Friday, July 16, 2010

Raw Beet, Red Raspberry & Mint Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

As a frequent guest in the "What's Cooking at the Market' tent of the Countryside Conservancy farmers markets at Howe Meadow and Stan Hywet, I really enjoy surveying the market, gathering some beautiful ingredients, and quickly creating something fresh and tasty for sampling.

I try to convince people that farm fresh ingredients don't require much dressing up, and that you don't need to follow a recipe, but I get asked often for the "recipes", so I am documenting them here. 

It was about 92 degrees in the shade yesterday afternoon, and although I adore the propane fueled camp stove/oven the market sets up, it was way too hot to even consider firing that up yesterday afternoon.

For my first recipe of the day, I gathered:  A bunch of cilantro, an ear of corn, and a large cucumber from Maize Valley Farm,  a small head of cabbage, and a yellow zucchini and tender broccoli side shoots from Red Basket Farm.

I small diced the cuke, then the squash, scraped the kernels from the corn, and shredded some of the cabbage, and tossed it all in a large bowl.  I added some roasted onion and cilantro olive oil from the Olive Tap, and a sprinkling of white balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.  Tossed in some chopped cilantro. Voila, instant Farmers Market Slaw

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use any veggies you have/like and vary the flavoring by using different flavors of oils and vinegars, and change up the fresh herbs.  I made a second version which included some tomatoes donated by Maize Valley Farm, and I added some smoked paprika.

For something really different, I took advantage of the gorgeous red and black-red raspberries from Huffman Farm, a nice large bunch of red beets from Red Basket Farm, and the tastiest bunch of fresh peppermint from Breezy Hill Farms and created the following salad, which got a lot of thumbs up, a few tries by non-beet lovers, and a few 'that's interestings'.

Raw Beet, Red Raspberry, & Mint Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette 

1 bunch of fresh red beets, peeled, and cut into thin julienne slices (I small diced at the market to facilitate filling those tiny sample cups) *Wear gloves when handling beets or prepare to frighten people until the stains wear off 

1 small basket (half pint) of fresh red or red-black raspberries, gently rinsed and dried on a towel

1 small bunch of fresh mint, stemmed and chopped

few pinches of sugar, to taste

Raspberry flavored vinegar, or white wine vinegar

Light olive oil or canola oil (walnut oil would be awesome too)

Put beets, berries and mint in medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar.  Combine equal parts of oil and vinegar - start with a few tablespoons of each, and gently toss to coat, being careful not to smash the berries.  (You can add the berries after an initial toss).

Taste and adjust seasoning - add more sugar or dressing if necessary.

I bet this would be extra tasty with the addition of a bit of fresh chevre or feta from Lucky Penny Farm.  I may just test that theory when I do a similar demo at the Tremont Farmers Market on Tuesday.

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