FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Simple Glazed Carrots | Maggie Perkins

With the help of quality ingredients like two of my Texas Farmers Market favorites, Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate jam from Stellar Gourmet, and Texas Hill Country Olive Company's white lemon Balsamic, dressing up fresh from the field vegetables like these pretty rainbow-hued carrots courtesy of JBG Organic, makes a simple, nutritious side on the way to your table with little fuss and a lot of flavor in under 30 minutes.

Carrots cooked to a crisp-tender stage will retain most of their heat-hardy beta carotene. Overcooking carrots diminishes their strong nutritional profile and maximum flavor, so we've sort of steamed/boiled these little sweeties very quickly, then allowed the glaze to get a little caramelization going to create texture and layers of flavor.

An excellent source of beta carotene, the antioxidant named for the vegetable, a one cup serving of carrots contains over 100% of the the daily recommended vitamin A intake, and is also an above-average source of biotin, vitamin K, fiber, potassium, some B vitamins and vitamin C.

Carrots can be stored fresh for up to 2 weeks without diminishing the majority of its nutrients. Wrap in a damp paper towel and store in a humid section of your refrigerator, usually the vegetable crisper. Remove greens and store separately-- they will deplete the carrot of moisture and cause them to go limp.

A note about ingredients: I can't recommend these two ingredients from TFM vendors Stellar Gourmet and Texas Hill Country Olive Company highly enough-- they are among my favorite prepared products at the market, however should you find yourself without access to them, your favorite jam and balsamic vinegar can be used. Follow the same recipe substituting your choices, and you'll find the same great results.

Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate Glazed Carrots

1 bunch small carrots, sliced into coins
½ cup water
1T Stellar Gourmet Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate jam
1T Texas Hill Country Olive Company White Lemon Balsamic
Garnish: Chopped fresh mint, if desired.

Over medium high heat, add water and carrots to a heavy pan. Cook, covered, until water is reduced by half and carrots are just tender. Add Stellar Gourmet jam and balsamic vinegar, stirring and coating carrots well. Continue to cook, uncovered, until liquid is reduced and syrupy.

Looking for more ways to optimize your farmers market fresh haul? Try two quick and easy seasonal recipes that proved to be big crowd pleasers recently, Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips, and Duck Leg Confit with Balsamic Braised Cabbage.

Disclosure: As Market Chef for the Texas Farmers Markets, I am provided vendor food free of charge in exchange for developing recipes to share with market-goers.

Wishing you a delicious day!

FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips | Maggie C. Perkins

Introducing shoppers to vegetables they've either never tried, or never liked before is one of the best parts of my job as market chef. This weekend, many turnip haters were converted! One young toddler fussed as his mother pulled him away from the samples-- he continued to push his third serving into his mouth while he reached for more. Good for Mom for introducing him to a variety of fresh, seasonal vegetables at a young age. He'll be reaching past empty calories and making healthier choices early and often.

Turnips are a root vegetable in the Brassicaceae family, which also includes cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. They are available almost year-round as a storage vegetable, freshly harvested in the cool weather months. Look for small to medium tubers that are firm-- they will have a sweet and peppery taste, but grow woody and bitter as they grow larger and mature.

Turnips are high in Vitamin C, providing almost 50% of the RDA of this nutrient per serving. And don't toss those greens! Remove turnip greens once home, and use quickly; they lose nutrients rapidly, but boast 4 times the amount of calcium as milder greens like cabbage. Add them to soups, stews, smoothies. Saute them with a little garlic and maybe a piece of smoked port. Mince fine and tuck them into purees and casseroles. You might even chop them and add them to this quick saute for added nutrient value. Prefer your side a little sweet? A small squeeze of honey towards the end of cooking is a nice option, too.

These Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips were prepared for the Texas Farmers Markets with vendor products and produce provided for demonstration. To find specific contributions, find that recipe posted on the TFM website here. Thank you to vendors Johnson's Backyard Garden, Texas Hill Country Olive Oil, and Pogue Mahone Pickles for working with me, and making my job look so easy.

I'd serve these Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips with a roasted chicken or braised beef, and I think they'd be an ideal addition to the holiday table.

Balsamic Mustard Glazed Japanese Turnips

Serves 2
3 small Japanese turnips (or any small, seasonal turnip)
½ cup water
1T Dijon mustard
2T Balsamic vinegar
1T chopped fresh mint, optional

To a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add turnip pieces and water. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until water is reduced by approximately half, and turnips are just tender. Stir in mustard, and balsamic vinegar, allow to come to a rolling simmer, stirring frequently, and cook uncovered until liquid is fully reduced. Garnish with fresh mint if using, toss to blend, and serve.

