Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Garlic

east nashville farmers marketWhen I come home after my weekly visit to the East Nashville Farmers Market, I like to make trays of Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Garlic to jazz-up pastas, sandwiches, omelettes, and more. The East Nashville Farmers Market has every tomato variety under the summer sun — beefsteak, cherry, pear, plum, and grape — and each can be used in this easy recipe. I like to leave our market with bags full of heirlooms that come in a kaleidoscope of colors such as red, orange, green, yellow, and purple to roast and store in my refrigerator for weekend meal possibilities.

tomatoesRoasting tomatoes is not only a great way to avoid waste, but also a fantastic way to coax out the complex flavors of the fruit. Tomatoes caramelize when slowly roasted at low oven temperatures, intensifying the sugars and evaporating wateriness. This creates a sweeter flavor with a more vigorous, succulent texture that is less chewy than an dried tomato.

I begin my roasted tomatoes with a saucepan of extra-virgin olive oil, thyme sprigs, and crushed garlic cloves. I heat the pan until the thyme and garlic have fully infused the oil — about 5 minutes, swirling the pan intermittently. I remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool slightly while I slice my tomatoes.
Cherry tomatoes can be roasted whole or sliced in halve, but I prefer to slice them in half because I love the appearance. Beefsteak tomatoes should be sliced around 1/2 an inch, depending on how long you can wait for them to roast — the thicker the slice, the longer it will take to get that meaty texture you’re looking for. The thinner the slice, and your tomato might roast down too much.

roasted tomatoesOnce my tomatoes are sliced, I toss them in a mixing bowl with my thyme and garlic infused oil and a little salt and pepper, and add a few extra thyme leaves and chopped garlic cloves to the mix. I arrange my tomatoes in a single layer on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for an hour or two until my tomatoes are roasted to my liking. They can be stored in the refrigerator within an air tight container for multiple weeks, and can be frozen for months.

Executive Chef Hrant Arakelian of Holland House Featured at Tomato Throwdown 2015

Executive Chef Hrant Arakelian

Executive Chef Hrant Arakelian

Executive Chef Hrant Arakelian of Holland House Bar and Refuge will be featured at the East Nashville Farmers Market’s Tomato Throwdown on August 5, 2015. Chef Arakelian will be demonstrating two dishes prepared with tomatoes grown by our local farmers — a fresh salad of mixed heirloom tomatoes and a saucy spiced shakshuka with Roma tomatoes and poached farmers’ market eggs. Chef Arakelian’s passion for utilizing seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients is ever-present on the menus at Holland House Bar and Refuge, and the East Nashville Farmers Market is delighted to have them as a top-tier sponsor for 2015.

Holland House Bar and RefugeIf you have ever enjoyed a meal at East Nashville’s Holland House Bar and Refuge, you have experienced the influence of Chef Arakelian’s Lebanese heritage. Seasonality, freshness, local , and made-in-house ingredients are standard components to his finely-tuned craft. The Executive Chef’s success at the Holland House eventually led to the owner Tery Raley’s other culinary venture, Germantown’s rustic Butchertown Hall. Chef Arakelians currently serves as executive chef of both. Dishes such as the ones Arakelian will be serving at the East Nashville Tomato Throwdown 2015 can be found on the menus of both highly-acclaimed restaurants.

When asked why he and Holland House Bar and Refuge sponsor the East Nashville Farmers market, Chef Arakelian’s response is simple: “As a local East Nashville restaurant, it’s important to support the East Nashville food scene. We use lots of local produce grown by local farmers at both Holland House and Butchertown Hall, so we support a venue for them to sell what they produce.”

When asked why he chooses local, Chef Arakelian is honest and direct: “Food grown locally tastes better and is fresher. It’s not an easy thing to do — growing food. So we enjoy forming relationships with farmers instead of buying from a local supply company.”

Come chat with Executive Chef Hrant Arakelian at the Chef Demo Tent this Wednesday at the East Nashville Farmers Market’s Tomato Throwdown 2015.

