Let’s walk together. 

Where are we going, you ask? We’re taking a recipe-less jaunt through the Canyon Farmers Market, and then we’re cooking our delicious finds. 

Recipes are a great resource when learning how to prepare a meal. But once you’ve gotten the hang of the basics, there will be times that you’ll want to just “wing it.” Your mind will begin to ask questions like, “What would this taste like if I did this instead?” Or, “How much better would this turn out if I replace this with that?” 

You’re not just being inquisitive, you’re subconsciously turning to mindfulness. Choose your market finds simply for their beauty or an emotion you feel when you see them. You will almost assuredly begin to envision all the ways you can transform the produce without losing any of its allure. 

My daughter, Izzy, and I have arrived early so that we can rule the roost and have first pick. There are lots of creative makers, farmers, and food trucks ready to entice us with their wares and fares. Our first stop is JC Acre, whose delightful farm-fresh eggs catch our eye. A few weeks ago, they were gracious enough to donate eggs for a farm-to-table dinner I prepared for Square Mile Community, and I had to have more. Bright, fluffy and kissed with freshness, these eggs are my new favorite thing. I knew right away that whatever I made would be topped with a magnificent fried egg. 

We then spotted the most adorable baby carrots and onions from Frontier Market (out of Plainview) and decided we had to have them for lunch. There’s nothing better than unpeeled, roasted baby carrots. The little white hairs on the outside of the carrots are actually roots, and they want to be invited to the party, too. Lightly rinse the carrots before tossing them with salt, pepper and olive oil, and then roast until tender. 

For the cutest onions I’ve seen in a minute, I simply sliced them and pan-seared each side with a bit of unsalted butter. They were so beautiful I knew I wanted them to stand on their own on a plate. They deserved to be given a place of honor. 

Next, we scored the most gorgeous Swiss chard, lemon cucumbers, patty pan squash (which I roasted with the baby carrots), and homemade pickled watermelon rind from B.a.C.K. Yard Garden. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the Swiss chard, but I knew I would pair it with the watermelon rind. Swiss chard can taste bitter to some, so a simple drizzle of sweetness is just the trick to offset it. The stems are a bit woody but I like to eat them, as well. I simply tossed the roughly chopped leaves and stems with a little salt, pepper and olive oil, and flash-sautéed them for a few seconds until they wilted. To finish, I blended the pickled watermelon rind in my Vitamix and drizzled it over the greens before removing them from the pan. At this point, I had decided the greens would be the bed for my dish. 

Our last stop was to see Katie with Hodgepodge Farm for her exquisite microgreens—and a big hug, of course! Every lunch can be elevated with an embellishment of radish microgreens.

Once I completed my cooking session, I began composing my dish. 

  • Swiss chard for the base. Check. 
  • Asymmetrical placement of roasted carrots and squash. Check
  • Seared onion, deliberately placed around the greens for balance. Check.
  • Fried egg next. Check. 
  • Microgreens to top it all. Fiñ.

With two forks and our chairs adjacent to one another, Izzy and I dove into our delectable dish. Is it a salad, a meal, or just a snack? We never could decide as it quickly disappeared. Let’s just say it was divine and leave well enough alone.

Author

  • Ruthie Landelius

    Ruthie owns Black Fig Food catering and is proprietor of the online cooking platform Elevated Plant Plate. Learn more at blackfigfoodprograms.com and blackfigfood.com.