Happily, the local food season is starting to take off. That means it’s time to leave some flexibility in your meal planning and shopping list. Fresh, delicious vegetables and fruits make even the simplest meals wonderful, so just list “produce — whatever’s local and luscious.”
The Nevada City Farmers Market launches this Saturday. It opens at 8:30 a.m. and goes until 1 p.m. The market provides another venue for finding the freshest locally grown vegetables, fruits and more (www.ncfarmersmarket.org).
The Nevada County Certified Growers Market (www.thegrowersmarket.com) is already up and running three days each week: from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays at the North Star House, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Rood Center in Nevada City, and from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Penn Valley.
Some items you might find in June are: arugula, basil, beets, blueberries, carrots, chard, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic, kale, lettuce, onions, rhubarb and turnips.
Many local farmers’ bounty is enough to share all week long at local grocers including BriarPatch Co-op. For example, this week Sweet Roots Farm has brought in fresh dill, which is a nice addition to salads, and Riverhill Farm has delivered an abundance of fresh, crisp napa cabbage.
Its name sounds like the California’s famous wine region, but napa cabbage is considered to be an Asian vegetable, with a lighter texture and a taste like mild celery. Napa cabbage can be used in stir-fried dishes, cabbage rolls, braised cabbage, as a taco topping and yes, in cole slaw. It blends well with fruit, so if you’re up for trying a different type of slaw, add some diced mango or another fruit.
Napa Cabbage Salad with Almonds
Recipe courtesy of Riverhill Farm
You can add chicken or tofu to make this refreshing summer salad a complete meal.
½ cup roasted, chopped almonds
4 cups thinly-sliced Napa cabbage (one head)
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
¼ cup cilantro (optional)
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/8 cup sesame oil
1/8 cup vegetable oil
Black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
1. Combine the cabbage with everything except the nuts.
2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and toss with the greens.
3. Add the almonds just before serving.
Porcini Marinated Grass-Fed Beef with Charred Napa Slaw
From Daniel Klein, The Perennial Plate
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons ground porcini mushroom powder
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coriander seed (toasted)
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary
4 each, 4 ounce steaks (your choice, ribeye, strip or sirloin)
Napa Cabbage Slaw
1 head napa cabbage
2 green onions
1 large turnip (Hakurei)
1/4 cup apple juice
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced mint
salt to taste
1. Add the whole coriander seed to a dry skillet. With the heat on medium high, toast the seeds, shaking them regularly until they become aromatic and slightly brown. Remove them from the heat and grind them fine in a spice grinder (a mortar and pestle also works well; add a few grains of kosher salt to assist with the grinding).
Add the salt, black pepper and minced rosemary and blend them together. Add the spice blend, minced garlic and porcini powder to the olive oil and mix it all together to form a paste.
2. Rub the paste into the meat. Wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Scrape the marinade/paste off the meat the following morning and reserve until you are ready to begin grilling.
Napa Cabbage Slaw
1. Quarter the napa cabbage lengthwise, (making sure the core is left in to hold it together) cut the green onions in half and toss them both with 1/4 cup of apple juice, a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Let them sit for one hour.
2. Heat your grill to medium high while the vegetables marinate. Grill the cabbage, turning it regularly, until it has a nice all over char, (brown but not black), then remove from grill. Char the green onions with dark grill marks, then move them to lower heat and continue cooking through. Remove them from the grill when done.
3. While the onions are cooking, julienne the hakurei turnips into a medium size bowl and toss them in the lemon juice and white wine vinegar. Chop the warm, grilled cabbage and onion, then add them to the bowl with the turnips, mint, olive oil, vinegar, salt and lemon juice. Set the slaw aside to marinate while the steaks are being grilled.
1. Grill the steaks to medium rare, (about 8 minutes in each side), and serve with the warm slaw.
Stephanie Mandel is the marketing manager at BriarPatch Co-op. Learn more at www.briarpatch.coop.