Tag Archives: locavore

To Market, To Market

Fresh peppers, eggplant, tomatoes & zucchini ready for making Ratatouille (my photo).

Fresh peppers, eggplant, tomatoes & zucchini ready for making Ratatouille (my photo).

Finally, the Farmers Markets in the Twin Cities are chock-full and bursting!  Yay!  Enough for me to base Delivered Dish of the Week (DDoW) menus on nearly all locally grown produce. Everything looks gorgeous. Due to the late start, though, there aren’t enough weeks now left in summer to feature all the veg that is available, such as okra. Yeah, you’re making a face, but have you tried it crunchy and spicy, flash stir-fried with garam masala?!  

Anyway, here are the menus for the next 6 weeks of DDoW. To order, go to the online Order Form on this blog. You can order a bunch of dishes in advance or return to the form once a week, as you wish. Deadlines are Saturdays for deliveries the following week. See general info on Delivered Dish of the Week service.

PS: The Online Form lists the week, the name of each dish and its ingredients. These fuller Dish descriptions below are included on the DDoW Menu Archive page in case you want to find them again. Or, search this blog for “DDoW”. 


SEPT 2 – 7

Roast Beets & Cabbage Salad

Roast Beets & Cabbage Salad  (my photo).

Quinoa Kale Salad in Horseradish Vinaigrette (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  Finely chopped kale and a crunchy market veg add color, substance and fiber to quinoa, and lemon and horseradish adds a kick.

Roast Beet & Cabbage Salad with Sesame Dressing (V, Paleo, GF, soy-free, no added sugar) Tender ruby cubes and crunchy green strips, this time bound by a tahini dressing. My favorite summertime cookbook, Mediterranean Fresh by Joyce Goldstein, matches beets with sesame dressing (among many others). I adore everything in this cookbook so I’m sure this combination will delight. 

SEPT 9 – 14

A bowl of whole kernel hominy (web pic).

A bowl of whole kernel hominy (web pic).

Spicy Chile Verde with Beans (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  An opportunity to see why chef Crescent Dragonwagon in her book Bean for Bean insists there is no substitute for Santa Fe Green Chilies from New Mexico. With green bell peppers. 

Cuke, Corn & Hominy Salad in Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar) As well as being the basis of Posole stew, chewy hominy (rehydrated treated white corn kernels) is surprisingly nice in salads. I’ll use raw sweet corn for added crunch and because it’s frankly easier than par-boiling. The local sweet corn has been great this season.

SEPT 16 – 21

Zucchini Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce

Zucchini Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce (my photo).

Zucchini Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce (V, Paleo, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  Carb-free pasta! Fresh sage and oregano flavor the simple sauce. Super low-cal.

Heirloom Bean & Veg Cassoulet with Rosemary  (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  A lightly braised stew of market veg and giant heirloom scarlet runner beans (and regular red beans). Good with crusty bread, a glass of wine and thou; or all by itself. Cool beans!

SEPT 23 – 28

Romesco Beans 'n Rice. Romesco is a nut and red pepper-based sauce from Catalan, Spain. (my photo)

Romesco Beans ‘n Rice. Romesco is a nut and red pepper-based sauce from Catalan, Spain. (my photo)

Garbanzo Bean & Veg Za’atar Salad  (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  Za’atar, a spice mixture popular throughout the Middle East, comprises ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds and salt, and also often ground sumac, which has a lemony tang. You might encounter it sprinkled on hummus at restaurants. Confession: I bought a large bag at Holy Land Deli on Central Ave, a local mecca of affordable spices. Run, don’t walk.

Rice Romesco  (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar; contains almonds)  Romesco sauce is a classic Catalonian simmered sauce of mostly red bell peppers mixed with ground nuts. The carrier here is organic brown rice. You can eat this dish cold or hot. By this week, inexpensive pecks of peppers should be all over the Farmers Markets (a peck is approx 8 dry quarts, with 4 pecks to a bushel). Take advantage of the harvest bounty and make a couple quarts at home to slather on everything (can freeze). 

