Strawberry, Spinach and Snap Pea Salad

 

Spinach, Snap Pea and Strawberry Salad Recipe

Strawberry Salad strawberries

Kelley’s Berry Farm Strawberries

The farmers at our market are in full spring produce mode, and every week more and more beautiful veggies are showing up at the market.

This week Lost Weekend Farms had sugar snap peas, perfect for this simple salad. Strawberries and spinach can be found at many of our vendor’s booths, along with parsley, eggs and even the olive oil needed! To make this recipe you will need:

peas for strawberry salad

Beautiful snap peas from Lost Weekend Farms.

Ingredients:
1-2 bunches of spinach, thoroughly washed and torn
1 pound of snap peas, sliced on the diagonal
1 pint of strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
¼ cup of walnuts, toasted
2-3 hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and quartered

A handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped, a generous snipping of fresh chives, and a good glug of olive oil, red wine vinegar to taste, salt and pepper.

Arrange the peas, strawberries, walnuts and eggs over a bed of spinach.  Sprinkle with the parsley and chives, and toss with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as a side, and is particularly good with fresh bread and good company!

 

Savory Roasted Tomato Galette

A Savory Roasted Tomato Galette is easier to whip-up on a weeknight than you might think. It’s also a great way to use those gorgeous heirloom tomatoes purchased from local farmers at the East Nashville Farmers Market. Simply begin your galette with our recipe for Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Garlic, mix together a simple pastry dough, and you’re halfway there.

A galette is essentially a freeform pie that can be filled with whatever seasonal produce that is abundant at the East Nashville Farmers Market. It’s the middle of late summer, and our market is filled with cherry and beefsteak tomatoes — perfect for roasting and using in numerous dishes. When roasted, the sugar in tomatoes becomes more concentrated and the texture more robust. Tuck them into a buttery pastry crust along with a nest of sweet caramelized onions and gobs of goat cheese and you are on your way to flavor town.

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Roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions wrapped in a buttery crust.

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Sweet caramelized onions form the base of this Savory Roasted Tomato Galette.

I begin my Savory Roasted Tomato Galette with a basic pie dough recipe and let the dough chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. After, I bring it to the counter and let it come to almost room temperature before I roll it out to 1/8” thick on a floured surface trying to maintain a round shape. Once rolled, transfer the dough to a parchment covered baking sheet and begin to add your filling.

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Layers of caramelized onions, fresh herbs, goat cheese, and roasted tomatoes.

The filling for my Savory Roasted Tomato Galette begins with 1 full cup of caramelized onions that I cooked with a little butter and fresh thyme. I dotted the onions with 6 ounces of creamy, tangy goat cheese and layered-on roasted beefsteak tomatoes. Fresh basil or roasted eggplant or zucchini rounds would be delicious in this recipe, as well. I finished the savory galette with roasted red and yellow cherry tomatoes and folded the edges in to keep my fillings nice and cozy.

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Begin by folding one side of the galette to keep your fillings nice and cozy.

Before baking, I paint on a layer of egg-wash to my crust’s surface to ensure perfect browning. Then, I sprinkle the top with dried Italian herbs, cheese, or paprika. Slide your Savory Roasted Tomato Galette into a 400 degree oven and bake for 45min to 1 hour. Let cool, slice, and serve with a side salad. Buttery, crusty, tomatoey goodness.

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Let cool, top with fresh herbs, and slice. Voila!

 

 

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.

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)

 

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

The Sunday Pot Roast Goes Local!

Triple L Ranch Chuck Roast

Triple L Ranch Chuck Roast

Remember those great Sunday Pot Roast lunches after church? Mom would put the roast in the oven to slowly roast while we were at church. When we arrived home, we could quickly prepare lunch to feed a hungry family a hearty hot lunch. It was so Americana; I still have some of the Wear-Ever pots and pans we used as a kid to cook our meals. Making the gravy from the roast drippings at the bottom of the metal Wear-Ever pot just seems so perfect that made everything taste so good! If you want to go vintage, visit an estate sale to find some of the great old cookware of yesteryear. Or use some incredible new cooking aids to deliver a Farm Fresh Pot Roast with local veggies. I use an All-Clad Slow Cooker which does an incredible job my Mom would be proud to use.

