Farmer’s Market Finds

DSC_0353This weekend we went to the Clarksville Downtown Market, and got to experience a completely different type of farmer’s market than what we had experienced before. This one was smaller, calmer and much more friendly. There were fewer merchants, but they were all different, rather than a monopoly on veggies like we tend to see in Nashville. There were also a lot more artisans of handcrafted goods, which was very cool.

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We got a huge bushel of apples that I turned into apple butter and apple pie apple sauce. We also got some heirloom carrots and tomatoes, beautiful, fat zucchini, a huge basket of green beans and a wonderfully colored acorn squash.

DSC_0363I used some of the veggies in a stir fry as a complement to some frozen veggies and leftover rotisserie chicken. I then created a cheesy pasta primavera with whole wheat pasta. There were 8 different types of vegetables that were lightly steamed and delicious and a lighter mozzarella sauce that blended everything together. Recipe below!

By the way, I’m in love with my new camera, and it has a “food” setting on it that helps to bring out some of the beautiful colors. Hence the silly amount of pictures today!

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Pasta Primavera with Market Veggies

Market fresh vegetables, cleaned and chopped to approximately the same size. I used: 1 large zucchini, 1 eggplant, 4 heirloom carrots, a handful of cherry tomatoes, 3 sweet peppers, a head of broccoli, a handful of green beans

3 cloves of garlic, diced

olive oil

2 tbsp white wine of your choice

whole wheat linguine, about a quarter to half of a box

Fresh basil, 1 large bunch, julienned

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

Approx 1/4 cup fresh parmesan or three cheese blend

1/4 – 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

approx 1/2 cup milk (you can substitute soy or almond milk – I did!)

Approx 2 tbsp each: ground sage, ground thyme, dried dill, black pepper

Approx 1 tbsp each: paprika, ground oregano

Approx 1/2 tbsp dried cardamom

Salt to taste

  • Prepare all the veggies, cleaning and chopping. Put all but the garlic in a large bowl. Warm a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil – once around the pan. Then add in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • While the pan is warming and the garlic cooking, prepare your pasta pot with water and set to boil. Once ¬†boiling, add in a handful of sea salt and olive oil to add additional flavor to the pasta itself. Then add in the pasta and cook until al dente.
  • Once the garlic is fragrant, dump the bowl of veggies into the pan and toss well. Add another round of olive oil and continue to toss to coat. Top with sage, thyme, dill, and oregano, as well as 1 tbsp black pepper and a pinch of salt. Toss well to coat and cover pan, cooking on medium for 2-3 minutes. After this time, add in the wine, and stir. Then re-cover, and let cook on medium low heat while pasta cooks, stirring occasionally.
  • To make the sauce, first melt the butter in a pot. Once melted, add in the flour, stirring vigorously. Once that creates a paste, add in about 1/2 the milk, continuing to stir. Add in the parmesan and the mozzarella, continuing to stir. Add the rest of the milk, the paprika, 1 tbsp of black pepper and the cardamom. The sauce should be creamy as it melts, and if needed, add a little more milk to increase the creaminess. Continue to stir to evenly incorporate the heat and melt the cheese, as well as preventing burnt cheese on the bottom.
  • At this point, the pasta should be done. Taste test for texture. Drain, and return to the pot. Add 3/4 of the basil to the veggies and stir, cooking just long enough to wilt. Once wilted, add to the pasta, top with the cheese sauce and toss well to coat. Serve with fresh basil on top.

Roasted Veggie Medley

The roomie bought eggplant, because we both love it…but then I had to find something to do with it. Amazingly, she got a cookbook for christmas last year that is all eggplant recipes. One of them was this roasted medley that included most ingredients I already had. Easy! But since I didn’t have them all, I improvised a bit.

Basically, what ended up going in there was cubed eggplant, chopped red potatoes, diced onions, chopped bell pepper, and chopped tomatoes. The recipe called for roasted peppers, but the fresh worked well. It also said to use a good baking potato, but I like the flavor of the red potato better. I think the baking potato would have been too bland. Over the top, it was olive oil and a whole host of spices to include oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme and sage. A little bit of lemon zest would have been really good, had I had a lemon, it would have complimented the thyme. All of this in a casserole dish got thrown in 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes or so, and it turned out to be one of those recipes that your nose will let you know when it’s ready.

Overall, these roasted veggies work really well as a side for steak, and they’re really healthy because its all fresh ingredients.

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This was right after the veggies came out of the oven, they had softened up and the herbs worked their way through to infuse flavors.

Melanzane alla Parmigiana con Carne

That title? Just means eggplant parmesan with meat. But I got it out of a cookbook of Italian favorites, and it is so good. I don’t think I’ve had eggplant parmesan that good. And I’ve never had it with meat. The recipe calls for a couple things I didn’t have, so I improvised with spices. And took down the amount of some ingredients. Either way it was so good!

The eggplant parmesan after it came out of the oven, cheesy and bubbly.

The changes I made from the original recipe include not adding italian sausage – I added italian seasoning, basil and rosemary, as well as a little chili pepper for some heat. I also¬† used ground turkey instead of ground beef, which saves me some calories. I didn’t have enough mozzarella or fresh parmesan, so it probably isn’t as cheesy as the recipe originally intended, but it was still good. The recipe also calls for canned tomatoes, which gave the meat a sweet taste.

Overall, I give this recipe an 8 out of 10. It’s not the healthiest, but it is filling, and tastes amazing with a salad. If done exactly to the recipe, it would probably be even better.