SEPT 29 – OCT 4

Thai Coconut Veggie Chowder -- simple & quick.

Thai Coconut Veggie Chowder — comforting, simple & quick (my photo).

Thai Coconut Farmers Market Soup (V, Paleo, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  Like a vegetable chowder but with Thai flavors and coconut milk. Simmering it with corn cobs add extra sweetness. Expect some chopped collards or kale.

Black Beluga Lentil Salad in Sesame Ginger Dressing  (V, GF, no added sugar; will contain a little soy)  These beautiful organic lentils were another fun special-order from Purcell Mountain Farms (Idaho). I’m hoping they don’t lose their jet black color when cooked.

OCT 7 – 12

Roast Ratatouille with Beans  (V, GF, soy-free, no added sugar)  My all-time favorite late summer/ early autumn dish. Remember the animated movie, where the mean food critic finds his humanity and compassion after eating Ratatouille the rat chef’s ratatouille? It’s delicious cold or hot, by itself or mixed with grain pilaf, on pasta, in omelets, whatever. Freezes very well.

Polenta with Chopped Greens  (GF, soy-free, no added sugar; vegan option available)  Polenta is basically a creamy corn pudding flavored with butter and parmesan/romano cheese. It’s the only DDoW dish I make with dairy; you can request a dairy-free version, too. Fairly bland, polenta is a perfect foil for any dish with sauce. I’m swirling in finely chopped sauteed leafy greens. Best hot or warmed. Polenta also freezes just fine! 

Note: V = vegan, GF = gluten-free. Paleo refers to a type of diet that recommends no carbs and no sugars.



Come Sample This Sunday

Kohlrabi “alien puppets”. Why not?

 I’ll be demoing this Sun, July 1st at the Kingfield Farmers Market, 4310 Nicollet Ave (South Mpls). This terrific & beloved neighborhood market is open every Sunday 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. It’s a wonderful cozy and very friendly alternative to the larger, more overwhelming markets. I always bump into tons of acquaintances there. Note: park around the block somewhere as parking on Nicollet is a competitive sport.

My demo is part of a series called “The Veggie Butcher”, sponsored by Erik Brown Homes. Each guest chef will show you what to do with whatever veggies are at the market that day. Mysteries of that funny-looking Kohlrabi, revealed, and that sort of thing. Free samples, of course!

I’m going to do various chopped salads and make fun vinaigrettes to mix and match. For instance:

  • Beet Napa Cabbage Slaw
  • Orange-Cilantro Vinaigrette (the recipe on blog is for Orange Mint so just substitute Cilantro or Dill…)
  • Chipotle Vinaigrette
  • Marinated Minty Kohlrabi SaladI may add some quinoa or other grain to one of these, for a 3rd, heartier salad that’s gluten-free, too. Various recipes are on this blog already (see Recipe page).

    Why chopped salads vs lettuce salads? Because you get more vegetables per serving, that’s why, which means more nutrients and more fiber. And b/c once marinated in vinaigrette, chopped salads last a week in your frig, as opposed to lettuces, which won’t. Notice that farm & garden-fresh leaf lettuces are more delicate  than store-bought and wilt faster.

I’ll return to Kingfield to do an interactive kid’s demo on July 15th, 10.30am- 1pm at the Kids’ Tent. This will be a version of my “Lil Locavores” show. Kids from the audience will help make salads and do fun educational skits!

More Farmers Market demos are coming on following weekends  — see Farmers Market Appearances page for dates & places.

