A farmer’s market is a place where you’re reminded of community. No matter how much the city changes – with buildings popping up like new seedlings from the earth – the market brings the focus back to what’s local.
Breaching the hill on Royal Ave, I can’t help but crack a smile at the sight of the bustle at the market. The summer season has begun again, and people are here for it. As I reach the market’s edge, my gait gently eases; my pace becomes calm and even, something unheard of in my daily routine. But at the market, nothing is rushed.
I fall back on favourite market pastime – walking the market from tip to tail, taking in all the fares on offer. Once my survey is complete, it’s time to shop.
I hope to showcase what the market has to offer, and who the wonderful people are behind the stalls. Recipes will stem from culinary creativity that suddenly strikes, from recipes I find along the way, and sometimes a mix of both. In the coming weeks, I will put more effort into detailing fares purchased – from where & how much – but for this week it’s a simple yet satisfying side salad, the core of which is based in main market finds, with a few items from ‘outside’ sources.
Fresh Beet and Veta Salad
- 1 bunch of beets (Abundant Acre Family Farm)
- 1 bag of salad greens (Abundant Acre Family Farm)
- Veta Cheese (Black Sheep Vegan Cheeze)
- Candied pecans
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt & Pepper
- Simple dressing
- Olive oil
- White Balsamic vinegar
- Sesame seeds
- Salt & pepper to taste
This recipe stemmed mainly from my own musings; I’ve always found beet salads in restaurants enjoyable, plus I wanted a reason to cook with vegan cheese cheeze.
Firstly, I trimmed the greens & excess roots from the beets, then boiled them until done (read: a cake tester was able to easily slide in and out of the beets). Next, I peeled the skin off using a trick my mum taught me: wearing a pair of rubber dish gloves – protecting you from both heat and stains – rub your fingers along the skin until it starts to come off. My technique was not as practiced as my mother’s, and the beets put up a good fight, but eventually they came clean. I then placed them in the fridge to cool.
Meanwhile, I prepped homemade, candied pecans by placing a few tablespoons of honey in a non-stick frying pan and slowly heating on the stovetop until liquid. Once the honey was runny, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a bit of salt & pepper, before throwing in rough-chopped, raw pecans. Ensure all the nuts are coated before removing from heat and setting aside.
Once the beets were cooled, I chopped them into bite-sized pieces.
For the dish’s green base, I used ½ – ¾ bag of mixed salad greens. Side note: these greens are amazing! Even two weeks post-purchase the greens are still fresh and crisp, an incredible feat compared to the pre-packaged goods I’ve purchased at the local grocery store.
Once the base was ready, I topped it off with the chopped beets, candied pecans, and a healthy crumble of ‘veta’ cheese. The dressing was a simple vinaigrette of 2 parts olive oil to 1 part white balsamic vinegar, with a few sesame seeds added as ‘mixers’ (they help to combine the oil and vinegar, which would otherwise remain separate).
This salad, though simple, makes a lovely side dish to your main meal. Pizzeria Ludica provided the delicious main to accompany the salad, leaving this writer’s tummy very happy.