Farmers’ Market Saturday – 7/9/11
July 9, 2011
There was so much great produce at the Boulder Farmers’ Market today. It’s amazing how the variety of vegetables starts to explode in July. It was a 5-bag day for me. I brought home cucumbers, hakurei turnips, golden, red, and white (!?) beets, red, orange, and yellow carrots, tomatoes, purple and green kohlrabi, fava beans, purple potatoes, a grab bag of Hazel Dell mushrooms, garlic, wild arugula, baby red kale, cilantro, basil, chocolate mint, Pappardelle’s Gluten-Free Chipotle Lime Small Trumpet pasta, Olomomo Righteous Cinnamon Cayenne Almonds, and a six-pack of Street Fare mini cupcakes.
Hakurei turnips are little smooth white turnips that have a very mild, sweet taste. They are a far cry from the tough, wintry turnips that you may have eaten and developed a lifelong aversion to during your childhood. I plan to use these for my second attempt at making spicy sweet refrigerator pickles, but they are good just refrigerated and sliced. I had never seen white beets before, so when I saw a bunch of beets which included golden, red and white varieties, I couldn’t pass it up.
Kohlrabi is one of my favorite vegetables from childhood. It had actually been over twenty years since I had seen them (oh, wait – I’m dating myself here, aren’t I? I meant ten years), when I happened upon some last year at the Boulder Farmers’ market. Both the purple and green varieties are white after they are peeled, and they have a fresh mild taste that is brought out best by refrigerating them. Slice and eat them raw.
I was intrigued by the wild arugula, since I love arugula so much, and asked the woman at the stand how it would differ from regular arugula. She gave me a sample of the much spicier, peppery greens, and I decided I would definitely take some of them home.
Fava beans are one of my favorite Farmers’ Market finds. The fresh ones are infinitely better than the dried variety. They take a bit of work to prepare, since you have to remove them from the pods, then blanch them, and then peel them, but they have such a unique, fresh taste that they are definitely worth it.
Tonight’s dinner was one of the most colorful I have ever made – great for brightening up the rainy evening in Boulder!
To start, I made a wild arugula salad with red and yellow carrots, hakurei turnips, and Righteous Cinnamon Cayenne Almonds. The wild arugula was very, very peppery, so I wanted to make sure to use several ingredients with a sweeter flavor to offset it. My husband was kind enough to whip up some balsamic vinaigrette when I discovered that we were out of the Annie’s we usually use.
For the entree, I had a rather disparate group of ingredients, but figured I’d try to make them go together, and they actually turned out pretty well. I had gotten some whole wheat pearled couscous at Whole Foods earlier in the week, so wanted to try that. You could use the regular pearled couscous (which seems to be the same as Israeli couscous as near as I can tell), or barley instead. If you don’t have purple potatoes, white or red ones would work fine – but they won’t be as pretty! I used the mushrooms from the grab bag that Hazel Dell Mushrooms offers at the Farmers’ Market. Today’s bag contained oyster, portabella, and shiitake by the time I got there (they were out of cinnamon caps and lion’s mane by then). I used my purple scallions and the garlic with the stalk still attached, but green onions and conventional garlic can stand in for those if you don’t have either of the first two. This garlic had six cloves and smelled a bit stronger than the stuff I got from Cure Organic Farms earlier in the week, so after removing the outer layers to get down to the cloves, I removed the extra layer around each clove, and then just used three of them rather than all six.
Whole Wheat Pearled Couscous with Mushrooms, Purple Potatoes, and Fava Beans
serves 2-4 (as entrée or side)
2/3 cup uncooked pearled couscous
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth (or as per package directions)
1/2 lb purple potatoes, sliced and cut into smaller pieces
1 pint of fava beans
2-3 cups sliced mushrooms
2-3 purple scallions, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp butter
3 tsp olive oil, divided
paprika, salt, and pepper to taste
Parboil potatoes by either placing them in boiling water on the stove, or in a glass bowl of water in the microwave and cooking on high. Since this was a small amount of potatoes, and I cut them fairly small, they only took about 4 minutes. Take them out as soon as they are mostly tender, and then set them aside.
Rinse the fava bean pods, and then remove the individual beans from the pods. Drop the beans in boiling water for about 3 minutes, and then remove them with a slotted spoon, and put them in an ice bath to stop them from cooking. Once they have cooled, peel off the outer covering of the fava beans (you can usually just rip the end and then squeeze the beans out), then set aside. They should be a vivid green color at this point.
Cook the couscous according to package directions, but using the broth in place of water (for the kind I had it took 8-10 minutes). In the meantime, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, and then saute the scallions and garlic until tender, and just starting to turn golden. Remove the scallions and garlic from the pan and set aside. Heat the butter in the same pan on high heat. When the butter is bubbly and just starts to brown, add the mushrooms, and cook until tender, turning several times to ensure both sides cook. Stop before they become juicy.
Add the barley, scallions, garlic, potatoes, fava beans, and 2 tsp olive oil to the skillet with the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until heated through. Add paprika, salt and pepper to taste.