Kitchen & Catering News

Aloha! I’m back from a terrific family vacation, tan, overfed and rested.
I have good news about Delivered Dish of the Week service!  I’ve decided to try a new professional rental kitchen in St Paul. It’s much bigger & better than the previous facility, with loads of equipment, storage, walk-in coolers & freezers, and even a separate gluten-free prep room.
I need a couple weeks to sort out this move, including some licensing procedures, which means DDoW is still on hiatus for a couple weeks until further notice.
In the meantime, I’m still catering, demo-ing and teaching.  Yesterday, I put on a lovely & simple spread for a huge 50th Anniversary party reception (150 guests). Next weekend I’m providing a few dishes for a large graduation picnic, and the weekend after that, a full locavore whole-foods brunch for 20. See menus below.
These are excellent examples of working with the needs of different clients. The anniversary party and the brunch is “full service”, ie food, on-site service and clean-up. For the picnic I’m just dropping off chicken & two salads to complement food the family is providing and lending them serving utensils.

Lovely buffet: (from right) fresh strawberries, watermelon, Sun-Dried Tomato Polenta Squares, Roast Beet & Lentil Salad. (Photo by Alicea Rose.)


Large Afternoon Reception: Veggie platter with Creamy Vegan Green Onion & Herb Dip; Guacamole Hummus and Kalamata Olive Tapenade with assorted bread & crackers;  Sun-dried Tomato Polenta squares; Roast Beet & Lentil Salad in Balsamic Vinaigrette; watermelon, grapes & strawberries platter. Note: all vegan except for polenta, and all gluten-free (GF crackers included).
Picnic Dishes: Braised Chicken Chunks in soy molasses sauce; Dill Horseradish Potato Salad; Jewel Slaw in lime cilantro vinaigrette. The salads are vegan and all 3 dishes are gluten-free.

Creamy Dill Dip/Dressing – vegan! (photo by Brad Dahlgaard)

Locavore Brunch: Split Pea, Fennel & Spinach Soup; Lemony Quinoa Pilaf; Organic Egg Bake; Roast Sweet Potato Bites with Walnuts & Local Honey; Spring Greens in Citrus Vinaigrette; bread & butter; local strawberries & cream. Vegan except for eggs and gluten-free except for bread.

Demo Dates at Farmers Markets

NEWS FLASH:  Delivered Dish of the Week service is on hiatus for the time being, most likely til end June. I’m figuring out a move to a better professional kitchen and taking a family vacation. Both have been long awaited, and both are just in time.

The kitchen prospect is very exciting!  Even just the storage prospect is pretty thrilling. And, oh boy, bigger convection ovens and multiple gas ranges!

I’ll have more news soon. DDoW will resume in time for our wonderful local growing season. In the meantime, your homework is to make 4 different vinaigrettes for all the lovely spring greens cropping up. See Recipe page, and try some combos of your own.

Market Demo: enthusiastic & awesome volunteer Marie knew a lot about greens. She’ll be President some day.


July is chock-a-block with food demos! Catch me at the following Farmers Markets: July 1 & 15 @Kingfield Farmers Market (So Mpls); July 13 @ West Broadway mini-market (North Mpls); July 21@ Northeast Mpls Farmers Market. See Farmers Market Appearances page for a ‘taste’ of what I do.

(One of these days I’ll get a decent video of my L’il Locavores bit and post it.)

Sustainable Sustenance

Gorgeous local veg for Ratatouille

Last night I oversaw a community dinner for 60. The goal was to make it locavore and vegan. Sized up what was available at the farmers’ market and decided on Ratatouille to take advantage of the very last zucchini and to bid farewell to summer. Main components are zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes, with optional bell peppers. No more local basil, so used sage & parsley instead. We added garbanzo beans for protein and bulk.

To round out the menu, I added roast purple fingerlings & sweet potatoes, a crunchy cabbage slaw with fresh dill, and organic brown rice. Appetizers were fresh baby carrots, an olive tapenade with local parsley & onions and bread from Wuollet’s Bakery. The dinner, you will note, was dairy-free and gluten-free with the exception of bread.

