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Rock your Farmer's Market and a Spring Quinoa Salad

Posted Sep 03 2012 8:26am
 
Happy Spring everyone! And what better way to celebrate than with a trip to the local Farmer's market. 
Farmer's markets are such a wonderful resource. Not only do you come home with fuller shopping baskets, fuller wallets and better quality produce than supermarket shopping, but you have the pleasure of mingling with the producers of your food - what a treat! I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Byron Bay farmers market in northern New South Wales, and met some fabulous people with beautiful goodies to share.












My next favourite was the sprouts. Sexy little broccoli sprouts still in their own dirt, so that you can just cultivate them as you need and they are still alive and vibrant right to the end!
                                                      

Add a fabulous selection of vegetables and fruit, artesian cheeses, raw food creations, beautiful handmade breads, and loads of other wonderfulness. So how do you get the best from your farmer's market? My hot three tips are:


1. Go early or late. Early and you will be able to nab all the super produce, late and you are most likely to score a bargain with stalls selling off the last of their produce. Buying in season, and in bulk will also keep costs down.2. Talk to the growers! They will be more than happy to chat with you about how and where their products are grown/produced, how to best care for it, and usually some great ideas on what to do with it!
3. Plan out your meals, or at least some of them, for the week so that you can be a little more focussed on what you need and you won't end up with a fridge full of food that you haven't used.
Having said that, allow yourself to be seduced by something that you may not have planned for - sometimes this creates the best meals and teaches you how to cook something you may not normally work with.

One of the end products of all my loot was a cute spring quinoa salad with roasted heirloom carrots. The  Food Matters Project 's recipe for this week is quinoa tabbouleh (original recipe here ). I have posted a  version of this  before, but who can ever have too much quinoa tabbouleh! Seriously!! It's so good, fabulous on it's own and as an accompaniment to pretty much anything. Check out what the other Food Matters Project members produced  here .

Spring Quinoa Salad with Roasted Heirloom Carrots & Tahini dressing
Serves 4, adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller
4 bunches heirloom carrots, trimmed and washed 
200g quinoa, mixing up the colours is fun, I used part white part red.
50g almonds, roughly chopped
50g mixed sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
1 cup each of mint, coriander and flat leaf parsley (loosely packed)
1 shallot, finely diced
Dressing
50ml olive oil
2 tsp unhulled tahini
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
For the dressing, combine all ingredients, season to taste and set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cook quinoa until just tender, drain well and spread out to dry on a large plate or tray and let cool.
Pop the carrots on a roasting tray, drizzle with your favourite cooking oil (I like coconut oil), and roast for 25-30 minutes or until just tender and caramelised.
Roast the almonds and seeds on a baking tray for about 5 minutes and set aside.
Combine quinoa, herbs, shallot and dressing. Top with carrots, nuts and seeds and enjoy.

Much joy and deliciousness!
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