The Farmer’s Market

The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is always a delight.

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My senses love walking through the bustling market along with the crowd of fellow patrons baskets, carts, and bags en tow. The smell of fresh produce and earth, the bright colors that dazzle my eyes, and the complexity of textures. Each purveyor’s booth ignites my culinary inspiration, adding colors to my pallet.

Don’t know what to cook for dinner? Need a new snack to spice up the afternoon? Explore your local Farmer’s Market. Try eating seasonally and don’t hesitate to glean knowledge from the vendors. As always, have fun and play with your food.

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Warm Broccoli Salad

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The other night I was craving texture and had no interest in making a grocery run. This crunchy, tangy, salty, crispy, warm broccoli salad did the trick.

  • 2 Large Broccoli florets
  • ¼ C Pinto Beans
  • ¼ C Roasted and Salted Almonds, rough chop
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2 t)
  •  Salt + Pepper (to taste)

Sauce

  • ½ C  Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 T Honey
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced

Drain and Rinse pinto beans. Pat dry and roast in the oven on a cookie sheet for about 20-30 minutes at 400.

Blanch broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and rinse under cool water to stop cooking. Slice broccoli into bite side florets. In a medium bowl add sliced broccoli, olive oil, and salt + pepper. Toss.

Heat balsamic vinegar over medium heat in a small saucepan, bringing it to a gentle boil. Add honey. Allow the vinegar to reduce in half and thicken to a syrup-like consistency.  Remove from heat. (I like to set some reduced balsamic aside at this point so that I have it on hand for dressings, sauces, and over fruit.) Add garlic to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Add Almond and beans to broccoli, mix well. Pour balsamic over broccoli and toss. Serve warm.

Grandma Florence’s Pasta Salad

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Summer picnics, family get-togethers, and trips to Northern Wisconsin often involved this simple side dish. As someone who often forgoes pasta salads, my Grandma’s pasta salad was always the exception. Bring it to a party or keep it in the fridge for a quick little snack, enjoy.

  • 1 lb Dried Rotini Pasta
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 1/4 C Milk
  • 1 32 oz Whole Peeled Tomatoes (real, solid plum)
  • 1 Large Green Pepper
  • 1 Medium Red Onion
  • 2/3 C Sweet Diced Pickles
  • 3 Green Onions, chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 Cups Mixed Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (follow dried packet instructions)
  • 2 T Beef Bouillon Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 T Pickle Juice
  • 2 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Instructions:

Cook pasta with oil in water. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in large serving bowl. Sprinkle with milk. Toss to moisten. Drain and cut tomatoes into 1/4″ pieces. Chop green pepper and onion into 1/4″ pieces. Add pickles. Chop green onion and add. Mix ingredients. Toss well.

Mix dressing and pour over mixture. Chill and marinate for one day.

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Ruffled Truffle Popcorn

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bowl: Real Mud Pottery by Abbie Demmitt

I’m a stove-top purest. Growing up, popcorn was made weekly at our house, whether for movie night or a just-because snack, my mom always popped the popcorn with her trusty, stove-top, Whirley Pop. The closest I’ve come to my childhood popcorn is skillet style (see end of recipe). I’ve also jazzed up my popcorn, in an effort to enjoy one of my favorite flavors – The Truffle.

  • Prepared popcorn, according to your preference
  • Truffle Oil (White or Black, which ever fancies your palette)
  • Fresh Parmesan, Grated
  • Fresh Italian Parsley, Chopped

Spread prepared popcorn on jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with edges). Drizzle with Truffle Oil and toss so popcorn is lightly coated. Generously, grate fresh parmesan over the popcorn and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Broil in oven until cheese is slightly crisp, sticking to popcorn. Salt to your preference and enjoy!

Stove-Top Popcorn

Oil (I like to use Olive Oil, but taste-wise Canola is usually preferred.)

Popcorn

Heat oil in skillet and place three kernels in the pan and cover. When the kernels pop, you know the oil is ready. Carefully pour in popcorn kernels into skillet and cover. Shake skillet frequently in an effort to prevent the popcorn from burning.