Beaverton Farmers Market – Eat Your Spring Greens!
To Our Market Community,
Grasping at every opportunity to find a reason to celebrate and enjoy life, we are excited about another lovely forecast for this Saturday’s Market. Gorgeous Spring days are perfect for cooking all of the green vegetables your heart desires. Forget about the fact that they are healthy, we eat them because they are versatile and delicious. Some are sweet, some are spicy and some are better cooked than raw.
We know that all of this leafiness can get confusing so we thought that we would take a minute to help you sort them all out and suggest tasty ways to prepare the many greens you will find in our growers stalls. While we will be talking mostly about the greens that are cooked, don’t forget that delicate salad mixes are also available now as are bags of tender baby arugula and bunches of watercress for lovely light salads. We are especially fond of pizzas topped with a zingy arugula salad like this one from Ina Garten. You can make your pizza dough from scratch according to her recipe or make your life easier by starting with one read- to-go from Pizza Crust Creations.
Photo courtesy of Food Network
Don’t forget to pick up a few trays of micro greens at Le Petit Jardin. It is amazing how the tiniest little greens pack such a powerful flavor punch. Choose from a rotating menu of broccoli, sunflower, kale, arugula, basil, leek and 5 types of radish greens. Also fun are the two proprietary mixes – Spicy or Mellow, that owners Michael and Tammy Hager craft for market goers. Naturally microgreens are packed with nutrients but we love them because they are delicious.
Lemon is a flavor that has a natural affinity for Spring greens of all kinds and is a common ingredient in Spring vegetable recipes. This makes the Lemon Pepper pasta from Esotico Pasta a natural to go with almost any Spring green in the market. Add some exotic mushrooms from The Mushroomery such as Shittakes, Hedgehogs or Black Trumpets and you will have the ultimate Spring dish.
The Beaverton Farmers Market
We will see you all this Saturday at the Market, from 10AM-1:30PM!
Do you get confused when you hear the words “rabe”,”raab”, “rapini” or “broccolini” used in recipes? Let us help you sort this out because you will find some of these green vegetables in the market this weekend.
First, a little taxonomy — Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicacae, known as Brassicas or Crucifers. They include: cauliflower, broccoli, mustard greens, arugula, bok choy, kales and cabbages to name a few.
Now, a little clarification.
Broccolini is NOT baby broccoli. It is a cross between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli with long stems, larger florets, and less leaves. It is less bitter than some of its relatives which is why it is often thought of as baby broccoli.
Rapini and Broccoli Rabe are close cousins and are often used interchangeably. They are in the same subspecies as the turnip hence they have the characteristically slightly bitter taste of this group. They do not form the large heads that we see in broccoli.
The flower buds of brassicas from the turnip family are often referred to as rabe, or raab, derived from rapa which means turnip in Italian. This time of the year, you will find the rabes of many types of brassicas in the market – kale, mustard greens, Brussels Sprouts, turnips, bok choy and Chinese cabbage.
While each of these are from a common family there are slight differences in taste between them. With each, you are meant to eat the stems, buds and leaves making them very easy to prep for cooking. Don’t be alarmed if the buds have begun to show their yellow flowers. Some feel that the flowers are a sweeter version of the parent plant.
All of the aforementioned brassicas are excellent, roasted, sautéed or lightly steamed. We don’t recommend boiling because it is easy to overcook the leaves in boiling water. The usual additions of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes makes for an easy and delicious preparation. Finish your dish with salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Marketing Director, Kate Laubernds, shared that with broccolini, raabs, and kalettes she loves to grill or roast and finish with lemon juice and garnishing flake salt and ground flax seed. The flax seed adds a nice bit of nuttiness and elevates this simple side dish.
We also suggest that you try tossing your raabs with a Balsamic vinegar reduction. The reduction’s sweet finish balances the bitter quality of the greens. We like to keep a balsamic reduction in the refrigerator to have on hand as needed. It is delicious drizzled on salads, fresh vegetables, fish and meats.
Basic Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
2 c. balsamic vinegar
Boil in a small saucepan until reduced by half (one cup). You can continue to boil for a thicker glaze type consistency. You may add a clove of garlic, minced, or fresh herbs such as thyme. Be sure to strain those out before storing.
Lacinato Kale (Dinosaur Kale), Black Kale or Tuscan Kale
With its crinkly, dark, almost blue green leaves, this kale is unique in that it is delicious eaten raw or in long-cooked dishes such as soups and braises. While the Italians have long valued the earthy nutty flavor of this cold hearty green, it is a fairly recent discovery for most American cooks.
Are you confused about the many varieties of kale and how to use them? We found this video from The Spruce to be interesting and informative.
Lacinato kale is abundant in the market right now so we wanted to share some of our favorite ways to use this versatile and delicious veggie.
Raw Kale & Apple Salad with Fontina and Lemon Vinaigrette
1 bunch of Lacinato Kale
1 – 2 crisp apples
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup finely grated fontina cheese
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
Slice the kale very thinly, as if for a coleslaw. Core the apples and slice thinly. Toss the sliced apples with the raw kale. Mix together the lemon juice, cider vinegar and olive oil. Add in salt, pepper, and chili flakes.
Toss the raw kale and apple with the dressing – be sure to start light on the dressing and take care not to ‘overdress’ the salad. Toss in the fontina cheese. Adjust seasonings, if needed.
Don’t Get Stung By This Leafy Green!
With this next green you might get stung, but did you know it’s good for your health? Stinging Nettle is a plant that has been touted for relieving symptoms from a host of ailments including arthritis, allergies, diabetes, hypertension, urinary tract infections, among others. Stinging nettle is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and protein, which is why it’s a popular herbal remedy.
We love the health benefits of nettle, but it’s also just a really tasty green. Nettles have a bright flavor similar to spinach and can be used in a host of recipes from tea to pesto, sautéed, or atop pizza (our personal favorite). Cookbook author, Sharon Palmer, shared on her blog all about nettles from growing to handling and preparing nettles for recipes, and a handful of recipes. You can find nettles at Winters Farm booth throughout spring.