- Virginia Johnson
Southern Living’s Farmers Market Cookbook has interesting, beautiful recipes that are not difficult for an ordinary cook to produce. This is to be expected as it is typical of anything from Southern Living’s magazines and cookbook lines. But what is different here is the book’s focus on vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and other foods that are available seasonally at local farmers markets.
Some recipes do call for pre-packaged ingredients from a store, but not all. This ups the convenience factor but will definitely make the cooking less challenging. However, this may be a good thing if the cook is up against hurdles of time and ingredient availability. The cookbook is broken into sections by seasonal availability. Recipes range from sweet to savory within the course of a season. For instance, spring brings Grilled Fresh Artichokes (with a variety of sauces) and Salted Caramel Strawberries. Frogmore Stew—no frogs involved! and Blackberry Cobbler make a nice bill of fare for summer, while autumn has Caramelized Onion-and-Mushroom Bisque and Pumpkin-Pecan Layer Cake with ginger-cream cheese frosting. The Winter Storehouse chapter yields Roasted Vegetable Lasagna and Sautéed Brown Sugar Pears, among its many choices.
Below is one of the cookbook’s recipes using springtime ingredients:
Asparagus—New Potato Hash
Prep: 20 min. cook: 21 min. other: 15 minutes
1 lb. small red potatoes
1 lb fresh asparagus
2 shallots, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup crumbled farmer’s cheese or queso fresco
Garnish: lemon slices
- Bring potatoes and salted water to cover to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook 15 minutes or just until tender; drain well. Cool 15 minutes; cut into quarters.
- Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus. Cut asparagus into ½-inch pieces.
- Sauté shallots in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet 1 minute. Add asparagus, thyme, salt, pepper, and lemon juice; sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add potatoes, and sauté 3 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with cheese. Garnish, if desired.
Yield: 8 servings