Most farmers markets close up during the winter months, but the good people of the Morningside Farmers Market show up bright and early every Saturday morning year round.
The organic farmers, such as Woodland Gardens,
offer a varied selection of winter greens, root vegetables, hardy herbs and cabbages, while cheese and meat producers bring their product.
I suppose that cooking with the winter harvest can be a bit more challenging than, say, making a meal from the tomatoes, blueberries and cucumbers that will come later in the season.
But I always relish the challenge. Here’s what we’ve been eating this weekend — no restaurant dining for this family:
Tuscan kale salad with watermelon radishes, toasted pine nuts and sticks of Sequatchie Cove Gruetli cheese. This gruyère-like cheese is made in Tennessee, and is one of several Alpine-style cheeses the owners sell every other weekend at Morningside. My favorite simple dressing (olive oil, seasoned rice vinegar, slivered shallot and a splash of lemon juice — waits in the bottom of the bowl.
If you use Tuscan kale raw for a salad, choose the more immature leaves and ask to taste it first. There’s great variation in the sweet and nutty flavors that recommend this leafy green for salads.
More Tuscan kale, this time in a kind of cheesy bake that negates all its good health properties. I sautéed some Nueske’s bacon, drained off the grease and added shallot and chopped kale to wilt. I made a custard with two eggs and a cup of milk, added about 3/4 of a cup of shredded Gruetli and two tablespoons of semolina flour, mixed it all together and baked at 300 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, until it puffed. It makes a great dinner with an endive salad and a loaf of good bread.
I still have lots of endive and some hakurei turnips in the fridge. I wish I had gotten another one of those sweet watermelon radishes, because we went to town on it.
- by John Kessler for the Food and More blog