Fresh, local, and gluten-free: two farmer's market fresh recipes

Purple kohlrabi and Cultured Kohlrabi "Pickles"

I had quite the day yesterday at the Minneapolis Farmers Market.  I kicked it all off at 8 am on the Fresh & Local Show as a guest.  I was on the Fresh & Local Show last summer and was so flattered to be asked back for another show.  The Fresh & Local Show is sponsored by the Minnesota Vegetable Grower's Association, and features weekly guests to talk about gardening, seasonal produce, and the farmers market. Susan Berkson and Bonnie Dehn, the joyful and knowledgeable hosts, are so much fun, and I loved being able to spend time with them talking about food, gardening, and cooking. As it turned out, one of the other guests, Mary Maguire Lehrman, also has chronic Lyme Disease, so we even got to do a little educating about Lyme.  

The radio program will be available to download online early this week, so check out this link and look for the dated broadcasts if you want to listen! 

After the broadcast, we all sat down and shared in a wonderful fresh fruit tart that I made.  It was covered in fresh fruit, including red currants I picked from my garden, had a rich cashew lemon cream filling, and a lovely oatmeal and coconut flour crust. I'll post the recipe eventually.  In the meantime, feast your eyes!

fresh fruit'll get the recipe eventually, i promise

Then I hopped in my car and drove to the Minneapolis Farmers Market. I threw on my apron and led my very first live cooking demo for the weekly Market Talk in a segment called "Fresh, Local, and Gluten-Free".  It was so much fun! I used fresh market produce to demonstrate two recipes: Cultured Kohlrabi Dill Pickles and Sauteed Zucchini with Garlic Scape Spinach Pesto.  I also shared hints and suggestions for creating allergy-friendly meals using fresh food from the market and pantry staples.  It was a yummy seasonal food extravaganza!  Everyone watching the demo got to sample my creations.  The crowd loved it - even the fermented pickles!  People really enjoyed the demonstration and were very engaged, and I had a good, consistent crowd through the whole hour-long demonstration.

I was thankful to have two great event organizers, Sandy Hill and Rachele Cermak, to help out that day, serving up samples and prompting me with questions and discussion points. It made my first demonstration much easier to do!   I was happy to see Sandy licking leftover pesto off her fingers after cleaning out the food processor.  Neither of them believed that it was my first time doing a live demonstration, and told me I should have a cooking show, which made me blush. They were very flattering! I think I may be doing another demonstration at the market this fall, so stay tuned! 

Sauteed zucchini with garlic scape and spinach pesto

I even got a little local press - the local newspaper the Star Tribune briefly mentioned my demo in the weekend Farmers Market report, and local food website Simple, Good, and Tasty listed it in their monthly events section. I was so excited!

Since you couldn't be there with me, I wanted to bring a little piece of the market back to share with you. Here's a few photos I took after the market back at my house, and the recipes I shared with the crowd.  I hope you enjoy them!  I hope to get a few photos that other people took of the market demo, so I"ll put those up later.  I will also be putting a pdf of the recipes on my Downloads page, for an easy-print version. Enjoy!

Cultured Kohlrabi "Pickles"

Cultured Kohlrabi Dill Pickles

Yield 1 qt | Kim Christensen,

 These naturally fermented, vinegar-free kohlrabi “pickles” are crunchy, salty, and tart, and very reminiscent of classic cucumber pickles. The natural fermentation process allows the development of beneficial bacteria and creates a live food that helps regulate digestion and restore proper intestinal flora, just like yogurt or kefir.

  • 2-3 large kohlrabi bulbs
  • 2 Tbsp high-quality sea salt (Himalayan pink salt, Real Salt, or Maldon are excellent)
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, sliced in half lengthwise
  • optional: 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1-1 1/2 c filtered water
  • 1 1-qt. glass canning jar, sterilized with boiling water

Wash and peel kohlrabi well, then slice into long sticks about 1/4" x 1/4". Arrange sticks in jar, layering with dill and garlic. As you are putting them in jar, press down lightly with a wooden spoon, and continue filling until there is about 1" between kohlrabi and top of jar.