This weekend at the market's chef demo, I prepared 3 simple, crowd-pleasing side dishes using only a few ingredients each-- and all available at the market. Eating healthy and well need not be complicated or time-consuming when you have access to high quality ingredients. Visit your farmstands, markets, and green grocers this weekend and see the bounty of fresh-from-the-field vegetables your local farmers offer.

Adapting these techniques to your seasonal choices is easy, too! Mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and winter squashes-- all could take a little toss in the pan in combination with or substituted for these sweet little turnips. Check out yesterday's Duck Leg Confit with Braised Red Cabbage for inspiration, and keep an eye out for Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate Glazed Carrots, later this week on Notes from Maggie's Farm.

Wishing you a delicious day!

FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Duck Leg Confit with Balsamic Braised Cabbage | Maggie C Perkins

Delicious need not be complicated. With a few high quality ingredients, less is more with this Farmers Market Favorite Duck Leg Confit with Balsamic Braised Red Cabbage, prepared over the weekend for the Texas Farmers Markets. With just 3 ingredients, one pan, and 20 minutes from cutting board to plate, this proven crowd pleaser is a cook's dream.

Duck Leg Confit with Braised Red Cabbage
Serves 2

1 Belle Vie Farm and Kitchen duck leg confit
1 small head red cabbage, shredded
1T Texas Hill Country Olive Company Fig Balsamic Vinegar

In a heavy saucepan over medium high heat, add duck leg and accompanying duck fat to pan, stirring to allow fat to melt, and meat to soften. Pull meat off of the bone with a fork. Add shredded cabbage, reduce heat to medium, and continue to saute, stirring frequently, until cabbage is just wilted. Pour vinegar over all, toss well, continue to cook until fat and vinegar are reduced completely.

Note: If you haven't the fortune of living close to Belle Vie Farm and Kitchen, duck leg confit can be found in gourmet grocery stores in the charcuterie or deli sections. You can also order online from D'artagnan, here, or make your own! (Find a simple recipe, here.)

Interested in other ways to prepare quick, seasonal vegetables? This week on Notes from Maggie's Farm, I'll share simple preparations that taste anything but, with a few of my favorite farmers market vendor products and foods. Stay tuned for Balsamic Mustard Glazed Japanese Turnips and Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate Glazed Carrots, two dishes perfect for the holiday table and beyond. 

Wishing you a delicious day!

FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Sweet Potato Bacon Chowder

BRRRRR! Soup weather has arrived with a vengeance! Keep your kitchen AND your tummy warm with this quick, seasonal soul satisfier. It's packed with potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and high in fiber to keep you healthy, warm, and full.

Sweet Potato Bacon Chowder
by Market Chef Maggie Perkins

1 pkg. Belle Vie Farm & Kitchen Bacon
2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed well and cubed
1 bunch scallion, minced, whites and greens separated
1 pint Belle Vie Farm & Kitchen duck bone broth
1 pint water
16 oz unsweetened almond coconut milk
In a heavy dutch oven or saucepan, render fat from bacon over medium heat. Add cubed sweet potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until edges slightly brown. Stir in minced scallion whites, then add duck bone broth and water. Cook, covered, over medium high heat until sweet potatoes are slightly tender.
Meanwhile, fry bacon in a small saucepan, turning frequently until slightly crisp. Drain on paper towel, crumble and reserve.

When sweet potatoes have softened, reduce heat to medium, add remaining scallions and bacon, and cook for 10 minutes longer.
Finish by stirring in nut milk (or substitution), season with sea salt and coarse pepper to taste, slowly warm to serving temperature.
Note: Suitable substitutions for duck bone broth would be chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock. Whole cow’s milk, half and half, or your favored milk replacement may be used in exchange for almond coconut milk.
Serves 4.

Read more about the nutrient dense sweet potato here
Disclosure: Recipe prepared for and originally posted with Texas Farmers Market. Thanks go to Belle Vie Farm and Johnson's Backyard Garden for food and produce provided without charge for market promotion.

If you find yourself in the Austin area this weekend, I'd love to see your smiling face! Stop by the Texas Farmers Markets at Lakeline on Saturday and  TFM Mueller on Sunday for a hearty, seasonal bite, advice on what to do with your seasonal market haul, and a stroll around Austin's bustling favorite community markets.

And STAY WARM out there!

Wishing you a delicious day!


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