Monthly Archives: July 2013

Farmers Market Summer Orzo

We decided not to get a CSA share this year because we were really missing waking up early and heading to the farmers market during the weekend. There are so many farmers markets in the Twin Cities (more than 50!) and we’ve been trying new ones a few times a month.

When we were in Santa Barbara on vacation a few weeks ago, we went to the best farmers market we’ve ever been to. It was amazing and now I want to live there, but this weekend we tried the Downtown St. Paul farmers market and it’s a close second.

VIP treatment for these veggies at brunch: in the new market basket we bought in Santa Barbara and hanging out on a chair at brunch!

VIP treatment for these veggies at brunch: in the new market basket we bought in Santa Barbara and hanging out on a chair!

My plan of attack at a farmers market is to see what looks good and figure out the weeks meals off of what we buy. We wound up with zucchini, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, basil, fingerling potatoes, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and eggs that were allegedly laid the day before.

There is a 100% chance I will at some point in the week throw some veggies into a pasta dish for an easy weeknight dinner. And that is exactly what this Farmers Market Summer Orzo dish is; something I threw together that wound up looking pretty and tasting delicious.

photo (7)

Farmers Market Summer Orzo

1 cup dry orzo
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 large zucchini
1 large yellow summer squash
1/2-1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 handful basil (10-15 leaves), chiffonaded
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Garlic Salt, Pepper to taste

1. Cook orzo according to package, set aside. Try to do this while you are preparing all other ingredients so it doesn’t get too cold.
2. Chop zucchini squash and yellow squash either in half moon shape or circle shape (try to get them all the same size)
3. In a large skillet, heat up 1 tsp of olive oil. Saute squash until it is fork tender.
4. Chop cherry tomatoes in half, roast them in the oven on 350 for about 7-9 minutes, throw them in the skillet.
5. Add cooked orzo and peas, garlic salt and pepper to taste and stir.
6. Finish with basil and parmesan market summer orzo

See, really easy. This tasted really good with the orzo, it made the flavors of the veggies stand out a bit more than typical pasta. But overall, just take whatever you find at the Farmers Market (or store, or even your freezer), saute it up, add some pasta and boom: dinner.

This also works really well with pesto stirred in. Not that we had the exact same thing (plus broccoli and pesto) two nights later or anything….


Lighter Green Bean Casserole

I only discovered Green Bean Casserole in college. It was not a thing in my house during Thanksgiving. I also am pretty sure I ate it in the Spring and so every summer when I see green beans in season at the farmers market, I need to make it.

However, I used to make it with a can of soup and that isn’t super healthy so I scoured the internet for a healthier recipe and I found one from How Sweet Eats that I LOVE and have been making a few times a year over the last year. You should bean casserole

Lighter Green Bean Casserole
(adapted only slightly from How Sweet Eats)

2 pounds fresh trimmed green beans, snapped in half
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
.5 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
16 ounces white mushrooms, chopped (2 8oz packages)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1 cup skim milk or fat-free half and half
2 tablespoons freshly gated parmigiano reggiano cheese
3/4 cup italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs


1.Preheat oven to 400.

2. Heat a large oven-safe (cast-iron is best) skillet oven low heat, add olive oil, onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir well to coat, then cover and cook onions until caramelized, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. While onions are caramelizing, boil a large pot of water. Once boiling, add green beans and cook for 5 minutes, then drain and run cold water over top, letting sit in the sink to air dry and until you’re ready to use.

4. Once onions are caramelized, remove with kitchen tongs and set aside in a bowl. Add butter to skillet, then add chopped mushrooms and toss well to coat. Cook for 6-8 minutes until juicy/soft.

5. Add in the garlic and the caramelized onions, cook for 30 seconds.

6. Increase heat to medium-high and sprinkle the flour over top. Stir well to coat and distribute, cook for 2-3 minutes.

7. Pour in vegetable stock and milk or half and half. Stirring constantly, let mixture come to a bubble, then let cook for 2-3 minutes until just slightly thickened. You don’t want it TOO thick since it will also cook in the oven. Season with remaining salt, pepper and then stir in 1 tablespoon of parmigiano reggiano. Add green beans and toss well to coat.

8. Cover the top with remaining caramelized onions, italian seasoned breadcrumbs and the remaining tablespoon of parmesan. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until mixture is bubbling and bread crumbs are golden. Serve ASAP!

It is so good with just a piece of baguette or a little salad on the side. I realize I am a broken record… everything tastes better with a salad and or baguette.

Cabbage Salad

It’s been a few months… we’ve been eating, but I haven’t been blogging. Here is an easy, summer dish that doesn’t require an oven or stove and is something we’ve been eating lately. Thanks, heat wave!cabbage salad 1

Cabbage Salad with Raman Noodles
1/2 head of cabbage
4 green onions
¼ cup toasted almond slivers
1 sheet of dry, crushed Chinese Raman Noodles (Ty Ling has the best raman noodles, don’t use those Top Raman ones, they are fried and bad for you!)

1 Tbsp cup canola oil
1.5 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1.5 tsp. Sugar
Dash salt and pepper

1.Wash the cabbage half, then shred cabbage by just slicing it as you would lettuce or anything else (this is a super easy process).

2. Chop up the green onions, root to tip.

3. Mix dressing, taste, add more of what you think you need (I like this very vinegar-y!) and then pour over and mix to coat cabbage. Add green onions, crushed raman noodles and almonds, mix again!

3. Let it sit in the fridge for about 1 hour. The noodles get a little less crunchy and soak up the dressing.IMG_0408

SO EASY, right? If you have both a regular green cabbage and a red cabbage, this would look very pretty with both colors, so use 1/4 of each. This is such an easy and very budget friendly side dish to bring to a summer party, but we usually have this for dinner. We often eat this as the main dish with whatever is around as a side dish. OR just eat a bowl of this and walk somewhere for an ice-cream desert. Genius.