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Red Stick Farmers Market

Farmers Markets, Fresh produce, Fruit, Hungry for Louisiana, Local, Louisiana, Peaches, Uncategorized

Peach sorbet in a pinch

July 27, 2017

This year’s Louisiana peach crop is less robust than usual due to a mild winter across the south, but there’s still time to buy fresh peaches here in Baton Rouge. Waterproof-based Plantation Pecan Company had plenty last Saturday at the downtown Red Stick Farmers Market, but you need to arrive early. I picked up a half-bushel and have been sinking my teeth into a peach a day ever since. They’ve been really delicious and scream summer.

My favorite application for fresh peaches is peach ice cream, and I love to make it in when I have an abundance. But in years like this, I settle for peach sorbet, which requires fewer peaches and can be made with minimal effort.

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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 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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Fall flavors, Farmers Markets, One Pot, Soups

Recipe: pasta e fagioli with fresh red beans

November 3, 2015

I first got turned on to the Italian peasant soup pasta e fagioli when I took a cooking class on soups at the John Folse Culinary Institute several years ago. I was amazed at how flavorful a soup made of little more than beans and pasta could be. Now I really like to make it because it’s a favorite among my kids, and I can sometimes buy fresh and shelled red beans from Pontchatoula farmer Eric Morrow at the Red Stick Farmers Market. We also have an old school pasta shop here in Baton Rouge, D’Agostino’s, that sells handmade dried pastas. Their birdseye, shown below, is perfect for this soup.

Here’s my pasta e fagioli recipe, referenced in earlier post on fall soups inspired by farmers market ingredients. This version is lighter than many because it uses chicken stock rather than beef, and diced fresh tomatoes rather than tomato paste.

Enjoy!

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4th of July, Corn, Farmers Markets, Fresh produce, Healthy, Herbs, Local, Louisiana, One Pot, Soups, Squash

Corn and squash soup brims with summer goodness

July 1, 2015

One of the easiest ways to use fresh summer produce is in a luscious seasonal soup. I know, it’s hot outside, but your AC is probably on full blast, and soup is an inside dish. Corn soup (…and its many versions) is a longtime favorite around South Louisiana, but adding squash to the mix creates depth and wholesome goodness. Thanks to the Red Stick Farmers Market for planting the seed with their annual Corn & Squash-tastic event last Saturday celebrating the summer bounty. The idea of combining the two got stuck in my head and led to this simple recipe, which gives me a chance to do something different with yellow squash. I admit to getting stuck sometimes on expanding my use for it.

This soup tastes rich, but it’s really pretty healthy. A portion of the corn is pureed with a little broth to create a creamy consistency without actually using cream.

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