Tag Archives: vegetables

Market Vegetable Soup

This vegetable soup is also known as clean out the fridge soup. Every week, we go to our local farmers’ market and stock up on local produce. Why let any of that produce go to waste??

  

Before any of that produce in the fridge spoils, make soup! Sure, composting is nice and of course good for the environment, but wouldn’t you rather have delicious soup in your belly? For this batch, I literally cleaned out our fridge before shopping day tomorrow. 

Speaking of shopping, every week we go to one of our favorite markets. Either Easton Farmers’ Market (http://eastonfarmersmarket.com) or Emmaus Farmers’ Market (http://emmausmarket.com). If you don’t shop your local farmers’ market you should start! Local produce is better and most importantly, fresher! It hasn’t traveled cross country in the back of a truck. If you are lucky you will even begin to develop a rapport with the vendors like we have. I honestly look forward to grocery shopping. Can you say that?

Now, this more of a suggestion than a recipe. There are no exact amounts and it will change every time you make it. Talk about simple as well!! One tip, once all of the vegetables are in the pot bring it to a boil and then turn all the way down to low and allow it to simmer. The longer it simmers the more the flavors will develop.

For this batch, I started by dicing one large onion and six cloves of garlic. They went into my six quart dutch oven with a few turns of extra virgin olive oil to sauté over medium heat.

I followed with a bunch of carrots, some celery (which admittedly had been in the fridge way too long), several small heads of cauliflower, a few peppers, two different types of mushrooms, four yukon gold potatoes and two large handfuls of swiss chard. This is not necessarily a pretty soup. I just cut everything up and toss it in the pot. The mushrooms and Swiss chard went in last so they won’t overlook.

For the broth I used one quart of home canned tomatoes and four quarts of vegetable stock.  I like to keep the seasoning simple. Allow the taste of all the vegetables to shine. For this batch four bay leaves, salt, pepper and cayenne are all I used.

As a bonus, the house smells delicious!! There is no potpourri that can make a house smell as good a soup simmering slowly on the stove. So next time you think about tossing those vegetables into the compost, or worse, the trash give this soup a try.


Thanksgiving Preparation at our favorite Farmers’ Market!

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Yesterday was a beautiful day to take in the Easton Farmers’ Market. The peace candle has replaced the statue in the circle and it was a beautiful, although chilly, morning. This was the last open air market day of the season. After a break next weekend, the market will be moving indoors until spring. It was also a great day to start getting ready for Thanksgiving.

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First stop? Our favorite breakfast place-Quadrant Book Mart and Coffee House. Before shopping for Thanksgiving inspiration some nourishment was definitely in order. Nothing is worse than food shopping on an empty stomach, right?

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This is, by far, the best cup of coffee Easton has to offer. Black pumpkin brûlée for me and decaf with cream and sugar for the hubby.

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I decided on the market omelette, which is almost always my choice. This one featured asparagus, roasted tomatoes, artichokes and goat cheese with a side of multigrain toast. It was an exceptional way to start our adventure.

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We were fortunate to make it out early before the market was super busy. These pictures would have looked very different a few hours later!

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This is always one of my first stops at the market and this week was no exception. Primordia Mushroom Farm always has the freshest and most diverse selection of mushrooms. We decided two pounds of their beautiful trumpet mushrooms will have a place on the menu for Thanksgiving. I plan on roasting them simply in olive oil, salt and pepper to allow their natural flavor shine through. We also left with a pound of shiitakes. Thanksgiving, after all, is not the only meal this week.

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Our next stop was Sholl Orchards, where the first order of business was six gallons of apple cider. Yes, six! Some for the turkey brine and the rest my hubby will be working his home brew magic on. Soon, we will have hard apple cider! We also picked up four quarts of potatoes and some apples. Thanksgiving dinner would not be the same without some vegan mashed potatoes. My sister is vegan, and my son and I avoid dairy, so all of our side dishes are vegan to keep it simple.

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After running the cider and beginning of our bounty to the car, our next stop was to see our favorite baker at Saxman Breads. We left with two loaves of rustic italian bread for stuffing and bread crumbs. I couldn’t resist a loaf of the farm grain as well, since it is my absolute favorite bread. Sorry, you only get to see his back.

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Since cranberry sauce is not my strong point, we decided on some Eat This heirloom cranberry compote. I love their jars and will be serving it as is.

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At Salvaterra Gardens we picked up butternut squash for the vegan butternut squash lasagna and greens-red russian kale, lacinto kale and rainbow swiss chard for vegan creamed greens. This Thanksgiving menu is coming together quite nicely!

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Next, at Blooming Glen Farm, I picked up some beautiful little carrots. These will be roasted whole in a maple glaze.

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After a quick stop at Wegman’s for some grocery staples, nothing picture worthy there, we headed to Koch’s Turkey for the star of the Thanksgiving meal. This year we have decided to stray a little from tradition. We are going to brine and then smoke turkey breasts and thighs instead of doing a whole bird. We picked up five pounds of each and some giblets for gravy.

We spent some time talking with some of the employees and discovered they are certified humane, and the turkeys are fed an all natural diet of non-GMO corn and soy from their own farm as well as other local farms. They are hormone and antibiotic free as well. We are lucky to have this farm close to home so that we can go visit and buy direct. By doing so, we save a ton of money and get the freshest turkey. In the past we always bought from one of their farmers’ market stands. We were very surprised at how large an operation it really is.

