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Fresh at the farmer’s market: Fall edition



Photo: bjaglin/flickr

 

Here in Seattle, late September is when many of our small neighborhood farmer’s markets begin to wrap it up for the year. But don’t be fooled: they may be winding down, but there are still plenty of seasonal goodies to be found on the stands.

Grab your kids and head down to your local neighborhood market to make the most of what late summer has to offer.


Wild mushroom soup

For the mushroom lovers amongst us, late September is a time to look forward to, as it signals the return of chanterelle season. Snap up these golden beauties while you can; they need little more than a quick sauté in butter and a sprinkling of salt to make a luxurious treat.  If your kids are wary of texture, this soup is a great introduction for them to the earthy and savory qualities of mushrooms. Have a cup for a warming after-school snack, or pair with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad for a comforting supper.

Serves 6

¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms

1 lb crimini mushrooms

¼ lb wild mushrooms (chanterelles or oyster are best)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dried thyme

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons crème fraiche or mascarpone cheese (optional)

salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Place the porcini in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.   Set aside to soak.

Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel, then slice thinly.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the mushrooms.  Sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes, then add the butter, onion, garlic, and thyme.  As the mixture cooks in the pan, strain the porcini (reserving the soaking liquid) and finely chop.  Add them to the pan along with the strained soaking liquid, then sauté until the mushrooms have cooked down and most of the moisture is gone, around 15-20 minutes.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for a further 20 minutes.  If using the crème fraiche or mascarpone, stir it in at this point.  (This adds a luxurious element to the dish, but it will still be delicious if you choose to omit and make it dairy-free.)

Use an immersion blender or a food processor to whizz it up until mostly smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Kale fried rice

Photo: Jake Bellucci/Flickr

Kale has been a bit of a roller coaster vegetable over the years, going from underappreciated to trendy to overplayed, but the truth is that there aren’t many vegetables out there better for you.  One of the most nutrient-dense foods around, it’s rich in vitamins, packed with antioxidants, and it can even help lower cholesterol.  In this recipe, steamed kale is chopped so finely that it flies under the radar of picky eaters, then mixed with fiber-packed brown rice for a satisfying side (or just top with a fried egg for a hearty vegetarian main).

Serves 4

1.5 cups brown rice

1 bunch kale, fibrous stems removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Handful of chives, chopped

 

Place rice and 3 cups of water in a medium pan and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer until all water has been absorbed, about 35-40 minutes. Fluff rice, then cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, steam the kale until cooked, around 7-8 minutes.  Remove from the steamer and chop finely.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the shallots and the garlic. Sauté for around 3 minutes until softened, then add the chopped kale and mix well.  Add rice and stir until well combined.  Season with the soy sauce, then with salt and pepper to taste.  Top with the chives and serve.


Roasted root vegetables

Photo: Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

Everybody loves the ever-versatile carrot, but its cousin the parsnip is the unsung hero of the root vegetable world.  Loving cooler climates, parsnips grow well in the Pacific Northwest, and they start popping up in the markets as fall approaches.  

Roasting caramelizes the vegetables and brings out their sweet, nutty flavor, which appeals to kids both young and old.  Serve with roast chicken and some braised seasonal greens for a perfect meal on a chilly late summer evening.

Serves 4-6

Nonstick canola oil spray

4 large carrots, peeled and cut to 1.5” chunks

4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut to 1.5” chunks

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut to 1.5” chunks

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

(Feel free to substitute any of your favorite seasonal vegetables, as long as they’re all cut to uniform size.  Potatoes, rutabaga, celery root and cauliflower all work well.)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray two large baking sheets with the canola oil spray.

Put all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl, add the oil and the rosemary and toss well to coat.  Transfer them to the prepared baking sheets and spread them out into a single layer.  Season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Rotate the pans and continue to roast until tender and caramelized around the edges, around 20 minutes more.

(Note: This versatile dish can be made a few hours ahead of time, then warmed in the oven until heated through.)


Jo Eike is a writer and a cook always in search of her next favorite recipe.  She lives in Seattle with her husband and three children.

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