You’ve heard the expression “like a kid in a candy store?” Well that kid was me this past weekend at the Farmers’ Market in Palos Verdes. If it looked tasty, I bought it. No restraint whatsoever. From Japanese eggplant to okra to heirloom tomatoes. And asatsuki, carrots, red serranos, beets, patty pan squash, spinach, garlic, Anaheim chiles, Thai basil, mitsuba…I had no plan, no recipe in mind. I was simply vegetable-crazy.
8-layer farmers’ market fantasy
curried fresh carrot juice sauce with blanched okra & mitsuba
grilled green & yellow patty pan squash
sautéed spinach with sesame, garlic, soy sauce
crispy polenta cake
fire-roasted anaheim chile
fresh goat cheese & asatsuki
cumin dusted grilled beet
spicy smoky heirloom tomato & thai basil
roasted japanese eggplant, maldon smoked sea salt flakes
To make the sauce: juice fresh organic carrots. Heat 1/2 c. carrot juice and simmer for 5 minutes. When juice comes to room temperature, blend with about 1/3 c. good fruity olive oil, 1/2 t. curry powder, sea salt and fresh ground white pepper. Blanch whole okra spears in boiling water for 3 minutes then shock in an ice bath. Slice okra on a diagonal. Tear mitsuba leaves into thirds. Set aside.
Slice patty pan squash into wheels. Place wheels on grill over high heat and brush with a mixture of 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. low sodium soy sauce, 1/4 t. sea salt, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 t. gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes). Place one green slice plus one yellow slice in the center of the sauce.
Briefly sauté minced garlic in a small amount of toasted sesame oil. Add a splash of soy sauce and then fresh spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Cook polenta then spread it out in a baking dish to the thickness of just under an inch. Chill in the refrigerator for two hours. Cut polenta into rounds with a metal ring or cookie cutter. Fry in hot peanut oil until golden and crispy on both sides.
Roast Anaheim chiles until the skin is blackened and blistered. Place chiles in a large bowl and cover with a towel. After 15 minutes peel the skin off the chiles. Remove stems and seeds. Cut into thick strips.
Spread fresh goat cheese on top of the chile layer. Top with minced asatsuki (Japanese chives).
Peel and slice beets. Grill until lightly charred. Brush with olive oil and dust with ground cumin and sea salt flakes.
Thickly slice heirloom tomatoes, brush with a mixture of 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. low sodium soy sauce, 1/4 t. sea salt, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 t. gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes). Grill until the tomato is hot and bubbling. Remove skin. Top with chiffonade of Thai basil.
Slice Japanese eggplant in half lengthwise. Grill over high heat until charred on both sides. Brush with olive oil and season with Maldon smoked sea salt flakes. When cool, peel off the skin and cut into batons. Place eggplant batons on top of the tomato and basil. Finally add okra slices and mitsuba, and a sprinkling of asatsuki to the carrot juice sauce.
With its variety of textures, colors, and fresh-picked flavors this dish was an all-around winner. And I was especially pleased with the bright and lively curried carrot juice sauce with okra and mitsuba. Looking forward to pairing this sauce with pasta or fresh fish, maybe halibut? The 8-layer farmers’ market fantasy used every herb and vegetable purchased at the market except one. It turned out that the Anaheim chiles were much hotter than usual so there was no place for the red serranos…
Natasha, the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! host the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group, an outstanding monthly event for “sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations.”
“This is an exciting time of the year as the farmers’ markets are open everywhere, offering wonderful summer produce. This month’s theme is Farmers’ Market, and the challenge is to create a gourmet and unique 5-star style dish with seasonal ingredients from your local farmers’ market. All of the ingredients other than basic pantry items must come from the farmers’ market, otherwise you can do anything you like. Have fun and we can’t wait to see your creations!”
A round-up of all the fresh & fabulous Farmers’ Market dishes can be found on Natasha’s blog here.
68 thoughts on “Farmers’ Market Fantasy”
Wow, this is a tower of deliciousness! Layer after layer, I am just dreaming about how good this tastes. Oh, and I can’t get over how large your farmers’ market is. I wish mine was like that!
Hi Marisa – Thank you. The PV farmers’ market is quite nice, but there is a really huge one in Torrance, which I love. If you’re ever in this neck of the woods, it’s worth the drive.
Bravissima! It would be hard for me to demolish the beautiful tower and yet how can one not eat the delicious layers?
Thanks Simona – Go ahead, knock it down and enjoy!
It is definitely a fantasy!!! 8 layers of it. This is beautiful. I love the carrot juice sauce you made using that stunning vintage juicer. Great creation, Lori Lynn!
Hi Jessica – that juicer is a real beast. We love it.
With such a late summer we are still waiting patiently for most of the vieegies you describe, but our time will come and I will be cursing those zucchini. Your melody of flavour comboinations here is making it harder to wait, but I can always dream:D
Hi Val – your summer produce may come late, but I am jealous of your long summer evenings…
That looks seriously amazing. We signed up for a half-share with a local CSA for the first time this year and every Saturday when I see that big red cooler, I can tell you that I understand the term “vegetable crazy”! As I wash all the veggies each week, the explosion of colors and variety spread out on my counter just makes me drool.
