Farm­ers mar­ket splurg­ing means cook­ing lots of food

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - JEANMARIE BROWNSON

Kohlrabi, sweet and hot pep­pers, broc­coli, kale, spinach, cu­cum­bers, summer squash, radishes (red, white and striped), skinny green beans, wax beans, beets, turnips and as­sorted onions.

I just typed in my farm­ers mar­ket shop­ping list for the week.

All to be sup­ple­mented by the let­tuces, herbs and toma­toes plucked from our gar­den.

This is the time of year veg­etable lovers em­brace. Now, the chal­lenge is to en­joy ev­ery­thing while the pro­duce re­mains in top-notch con­di­tion with peak nu­tri­ents. For me, that means cook­ing most of what I buy a day or so after my splurge. Then, con­tain­ers of veg­etable sides and mains are at the ready all week — or un­til the next mar­ket trip.

The first thing I love to as­sem­ble: Veg­etable toasts. No recipe re­quired. Sim­ply top hearty slabs of toasted whole grain bread with a smear of soft cheese, thick slices of tomato and a shower of chives. Or, smear the toast with a nut but­ter and quickly sauteed sweet onions and spinach.

Speak­ing of quick sautes, most summer veg­eta­bles take well to this fast, high-heat cook­ing. A few tips I’ve learned: Prep the veg­eta­bles first; use a heavy pan and heat it thor­oughly; add fla­vor­ful oil and heat it; add veg­eta­bles in an un­crowded layer to pro­mote brown­ing; turn off the heat a few sec­onds be­fore the veg­eta­bles are done — resid­ual heat will fin­ish the cook­ing. If work­ing in ad­vance, spread the cooked veg­eta­bles out on a sheet tray to cool be­fore spoon­ing into stor­age con­tain­ers.

Sauteed veg­eta­bles make great ad­di­tions to week­night pas­tas, cooked brown rice and scram­bled eggs. Spoon them over a hearty green salad with fresh cheese and a sprin­kling of nuts.

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