Fresh Organically-Grown Corn Right Off the Farm

organic cornFresh organically-grown corn right off the farm will be arriving at the East Nashville Farmers Market in Shelby park this week! That’s right, folks, truckloads of the sweetest Tennessee corn delivered straight from the field to you, our market shoppers. Come try a sample and taste the freshness! We’re pleased to announce Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys as our special musical guest. Food trucks will be the popular Jones Press serving Panini sandwiches for you and the kids to enjoy, plus Pita Pit and Bradley’s Curbside Creamery to beat the summer heat. We’re also excited to announce Professor Bailey’s new Spicy Pimento Cheese Gougeres to the list of items found at our farmers’ market. So grab the kids, your blanket, and some extra large shopping bags, folks, because you aren’t going to want to miss all the freshness to find down in Shelby Park!

Organically grown corn from Delvin Farms

Organically grown corn from Delvin Farms

Fist thing’s thing, let’s talk sweet corn. Our farmers grow the sweetest organically-grown corn varieties in some of the most fertile regions of Tennessee and will be bringing it fresh from the field to you our market shoppers. We’re excited to announce Cam Conry from Conry Farms will be arriving with a truckload of his favorite sweet corn this Wednesday at our farmers’ market. You can also find an extra load of Delvin Farms organically-grown sweet corn brought to you fresh from the field. This local sweet corn is so fresh — juicy, sweet, crunchy, and nutritious. Come try a sample and taste the freshness yourself. We love to grill sweet corn and slice leftover kernels into a giant pot of grilled corn soup with roasted chicken.

heirloom tomatoesIn addition to loads of fresh, Tennessee sweet corn, our market is over-flowing with giant heirloom tomatoes for summer tomato sandwiches and sweet cherry varieties for salads. From Oak Grove Farm to Flying “S” Farm to Green Door Gourmet and Old School Farm, our farmers have all the heirlooms you need — Cherokee Purple, Amish Paste, Brandywine, White Beauties, and much more! And if you’re a tomato fan, check out the East Nashville Farmers Market Tomato Throwdown 2015 on August 5th.

Grilled Sweet Corn Soup with Roasted Chicken

This combination of flavor guarantees a new family summertime favorite

This combination of flavor guarantees a new family summertime favorite

Sweet corn soup with roasted chicken is perfect to make in the summer when sweet corn is being picked fresh from the fields. Sweet corn adds a starchy thickness to soups, stews, and chowders creating a luxurious, hearty meal. This soup’s bright Mexican flavors make it a fun choice for summer, plus using tons of fresh farm veggies and chicken breast makes it delicious and full of nutrition. We love roasted chicken with local sweet corn for a great summertime meal!

I begin with the backbone to every soup — the stock. A homemade stock is so easy to make while improving the end result exponentially. For my stock, I begin with two small roasted chicken carcasses, one quartered yellow onion (skins still on), one carrot chopped, two celery ribs chopped, two cloves garlic, one tablespoon black peppercorns, two Mexican oregano sprigs, and salt to taste. Once all my ingredients are added to the stockpot, I employ my secret weapon — two ears of sweet corn, kernels and the cobs. Corn cobs give soup stock a wonderful flavor and the starch from the kernels act as a thickening agent. I cover all ingredients with cold water in an eight quart stockpot until the water reaches the top. I place my stock on the stove at medium high heat and boil for about an hour. Once my stock reduces by one third, I strain out all the remnants and set in my refrigerator until the fat coagulates at the top. I skim the fat and set my stock to the side.

Farm fresh veggies is a key for this flavorful soup

Farm fresh veggies is a key for this flavorful soup

I then return back to my stockpot to build my roast chicken and sweet corn soup. I begin by sautéing one medium to large yellow onion, one carrot, and one celery rib in olive oil over med-high heat. Once my aromatics begin to brown, I add one tablespoon chopped Mexican oregano, one chopped red bell pepper, and a chopped jalapeno (optional) and sauté until all the aromatics are soft. I then pour my homemade stock over my aromatics (about two quarts) and simmer for a good 15 minutes. The aromas in my kitchen for this sweet corn soup with roasted chicken are amazing!

