I am a farmers market advocate. When in need of a dose of inspiration for dinner and/or a nudge toward healthier eating, I seek out a farmers market. Warning, farmers markets are NOT created equal, but when you find one that inspires and nudges you to your happy place, you will know. This summer I discovered a gem of a farmers market located in a quiet neighborhood close to Atlanta called Morningside www.morningsidemarket.com. The market is small maybe 12-15 vendors, but all certified organic and the produce must be grown within the state of Georgia or within 150 miles of Atlanta. The market is year round, every Saturday 7:30-11:30 A.M. (January 1- March 31, 8:00-11:30 A.M.)
The Morningside farmers market became a welcomed Saturday morning ritual for my daughters and me this summer. We would get up early for the 30-40 minute commute to the market. Our goal was to get get there at 7:30, but early morning reality got us there usually just after 8:00. Our first stop was always La Calavera Bakery for the savory and chocolate croissants, the select pastries are the first to sell out. Next stop Crystal Organic Farm for heirloom tomatoes, peppers, salad, figs, okra, the list of favorites would evolve from week to week. They always have a line of customers patiently waiting their turn! After securing our favorite baked goods and prized vegetables we would wander the other vendors for added treasures. Flowers at the farmers market are a must. Check out my Instagram (@alwaysravenous) for just a taste of the gorgeous flowers to be had.
After our baskets were full and we could not carry any more, we would make our way home feasting on a croissant and discussing what we would make for dinner with our newly acquired vegetables.
Our farmers market vegetables take center stage on our dinner table – they are a feast for our eyes as well as our stomachs. As luck would have it, vegetables are edging out other food groups currently in cookbooks and food magazines.
This summer while visiting family in Wisconsin, I came across a great article in “Midwestern Living” on oven roasted vegetables and fruits using sheet pans. A few of my favorites were a sheet pan mixed with green beans, broccoli, mushroom and grapes and an Asian flavor mix of sliced green cabbage with plums and almonds. The combinations are limitless, fun to create, quick to make and healthy!
My most recent trip to the farmers market featured late summer produce of eggplants and peppers so I created a ratatouille of sorts. My late summer roasted vegetables inspired by my farmers market produce, an article from my summer vacation, and my favorite cookbook of late, “Ottolenghi The Cookbook” for its Mediterranean, full flavored simple food.
Late Summer Roasted Vegetables
2 small to medium globe eggplants, cut into 1 inch dice
2 cups mixed red, orange and yellow peppers, cut into 1-1/2 inch dice
1 medium red onion, cut into 1-1/2 inch dice
8-10 campari tomatoes, halved and seeded
1/3 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Za’atar
Extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 F
2. In a medium bowl toss eggplant with about 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper.
3. Line a 12″ X 17″ sheet pan with parchment paper. Pile the peppers and onions on the sheet pan and toss with about 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper. Add the eggplant to the pepper mixture and toss again. Sprinkle with Za’atar and toss again.
4. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile in a medium bowl toss the tomatoes with extra virgin oil just to lightly coat, add salt and pepper. After the first 20 minutes add the tomatoes to the other vegetables and gently toss. Continue to roast for 10-15 minutes.
5. Cool slightly and sprinkle with parsley. Makes a delicious side to grilled herb marinated lamb chops and olive bread.