OK, the desserts — ice cream sundaes, silky vegan chocolate pudding and organic oranges — were not locally sourced except for the blueberry sauce (picked this summer from Rush River Produce of Maidenrock, WI, my favorite blueberry farm.) The chocolate pudding is a mix by Mori-Nu, makers of my favorite silken tofu, which I also use in many creamy vegan salad dressings and dips. See Recipes and scroll down for a dill dip. Mori-Nu is the tofu in a vacuum-packed box, which means you can stock it in your pantry and save room in the frig. This low-fat pudding is incredibly easy to make, has a lovely silky smooth texture and is naturally sweetened. I like the taste, which is not overly sugary. You can find both Mori-Nu tofu and the pudding mix at the co-op.


Ratatouille is easy to make, either on the stove or in the oven. If making small quantities, I’ll simmer it on the stove, and if large quantities, I will roast. I have been including this dish in private cooking lessons this summer, to demonstrate how easy it is to cook a versatile vegetable-based dish. You can eat as an entree or side; add it to pasta sauces; throw it in scrambled eggs, omelets or quiche; or turn it into fried rice or a casserole.

“Oversaw” means I planned the menu, shopped, brought seasonings & stock ingredients, and then told wonderful volunteer sous-chefs what to do — which was mainly to chop the 50 lbs of veg I had purchased that morning. I do these community dinners fairly frequently, mostly at First Universalist Church.

Btw the way chef and urban farms advocate Nancy said the purple cabbage was the sweetest she’d ever tasted! It was from Chris Gamm of Reimann Farms (St Francis, MN).

Locavoracious 2

Aunty Oxidant makes Firecracker Salad at the Moving Planet MN350 event at the State Capitol, St Paul, 09-24-11

Saturday was an incredibly beautiful day to be outside, talking to people about sustainable agriculture and buying local, and handing out samples of fresh raw salad made from vegetables I had just bought at the farmers’ market that morning. 

I was exhibiting at the Moving Planet MN350 event in St Paul, one of thousands held simultaneously around the globe to advocate for progressive climate- change policies and actions.

[Guess What? I made it into the Twin Cities Daily Planet article about this event! Mainly a decent photo of me and the salad.]

 I chopped and chatted all afternoon. People snarfed up Firecracker Slaw (see recipe), made with all raw veggies, harvested the day before. This gorgeous salad is sweet & spicy, earthy and crunchy, and features carrots, beets, apples and red onions doused in a smoky chipotle vinaigrette. I also added kohlrabi and cabbage, which stretched it out and added even more crunch.

Kohlrabi puppets

Kohlrabi is very very mild and reminds one of tender broccoli stalks, or of jicama without the sweetness. It’s a good low-cal crunchy filler to add to any salad or stir-fry, or just to eat raw like carrots. I like to make “refrigerator pickles”, Asian-style, with chopped fresh mint, garlic and rice vinegar.

Groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon

Yesterday, Kingfield Farmers Market in South Mpls was a buzz with locavores buying and selling and chatting with one another.  It was a perfect summer day to demo Firecracker Slaw, made with veggies bought at the market for only $10.  I‘ve posted the recipe on my Recipes page. It can also be found on the Kingfield Market’s Recipe page.

I started the show with my theme song, “Everybody’s Doin’ the Locavore” (to the tune of the Motown hit “Locomotion”). Sing along with the lyrics below!

Everybody’s doin’ the Locavo-ore, C’mon baby do the locavore!

tracy yue

"Aunty Oxidant" demos fresh raw salads at Kingfield Farmers' Market. C'mon baby do the Locavore!

Fresh veggies make me feel so good, gimme some more. C’mon baby do the locavore!

Everybody’s doin’ a brand new dance now. C’mon baby do the locavore!

Locavore means giving local farmers a chance now. C’mon baby do the locavore!


Meet the farmer who grows the food  you put on your table.

Eating fresh and local means no peeling off labels.

So c’mon c’mon, do the locavo-ore with me!

[with spunky attitude]

You gotta swing your canvas ba-ag,

Come on baby! [clap clap]

That’s right! [clap clap]

Hold tight! [clap clap]

You’re gonna love those veggies when you eat ’em to-na-ite!


So c’mon c’mon, do the locavo-ore with me!

Yeah, c’mon c’mon, do the locavo-ore with me!