Fresh Farm Veggies from Delvin Farms, Green Door Gourmet and Oak Grove Farms

Fresh Farm Veggies from Delvin Farms, Green Door Gourmet and Oak Grove Farms

This past Wednesday at our market I gathered up some organically grown potatoes and green beans from Delvin Farms. Some beautiful organic carrots and celery from Greed Door Gourmet along with some naturally grown onions, garlic and sweet corn from Oak Grove Farms. The key ingredient of reliving my Pot Roast Sunday lunch from childhood was selecting a nice chuck roast. Working with Ann and Carter from Triple L Ranch I found the perfect bone in chuck roast. Selecting a roast that has been grass fed and grain finished gives the most beautiful blend of marbled beef. Grain finished beef will add just enough marble to deliver more flavor and tenderness when cooking. The Triple L Ranch has been a working Tennessee Ranch for 40 years. Their Beef and Chicken meats are some of the best you can buy locally in Middle Tennessee.

Cloves of garlic to stuff into the roast

Cloves of garlic to stuff into the roast

So now that I have all my key ingredients I’m ready to start. Prep time is the easy part! I first unwrap my almost five-pound roast to discover how fresh the meat smells and red this great cut of chuck is. Knowing nothing artificial has been added to bring out the color gives me the confidence I know where all my food comes from, right here in Middle Tennessee! Great fresh food with the added benefit I know I’m supporting local farmers! I then create small cavities and stuff each cavity with a little fresh ground pepper with one garlic clove. The garlic cloves add tender and juicy flavor I remember as a kid. I’m starting to get excited as this all comes together. The smell of all this roasting together is going to be wonderful!

Now it's time to put the lid on this pot roast and slow cook for 5 hours

Now it’s time to put the lid on and slow cook for 5 hours

Next I wash all my fresh grown vegetables. Slice the onions, cut the carrots and celery, snap the green beans and cut some potatoes while leaving smaller one’s whole. I then place the roast in the slow cooker after lightly salting. I now add all the local veggies all around and on top of the roast. Taking two ears of corn I shave off the kernels and add them to the top of the veggies that cover the Triple L Ranch pot roast. Now this brings us to a personal choice for the final seasoning. I take 2 cups of beef stock and add 1/4 teaspoon of local honey and mix well. I then pour this over the chuck roast and veggies. I encourage you to add any combination of seasonings you might like to 2 cups of water helping deliver a tender roast with wonderful flavor. I’ve even used a dry packet of Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix in the past.

Now put the lid on the slow cooker, plug it in and cook on high for 5 hours. The slow cooker I use reverts to a warm setting after the 5 hours of cooking is completed. It’s an efficient way to cook a meal for a busy family. To come home or after church or working in the yard all day delivers a hot, great tasting nutritious meal for the entire family. The flavor of local beef and veggies is unmatched. Come visit the East Nashville Farmers market for locally grown food. There’s no better taste then using the freshest ingredients from your local farmers market!

This turned out so good! Tender flavorful roast with all fresh picked veggies!

This pot roast turned out so good! Tender flavorful roast with all fresh picked veggies!

3 to 4 Pound Chuck Roast
6 carrots
9 cloves garlic
2 onions
6 small potatoes
20 to 30 green beans
2 stalks celery
2 to 3 ears of corn

Five Pepper Southern Cornbread

Oh yum!  The flavor of fresh peppers and southern cornbread!

Oh yum! The flavor of fresh peppers and southern cornbread!

As a seasoned summer CSA subscriber at the East Nashville Farmers Market, I remember the very first box I received that was filled with a variety of peppers in all shapes and sizes and spilling with golden tassels of summer’s finest sweet corn. I came directly home and picked through my wonders, curious about each individual pepper. I found that each one had its own unique flavor profile and heat level, and was eager to use them all in a pepper-packed dish. That day, I created my first skillet of Five Pepper Southern Cornbread from the peppers, onions, and fresh sweet corn I received from my local farmers at the East Nashville market—and I still make it the same way I did more than seven years ago.

Like most proper (and indulgent) Southern cornbread recipes, I began with two incomparable ingredients: bacon and a ten-inch cast-iron skillet. I fried approximately one-quarter to one-half pound of thin-sliced bacon in my skillet and reserved the fat in a measuring cup equaling approximately one-half cup (the leftover fried bacon can be used for lunch on BLTs with farm-fresh tomatoes, or crumbled into your cornbread batter). This fat is traditionally used in the bottom of your skillet to create a savory golden crust, and also in the batter for flavor. However, I feel this recipe (and cornbread, in general) is just as delicious without bacon, and the fat can be substituted for vegetable oil if you are inclined.

