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:
Beautiful snap peas from Lost Weekend Farms.
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!
According to Greek mythology, the olive tree became a symbol of peace and victory when two gods, Poseidon and Athena, competed for the title of reigning deity of Athens. Poseidon, the god of the sea, laid his claim by striking his mighty trident into the wall of the Acropolis and from it sprung a well of brackish water. But it was the goddess of wisdom and skill who won possession of the city by offering a more beneficial and gracious gift to the land. She knelt beside the pool of water and planted an olive branch that would grow to become a tree. It is the same act of benevolent gift giving deeply rooted in Greek culture that makes Anna Troussas one of our most unique and elegant vendors at the ENFM. Her authentic Greek cookies, breads, and pastries are prepared with the most quality ingredients that keep customers returning, and the love she puts into her work springs from a tradition that can be tasted in every bite.
Anna was born in Hunstville, AL, where her father, Nick Koralis, was working for IBM. He met his soon-to-be wife, Carol, and the couple moved to Tallahassee, FL, where Anna grew-up. Though her father was born and raised in Greece, Anna had never visited the island until the three family members traveled there for a vacation. By the end of the trip Anna declared that she would be staying when her family returned home to America. She found a job, purchased a car, enjoyed the culture, drank coffee, and what was supposed to last only a summer grew to become 3 years of Anna immersing herself in the country of heritage. Within that time, she met and married her husband, Spyro Troussas, and the couple moved back to the States in 2011. They settled in Franklin, TN, where her parents and sister Christina had relocated.
I asked Anna about the significance of cookies and pastries in Greek culture and cuisine. “It’s all about coffee, ” she begins. ” We love our coffee in Greece, and we love to spend time with each other. It’s about taking the time out of your schedule to sit and enjoy coffee and a conversation with someone, and cookies pare a perfect pairing. ”
It is this experience and knowledge of Greek culture and cuisine that equipped her to begin baking seriously when she arrived back in the States. She had always baked for friends, but she had a desire to do more and was encouraged by them to start her own business. She first applied to the Franklin Farmers’ Market and was surprised when her application was accepted. Within 2 weeks, Anna created her menu, finalized her recipes, and developed her packaging. She works out of her home kitchen in Franklin and sells at 3 Nashville markets: East Nashville, Franklin, and Hip Donelson. Her mother Carol supports the bakery in every way she can and Anna even Skype’s with Nikoleta, her enthusiastic mother-in-law from Greece, who offers advice and guidance in Anna’s work.
Like many, Anna comes from a long line of women who pride themselves in their abilities to prepare food. It is the way they show love and care for their families and friends and it is extremely prominent within Greek tradition, Anna says. There is a myriad of female characters who have influenced her work and recipes with history and stories behind them. Most recipes Anna has created herself, but one in particular she did not. Her favorite cookie, the coffee cookie. Anna obtained the recipe from her aunt (or theia) Popi, who immigrated to America from Greece to be married to a man she barely knew. Popi never learned to read, write, or drive a car, Anna recounts, but she was known for her delicious coffee cookies. She prided herself for these cookies , and Anna fondly remembers them as a child. Similar to a biscotti in shape and texture, they are traditionally topped with sesame seeds and filled in the center with a layer of cinnamon. When Popi passed, Anna was determined to pass on her aunt’s love by learning the recipe and giving the cookies as gifts, she says. “I have one every morning with my coffee. Well, maybe more than one, ” she says with a smile.
Another popular item is the traditional koulourakia, which are simple twisted butter cookies that are sold in lovely cellophane pouches . Her handy-work is so meticulous and perfect that they resemble something found in a specialty store, yet each one is prepared and hand-twisted by Anna. “I’ve been making these cookies almost my entire life, ” Carol says, “but not even I can help her. Mine just don’t measure up. ” She also offers a powdered-sugar coated almond cookie that is a favorite amongst children, and a traditional sweet Easter bread that is made with a spice found only on the Greek island of Xios.
Though all of Anna’s treats are, her famous baklava stands out the most. A popular Greek pastry made of gooey layers of phylo dough, nuts, and often times honey, baklava is a decadent dessert. Anna uses a combination of walnuts, almonds, and pecans, and makes a chocolate variety as well. She even sells baklava in a jar, which is beautifully packaged with a pewter ribbon and perfect to give as a gift. It can be purchased individually or purchased in lovely gift baskets with her other assorted baked goods.
She also delivers to customers who can no longer make the markets, and with the ENFM ending its 2014 season, she is not opposed to making deliveries. “This has been my dream since I was a child, and I’m very happy about it, ” she says. “It means something to me that my customers love my stuff. If I can bring them some happiness, I will. I’m so thankful.”
We’re thankful for you, too, Anna.
If you are interested in keeping up with Anna and the Olive Tree Bakery, please “like” her Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/theolivebranchbakery.
About the author: Rebecah Boynton has a BS in horticulture from Auburn University. She is a writer, an advocate, and volunteers at the East Nashville Farmers’ Market.
½ cup pumpkin canned or fresh
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup kale
¼ cup strawberries (frozen okay)
¼ cup ice
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon clove
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.
