Market Series- Seasonal Produce

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Benefits of  Two of Fall Seasonal Produce

Sweet Potatoes: Rich in Vitamins B6, C, D,  and Magnesium.  They are a great source of fiber, and help steady blood sugar levels, while also helping to reduce the impact of stress on your body and mind.  Encouraging healthy digestion, relaxation, and reduction of inflammation, sweet potatoes are the perfect addition to many soups, curries, and stews.

Beets:  Rich in Folate, Betalanins- plant chemicals with strong anti- inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Nitrates, and Boron.  Beets are a natural aphrodisiac, help to promote our nervous systems health, and aid in relaxation as well as boosting our energy levels.  They are packed with dozens of vitamins and minerals making them one of natures richest sources of energy-boosting iron.  Beets are delicious roasted and by themselves, or mixed in a salad, and even pureed as a dip.

This month we are highlighting two recipes, the first recipe is a light and refreshing take on a dish from a popular health restaurant in Malibu, California.  This dish was recreated for me by my mother- in- law, and contains beets as well as a handful of other produce that is in season right now and can be picked up at your local farmers market!  The second recipe is a vegetarian chili that can easily have your choice of ground meat added to it.  It is packed with protein, and can easily be adapted to add more vegetables of your choice.  This dish uses sweet potatoes as its “meaty” aspect, and uses fresh produce to really highlight the mending of flavors.

Autumn Farm Activities

With autumn starting up, I thought it would be fun to showcase some activities you can do in the Bay Area that get you out on a farm and enjoying this time of the year.  One of my favorite past times is going apple picking, growing up in San Diego, we would drive up to the mountain town of Julian known for some delicious apple pies and apple orchards.  To me nothing screams fall quite like packing up a lunch to have a picnic in an orchard and picking some fresh apples to take home!  Petaluma is home to Chileno Valley Ranch which offers certified organic apples and pears well until the end of October to be enjoyed and picked while exploring the lovely pastures and restored creek, as well as collecting eggs, and taking home some natural grass-fed beef to be enjoyed!  Over in Watsonville, you can visit Gizdich Ranch where the 4 week apple picking season has begun with a hand full of apple varieties available to picked and enjoyed by you.  On Saturday’s the farm presses fresh juice, so why not make a weekend day of it and enjoy their bakery as well taking home a fresh pie to enjoy!

Early Fall

Artichokes, Arugula, Beets, Bitter Melon, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Brussel Sprouts, Burdock, Cabbage, Cactus Pads, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chard, Chicory, Collards, Corn, Cress, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Endive, Fennel, Garlic, Green Beans, Herbs, Horseradish, Kale, Lambsquarters, Leeks, Lettuce, Mizuna, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Nettles, Okra, Onions, Orach, Peas, Peppers-chile, Peppers-sweet, Purslane, Radishes, Salsify, Scallions, Shelling Beans, Spinach, Sprouts, Squash-summer, Squash-blossoms, Sunchokes, Sweet Potatoes, Taro Root, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Turnips

 Recipe # 1:

This recipe was introduced to me by my mother-in-law at the beginning of September.  This is her adaptation on the Malibu Farms vegetable “paella” while the Malibu Farms dish was made with a saffron couscous and a tangy Greek yogurt styled dressing, I found her adaptation to be very light and full of flavor.  When made with fresh in season produce all you need is a light seasoning to taste and then let the food show off for itself.

Malibu Farms Vegetable Paella

Ingredients:

  • 1 box cous-cous  ( I used the Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 yellow squash- cut into 1/2 in slices
  • 3 zucchini – cut into 1/2 in slices
  • 3 beets- cut into 6ths
  • 3 heads of corn with husks

Instructions:

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Season the water with plenty of salt.  Add the beets and boil until fork tender- about 45 minutes. Peel and cut into 6ths.
  2. While beets are cooking, chop up the squash and zucchini then season with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the corn with husks on in the microwave for 4 minutes.  Once cooked, peel back the husks and using a cloth or paper towel to help remove the silk.
  4. Cook cous cous according to box.  Once cooked add juice of the lemons, and the minced garlic fold in to incorporate.
  5. When cous cous is almost done cooking, begin to grill your vegetables- beets, zucchini, squash, and corn until tender and heated through.
  6. Once the corn is finished grilling, cut off the kernels.
  7. Serve with cous cous on the bottom, and topped with generous helpings of all the vegetables.
  8. Enjoy with a glass of white wine or your drink of choice

Recipe # 2

Sweet Potato Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 1/ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 2/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bell peppers (red or orange), chopped
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 hot pepper (your choice), seeded and finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped, 1 grated into a paste
  • 15 oz chickpeas (you can buy a can, or rehydrate some yourself), drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14 1/2 oz) cans diced tomatoes, or you can chop and dice your own tomatoes
  • Bunch of fresh cilantro, cut leaves off and save the stems

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the onion.  Cook until caramelized this will take about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Once onions are caramelized, add the sweet potatoes, cayenne pepper, cumin, and cinnamon, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook this mixture for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and the onions are nice and coated.
  3. Add bell peppers, zucchini, chiles, and garlic.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until mixed well with onions and seasonings.
  4. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and stems from the cilantro.
  5. When cous cous is almost done cooking, begin to grill your vegetables- beets, zucchini, squash, and corn until tender and heated through.
  6. Simmer chili until thick and vegetables are tender.  You can always add water if chili seems to be dry.

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