Last year I made a wretchedly shameful confession on this blog.
I am totally guilty of going to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings, not buying a thing, then going to the grocery store the next day to purchase my produce there.
I know. I hate me enough for the two of us!
It’s just that, I don’t usually do my weekly meal planning until Sunday, and as much as I hate not buying directly from the farmers themselves, I hate the thought of buying something and letting it go to waste even more, as I’m not the type of person who can come up with a fabulous dish upon seeing a spectacularly arranged pile of vine-ripened tomatoes, or something, at the market.
Sistah needs a plan!
Anyways, this year I’ve vowed to change my despicable ways and am creating a bunch of Farmer’s Market friendly recipes to keep handy so I can pick up whatever looks fresh and beautiful at the market, and know it won’t go to waste at home.
The first recipe in my Farmers’ Market Collection? Farmers’ Market Skillet!
This creamy, quinoa-based dish utilizes in-season, locally grown produce including zucchini, sweet corn, and tomatoes, wrapped up in melty feta cheese, and seasoned with herby, fresh basil. Plus it’s made in just one skillet!
I used what’s available to me here locally, but use whatever produce you’ve got available in your area to make this a Farmers’ Market friendly meal wherever you live.
Start the Farmers’ Market Skillet by cooking 1 cup rinsed quinoa in 1 3/4 cups chicken broth. You could make this dish completely vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead. Cook the quinoa until the broth is absorbed, then fluff it with a fork, and let it cool slightly.
While the quinoa’s doin’ it’s thang, get to work on the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette for the skillet. Yeeeeah…it’s the same dressing I used on the Sweet Corn & Quinoa dish a few weeks ago. I am obsessed with it and can’t help myself, mmkay? ;)
Honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper swirl together to create the most magnificent flavor combo. I just love it!
If you don’t think you can get into the honey flavor in here (I hate the flavor of honey, but I absolutely adore this dressing,) I would try any of the lemon vinaigrettes or balsamic vinaigrette dressings here, or a good olive-oil based Italian dressing would be divine as well.
PS I used the leftover lemon zest to make a refreshing drink to sip on while I cooked. It’s just lemon zest + water + ice. The lemon zest floats to the bottom of the glass, but permeates the water and is SO NICE TO SIP ON, AHHH.
Served up nice and cold in one of my Cat Studio drinking glasses. I got a set as a bridal shower gift (what seems) like a million years ago. I always forget about them, but aren’t they adorable? There are designs available for tons of states/cities/countries!
After the dressing is made, heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a very large skillet – the skillet in Farmer’s Market skillet – then add in 2 cloves minced garlic, and saute until they’re golden brown, about 30 seconds.
Next, add in the veggies!
Like I said, my Farmers’ Market always has a plethora of sweet corn, zucchini, and green onions, so that’s what I used, but you can use whatever is in season and available locally to you. That’s the whole point!
Add the veggies to the skillet, season liberally with salt and pepper, then saute ‘em until they’re just barely tender, about 4 minutes.
Next, add in the cooked and slightly cooled quinoa, then drizzle in half the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette and let that cook for about another minute.
I happen to love the sweet-tart flavor contrast of raw lemon juice vs cooked lemon juice, like in Lemon Chicken Pasta, which is why I add half now, and half when the skillet is off the heat.
Now add 1 chopped tomato,
(another classic Farmers’ Market find!)
and 1/2 cup feta cheese.
Finish ‘er up with 2 Tablespoons chopped basil, then give everything a good stir, taste and add more salt & pepper if you need to.
Let the skillet cool for about 10 minutes, then dig on in!
Farmers’ Market Skillet
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced (or half a large one)
2 ears sweet corn, kernels cut off the cob (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 green onions
salt & pepper
1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped
1/2 cup feta
2 Tablespoons chopped basil
For the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, microplaned or finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan. Add rinsed quinoa and place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium-low, then cook until the broth is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 25 minutes. Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette in a jar or bowl, then shake or whisk to combine and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add zucchini, sweet corn, and green onions, season with salt and pepper, then saute until barely tender, about 4 minutes. Add cooked quinoa and half the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette, then stir and cook for 1 more minute.*
- Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil to the skillet. Stir well, taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
*If you want to make this a cold salad, cool cooked quinoa and veggies separately, then mix with the remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil, and chill completely.
Fresh and ultra flavorful! The crispy, chewy, poppy textures are too fun, while the sweet, herby, tangy flavors are totally mouthwatering. Repeater, fa sho!
I included a mandatory (I’ll be watching…) 10 minute resting period before eating this skillet, simply because it tastes so much better when it’s not piping hot. You can really pick out each individual ingredient when it’s come down a bit in temp.
I also included instructions for making this a cold salad, which I think I might like even better. The feta melts when it’s hot, which kinda makes this taste like healthy mac & cheese, but I do adore a nice cold salad in the steamy summahtime! 8)
In other news, raise your hand if you can’t wait for The Bachelorette tonight?! EMILY! WHEE!! I was so sad to hear that she and Brad didn’t work out (although it sounds like she and her daughter are better off without his temper…) so I’m curious to see what kind of guy she goes for this time around.
Have a nice night! :D
Is it easy for you to come up with meal ideas on the spot, or do you need to have a plan/recipe?