We all know that it is good to take a list when shopping. But I think that when you go the farmers’ market your list has to be a little different. It can’t be too prescriptive. You have to write your list according to the flavour you are after or the role that each ingredient plays in your cooking. It’s best to write ‘leafy greens’ down instead of ‘lettuce’. That allows you to substitute in ‘rocket’ or ‘kale’ if you find that they are a better quality or a cheaper price. Thinking this way can save you money and get you the best available produce. Here’s an example of how I make a list for the farmers’ markets and then what I do with my haul. I am always trying to avoid food waste and so I make my list bearing in mind what I already have in my fridge, pantry and garden.
List for a local food lunch:
- Vegetable to Roast – Pumpkins are abundant in the markets at the moment
- Leafy green vegetables – I chose rocket from Kurrawong Organics
- Herbs – I used parsley from the garden (can’t get more local than that)
- Grain to bulk up the Salad – I used wild rice from The Source Bulk Foods that I had in my pantry
- Dressing – I could have bought olive oil, balsamic vinegar or any of the other delicacies at the markets but I had some homemade roasted garlic dressing in the fridge
- Something fancy to jazz the salad up – I chose Fresh Goats curd from Willowbrae Chèvre Cheese, but nuts, other cheeses, fresh bread croutons or fried chorizo would work too
Here’s what I did when I got home:
First, I cooked the rice. It takes much longer to cook wild rice than white rice. 1 cup of rice needs to cook with 2 1/4 cups of water and pinch of salt until all the water is absorbed (about 1 hour).
Then, I tossed the pumpkin in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it at 180 degrees celsius until soft.
To assemble the salad I laid the rocket on a platter; sprinkled on the rice after it had cooled little; spooned on the dressing; artfully arranged the pumpkin; dolloped on the cheese; then finished everything with chopped parsley leaves.
It was light and delicious and the perfect way to chill after an early morning at the markets.