Mix together salt, 1 cup of water, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes, and pour over kohlrabi.  Add additional water as necessary to cover kohlrabi and fill until there is 1” space at the top. Cover tightly.

 Let jar sit out at room temperature (ideally, 65º -70º F) for 3-4 days in a dark place on a plate or in a small dish to catch any possible leaks.. Hotter temperatures will make things ferment more quickly, cooler temperatures will make for slower fermentation.  you may notice hissing sounds coming from the jar - that’s a good thing! After 3 days, carefully open jar over the sink (pressure builds up and it may fizz when you open), and try a pickle. It will be very salty, and should taste tart, slightly sour and yeasty. If not sour enough for your tastes, put cover back on and let sit another day or two.  

Transfer to cold storage after fermenting.  Can be eaten immediately, or kept for up to 6 months in the refrigerator. The flavor gets better with age!

this is how we make pesto

make sure to use a high-quality olive oil for best flavor

Sauteed zucchini with garlic scape & spinach pesto, served over quinoa

Sauteed Zucchini with Garlic Scape & Spinach Pesto

Yield  4 servings | Kim Christensen,

This is a delicious side dish that is easy to prepare and delicious. To make it a main course, toss it with cooked pasta, rice or quinoa, add white beans or cooked chicken, and stir in more pesto, to taste.  Serve hot or chilled for a wonderful, versatile dish.  

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pesto, or more to taste (recipe follows)
  • 2-3 Tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest
  • finely sliced basil
  • lemon wedges/lemon juice
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper

Heat a heavy bottom saute pan and add pumpkin seeds. Toast until golden and starting to pop. Remove from heat.  Add oil to saute pan, and heat over medium heat.  Add sliced zucchini, stir to coat, and saute over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes, until just slightly softened and lightly browned.  Remove from heat and place in serving bowl. Toss with pesto, adding sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.  Serve hot or chilled, garnish with pumpkin seeds, lemon zest, basil, and lemon wedges or a squeeze of lemon juice.

Garlic Scape & Spinach Pesto

Yield 2 cups

This pesto can be used a multitude of ways - toss with raw or cooked vegetables or pasta, use as a flavorful base for dressings and sauces, or use as a spread in sandwiches or wraps.

  • 1 cup chopped garlic scapes
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, lightly packed
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1/2-1 cup olive oil, or mix of olive oil and cold chicken or vegetable broth
  • juice & zest of 1 1/2 large lemons 

Toast pumpkinseeds in a saute pan over medium until golden and starting to pop, stirring often.  Remove from heat and let cool while preparing other ingredients. Place garlic scapes and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and process until lightly chopped, then add spinach and herbs, and continue processing until just starting to mix.  Slowly add olive oil/broth and continue to blend until smooth, scraping sides as necessary, until desired consistency is reached. Then add pumpkin seeds and blend until fine, and you have a coarse, grainy mixture. Add more oil or lemon juice as necessary. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, freeze in ice cube trays, then transfer to freezer bags.  Thaw in refrigerator or at room temperature.

Want to serve this over quinoa like in the photo? Here's how to cook a simple pot of quinoa.

Soak 1 cup of dry quinoa in 3-4 cups of fresh water for 8 hours.  The soaking breaks down the seed coat and starts the sprouting process, resulting in the nutrients being more bioavailable and it being more easily digested.  After soaking, drain the grains through a fine sieve and rub together with your hand while rinsing under running water.  Rubbing the grains together rinses off the saponin coating that can irritate digestion and create a bitter flavor. Soaking quinoa and rubbing while rinsing is important to ensure best flavor and easiest digestion.

Place soaked, rinsed quinoa in a saucepan, and cover with 2 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook 10-15 minutes, until quinoa has absorbed water.  Remove from heat, and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Then remove cover and fluff. Easy!

*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

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