Sunday, August 12, 2012

Farmers Market Hopping

Going to farmers markets has become quite the weekend pastime for me. So when my friend CB invited me to go to Hamilton, Virginia and visit various markets he liked, how could I say no?

The ride there was filled with farms and wineries, winding roads and rolling hills, and I couldn’t wait to see how these markets differed from the ones in northern Virginia.

Want the recipe? Go here!

Before I left for such an excursion, I had an amazing breakfast: oatmeal with beets and steel cut oats, an apple with peanut butter, and coffee. If you are going to spend the day farmers market hopping, a hearty breakfast is essential to your success.

Oh, and naturally taking lots of pictures when you get there.

I love the variety of the vendors at both the Purcellville Community Market and the Leesburg Market. There were wine vendors, Shitake mushroom growers, meat and dairy folk, flowers, baked goods, pickles, salsa, fruits and vegetables, herbs and fruiting plants… 

There is even an organic nursery nearby that I am definitely going back to next spring.

I always come home so inspired by the market: inspired to create foods I never had before, and inspired by the people I met. He and I had wonderful conversations about food, our trip to Toledo, OH next weekend, and what great changes this world is coming to.

I can’t think of a better Saturday, and a meal to end it with. I had been experimenting with soaking beans this week, and I can definitely tell the difference with soaking dried beans for a few days versus buying them canned. 

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Hash

106 g Dried black beans, soaked for a few days*
84 g Quinoa, soaked for twenty-four hours**
2 Small sweet potatoes, diced into small pieces
15 ml Olive oil
1 Red onion, finely diced
1 Bell pepper, finely diced
3 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. Sea salt
1/2 tsp. Chili powder

* & ** If you have leftover beans and quinoa already prepared, simply use those up instead, about 260 g black beans and 230 g quinoa. Both were soaked in filtered water with about one teaspoon of unrefined apple cider vinegar, though the beans were drained at least once a day. Prepare the beans and quinoa like you usually would, go here and here.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Lightly toss the sweet potato pieces in the olive oil and place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper (make sure there is plenty of room).
Bake for thirty minutes or until soft.
In a cast iron pan, heat additional oil on medium heat and cook the onion, cloves, and pepper at its smoking point.
Once softened, add the cooked beans (without the liquid), quinoa, sweet potato, and spices, and stir until slightly caramelized in some places.
Top the hash with a pan-fried egg (or whatever protein you like) and serve hot.

Makes two servings.

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