Katie: One of the great things about my new apartment is its proximity to the Westside Community Market. I got a chance to explore this weekly farmers market last Saturday.
Although it can’t be compared to this farmer’s market, I thought it had a great variety and nice atmosphere. The products included everything from produce to plants to baked goods and chocolates. There was even some live music. I also found this neat community garden near the market:
My purchases included:
The last meal I made with beets was this Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup, but this time I wanted to try a more seasonal dish. I based my meal off of this recipe for Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets, Chickpeas, and Orange from Gluten-Free Goddess, with some variations. My salad included a base of greens, topped with quinoa, roasted beets, yellow mango, carrots, chickpeas, and roasted sunflower seeds! It was joined together with a dressing made of balsamic vinagrette, olive oil, soy sauce, and agave syrup. It may have been an unusual salad, but I really liked it! I hope I’ll have time this summer to explore the market more and try other summer salads!
Matthew: To use up my last two CSA butternut squashes, I decided to make this stew from Smitten Kitchen. Since I had so much squash, I left out the potatoes. It was really good with the spices and olives. I served it with cilantro and plain yogurt and instead of using regular couscous, I used israeli couscous. It was definitely a good, healthy winter dish.
Katie: When I saw mangoes featured at the store this week, I grabbed one, but wasn’t sure what I’d do with it. When I came across this recipe for Garbanzo Bean Salad with Mexican Mango Dressing, I was really intrigued. I would have never have thought of blended a mango, mixing it with spices, and using it as a creamy dressing to top a salad. I had to improvise a little, using what I had, but it turned out great! This might be the perfect way to bring a little bit of sunshine into your kitchen, even if the weather outside isn’t very spring-like yet. Here’s my version of the salad:
Chickpea Salad with Mango Dressing (slightly adapted from My New Roots)
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cans), drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 carrots
- other vegetables of your choice (e.g. jicama, bean sprouts, other beans)
- optional: salad greens
- 1 ripe mango
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 large green onions, with tops, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the sunflower seeds and roast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown. Set aside.
- Peel the mango, cut into large chunks, and place in a blender or food processor with all other dressing ingredients. Blend until uniform and creamy. Season with freshly ground black pepper or other spices to taste.
- In a large bowl, pour the dressing over the chickpeas and let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad filling.
- Chop the remaining vegetables and add to the salad.
- Serve plain or over salad greens.
- Top with sunflower seeds before serving.
Katie: One area of cooking that I haven’t had much experience with is fish. I decided to change that and began with this recipe from Cooking Light for Maple-Glazed Salmon. To make it more flavorful, I decided to use smoked paprika. First, I rubbed a mixture of smoked paprika, chile powder, cumin, and brown sugar over the salmon. I cooked the fish on both sides in a grill pan, and drizzled it with maple syrup towards the end. It turned out really good! I couldn’t taste the maple syrup much, so next time I might drizzle it over the fish at the very end.
I decided to try this recipe for Rice Pilaf with Apricots, Chickpeas, and Almonds as a side, taking Mark Bittmann’s suggestion of substituting millet for brown rice. I had picked up a bag of millet in the health food section awhile ago, but hadn’t tried it yet. It’s similar to couscous and could probably be substituted for many grains. Millet is a good source of some important nutrients and “isn’t just for the birds”! The pilaf turned out well and would probably adapt well to other grains, spices, or vegetables. I also served Japanese sweet potatoes roasted with a mixture of sweet paprika, cinnamon, and cumin as a side. Overall, this was a good meal and a good start to my adventures with fish!
Katie: When I saw that pomegranates were in season again, I was excited to try using them. I also managed to snatch up one of the last butternut squashes of the season at the farmers market. I thought that this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad looked good. Since I know that Flori doesn’t eat lettuce and isn’t crazy about pomegranate seeds, I knew I would have to make some changes. I added bulgur, chicken, and chickpeas, and served everything in a do-it-yourself salad bar.
I served lamb’s lettuce and bulgur as the base, roasted butternut squash (with an interesting combination of cinnamon, paprika, and cumin as the seasonings), chickpeas, chicken (using the same spices as the squash), feta cheese, pomegranate arils, toasted chopped walnuts, and pomegranate vinaigrette made with homemade pomegranate molasses.
Here is Flori’s version…
It was a good meal!
Matthew: I really enjoy eating pitas and hummus, but I seem to have a hard time finding good pitas in the store. First of all, it is difficult to find them at all since different stores put them in different locations. It baffles me that they are not just put near the rest of the bread. The only stores that I have found with really good pitas are Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Since I don’t go shopping there too often, I thought I would see if I could make my own. I used this recipe from the Joy of Cooking. After 1 hour, my dough had risen plenty, so I went on with the recipe at that point. The baking part was a little tricky, but I managed to bake two at a time on my overturned baking sheet. If you have a pizza stone, I’m sure it would be easier. To spray some water in the oven, I used a pastry brush dipped in water and flicked it in. Since I was going in and out of the oven a lot, I tried to be quick by just grabbing the pitas with my oven mitt and throwing them up onto the cooling racks on the counter.
For the hummus, I used Ina Garten’s recipe. I made it it my blender, forcing me to add a little extra liquid from the chickpeas in order to get it to blend. I omitted the hot sauce and only added the juice from half a lemon since that is all I had. It tastes great, so I don’t think any more is necessary. The first freshly baked pita with some hummus made a really delicious nighttime snack. Since then, I’ve been making pita sandwiches for lunch with hummus, raw green beans, and sharp cheddar cheese. I think my coworkers are jealous!