Farmers’ Markets and the Color Green: a Recipe
This morning was fun — I met up at the Farmers’ Market with a couple of my friends from my days of working at Florence Crittenton, Sarah and Amanda and after strolling around the market for a couple of hours we headed back to my house with Sarah’s daughter, Dallas, and two extra black dogs for Charlie to play with. We made a delicious bean salad and big green salad for lunch using mostly stuff we bought at the market. I bought a rhubarb pie from Derik Reed (his son David, below, was selling homemade cookies.) Shhhh, don’t tell Tim about the pie. It’s for Father’s Day.
Ahhh, June in Montana. This year it’s been a wet one. Hard on my resolve to hike everyday but real easy on the greens. What little lawn we have needs cutting every week. The salad greens I planted from seed seem to double every day, and the Helena Farmers’ Market is bursting with tables full of delectable veggies: greens, pinks and whites.
I love the assortment of vendors and local market-goers. Cedar Rose Farm just south of Winston, has a booth at the market. They have a variety of delicious greens, organic free range eggs, and some baked goods. I bought a huge bag of salad greens from them (our garden can’t keep up with how much salad Tim and I eat), a bunch of baby beets with the tops (we eat the tops) a big bunch of turnip greens, and some giant pink radishes. Oh and a dozen Aracana eggs.
At the farmers’ market, you can buy veggies you won’t find in the grocery stores, like garlic scapes, pea vines, purple Thai basil and unusual varieties of bok choy.
Today I am happy to share the following recipe with my readers. It’s a Farmers’ Market Stir Fry inspired by Hmong cuisine (because there are so many Hmong farmers at our market) and tinged with flavors from several other Asian cuisines. I hope you like it.
Soba Noodles with Tofu and Stir Fry Greens
- 4 oz buckwheat soba noodles
- 1/4 cup walnuts toasted in the oven til lightly browned and fragrant
- 1/2 cup peanut sauce
- 6 green onions, sliced thinly – use the green parts and save the white ends for something else
- 6 to 8 large cloves garlic — chopped finely
- 1 inch fresh ginger root, grated
- 1/4 of a white onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced or sliced
- small handful of broccoli florets
- about 1 cup baby patty pan squash, sliced (or any other veggie you’d like)
- big handful of baby pea vines or other greens
- big handful of bok choy leaves, chopped coarsely or whole
- 12 oz spinach
- 1/4 lb. tofu, cubed
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp peanut oil
- red chili flakes & black pepper
Toast the walnuts in the oven (10 minutes at 300F) Set aside for a garnish
Cook the soba noodles according to the directions, usually about 3 to 4 minutes in boiling water. Stop cooking when the noodles are al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop them from further cooking. Set aside in a bowl.
Chop, dice, grate, and prepare all of your ingredients and set them out near your cooking surface ready to go. I use a big plate and a few small bowls.
Heat a little peanut oil in a large sauté pan or wok. Starting with the cubed tofu, stir fry, adding the remaining ingredients in the following order: garlic, ginger, onion… stir for a minute then add the broccoli squash and peppers. Next add the pea vines and spinach. By this time you might need a little liquid. You can use water or broth and slap the lid on the wok or sauté pan for just a minute to allow the steam from the liquid to cook the veggies. Remove the lid and add the sesame oil and green onions.
Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce, then serve with a lot of veggies on top. Sprinkle with chili flakes and toasted walnuts.
Some notes and links on the ingredients:
- patty pan squash are a variety of summer squash in the zucchini family. We buy big bags of these from Costco.
- bok choy (from Cantonese, literally “white vegetable”; also spelled Pak choi, Bok choi, and Pak choy) Left is a young purple bok choy plant growing in our garden.
- lots of varieties of seeds for Chinese vegetables here
- pea shoots, or pea vine tips make a delicious salad or can be blanched or stir fried