Once my soup base is ready, it’s time for the flavor. I add one-half cup of freshly-squeezed lime juice, one-quarter of a cup of chopped cilantro, two full cups of shredded chicken breast, and two full cups of smoky grilled sweet corn that I sliced off the cob. Once that simmers together for a few minutes, my soup is complete. Top with fresh avocado, heirloom tomatoes, more cilantro, and a extra lime wedges.

sweet corn soupRoasted Chicken and Grilled Sweet Corn Soup
For the stock:
2 roasted chicken carcasses, meat picked from the bone and set aside
1 yellow onion
1 large carrot
2 celery ribs
2 garlic cloves
2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed and added to the stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 sprigs Mexican oregano
salt and pepper

For the soup:
1 medium-large yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 tablespoons chopped Mexican oregano
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 heaping cups shredded chicken
2 heaping cups grilled corn cut from the cob
salt and pepper
sliced cherry tomatoes (garnish)
avocadoes (garnish)
lime wedges (garnish)

 

Why We Love Grilling Sweet Corn

Tennessee Sweet corn is the best!

Tennessee Sweet corn is the best!

We love grilling sweet corn at the East Nashville Farmers Market. The sweetness of the kernels and the smoky char from the grill makes the perfect flavor combination that we can’t get enough of. Grilled sweet corn is delicious both on the cob and off. We add grilled sweet corn to salads, soups, entrées, and side dishes.

There are many different ways to grill sweet corn. Some prefer to presoak ears in water before grilling. Some use hot coals to roast corn in its husk. But when we are limited on time, we opt for the easiest method. We begin our grilled corn in the microwave for 3 minutes to slightly steam and remove all the silks. Then we slather in melted butter and place directly on a hot grill for a nice smoky char. Adding lime zest and herbs such as basil, cilantro, or Mexican oregano to the butter can impart herbal flavors. Or, simply chop fresh herbs and add after the corn has grilled.

local grilled sweet cornWe like to give our grilled sweet corn the Mexican treatment and sprinkle on cotija cheese, cayenne, and a nice squeeze of fresh lime juice. Sweet, smoky, tart, and savory — this grilled sweet corn has a flavor profile that really fulfills. When ears are leftover, we slice it off the cob for chicken soups and summer salads. Grilled sweet corn livens up every summertime meal with a its smoky sweetness and chewy bite.

Professor Baileys Spicy Pimento Cheese Gougères— a Southern Favorite Meets Classic French Cuisine

professor baileysWe love Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese so much at the East Nashville Farmers Market, we’re ecstatic to introduce his new line of Spicy Pimento Cheese Gougères a Southern favorite meets classic French cuisine. If you are unfamiliar with gougères, think a savory puff pastry made of cheesy pâte á choux dough. Slightly crunchy on the outside, light and airy on the inside, with 50% of the dough being Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese.

If you have ever stopped at Professor Bailey’s tent at the East Nashville Farmers Market, you may have had the opportunity to meet the gregarious Tom Bailey— founder of Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese. The original Professor Bailey was Tom’s great great grandfather who played an integral role in pioneering secondary music education in Nashville. Tom began his pimento cheese business in 2013 and had his first sales at the Nashville Farmers Market. Today, Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento cheese can be found in six stores, eight farmers’ markets, and offers not only pimento cheese, but pimento cheese biscuits and the new spicy pimento cheese gougères.

gougeresWhen asked why Tom chose gougères, he explains in the simplest terms, “Because they are delicious.” He goes on to tell about the night he knew his gougères would be a hit. “I had four friends over to taste the new recipe, and 50 gougères were eaten in less than five minutes. I knew that night they needed to be a new product.”

If you have never tried this locally-made Nashville favorite, stop by the Professor Bailey’s tent at the East Nashville market this Wednesday and taste a sample of his spicy pimento cheese. You’ll leave with a tub, a bag of biscuits, or the new Spicy Pimento Cheese Gougères, for all your weekend noshing.

 

pimento cheese

Tomato Throwdown 2015, East Nashville Farmers Market

Big Sweet & Juicy, did we mention Locally Grown?

Big Sweet & Juicy, did we mention Locally Grown?

Tomato season is upon us, folks, and the East Nashville Farmers Market Tomato Throwdown is coming your way. On August 5th, 2015, from 3:30 to 7pm, tomato growers of East Nashville will unite with local farmers and judges to determine who has the best tasting tomatoes this side of the Cumberland River. Are you a tomato gardener? Enter to win First Place of the Tomato Throwdown, or simply come for tomato festival food, tomato games, and kids’ activities. Live music will be presented by the Basement East, and chef Hrant Arakelian from Holland House Bar and Refuge will be at the chef’s tent sampling tomato-inspired fare. Come dressed in your tomatoey-best to celebrate East Nashville’s favorite summer darling.

