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Thursday, 04 May 2017 09:57

Farmers markets up and running this month

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Rhubarb is one of the first things you’ll find at your local farmers market. The leaves, which are poisonous to eat, can be composted safely — do not feed them to your animals. Rhubarb is one of the first things you’ll find at your local farmers market. The leaves, which are poisonous to eat, can be composted safely — do not feed them to your animals. File photo

We’re starting the growing season right now, and aren’t we lucky to have so many dedicated farmers around us? A trip to your local farmers market will prove it. You can pick a bunch of lettuce greens or harvest a good helping of fresh asparagus. It’s all there and it’s all grown locally.

 

Beet salad

Serves 4

3 to 4 small to medium beets, cleaned

4 Tbsps. olive oil, divided

1/4 tsp. salt

1 clove minced garlic

Cleaned greens from the beets (or add other greens to equal about 4 cups)

Dash of balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup feta cheese

Peel and cube the beets. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat.   Spread out in single layer on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in 375 F?oven until tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic. Wash and coarsely chop greens and add to pan. Cover and cook until just wilted.

Add a dash of balsamic vinegar and the roasted beets and toss. Portion onto plates and garnish with the feta cheese. Serve warm or chilled.

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Fingerling potato salad

This is a great old German recipe that my grandma used to make. She always planted these potatoes; after harvesting, she saved some for the next year’s planting. The potatoes are ready to dig about the same time the green beans need picking, so this is a natural combination.

Fingerlings also are grown at Old World Wisconsin, near Eagle, as part of the historic farming program there.

The potatoes look like gnarled fingers in a fist, which probably accounts for the name. They are not very big and are softer than other potatoes, which means they have never been grown commercially on any large scale. The taste is buttery and creamy. They seem to be making a comeback, as I have found them at several farmers markets in the past and even at the grocery store. Yukon gold potatoes would be a good substitution.

Serves 6 to 8

2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, scrubbed clean

1 lb. fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 Tbsps. fresh chopped parsley, thyme, savory or a combination

2 Tbsps. fresh chopped chives

4 Tbsps. olive oil

Juice of one lemon

1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Cut the cleaned potatoes into bite size pieces if necessary. Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes — they should still be quite firm. Add the fresh green beans and cook until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and beans and place in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the still warm potatoes and beans and mix together. Refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

 

Rhubarb muffins

Makes 12 regular size muffins

For the muffins:

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2-1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsps. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1-1/2 cups 1/4-inch diced rhubarb

Topping:

3 Tbsps. granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt and vanilla.

Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Mix just until blended — do not overbeat. Stir in the diced rhubarb.

The batter will be thick.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each cup to the level top or just below.

Mix up topping by combining the sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over each muffin until used up.

Bake the muffins until they’re golden brown, spring back most of the way when gently pressed and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for five to 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let them cool completely.

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