Cook some farmer’s market fresh recipes over spring break

There is no one-stop shop when it comes to purchasing food. Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons are great places to buy bulk-cases of soft drinks and family size bags of potato chips, but fresh produce? Fuhgettaboutit! Even specialty grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have a finite amount of shelf space for fresh ingredients, and are often unreasonably expensive on a college student’s budget. However, farmers markets may prove to be the missing link when tracking down seasonal produce. Farmers markets provide customers unfettered access to seasonal produce, while supporting the local community and sustainable growing practices. The following recipes were created by combining the best picks from grocery stores and farmers markets.

Confit “spring chicken” rolls

A&E-food1-onlineIngredients:
For confit:
• 1 lb. chicken legs
• 1 lb. bacon ends
• 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, whole
• 8 cloves garlic, whole
• 6 sprigs thyme
• 1 bay leaf

For spring rolls:
• 16 rice paper spring roll wraps
• 2 carrots, peeled
• 2 celery stalks
• 1 head of red lettuce
• Basil, mint and cilantro

For dipping sauce:
• 1 cup Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce
• ¼ cup rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, premade
• Basil, mint and cilantro
Confit is a style of cooking where a meat is slowly poached in its own fat, garlic and herbs. Unlike duck confit, where the duck is cooked in duck fat, this recipe substitutes chicken and bacon fat.

  1. Place a medium skillet over high heat. Dice the bacon into thick pieces, and place into the skillet to render the fat. Cook until just before bacon chars.
  2. “French” the chicken legs by slicing the connective tissue around the circumference of the leg, 1 inch below the joint. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, set timer for 2 hours.
  3. Add the thyme, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns into an oven-safe baking dish, and place the frenched chicken legs over top to weigh down the ingredients. Add vegetable/canola oil and the rendered bacon fat (chicken should be submerged), and wrap baking dish with aluminum foil.
  4. When cooked, remove the aluminum foil and turn off the heat, but leave the confit chicken in the warm oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove, let cool for 10 minutes before pulling apart.
  5. Wash and peel the carrots and cut into long, thin strips. Cut the celery into the same size and length as the carrots, and set aside. Pick out a few basil, mint and cilantro leaves and set aside.
  6. Measure sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar and Sriracha and place into a small bowl or resealable tupperware container. Finely dice a small portion of basil, mint, and cilantro and add to mixture.
  7. Fill a plate, or in a shallow, wide-rimmed bowl with room-temperature water, just below the surface edge. Submerge the rice paper in the water, removing when the paper begins to soften.
  8. Fill the rice paper with lettuce first, then lay the chicken and additional ingredients on top, finishing with another small piece of lettuce. Wrap the contents like a burrito and cut in half.

40 minute prep time
2 hours 20 minute cook time
Serves 2-4 people
Difficulty 6/10

Farmer’s Quinoa & Vegetable Medley

A&E-food2-online

Ingredients:
• 2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
• 1 cup white (yellow), red or black quinoa, rinsed
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 teaspoons black pepper
• 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
• 1 lb. asparagus, diced
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 2 bunches scallions, diced
• 2 bunches Swiss chard
• 1 lemon, juiced

  1.  Bring vegetable/chicken stock to a boil in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan. Rinse the quinoa under cool water in a fine-mesh strainer and add to the boiling liquid, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, continuing to stir to prevent quinoa from sticking. When the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid, remove from heat and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
  3. Remove the inedible part of the asparagus by “snapping” off the ends, holding the stalk like you were breaking a twig. Slice the asparagus into thin discs, approximately ¼ inch thick.
  4. Cut the top and bottom from the bell pepper, discard the seeds and remove the “rib” (white, pithy part) from the pepper. Slice into thin ¼ inch strips or “batons” and then finely dice.
  5. Remove the root-ends of the scallions and slice into thin discs, approximately ¼ inch thick, starting from the root-end and working up half the length of the scallion. Discard remainder.
  6. Rinse the Swiss chard under cool, running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove the “rib” (stalk) while keeping both halves of the leaves as intact, and uniform as possible.
  7. Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon vegetable/canola oil. First, cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes, and then the bell peppers and scallions together for another minute. Combine the mixture with the quinoa in a large mixing bowl, and incorporate ingredients.
  8. Return the skillet to the heat and add 1 tablespoon vegetable/canola oil. Cook the Swiss chard just until the leaves begin to wilt and squeeze a little lemon juice over top.
  9. Add the Swiss chard to the quinoa mix and and finish with a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

15 minutes prep time
30 minutes cook time
Serves 6-8 people
Difficulty 7/10

Pickled Beet Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

A&E-food3-onlineIngredients:
• 2 cups apple cider vinegar
• 2 cups distilled white vinegar
• 2 cups granulated sugar, +1 tablespoon for dressing
• 3 large beets, stem and leaves attached
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 grapefruits, 1 sliced + 1 juiced
• 1 lb. leafy greens (keep the attached beet greens, or substitute arugula)
• 4 ounces goat cheese (a.k.a. chevre)
• 1 cups canola or vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ground black pepper

  1. Rinse the beets to remove excess dirt and remove the tops of the beets by slicing ¼ inch from the leaf-end, keeping the leaves intact (if you wish to use them as the greens).
  2. Measure apple cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar, bay leaf and 2 cups sugar and add to a large, thick-bottomed saucepan. Place beets into the liquid and bring to a boil over high-heat.
  3. Allow the beets to cook in a slow simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted and removed cleanly without adhering to the beet. Cool for 10 minutes before peeling and slicing.
  4.  Zest one of the grapefruits before extracting ½ cup of its juice. To supreme, or dissect, the other grapefruit, cut off the ends and place on a cutting board. Remove the peel by slicing from top to bottom, following the contour of the fruit, and barely exposing the “flesh.” Cut in half and into thin wedges.
  5. Place grapefruit juice into a medium mixing bowl with salt, pepper, zest and 1 tablespoon sugar, and incorporate ingredients. Slowly pour the canola/vegetable oil while whisking to emulsify dressing.
  6. Toss greens in 2 fl. oz. dressing, and then finish with sliced beets and crumbled goat cheese.

15 minutes prep time
45 minutes cook time
Difficulty 6/10