WND – Farmer’s Market Addiction

July 24, 2008

I hear that the first step is admitting that you have a problem . . . . I have a problem with farmer’s markets.

They’re so enticing. They make me want to buy far more fruit and vegetables than we can possibly eat before they go bad. They make me want to buy vegetables that I know I don’t like just because they look so pretty sitting there in cheerful jumbled piles. I am lured by the huge glowing purple eggplants, and the muted greens and yellows of summer squash. I am seduced by the earthy mounds of yellow and magenta beets.

This is my favorite part of the farmer’s market season. We’ve gotten past the late spring/early summer period when all that’s on offer are 8,000 kinds of lettuce. I like salad, but I like it even better when it comes prewashed. I’m sure this makes me a bad person, but on the scale of ways I could be sinning I’m thinking buying my salad prewashed and bagged from the grocery store probably puts me in one of the outer rings of Hell.

Later in the season the market will offer dozens of varieties of apple, and pears. Pumpkins will be lined up along the sidewalk and there will be bins of late summer corn. There will be tiny new potatoes to entice me, and small mountains of acorn and butternut squash. Autumn is a starch lover’s paradise.

But right now we’re in the heart of Summer – although you could be pardoned for thinking that it’s Fall given the gloomy weather outside – and when you walk up to the market you can smell the fresh peaches almost before you can see the stalls. Every stall is bursting with piles of sweet corn, and tomatoes. Barquettes of blueberries and raspberries and blackberries are lined up in neat ranks, and if you poke around you come across hidden treasures like purple peppers and strange round lemon cucumbers.

The only things that constrain me from buying everything in sight is that I have to carry everything home, and that it’s expensive. On the other hand there’s a lot to be said for going somewhere that makes shopping a joyous experience rather than a chore. I tend to save as much of my vegetable shopping for the farmer’s market as I can for as long as they’re around. Why support farmers thousands of miles away who have to pick their fruits and vegetables before they really ripen to make sure that they’ll survive the trip when you can support local farmers who’ve probably picked your fruits and vegetables less than 24 hours ago at the peak of their ripeness? Also, you get to feel smugly virtuous for doing something that nets you better produce and is fun to do and there’s just no downside to that.

Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce
Soba Noodle Salad
Lightly Pickled Cucumbers

Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce

1 cup well stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 ½ tsp curry powder
¾ tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cornstarch

Whisk together until no lumps remains. Add ¾ lb chicken breast cut into strips (or tenders) and marinate for 1-24 hours.

Thread each strip of chicken onto a wooden skewer (soak them in water for about 30 minutes beforehand) and cook on a lightly oiled grill until done.

You don’t actually have to skewer the chicken. If you’re using a real grill it probably makes them easier to turn, but if you’re using a stove top grill they’re really mostly just decorative.

Peanut Sauce
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 sesame oil
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp dried hot pepper flakes
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
3/4 cup water

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Soba Noodle Salad

¾ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno chili, seeded & minced
3 Tbsp lime juice
Zest of one lime
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic and jalapeno. Allow to cool and then add the lime juice, lime zest and sesame oil.

12 oz soba noodles
1 red bell pepper, diced finely*
1 mango, chopped into small cubes**
Handful fresh basil, chopped
Handful fresh mint, chopped
Chopped peanuts for garnish

Cook the noodles in salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Drain well and then toss with the dressing.

Add mango, bell pepper, basil and mint. Toss and serve with chopped peanuts for garnish.

* I tend to prefer red bell peppers to any other color because I think they’re sweeter, but I used purple ones this week because I thought they’d look cool in the salad. I’m shallow that way.
** The recipe calls for mango, I used fresh peaches and I think any soft fruit like a peach or a nectarine would work in this recipe.

Lightly Pickled Cucumbers
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 lb cucumbers halved crosswise

Bring vinegar and sugar to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then cool to room temperature. Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil.

Cut cucumber lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick ribbons using a mandoline or other manual slicer (the mandoline makes this so easy). Toss cucumber with dressing and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Do not let dressed cucumber salad stand more than 20 minutes before serving, or it will become soggy.



  1. […] Recipe previously given:  Farmer’s Market Addiction […]

  2. […] Recipe previously given: Farmer’s Market Addiction […]

  3. […] Recipe previously given:  Farmer’s Market Addiction […]

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