Once my bacon fat was rendered, I began to pick through all the different peppers that are found at the East Nashville Farmers Market. From the sweetest bells and mildest bananas, to the warmer poblanos and long horns, to the hotter cayennes and jalapenos, I had quite the variety to choose from. I chose a mixture of two sweet, a warm, and two hot, and diced them all small: a thick-walled bell, a mild banana, a crunchy poblano, and a jalapeno and cayenne. I also grabbed a few spoonfuls of pickled jalapenos from my refrigerator, just as I did in my first pepper cornbread experiment. I also diced one bunch of spring onions (or one small onion). Then I heated my oven to 425 degrees and began prepping my vegetables by chopping them all into a small dice—including the seeds.

Next, I grabbed a new larger skillet and added one-fourth cup of the liquid bacon fat to it and all my onions, which equaled about one and one-half cup. I added a pinch of salt and sautéed on med-high heat for three or so minutes or just until they began to soften. Then I added all of my chopped peppers and sautéed until the vegetables were soft and slightly brown (approx. fifteen to twenty minutes).

Once fully cooked, I transferred my soften vegetables to a bowl to cool and began to shuck my corn in a separate bowl. Once all outer leaves and silks had been removed, I held each stalk upside down in a large bowl and removed the kernels with a sharp knife. (Don’t forget to flip your knife over to the dull, backside of the blade and scrape-in all the starchy, sweet goodness!)

At this point, I returned to my cast-iron skillet added three tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat back into the bottom (plus a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil, just for good measure)and placed it in my heated oven to ensure a nice sizzle for when I poured in my batter.

While my skillet heated, I combined my sautéed peppers and onions with the freshly scraped corn, adding a good pinch of both salt and pepper. Then I chopped and crumbled-in approx. six slices of my fried bacon and mixed well (you can leave it out if you like).

In a separate bowl, I began my batter by cracking two large eggs and beating well. I added one and three-fourth cup of buttermilk, two tablespoons sugar, one-half teaspoon salt, one tablespoon of the bacon fat, and my corn and peppers mixture. I mixed well. Then I folded in two and one-half cups of white buttermilk cornbread mix until just moistened (the batter was still very lumpy).

Once just combined, I carefully removed my hot skillet from the oven and scraped in my cornbread batter with a rubber spatula, being extra careful not to splash any of the burning-hot bacon grease! I smoothed out my batter, and, for old time’s sake, tossed on four slices of orange-rind muenster cheese, just as I did the first time I created this recipe. Then I popped the heavy skillet back into my oven on the middle rack and let it bake for twenty-five minutes.

Cooking southern cornbread in an iron skillet brings a special taste and texture to your homemade cornbread.

Cooking southern cornbread in an iron skillet brings a special taste and texture to your homemade cornbread.

Once my cornbread was golden brown, I removed it and rubbed with a good knob of butter and let cool for fifteen minutes until it was safe to invert onto a plate. I flipped it over onto a cutting board and cut a slice that was a mile high, chocked-full of peppers, onions, and sweet corn, and equipped with the perfect Southern golden brown crust. I traditionally enjoy a slice of this hearty, peppery cornbread with a sliced heirloom tomato from the East Nashville Farmers Market, a little salt and pepper, and nothing more. Spicy, savory perfection—still to this day.

Five Pepper Southern Cornbread

1/4 to 1/2 pound bacon, or 1/2 cup liquid bacon fat (can substitute 1/2 cup vegetable oil)
1 medium bell pepper
1 mild banana pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1 cayenne pepper
1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapenos
1 bunch spring onions or 1 small yellow or white onion
2 ears fresh sweet corn
2 1/2 cups white cornmeal mix (I like the buttermilk kind)
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 slices muenster, cheddar, or any cheese you like (optional)
2 tablespoons butter (otional)

Summer Bruschetta with Tomatoes, Peaches, and Basil

east nashville farmers marketAs a shopper at the East Nashville Farmers Market, I like to incorporate as much seasonal produce grown by my local farmers into my daily meals and holiday dishes. That’s why I prepare a lovely tomato bruschetta for every Fourth of July celebration— a marinated tomato salad spooned on top of grilled, crusty bread. It is my preferred way to showcase the first of summer’s heirloom tomatoes that have ripened sweetly in the hot sun. This holiday, however, I’ve decided to add even more color, flavor, and texture to my bruschetta with sweet white peaches, crisp cucumber, fresh basil, and spring onion — a real Tennessee summertime medley.

