Isn’t that what one of the miners was purported to say when he struck gold in California? Well, I have finally struck my own kind of gold —a treasure trove of recipes shared by the producers at our local farmers markets. I recently asked the vendors to share their favorite recipes for the produce that they sell, and a few recipes have trickled in since my request.
As I made my rounds of the stalls at the downtown market on Tuesday afternoons, I still got a few sheepish “I forgots,” but I also had a couple people eagerly waiting with recipes for their favorite seasonal dishes. And a few of them utilize some of the more unique veggies that we might not be sure how to cook.
One such is this dish shared via email by producer Chong W. Lee that utilizes bok choy, also known as Chinese cabbage. I often make a bok choy salad that was featured in DotMom’s Mixing and Musing column many years ago, but have never tried it cooked in any form.
“You can use bok choy for many dishes like soup (chicken/pork soup), stir fry with pork/chicken/beef, or bok choy soup by itself without any seasons,” writes Lee, who shares this favorite soup recipe.
“Very simple soup with no seasoning because it is very good for your health due to the fact that it is low in calories, it contains potassium, vitamin c, folic acid, which is good for pregnant women, and antioxidants,” explained Lee. “This is good for people who are watching their diet or just their health.
Bok Choy Soup
Heat 7 cups water in medium-sized pot. Prepare 2 bok choy heads by washing thoroughly, then cutting into halves.
When the water comes to a boil, add the boy choy. Boil for about 30 minutes, or until the bok choy is tender.
Makes 2-3 servings.
Pat Jones, a vendor from south of the state border near Sibley, Iowa, made copies of several recipes to keep on hand for her customers when they puzzle about how to prepare certain vegetables. Watch for some of Jones’ okra preparations in an upcoming blog, but for now here’s her basic Swiss chard recipe.
Swiss Chard a la Pat
Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in 4 cloves garlic, minced, and cook until tender and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add 1 bunch Swiss chard, stalks discarded and leaves cut into wide ribbons, and ¼ cup balsamic vinegar. Cook and stir until the chard is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Renee Peters of Rushmore sells a wide variety of home-grown vegetables along with some delicious baked goods at her farmers market booths, so I knew she was good for a least a few recipes. Here’s the first of several from Renee, with more on the way.
Summer Squash Casserole
Slice or chop about 1½ small summer squashes per person and sauté with 1 onion, chopped, until tender. Drain.
Add 1 tablespoon sugar and mash the squash. Add in 3 beaten eggs, 1½ cups milk, 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese, 3 tablespoons flour and salt and pepper to taste.
Place mixture in a cake pan. Top with bread crumbs and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
After all that savory stuff, it’s time for a bit of sweet —a zucchini bread from Barb Pohlman, whose recipe for Tomato Soup was featured in my last Lagniappe blog.
Cocoa Zucchini Bread
Mix 1 cup oil, 2½ cups sugar, 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon soda, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup cocoa, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 3 cups flour and 3 cups shredded zucchini. Pour mixture into 2 greased 8 by 5-inch loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.