From the Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern Cookbook
Time: 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking
2 tsp peanut or canola oil
8 ounces fresh chorizo, casings removed, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces; or 4 ounces cured chorizo, kielbasa or other smoked sausage, finely diced
3 poblano chiles, seeded and sliced into thin 2-to-3 inch strips (about 3 cups)
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 pounds collard greens (about 1 bunch), ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced (1 packed quart)
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1. Pour the oil into a 12-inch skillet set over high heat, and when it shimmers, add the chorizo. Cook, chopping up the (fresh) sausage with the back of a spoon, until the sausage has rendered most of its fat, about 2 minutes. Add the poblanos, and continue to cook until they have softened slightly and the chorizo is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, half the collards, the salt, and 2 Tbsp water to the skillet. Cook, turning the collards with tongs and adding more greens as those in the pan wilt, until all the collards are in the skillet. Continue to cook until the collards have softened and become dark green, about 6 minutes. Add the vinegar and continue to cook the collards, turning them occasionally, until the vinegar has completely evaporated and the pan is dry, about 3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, if necessary, and divide the collards, poblanos and chorizo among 4 warm serving plates. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
1 cup very thinly sliced peeled and seeded butternut squash
EVOO for drizzling
1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
6-10 small fresh sage (or basil) leaves (torn if larger)
at least 1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 500 F. Drizzle squash with oil in a bowl and season with salt.
2. Spread cornmeal on baking sheet. Stretch dough into 9.5 inch round; transfer to baking sheet. Drizzle dough with oil, and arrange squash on top, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Bake 10 minutes. In the bowl you used for the squash, toss herbs with garlic, & drizzle with oil to coat. Sprinkle herb mixture over pizza & continue to bake until crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
*Cheese / Tomato Sauce : One can also add mozzarella cheese or another white cheese or your choice, like Romano or even tomato sauce, making this a bit more traditional. Top the crust with these additions, after baking the dough, but before adding the squash. Of course, you can always add more cheese on top too!
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to tour the Noble Springs Diary. I was joined by two very excited little boys, my nephews, Reece (age 9) and Eric (age 4), and my sister Laura.
The farm is owned and operated by Dustin and Justyne Noble on 230 picturesque acres in Williamson County. They have about 150 goats and 40 of them are kids (baby goats).
Our tour started off with a quick introduction and then we went down a mowed path past 2 ponds to see Justyne’s two horses, Sassy & Snow. The were hiding in the cool shade of the trees. They came to visit and we all had an opportunity to pet them and offer them some grain.
Next we took quick visit of the chickens that they also raise on the farm. They have about 50 chickens on site. The eggs they collect are used by the family and sold at local farmers markets.
This was followed by an opportunity to get up close to all of the new kids on the farm. Many of them are still being raised on a bottle.
Finally we were able to tour the barn and milking areas. We were also able to see where the milk is processed and bottled right there on site. The milking room can accommodate 12 goats at one time. The dairy is currently milking twice a day.
After the tour was complete, we were given an opportunity to sample the many flavors of goat cheese that they have available. Throughout the summer they will also feature limited-run, flavor of the week cheeses such as strawberry and ranch.
In addition to their wonderful cheeses, Noble Springs also offer a variety of other goat milk products including, milk, yogurt, fudge & soap. Their products can be found at the East Nashville Farmers Market, as well as, restaurants and stores in the greater Nashville area.
Remember, that you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy the fun at Noble Springs Dairy. It is an amazing opportunity to learn about your locally raised food. Schedule a tour for yourself by visiting www.noblespringsdairy.com, or call (615) 481-9546 to find out where to buy the products.
If you can’t wait for a private tour, then join them at the farm this Saturday, June 22, 2014 for FARM FEST. This is a concert to benefit the Land Trust of Tennessee with live music from Austin Moody. Crepe Diem Food Truck and Legato Gelato will be serving food and snacks for those interested in grabbing a bite to eat. Turtle Anarchy Brewery will be there handing out free samples of their local brews. Of course there will be a Noble Springs Dairy sampling table too! The best part is there is no admission and there is only $10 suggested donation per car load.Fun starts at 3pm and goes until 6pm. There will be plenty of space to relax and enjoy the music. Bring chairs or blankets to sit on.
Come out to the East Nashville Farmers Market to get your fresh ingredients for this wonderful summer recipe.
2 cups Fresh Tomatoes, Chopped (Roma Preferred)
3 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced (may Add More Or Less To Taste)
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
½ cups Basil, Chopped
Kosher Salt And Fresh Cracked Pepper To Taste
1 whole French Baguette, Sliced On The Diagonal, 3/4 Inch Thick
1 clove Garlic, Peeled And Sliced In Half
Goat Cheese, To Taste
In a medium mixing bowl, add chopped tomatoes, finely minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil together. The longer they sit, the better it will be. Make a few hours ahead or overnight. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Toast baguettes on a cookie sheet just until slightly browned. Rub halved garlic clove over the toasted side to infuse bread with flavor. Spread with goat cheese to taste. Spoon tomato mixture on top of the bread and serve. Also goes well with pasta.
The idea of cooking radishes may not appeal to some people. Try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. After all, onions aren’t just for salads and neither are radishes. You can find the freshest local ingredients including radishes, onions and beef at the East Nashville Farmers Market.
1-1/2 pounds lean flank steak, cut across grain into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 tblsp honey or maple syrup
1-1/2 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
2 tblsp low-sodium soy sauce
1-1/2 tblsp cornstarch
3 tsp sunflower or olive oil
24 green onions, cut diagonally into 2 inch pieces
24 radishes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Combine first 5 ingredients in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, turning once to coat. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)
Mix broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch in small bowl. Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add half of steak and half of juices from dish and sautée until steak is brown, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to plate. Repeat with 1-1/2 teaspoons oil, steak and juices. Return all steak and juices to skillet. Add green onions and radishes and sautée 1 minute. Stir broth mixture, add to skillet and sautée just until steak is cooked through and sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.
Makes around 6 servings.