If you’ve ever had a peach salsa, you know the sweet and tart flavors of peaches pair wonderfully with tomatoes, garlic, onion, and bright herbs. When these fruits and vegetables meld together in a bath of balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, it becomes a delicious salad to top a crusty piece of bread or eaten as a relish with grilled pork or chicken. It serves as both an appetizer or side dish and is an excellent choice for an outdoor picnic or barbecue — light, flavorful, and keeps well at room temperature. The bread can also be diced, toasted, and incorporated to make a panzanella, or spooned over fried eggs and toast in the morning.

summer bruschettaI began at the East Nashville Farmers Market with my short, seasonal grocery list. I chose one pint of sweet cherry tomatoes from Delvin Farms, two small crisp cucumbers and a bundle of spring onions from Oak Grove Farms, one bag of ‘White Ladies’ peaches from the Peach Truck, and a nice bunch of fresh basil from Slocal. I began by peeling my cucumbers and peaches, and diced them, plus my tomatoes and onion, very small. I selected five large leaves of basil and sliced them into long strips. I then combined everything into a large bowl, added a heavy splash of both balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, a couple pinches of salt and pepper, mixed well, covered and placed in the refrigerator to marinate.

bruschetta with tomatoesFor my bread, I purchased a fresh wheat loaf from our neighborhood restaurant and ENFM bread vendor, Porter House Bistro. I sliced the loaf into 3/4” slices, brushed with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkled heavily with salt and pepper, and toasted under the broiler on both sides until golden brown and crisp (use a grill to toast if one is available). Once the slices cooled, I rubbed each one with a clove of garlic, imparting a delicious garlicky flavor into each bite of bruschetta. To serve, place toasted or grilled bread in a basket and serve with chilled tomato, peach, and cucumber salad in separate bowl. Spoon the mixture on top of bread and enjoy at this week’s Fourth of July picnic.

Summer Bruschetta with Cherry Tomatoes, White Peaches, and Basil

1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced small (approx 1 large cup)
2 large white peaches, peeled, pits removed, diced small (approx. 1 large cup)
1/2 cup small-diced cucumbers , peeled and seeded
1/4 cup spring onion, finely diced
5 large basil leaves, chiffonade (approx 1/4 packed cup)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Porter House Bistro wheat loaf or baguette
1 clove garlic
extra-virgin olive oil (for bread)
salt and pepper

Simple Caramelized Summer Squash and Onions

summer squashOne of my most beloved summer side-dishes that I rely on all season long is my mother’s Caramelized Summer Squash and Onions recipe that I prepare with local produce from the East Nashville Farmers Market. As a little girl, momma sliced fresh summer squash and zucchini from our backyard garden and sautéed them together in a bit of olive oil. Today, I love cooking the fresh summer produce from my neighborhood farmers’ market in simple, easy ways, just like my mother did when I was a child.

east nashville farmers marketThis recipe is so flavorful and delicious, it has turned many of my squash-despising friends into devoted squash lovers! The sweetness that is coaxed out of the fresh squash and onions makes this the perfect recipe for everyone, especially kids. It’s great for parents who love to shop at the East Nashville market with little time or ingredients on hand. Plus, it’s healthy and can be enjoyed by virtually anyone — vegan, vegetarian, and also gluten-free.

My grocery list for the farmers’ market was short — I chose fresh yellow squash and zucchini from Oak Grove Farm and one bunch of spring onions from Green Door Gourmet. All I needed at home was olive oil and salt and pepper, and I was ready to recreate my childhood favorite.

spring onions caramelized onionsFirst, I thoroughly washed my veggies and grabbed a knife, a cutting board, and a large sauté pan. I sliced my crisp, fresh onions into rounds and sliced the rounds into half moons. For my squash and zucchini, I prefer to slice small rounds from the smaller sections and half moons for the larger, more bulbous half. I also included a slender golden zucchini for added color.

Next, I swirled my pan with 2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, which gives my veggies a lovely flavor and aroma. Standard olive oil is fine, too. I heated my pan to just above medium and tossed in my onions with a half teaspoon of salt.

I sautéed my spring onions for a good ten minutes, or until they were soften and just beginning to caramelize. Once my onions began to brown, I added all of my sliced squash and zucchini and mixed well with the sautéed onions.

Once thoroughly mixed, my mother taught me the trick to create a beautifully caramelized squash — turn-up the heat and simply walk away! That’s right. I popped the knob up to just under med-high and did not touch my sauté pan for five minutes.

summer squash recipeAfter five minutes were up, I gave my squash and onions a good stir and noticed some nice caramelization. I was on the right track! Next, I walked away for another two to three minutes, and I repeated until my veggies were golden and delicious (about fifteen more minutes).

