No Time to Cook?

Although this is a recipe blog most of us have days when we'd rather not cook. Let's look at the options for market items on those days. 

Salad is an obvious first choice. Greens are most abundant in the spring and fall but can be found most weeks year round. Some vendors wash their baby greens, sparing you of even that step. But don’t limit yourself to the basic lettuce, spinach, arugula, or baby greens. Edible weeds are often found at market, including henbit and chickweed (Tant Hill) as well as purslane (currently offered by Healthy Kitchen). Microgreens, essentially older sprouts grown in soil instead of water, are often available from Spring Creek Veggies and Land Before Time Farms. A few snips and you have ready to eat tender greens.

 Sunflower sprouts from Spring Creek Veggies (photo by  Zachary Cross )

Sunflower sprouts from Spring Creek Veggies (photo by Zachary Cross)

You don’t have to limit yourself to a greens-based salad, though. In The Moosewood Cookbook, Mollie Katzen says: “Most vegetables can be eaten raw if cut properly.” She recommends grating or  finely mincing your vegetables to make a salad that looks “like edible confetti.”

There are plenty of other vegetables and fruits at market to add to your salad as well. Pick smaller or baby produce - cherry tomatoes, carrot thinnings, berries, etc. - to cut down on prep work. Vegetable ferments from Harvest Roots Ferments and/or pickles from various vendors round out your vegetable options.

For protein add goat cheese (Rafting Goat), cubes of hard cheese (Sequatchie Cove Creamery), or smoked salmon (Wild Alaskan Salmon and Seafood).

There are options for your bread as well. Bread & Butter has various sourdough breads while Colvin Family Farm offers gluten-free options as well as traditional breads.

Are you looking for heartier fare? Ansley from Wheeler’s Orchard has been making main dishes such as Shepherd’s Pie as well as smaller bites such as egg rolls. Ansley made sweet potato pie, too, an option that lends itself to either the main meal, or dessert, depending on your inclination. Our family tried it last week and enjoyed it. Our older daughter recommended that it be served with coconut cream which she thought would complement the flavor better than regular whipped cream.

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Also for dessert there are cookies, sweet bread and pastries, or jams (various vendors). Or you could eat your fruit and cheese for dessert - an idea that both brings to mind a fancy meal and also makes me think of the Saturday morning cartoon PSAs encouraging kids to eat cheese or fruit

Drink options include kombucha from both Blue Indian Kombucha and Harvest Roots. 

And remember the food for your eyes! Southerly Flower Farm has lovely bouquets, currently dahlias.

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So next time you don’t feel like cooking, or think you won’t in the coming week, don’t feel like you have to skip market and opt for takeout or the grocery store. Take a look around at the options various vendors have and enjoy a no- or low-work meal. 

Heather Cross