Farmer’s Market Meal Challenge – Week 3
Welcome to week three of the 2017 Farmer’s Market Meal Challenge! The challenge? Make one meal a week with the bulk of the ingredients coming from your local farmer’s market. Post your recipe, idea, or photo to whatever social media outlet you use, and tag your market or vendors. Comment here if you prefer. Eat local, know your food, support the people who feed you. Here’s the challenge kickoff post, and a great recipe to adapt for the produce in your farmer’s market!
Last week, I made pasta sauce, because it is easily adaptable to whatever you can find at your farmer’s market. Find that Market Meal Challenge recipe here! This week, I chose stir fry, for the same reason. You can try dozens of different veggie combinations and sauces to meet your family’s preferences. I stayed pretty basic, but there are suggestions after the recipe for changing it up a little!
This past week’s markets were WET! The Ohio Valley Farmer’s Market, with seasoned vendors, experienced a storm causing hundreds of dollars’ worth of produce and products to be ruined when unexpected high winds tore down tents and toppled displays. Another was held during a second series of storms, with some vendors operating from the backs of their vehicles rather than risking their tents! But, as long as they’re out there, I’m going to make my regular stop. I’d pre-ordered some items this week, and couldn’t leave my cupcake
dealer vendor hanging. I enjoy going, rain or not. Sometimes, getting a little wet beats heat and humidity anyway!
I made one new stop this week, at the Martin’s Ferry Farmer’s Market. It’s a large market for the small town, and had a whole lot to offer. I picked up some specially-decorated cookies related to the all-star band in which my kids were participating. Spent some time talking essential oils with a Young Living distributor. Bought some cheese from a vendor we already know from a different market. A good experience overall.
Farmer’s Market Finds
What did I find this week?
- Green Beans, Spinach, Leeks, and Garlic from Lone Oak Farms and Gardens
- Canolli Cupcakes, French Bread, and a Quiche Crust from Rustic Kneads. That’s right, I said “cannoli cupcakes”. Try this on for size – organic vanilla cupcakes filled and frosted with canolli cream filling with a hard chocolate shell. That’s right. Yes they were good. Yes, that was my pre-order. Zero shame. (My photo was taken of the last cupcake and after some time in the ‘fridge. That chocolate was shiny and lovely when it was new 🙂 )
- Bison Steaks from Kahrig Bison Ranch
- OVAC All-Star Cookies from Sweet Celebrations. Not my usual organic, crunchy preference, but they were decorated so perfectly that I couldn’t pass them up!
- Zucchini, Sweet Corn, and Hot Peppers from other vendors. I didn’t get everyone’s name this week, what with trying to dash in and out of tents during the downpours. I’ll return and edit when I get their information.
The beauty of a stir-fry is that it’s really a technique for cooking more than it is a recipe. Heat a pan (or wok if you have one) with a little oil. Add meat and/or veggies in the right order, cooking through until just tender. Add sauce or seasonings if you like. Serve. There are some suggestions for substitutions below the recipe.
Basically, you want to add things to the pan based on how long they take to cook. Something like a carrot takes longer than baby spinach, for example, so you’d add your carrots to the pan and cook them almost until they were finished before adding the spinach. You’ll change it to meet your needs, but let me tell you what I did:
- 1 large Zucchini or 2 Small
- 2 Leeks
- 1 pound Green Beans
- 3/4 lb Bison New York Strip Steak
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 Tbsp Honey
- 4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tsp Sesame Oil
- 1 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger (dried or powdered)
- Rice, noodles, zoodles, or spoodles for serving (optional)
- Make the Marinade/Sauce. Combine Honey, Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Sesame Oil, Arrowroot, and Ginger. Whisk to combine.
- Remove 1/2 to 3/4 of the marinade, and reserve for later. Add the steak to a zip-top freezer bag along with the remaining marinade, and marinate as long as you can, up to four hours or even overnight (I did four hours).
- Wash your veggies, and chop, slice, or stomp them into bite-sized pieces. Stomping isn’t generally recommended, but hey, do what you gotta do.
- Chop or smash your garlic into pieces small enough to eat without it being unpleasant.
- Remove the steak from the marinade and discard the liquid.
- Slice your steak into strips. This is a little easier if you pop the steak in the freezer for five to ten minutes just prior to slicing – but don’t forget it’s in there!
- Heat some olive oil in a large pan or wok – just enough to cover the bottom. Over medium-high to high heat, cook the meat, stirring frequently, until browned and just cooked.
- Remove the meat from the pan and set aside on a plate (bowl, saucer, container) for later. Leave the fond (that’s the brown bits of stuff) and oil in the pan.
- If your pan is dry, add another tablespoon of oil and allow to re-heat.
- Add your veggies to the pan. I added the green beans and allowed them to cook for a few minutes before adding the zucchini, leeks, and garlic. Keep stirring frequently.
- When the vegetables are almost cooked through, add the remainder of the marinade (the stuff you reserved in step two).
- When the liquid comes to a simmer, add the meat back in to heat through.
- Serve over rice, noodles, zucchini noodles, sweet potato noodles, or a plate. Whatever your preference.
- Bison Steaks – These were a surprise for my family. We weren’t familiar with using bison, except hubby. And he declared he didn’t like it. With this preparation, he later made another declaration – “That other bison I had just must not have been prepared properly”! Win! But, if you can’t get bison or don’t enjoy it, feel free to substitute with the protein of your choice. This could mean shrimp or lobster if you’re on a coast, chicken, pork, or even tofu. You could also leave it all out, and serve a veggie stir-fry.
- Veggies – Use what’s available. Chop everything into bite-sized bits and put the harder veggies in the pan first. Onions, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, all kinds of peppers, parsnips, and even sweet potatoes can make a great stir-fry, and it’s different every time! For some added interest, try some peaches, plums, or ground cherries added at the end of cooking for a little bit of sweet, similar to the familiar pineapple stir-fry. Pork and peach is a revelation, friends!
- Soy Sauce – Yes, you can use coconut aminos or your other favorite substitute. Or low-sodium soy sauce, or gluten-free, or whatever floats your boat.
- Honey – I use it in this recipe because my honey comes from the farmer’s market, and it makes a great sauce! But if you wanted to substitute the same amount of brown sugar, white sugar, coconut sugar or an equivalent amount of some other sweetener, that’s cool, too.
- Sauce – Change it up to your preference. Add a squirt of Sriracha or a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like it spicier. A tablespoon of peanut butter plus that squirt of hot sauce will give you something close to a Thai peanut sauce. Whip up your favorite sweet and sour sauce or plum sauce if you prefer. But it was really yummy when we left it at the basic sauce. (Change the sauce recipe AFTER you’ve used the marinade portion – the steaks won’t cook well if already coated in peanut butter or too much sugar.)
Tell Us About It!
How have you been using the things you buy at the farmer’s market? I’m getting better at incorporating fresh produce, meats, and veggies from the farmer’s market into my daily meals, and did two this week that could have been considered Challenge dinners. Healthier family, yummier food. Post here, or on social media, and don’t forget to tag your market!
Pin a Reminder!