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Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets, Hungry for Louisiana, Vegetables

Two bean salad with lemon-Dijon vinaigrette

May 17, 2016

Fresh green beans are one of my favorite vegetables, in part because they’re one of the few that all three of my kids like. It’s crazy how hard that is. And now that beans are in season* and emerging from numerous regional farms, I’m having a field day cooking with them.

Frequently, I blanch a batch and put them in a food storage bag in the fridge, taking out handfuls a couple of times during the week to sauté for dinner. I love them tossed in a hot pan with olive oil and fresh garlic, then doused with a little soy sauce and topped with basil slivers. Or sometimes I add lemon peel, toasted almonds and fresh chives. They’re amazing with Hollandaise, and I love them served as an hors d’oeuvre with spicy peanut sauce. These guys are versatile.

This week, I’m combining fresh, blanched green beans with gorgeous wax beans, also in season, and using them as a salad with fresh tomatoes, crumbled feta and a homemade lemon-Dijon vinaigrette.

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Farmers Markets, Food and Culture, Food Systems, Hungry for Louisiana

Baton Rouge Gallery exhibition provokes discussion about food systems

May 11, 2016

Toward the end of a lively discussion that spanned school lunches, GMOs and the terminal “freshness” of Hostess cupcakes, Fullness Organic Farm founder Grant Guidroz delivered my favorite comment of the day.

“I’m not looking ‘up’ for the solution,” said Guidroz, about undoing the legacy of America’s agriculture policies, which benefit mega-farms and have contributed to obesity. Instead, he believes it will come from a growing number of grass-roots consumers who, one by one, are shifting the way they think about food.

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Farmers Markets, Fresh from the Gulf, Hungry for Louisiana, Pasta

Light and right for spring: Penne Primavera with Fresh Gulf Shrimp

April 28, 2016

This week’s recipe is one of those no-rules ones that’s adaptable at will. Pasta with fresh Gulf shrimp and lightly sautéed seasonal vegetables is something I absolutely love to have around the house this time of year. It’s cozy, healthy and packed with flavor. Change out the vegetables as the season evolves. Clip some herbs from the backyard to make it sing. Serve it with a simple salad and a crusty loaf of bread for an easy dinner. The only labor-intensive part is peeling the shrimp, but it’s well worth it.

Clean-up is easy; I use one large sauté pan to cook all the ingredients except for the pasta.

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Farmers Markets, Fresh produce, Hungry for Louisiana, Vegetables

Local Produce: Playing around with the deep South’s spring bounty

April 8, 2016

I know you’ve heard this before, but the nice thing about buying local it that takes minimal effort to make fresh ingredients taste great. That’s exactly the kind of stripped-down cooking I’m about these days as I  try to simply keep my head above water (like everybody).

Last Saturday, (our three kids shockingly free from morning activities) John and I snuck out and dropped by our local Red Stick Farmers Market in downtown Baton Rouge to do some shopping. We were having friends over that night, and I wanted to put together an easy appetizer and a tray of roasted vegetables.

This time of year in south Louisiana, we start to hit that fun period at the market where we can find both cooler temperature crops, like carrots, Brussels sprouts, beets and asparagus, as well as warmer crops like peppers and cucumbers. Gotta love a year round growing season! I bought a big variety of veggies, along with honey from two vendors for morning smoothies, and herbed goat cheese and a whole wheat half baguette for a quick hors d’oeuvre that evening.

The veggies were, as usual, gorgeous and inspiring! I know, food nerd. But still….

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Farmers Markets, Local, Louisiana, Sandwiches, Soups, Southern, Vegetables

Meatless Mains: Curried 3-squash soup with fresh tomato bruschetta

November 19, 2015

Here’s one for my vegetarian pals, or anyone who likes to incorporate an occasional meatless main course: a veggie-centric soup-and-sandwich combo made with fresh farmers market ingredients.

A couple of weeks back, I posted on 5 fall produce soup ideas, and briefly mentioned this one: roasted butternut squash soup studded with sautéed summer squash and zucchini. It showcases the range of produce available in south Louisiana right now. We can still get a lot of summer produce alongside the inaugural harvest of fall vegetables. And with fresh tomato bruschetta on the plate, too, this dinner takes advantage of Southern vegetables that refuse to be confined to just one season.

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Farmers Markets, LSU, On the Road

The Big Game: Bama Bound? Try Tuscaloosa’s farm-to-table Epiphany

November 3, 2015

Most of us Tiger fans will be tailgating at home this weekend with friends and family, but if you’re on the road to see one of the SEC’s greatest current rivalries, LSU vs. Alabama, a rivalry that still incenses the Tiger Nation, you need some intel on a good place to eat in Tuscaloosa. I’ve got a spot in the city’s thriving red-brick downtown that won’t disappoint, Epiphany Farm to Fork.

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