At this point, you can add a knob of butter if you like (my mother would encourage it!), and you are ready to enjoy your farmers’ market summer squash. In my family, we would enjoy this dish with some freshly-sliced summer tomatoes and green beans from the garden. Easy, healthy, and oh-so delicious.

Simple Caramelized Summer Squash and Onions

2 cups sliced spring onions
4 cups sliced yellow squash and zucchini
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Spring Quiche with Turnips, Greens, and Breakfast Sausage

Spring QuicheOne of my greatest pleasures as a shopper at the East Nashville Farmers Market is preparing a farm-fresh breakfast quiche filled to the brim with seasonal ingredients provided by my local farmers and artisan vendors. Locally-raised meats and pastel-colored eggs, spring root-vegetables and greens, and local cheeses bake together in a flaky crust to form a billowy breakfast pie with all the flavors of spring. And not only does this quiche make a perfectly-rounded breakfast, but when served with a side salad of fresh market lettuces and radishes, it proves just as fulfilling for lunch or dinner, as well.

Swiss ChardFor my market ingredients, I opted for bunches of fresh Swiss chard and kale from Delvin Farms and orbs of turnips, spring onions, and radishes from Green Door Gourmet. I snagged a container of Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese to give my quiche a creamy cheesiness, plus an added kick of pepper. I grabbed a pound of Laurel Mountain Farms Mild Breakfast Sausage to add a savory heartiness, and a dozen multi-colored fresh eggs from Botanical Harmony Farm to take my quiche a step above the rest.

local swiss chardTo begin this farm fresh quiche, locate your favorite homemade pie dough recipe or grab a couple deep-dish store-bought shells, if you like. Once the dough has been assembled, wrapped it in plastic, and chilled in the refrigerator for no less than 30 minutes, place it on the counter and let it warm to almost room temperature before you begin to roll. Next, flour your surface well and roll your dough from center to edges using single strokes to approx. 1/8 inch thickness. I used a deep quiche pan and measured the edges before I trimmed away any excess. Once I formed the dough into my quiche pan, I baked the shell at 400 degrees in the middle rack of my oven for 15 minutes to set and removed to cool.

laurel farms sausageTo begin my filling, I added my Laurel Mountain breakfast sausage to a cast-iron skillet and cooked on medium-high heat until browned. I drained the meat in a colander, making sure to reserve the fat in a bowl below, and set both the skillet and sausage aside.

Next, I diced my turnips, radishes, and spring onions and sautéed them in the same skillet I sautéed my sausage with 1 tablespoon of the fat. I cooked these veggies until my turnips had caramelized and onions had wilted, and placed in a bowl to use later.

For my greens, I diced a hefty amount of both Siberian kale and chard to make a packed, one-cup full of each. I added my chopped greens to a pot of boiling salted water and cooked for no longer than 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Then, I removed my greens from the boiling water with tongs and transferred to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once my greens had cooled, I removed them from the water and squeezed them with my hands to wring-out all the excess water I could, making a baseball-sized package of fresh, blanched greens. I roughly chopped the ball and set aside.

east nashville farmers market 1For the filling, I grabbed a large mixing bowl and cracked seven farm eggs into the bottom. I added 1 1/2 cups of milk, two pinches of salt, 5 cranks of ground pepper, and an entire eight-ounce package of Professor Bailey’s pimento cheese, and whisked vigorously. Once my egg mixture was smooth, I added my sautéed root veggies, chopped greens, and 1 cup of my browned breakfast sausage (feel free to add it all, if you like). Once combined, I transferred the filling to my par-baked pie crust, and set in a 350 degree oven for almost 45 minutes until the center was billowy and the crust was golden brown. I removed from the oven and set aside to cool. (Side note: allow quiche to cool for 15 minutes before slicing. If you do not eat meat, you may substitute more vegetables and greens. Also, try going crustless in a well-greased cast-iron skillet for a farm-fresh frittata!)

farm quicheAfter my quiche had cooled, I dissected a mile-high slice laden with local, hearty ingredients, and enjoyed it for brunch with a cup of coffee. This recipe also boxes nicely for your next market picnic at the East Nashville Farmers Market. But don’t forget to bring enough for your neighbors on the lawn… Enjoy!

Spring Quiche with Turnips, Greens, and Breakfast Sausage

1 pound Laurel Mountain Farms breakfast sausage
1 1/2 cups diced turnips and radishes
1 cup diced spring onions (whites and greens)
1 cup Swiss chard, tightly-packed
1 cup any kind of kale, tightly-packed cup
7 Botanical Harmony farm eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (any kind you like)
1 8oz container Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
Pie dough

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