Come taste our tomatoes and vote for the best tasting Tomato!

Come taste our tomatoes and vote for the best tasting Tomato!

We know East Nashville has the best tomato gardeners in the city, and our market wants to see what you’re growing out there! Enter your best garden tomatoes in one of four categories for a chance to win prizes and accolades from the East Nashville Farmers Market. Simply pre-register your tomato entries by sending an email to TomatoThrowdown@EastNashvilleMarket.com with your full name, the variety of your tomato, and which category you are entering: Cherry, Heirloom, Hybrid, or Paste/Plum. You are allowed to enter more than one category, but only one tomato entry per category. (*There will be a $5 registration fee for each entry. All entry fees will be accepted at the registration tent.)

Different varieties of heirloom tomatoes to sample and taste!

Different varieties of heirloom tomatoes to sample and taste!

The East Nashville Farmers Market is also excited to have the participation of two of our top-level sponsors for our Tomato Throwdown—the Basement East and Holland House Bar and Refuge. The Basement East, East Nashville’s premier local music venue, will be presenting a line-up of local live musical acts, and chef Hrant Arakelian from Holland House Bar and Refuge will be preparing and sampling seasonal tomato bites at our chef’s tent. Also, visit the farmers’ market blind tomato-tasting booth and vote on which market tomatoes you think are the tastiest.

So get those ‘maters ready, gang, and we’ll see you August 5th, 2015 at the East Nashville Farmers Market Tomato Throwdown—a celebration of tomato gardeners, food, farmers, music, and fun!

Tomato Throwdown east nashville

Summer’s Bounty: Sweet Corn and Tomatoes

 

The East Nashville Farmers Market is officially Fully-Loaded with Summer’s Bounty: Sweet corn and Tomatoes! We are excited to announce the East Nashville Farmers Market Tomato Throwdown will be held on August 5, 2015. Livefullhands musical guests, the Ukeabilly Upstarts, will be performing their country blues for our crowds. Local food trucks will be there for Wednesday night dinner, and cool treats, too, to survive summer heat. Also, Kelly Ann Monahan, founder of Sweetie Pie® Health & Harmony, will be visiting our farmers market this week to discuss her recipe e-book and clean eating tips with our market shoppers. Tomorrow is going to be a bustling summer market day!

Before we discuss the market goods, we’d like to announce the East Nashville Farmers Market Tomato Tomato Throwdown east nashvilleThrowdown on August 5, 2015, from 3:30 to 7pm. Tomato growers of East Nashville will unite with local farmers and judges to determine who has the tastiest tomatoes this side of the Cumberland. To enter and for information on how to pre-register, visit our Tomato Throwdown blog .

Time to talk fresh, local food at our farmers’ market. Peak summer produce season is upon us and we are fully-loaded with summer’s bounty! Our farmers’ trucks are arriving every week loaded-down with bushels of fruits and vegetables picked fresh from the field and brought straight to you, our market shoppers. The Tennessee sweet corn is tasting mighty sweet this summer. We love to microwave a few ears after a busy day at work and slice it off the cob into a Stark-Naked Tomato Corn Salad. There’s nothing finer than the pairing of sugar-sweet summer corn and juicy, ripe tomatoes.

Speaking of tomatoes, how about all the different heirloom varieties of tomatoes we have at the East Nashville Farmers Market? Wow! Zach Erhard of Oak Grove Farm will have a full spread of giant, fully ripe ENFM.heirloomstomsheirloom slicers, in addition to Catherine and Ben Simmons from Flying “S” Farm. Grab your sweet cherry tomatoes from Old School Farm, Delvin Farms, and Green Door Gourmet. Plus, don’t forget the loads of more summer produce, like peaches, blackberries, blueberries, eggplants, green beans, sweet and hot peppers, potatoes, squashes, herbs, and more.

Finally, we are pleased to welcome our market visitor this week, Kelly Ann Monahan, founder of Sweetie Pie® Health & Harmony. Kelly is an integrative nutrition coach who authored the recipe e-book Sweet Healthy Living…Delicious, Easy Recipes…Clean Eating Never Tasted So Good! Find her at one of our farmers’ market booths to discuss tips on healthy, clean eating and information about her recipe book.