Stayed tuned for my Thanksgiving post to see how the menu turns out! We definitely have all the best, freshest, local ingredients we could find. I am thankful to all the local farmers who keep us well fed at Thanksgiving and all throughout the year. We really are fortunate to live in an area where we have these farmers and their crops available to us!

If you have interest in any of the stops we made today, here are website links for those I could find:

Quadrant Book Store and Coffee House-
https://www.facebook.com/QuadrantBookMartCoffeeHouse

Easton Farmer’s Market-
http://eastonfarmersmarket.com

https://www.facebook.com/EastonFarmersMarket

Primordia Mushroom Farm-
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Primordia-Farm/532651676815561

Scholl Orchards-
http://www.schollorchards.com

https://www.facebook.com/schollorchardsPA

Eat This-
https://www.facebook.com/eatthisyum

Salvaterra Gardens-
https://www.facebook.com/salvaterrasgardens1

Blooming Glen Farm-
http://www.bloomingglenfarm.com

Koch’s Turkey-
http://www.kochsturkey.com

Sadly, I could not find a website for Saxman Breads, but find them at Easton, Emmaus and Macungie Farmers’ Markets.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you find yourself surrounded by the people, and food, you love!


Our Ever Growing Pantry!!

Our Ever Growing Pantry

First, I want to apologize for my absence lately. Life knocked me down for a while, and on my way back up I have been busier than usual.

The hubby and I have taken up a new hobby! One weekend while shopping at the farmers’ market I had a brainstorm. Why buy produce in the grocery store?? There is an abundance of fresh, local, delicious produce available right in our backyard!

So we started to research canning. This doesn’t seem so bad! We started out with a few simple things in a water bath, but next thing you know we wanted to move on to some more complex recipes. Time to buy a pressure canner!

I expected to build up a decent pantry with yummy local foods. What I did not expect was to love doing it so much. It is something we can do together and we both find it relaxes us. Bonus??? All the great food!

Since we bought that pressure canner, our local farmers have been keeping us busy. We no longer have a linen closet. What we do have? Somewhere around two hundred jars of fresh local fruits and vegetables!!

We only started around six weeks ago. Our goal is to can enough local goodies that we will not have to buy any produce in the grocery store all winter. That may not happen this year since we started so late, but we are preparing for next year.

So, now I have a question. What is YOUR favorite canning recipe?? We are open to trying whatever you throw out at us.


Farmers’ Market Season at last!

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One of my favorite ways to spend the day this time of year is strolling around the farmers’ market. I love the sights, smells, tastes and sounds that surround me. Kudos to my hubby for sharing some of the pictures of my favorite local farmers’ market….Easton Farmers’ Market. Another great thing about the farmers’ market? The people!! Most of the vendors are more than willing to talk to you about their wares, whether it is produce, bread, or fabulous farm bags!

One thing to keep in mind when deciding to head out to the farmers’ market is the type of market. If you truly want to support your local farmers, make sure to go to a producer-only market. These market only allow vendors to sell their own produce, grown on their own farms. Or products made by the vendor themselves. No large wholesalers allowed!

The farmers’ market inspires me more than anything else. I will pick up a strange-looking veggie (like the kohlrabi I discovered a few weeks ago) and take it home to try it after talking to the farmer about it. My poor hubby will eat (and actually enjoy) fresh green garlic I mistook for spring onions, too. I would never do this in the grocery store.

Lets talk more about the kohlrabi I came upon a few weeks ago. If you have ever seen it, you know it is strange-looking! I couldn’t resist the bright purple color and beautiful greens. I am so glad I spoke to the farmer about it and decided to try it! It has the texture of a turnip, but a sweeter, more delicate flavor. I used it in place of potatoes in Doro Wat….YUM!

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE MUSHROOMS! Another great find?? Organic mushrooms fresh from the dirt! How could I resist?? A pound of each please? Oysters, creminis and shitakes go into my bag! The possibilities are endless!

Kale? I never knew there were so many varieties! Tuscan, russian, redbor, siberian….I love them all and they are so good for you! Sautéed with the above mushrooms it makes a great topping for steak!

We are also lucky enough to have a local apiary at the farmers’ market. We now have raw unfiltered honey, solid honey, and traditional liquid honey in the cupboard. Our only regret is that he has been sold out of honeycomb and we have to wait for the bees to produce more. My favorite way to enjoy honey? On a spoon as is!

I can’t say enough about the breads. Honey whole wheat, whole grain, epi loaves, focaccia, even a chocolate cherry sourdough! French toast? Yes, please. Bread pudding? Yes, please!

This weekend as we strolled, a local chef was creating a fabulous looking cheese steak sandwich. Hold the cheese on mine, please? His creation was called the “local”, as all the ingredients were from the market. Organic veal, arugula, roasted red peppers, truffle aoili,  white cheddar (not on mine, but my hubby enjoyed), on a fabulous crusty bread. Best, yummiest steak sandwich I ever had!

One of the most enjoyable parts of the day?? Coming home, after spending the day in the fresh air buying fabulous local foods and unpacking the bounty onto the kitchen counter. Most days, the items get placed in my bags, thrown over my shoulder and forgotten about. The creative juices really start flowing as I unpack my precious cargo. thoughts of meals for the week dance in my head. Recipes (sometimes seen here) are begun, sometimes scribbled down right on the spot!

I could probably go on all day about how much I love farmers’ market and the inspiration I find at them, but I won’t bore you. I will however, recommend that you go out and find a producer-only local farmers’ market you love as much as I love mine.


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