin Spice Cake
Chef Carol Cotner Thompson put together this beautiful Roasted Pears with St. Agur Cheese smothered in Local Honey
You might not be able to find or grow this particular Heirloom Kobocha, but this recipe works with any squash. Look for a strange one you haven’t tried before. If you don’t have leeks, use onions. If you can’t find farro, use rice, quinoa or spelt berries. Insert whatever treasure you can find for this recipe, as it is very versatile.
Farro & Leek Confit with Heirloom Kabocha
- 4 cups water
- 10 ounces farro about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 teaspoons salt plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh thyme or parsley
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 4 large leeks white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Oven Roasted Heirloom Kabocha
- 1 medium kabocha squash or acorn squash
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the farro and water in a medium saucepan. Add salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
Add the thyme to the farro, and toss to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, pepper, and olive oil. Salt to taste. Add the vinaigrette to the farro and toss to coat.
The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Leek Confit directions
In a large pot over a medium low flame melt the butter. When butter is melted add the leeks and stir coating leeks with the butter.
Add water and salt, stir to combine. Place lid on pot and reduce flame to low. Cook, stirring often, for approximately 25 minutes or until leeks are tender.
Take lid off the pot and cook approximately 2 to 3 minutes or until remaining liquid is evaporated.
Oven Roasted Heirloom Kabocha directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut up one kabocha squash into thin slices. Lay the pieces in one layer on a pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until all sides of the squash are covered with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, and then roast for about 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Put farro on a platter. Top with Leek Confit and then add Kabocha on top. Serve at room temperature.
Quote of the Week
“Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food.” – Hippocrates
When you shop at your local Farmer’s Market, you will be well on your way to investing in your healthy future.
…and then she paused for thought.