Stark-Naked Sweet Corn Tomato Salad

Tennessee Sweet Corn from our local farmers

Tennessee Sweet Corn from our local farmers

All of us at the East Nashville Farmers Market agree that summer sweet corn and juicy, ripe tomatoes are best when left in their most natural state— stark-naked. Our farmers grow the sweetest corn and bring it fresh from the field to our market, and a naked sweet corn and tomato salad really showcases the flavors that are available only once a year. Therefore, forgo those sugary dressings, we say! And let the pure flavor of corn and tomatoes shine through.

Corn and tomatoes are like summertime soul mates at the East Nashville Farmers Market, and we feel whoever first discovered their combination deserves one big pat on the back. The sugary sweetness of fresh summer corn pairs with the tangy acidic bite of farm-grown tomatoes that produces a natural “vinaigrette” all on its own. To round-out the sweet-and-sour profile, we like to add slightly bitter, peppery basil and a good sprinkling of salt—finito! You have a healthy snack or a quick salad that not only satisfies taste buds, but also fortifies your body with valuable nutrition. Refreshing, light, and candy-sweet—perfect for the family during hot summer months.

This years crop of Cherry Tomatoes are so sweet!

This years crop of Cherry Tomatoes are so sweet!

For a quick, single serving of Stark-Naked Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad, I take one large ear of bi-colored corn from Oak Grove Farms and toss it in my microwave, husk and all, for three minutes (to learn more about why we love microwaving sweet corn, check out our blog). After my corn is finished, I let it rest for another three minutes to steam and until the husk is cool enough to handle. I remove the husk and silks, and cut the kernels off the cob into a medium sized bowl.

Oh yum! Sweet Corn and Sweet Cherry Tomatoes in a salad!

Oh yum! Sweet Corn and Sweet Cherry Tomatoes in a salad!

Next, I slice a handful of assorted cherry tomatoes in half, or even dice a medium slicer, and toss on top of my lightly-steamed corn. I finely-chop 3 large leaves of basil and sprinkle them in to add a bright, peppery flavor. Finally, I finish my salad with a good sprinkle of salt and a dash of paprika for color. Toss and voila! —the quickest and lightest summer snack that makes me grateful for summertime’s bounty every year. (Sidenote: This salad can also be refrigerated and enjoyed chilled.)

In closing, of course one could squeeze a little lemon juice, splash an herbed vinegar, or drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on this salad, but why would one? Try this summertime combination naked and see what you think… you might find that you’re a stark-naked salad fan after all.

Stark Naked Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

sweet corn tomato salad1 ear Oak Grove Farms Sweet Corn
5-8 assorted cherry tomatoes
2-4 large basil leaves, finely-diced (approx. 2 tablespoons)
Salt

Why We Love Microwaving Sweet Corn

I know what you may be asking yourselves: How can microwaving sweet corn and other summer produce be a good thing? Well, I’m here to tell you when it comes to ears of freshly-picked summer corn, it is! It’s a very, very good thing.

The husk and silk just fall away leaving a moist sweet corn treat

The husk and silk just fall away leaving a moist sweet corn treat

If you haven’t already heard of this cooking trend, allow me be the first to tell you about it. It is becoming the most popular method for preparing quick and easy corn on the cob while still maintaining its fresh flavor. We like to microwave an ear or two after a long day of work and slice it into a sweet corn tomato salad or enjoy after a nice roll in salted butter. And kids love to peel the husk from a steaming ear of corn (after it has cooled long enough for little fingers to handle, of course).

Our farmers bring the freshest, sweetest corn straight from the field to our market every week, and we want to taste that sweet summer flavor in every bite. That’s why we love this simple cooking method. When whole ears of corn are nuked for a short period of time, the kernels lightly steam within their natural tightly-wrapped husks. Boiling corn can sometimes leach valuable nutrients and drown-out the taste. But steaming whole ears of corn for a mere 3 minutes in a microwave traps all that delicious corn flavor and maintains the nutritional integrity. Plus, those tricky silks fall right off the cob, making husking your sweet corn much easier.

A single ear of corn ready in the microwave

A single ear of corn ready in the microwave

To microwave corn, simply place one ear into a microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes. Let the ear rest for another 3 minutes until the husk is cool enough to handle. Either slice off both ends of your corn and slide it out of the husk, or easily peel the husk and silks away from the cob. Quick, easy, and full of corntastic flavor!

Do you like microwaving sweet corn? What is your favorite cooking method? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.

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