To Market, To Market

Local farmers’ markets offer spring fixin’s

Ah,a juicy strawberry, and the snap of a green bean. The edible wonders of spring are at our fingertips, as growers share the wealth of the land at farmers’ markets across Western Wake.

Tempted by the colorful bounty of these fresh ingredients, but looking for new ways to use them?

Try these sweet and savory recipe suggestions, courtesy of local growers and chefs!

Green Bean and Sesame Noodle Salad
From The Produce Box Chef Joe Welsh

Photo by Jonathan Fredin

Marinade:
¼ cup sesame oil
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
7 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon chili oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ chopped cilantro
Mix all ingredients for the marinade.

For the salad:
1 pound green beans; cut tips off and slice in thirds
14-ounce package Chinese egg noodles, or spaghetti
10 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrots

Place beans in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, remove and plunge into ice water, strain and dry.

Cook the pasta, add the scallions, beans and carrots. Pour the marinade over top and serve.

Strawberry Kale Salad
Recipe and photo from the Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina
Serves 2 to 4.

For the salad:
6 cups fresh organic baby kale (If using traditional kale, pour an extra few teaspoons of oil onto the greens first and massage it in with your hands for 1 minute, to soften.)
1 pint organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
1-2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese, or other soft cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Half a small red onion, thinly sliced

Toss all ingredients together. Top with dressing.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3-4 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together until combined. Toss with salad and serve immediately.

Strawberry-Thyme Shortcakes
Recipe and photo courtesy Danielle Jones of Slice & Torte, sliceandtorte.com
Yields 10-12 shortcakes.

For strawberry conserve:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
Peel from half a lemon

In a medium saucepan, combine granulated sugar, strawberries, and lemon peel. Cover and let sit for about 2 hours, until the berries ooze and the sugar dissolves.

Bring strawberry mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the strawberries are tender, about 1 minute. Don’t let them get mushy!

Remove strawberries, place in a bowl and set aside. Continue simmering liquid until it thickens into a syrup, about 2 minutes. Discard lemon peel and add sauce to strawberries. Cover and let cool to room temperature.

For biscuits:
3 cups all-purpose flour; White Lily Flour recommended for lightest biscuit
1 cup cake flour
¼ cup granulated sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks very cold salted butter, cut into small pieces. Tip: Cut butter into small pieces, then let sit in the freezer for 10-15 minutes for optimal results.
2 vanilla beans
1 ½ cups cold buttermilk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Whisk together both flours, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your hands, incorporate the butter into this mixture until the largest pieces are pea-sized.

Scrape vanilla seeds out of the pod and into the buttermilk and add to flour mixture. Add lemon zest and thyme. Stir with a fork until a moist dough has formed.

Turn out dough onto a clean, floured workspace. Press the dough lightly and form a rectangle. Take care not to overwork the dough!

Fold the dough into thirds, starting to the short end. Pat out dough until it is about 1 ¼ inches thick. Repeat the folding process. Using a floured biscuit cutter (or a glass), cut dough into 2 ½-inch rounds.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place prepared rounds onto baking sheet, approximately 1 inch apart. Chill for 20 minutes.

Brush tops of biscuits with 2 tablespoons cream and sprinkle with sugar and thyme. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes. Biscuits are done when they are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, combine heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix until a medium stiff cream has formed.

To compose shortcakes:
Halve biscuits and layer with fresh whipped cream and strawberry conserve. Serve with additional strawberries on the side.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Recipe courtesy of The Produce Box  

1 ½ cups shredded raw zucchini (about ½ pound)
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Grease or spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Grate the zucchini using a medium sized grater. Set aside. In separate bowl, beat sugars and eggs till smooth. Mix in oil, vanilla and zucchini. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

Mix wet and dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips (or save some for the top). Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes.

Place on wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Find a farmers’ market near you:

Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina
121 N. Main St.
Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.,
and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon
growers-market.org

Western Wake Farmers Market
Carpenter Village, Cary, Saturdays
8 a.m. to noon
UNC Wellness Center, West Cary
Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
wwfm.ag

Cary Downtown Farmers Market
135 W. Chatham St.
Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
caryfarmersmarket.com

Waverly Farmers Market
Waverly Place, Cary
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
waverlycary.com

Apex Farmers Market
220 N. Salem St.
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
apexfarmersmarket.com

Holly Springs Farmers Market
(opens May 7)
28 S. Main St.
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
hollyspringsnc.us/319/Farmers-Market

Can’t make it to the market?
Let it come to you, through delivery service The Produce Box.
theproducebox.com

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