Spring Farmer's Market Recipes

If you live in a cooler climate, chances are you've seen one of the first signs of spring - your farmer's market reopening for the summer season! And if you live in a warmer climate and have had a farmer's market all year 'round, please know we live in envy of your fresh AF produce in December.

Some of the goods you can expect to see in April and May at farmer's markets in cooler climates are: Asparagus, bunch onions, lettuce, pea greens, morel mushrooms, rhubarb, and spinach, plus some greenhouse-grown veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes. In warmer climates, you might also find: Apricots, cherries, brussels sprouts, fava beans, artichokes, fennel, garlic scapes, radishes, and tons of other fruits and veggies that come into season in the winter and stick around through spring. To celebrate the reemergence of spring produce, here are a few spring farmer's market recipes (with nut butter, natch) to help you use up those spring goods in your fridge before you hit the market next weekend!

Pea Shoots: Almond Soba Noodles

From 101 Cookbooks.
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • very scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons hot water
  • 12 ounces dried soba noodles
  • 12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
  • 4 ounces pea shoots (or other greens, or tiny pieces of broccoli)
  • 12 leaves fresh basil, slivered
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Make the almond sauce by mashing the curry paste into the almond butter. Stir in the lemon juice and salt. And then whisk in the hot water one tablespoon at a time until you have a pourable dressing that is about as thick as a heavy cream. The dressing thickens as it cools, so feel free to thin it out with more water later on if needed. Taste, and add more salt or more curry paste if you like. Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain and shake off as much water as possible. While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into matchsticks or 1/2-inch cubes. Cook the tofu, along with a pinch or two of salt, in a well-seasoned skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Add a tiny splash of oil if needed to prevent sticking. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy. About 15 seconds before the tofu has finished cooking, add the pea shoots to the hot pan. In a large bowl combine the noodles with 2/3 of the almond sauce. Toss well, be sure all the noodles get coated. Arrange the tofu and pea shoots on top of the noodles, drizzle with the remaining sauce, and garnish with the slivered basil and toasted almonds.

Brussels Sprouts: Brussels with Peanut Vinaigrette

From New York Times.
  • 2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and rinsed in cold water
  • ¼ cup peanut oil
  • Salt
  • 4 teaspoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter, creamy or chunky
  • Hot sauce or chili oil (optional)
  • 1 large navel orange
  • 3 tablespoons dried tart cherries or cranberries, plumped in warm water, drained and coarsely chopped
  • Crispy fried shallots, for garnish (optional)
  • Chopped fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees and place a pan of hot water in the bottom, to help prevent the sprouts from becoming tough. Turn on convection if you have it. Toss sprouts with peanut oil, sprinkle with salt, and spread out on one or two baking sheets. Roast 15 minutes. Stir and continue cooking 10 to 20 minutes more, until browned and crisp. Check sprouts every 5 minutes or so; if they are browning too fast, reduce heat by 25 degrees and turn off convection. Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey. Whisk in peanut butter until thick and creamy. Add water until consistency is like creamy salad dressing. Season to taste with hot sauce, if using. When sprouts are tender and browned, remove from oven, transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Add half the dressing and toss well. Take orange and cut a thick slice off the bottom and the top to make flat surfaces. Rest bottom on a cutting board and use a small, sharp knife to carve off all the peel and pith, cutting from top to bottom and following the curve of the fruit. When all the orange flesh is exposed, cut out each segment by slicing along the white membranes, then gently loosen from the orange and set aside. Add half the orange and half the cherries to bowl and toss. Taste. Adjust with more dressing, orange and cherries until flavors are balanced. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with fried shallots or fresh mint, or both, if using.

Asparagus: Asparagus with Almond Butter Sauce

From food.com.
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 15 asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch pieces (large)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thin (small)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar crystals or 1 teaspoon other raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot water
  • salt
  • pepper
Boil water in a pan, add 1/2 tsp of salt and cook asparagus for about 3 minutes. Don’t overcook. Immediately immerse asparagus in cold water. In a medium bowl, place almond butter, tamari, sugar, lemon juice, and hot water and mix well. Add asparagus and red pepper slices and coat them with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

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