By Carolyn Hallett & Adri Warrick, co-founders of The Whole Tulip Blog
We can’t stress enough how great farmer’s markets are right now. They are busting out with all the fruits and vegetables you can imagine. Recently, we mentioned stopping at a stand on the way to the beach even if you don’t have a clue what you are going to make and this week we put our tip to the test. Adri and I, went to the farmer’s market with no idea of what we were going to make and the following are a few ideas we came up with on the spot.
This is an activity you can do with the kids as well. Studies have shown that kids’ interests about food are peaked and they are more willing to try new things if they start to understand where their food comes from. Have them talk to the farmers at the market and ask them where the vegetables were grown. Do you they see something they have never seen before? Buy it and come up with a recipe later and have them join you in the kitchen.
So, what’s for dinner tonight? How about a cool gazpacho soup with vegetable slaw? Are there must-have carnivores in your house? Try a grass fed ground beef burger topped with pineapple mango salsa and grilled corn. The possibilities are endless and all you need is a few staple items at home like olive oil, salt and pepper and there is no reason to have to go the grocery store too!
Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm’s Slaw
1 lb cabbage, cored (you can do half green and half purple)
12 medium to large radishes
½ lb broccoli, florets separated from stalks, blanched for 1 minute
½ bunch green onions, pale and green part, sliced ¼ inch thick
½ green beans, ends trimmed and sliced in ¼ inch thick, blanched for 1 minute
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon honey*
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
sea salt and pepper
Chop cabbage, radishes, and broccoli florets into small pieces. The vegetables do not need to be precisely diced but should be about the same size. With a pairing knife or vegetable peeler, pare the tough outer layer of the broccoli stalks to reveal the pale core. Chop the cores the same size as the other vegetables.
Put all the chopped vegetables in a large bowl and add the green onions and green beans. Toss to mix.
To make the dressing, in a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, ginger, salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the slaw, using only as much as you need to coat the vegetables. Toss well, taste and adjust seasoning. This salad gets better as it marinate so let it sit out for an hour or cover and put in the refrigerator for longer.
*My mother-in-law, Jaquelin, brought me this delicious honey from a local beekeeper in Bertie county. It makes all the difference – try and find some local honey if you can.
Adri’s Kid Friendly, Gazpacho
I remember specifically disliking gazpacho as a kid, why on earth would my mom want to eat something cold and chunky that tasted a lot like tomatoes and onions. Well, I am happy say my opinion has changed. Gazpacho is one of the easiest and most nutritious, low cal meals out there. It is literally veggies all blended up together. It is perfect for these hot days of summer, especially when we are running in the door after a swim meet asking ourselves, what’s for dinner? One batch will last you several lunches or lite dinners. Add a simple spinach salad with berries, gorgonzola and pine nuts and you have one vitamin rich, antioxidant packed meal!
What I found most surprising about this recipe is that it is a perfect one to involve your kids. In the morning, we hit the King’s Drive farmer’s market and the kids picked out some ripe tomatoes, bright green cucumbers and peppers, celery, lemons, chives, onions and parsley. That afternoon my older son, two neighborhood girls and I set up shop in the kitchen. We had a peeling station at the sink and a chopping station. This recipe does not require precise chopping or measuring. Frankly, it is pretty hard to mess up. The most stressful part of the recipe was making sure a 6 year old did not chop off their finger. If you have a powerful blender (vitamix) or food processor, all you have to do is roughly chop the veggies, plop in the blender and add liquids. Turn the blender on until slightly chunky and voila you are done! *Carolyn’s theory proved true, all the kids tried the soup and liked it (well at least for a second) after participating in the buying and preparing process.
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 purple onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper (or green) seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (omit for vegetarian option)
4 cups tomato juice
Blend slightly, to desired consistency. Place in non-metal, non-reactive storage container, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavors to blend.
If you have memories of not liking this soup as a child, give it another shot! You may be surprised or simply let the amount of nutrients in this soup motivate you to try it.
These recipes are perfect for any 4th of July plans because they won’t spoil in the heat! Happy 4th!