Think I may have to try something like this!
Hi Dee -that’s why I had to arrange them in the pretty basket, just to enjoy looking at them…Please let me know if you make a version of this dish. I’d be really interested to hear what vegetables you use.
I can’t believe how creative the posts have been for this challenge and how reflective of the person’s personality. Yours is a lovely, and instructive post with gorgeous photos and a really spectacular finished product. How you got that many great things into that tower of power is a wonder ( ps curried carrot broth is one of my favorite things!).
Hi Deana – thank you.
It sure is a fun cooking club!
Wondering about next month’s challenge???
I love the before and after shots! Both are stunning. This looks like the ultimate farmers’ market dish to me…it incorporates so many lovely flavors together. I’d love to take a bite getting a bit of each layer…bet it’s amazing!
Hi Faith – thank you, the idea to call them “before” and “after” didn’t occur to me until I was ready to publish it.
WOW! It looks fabulous and incorporates so many wonderful foods.
I am just in awe!
I can relate to farmers market craziness. I love seeing all of the fresh produce and feel completely compelled to take it all home with me…although my husband usually stops the frenzy.
I can’t wait to another creation.
Hi Rachel – there IS something about beautiful vegetables that is simply irresistible, no?
Gorgeous and inspirational – love those farmers’ market veggies!
Hi Liz – you and me both!
I’m in awe of this creation. It’s too pretty to eat! How did you take the first photo — to get the right side to be in focus and left blurry? Is that all aperture?
Hi there PG – it is a special lens called “LensBaby.” The lens actually swivels so you can move the sweetspot in the picture. It also comes with several different aperture disks to choose the size of the sweetspot. It’s fun.
Thanks for your kind words. Hi to Giz.
Now THAT is one heckuva gorgeous stack. I am so glad you came up with such a great way to use everything – sometimes I get too much at the farmers market and then I’m just like … uh-oh.
Hi Trix – I think a bit of luck was involved here too.
Love the market photos and the lovely basket of produce. The resulting vegetable tower is just fantastic,. It must be a delight to eat.
Hi Adora – ’twas.
Lovely photos of the market. Thanks for sharing – and your vegetable layered dish is spectacular!
Thank you Jennifer – it’s a pretty place to hold a farmers’ market…
Absolutely stunning! That truly is a farmers market fantasy dish! So beautiful…and thanks for showing step-by-step photos!
Hi Ann – thank you, every layer shined, so I just had to share each one individually.
Magnificent flavor profile. Every ingredient and component well thought out. I salute you!
Thanks Laz – I sure do enjoy the club!
This is a spectacular creation, a fantasy indeed! I love all the beautiful delicious layers in this dish, such amazing combination of flavors, awesome!
Hi Natasha – thank you for including me, it is a delight to be a part of the club.
I can taste that veggie napaleon just looking at the photo. My mouth is salivating… would love to have this as a dish at the supper club sometime!! Yes! Yes!!
Hi Shelby – nice to hear from you.
OK, for you, at the next supper club, you bet, although I can’t guarantee it will be exactly these same veggies…depends what’s at the farmers’ market that day. 🙂
This is such a fresh looking elegant dish. Just beautiful!
Hi Nancy – I’m so glad you find it elegant, I was hoping it would look that way, and not like just a stack of miscellaneous veggies.
That’s almost too pretty to eat…almost. Well done, LL!
Thank you Joan.
Oh my! What a glamorously delicious dish! You have certainly captured the essence of a farmers’ , market fresh bounty 🙂
Hi Alisha – as did you! It was a fun challenge, no?
I would never have dreamed of something so luscious from putting all these vegetables together. It’s a real treat for the eyes and the stomach. You are very creative.
Hi Linda – thank you.
I surprised myself 🙂
Gorgeous!! I would love to make something like this for company. As always, love your photos. =)
Thank Jenny – do give it a try, I bet they will love it.
What a spectacular farmers market and dish. When ever we are in LA we always hit as many farmers markets as possible. Ours is on hiatus due to our brutal summers, so we grow as much as possible.
Veggies, polenta and cheese …mmmmm
Hi FFE – so sorry about your weather.
this looks fabulous lovely pictures
Merci Beaucoup TVT!
Lori Lynn – this dish was so amazing, I’m not a bit surprised it made Food Buzz’s Top 9….congratulations – this was WELL deserved!
Hi Ann – I see you are Top 9 two days in a row. Well-deserved back atcha.
Gorgeous and tempting as usual, Lori Lynn! Polenta is a personal favorite, what a beautiful presentation and an appetizing combination of flavors. Didn’t realize you live close to Palos Verdes, I’m also in SoCal. Maybe we can Farmer’s Market together sometime! 🙂
Hi Tori – let’s do it!
spectacular combination of everything! I love the polenta cake the best—a weakness of mine! I also love the curried carrot juice—i can smell it! and of course the plating is gorg. I have a few new markets to visit in Atlanta and D.C., but for the now, the small one next door to my place will work just fine. Or, a neighbor’s own garden! 😉
Wow!!! I wish I had been there, and in your kitchen…AND at your dinner table…
The progression of photos is glorious. Such a beautiful entry for the challenge! You did the farmers well.
Okra and mitsuba – I’ll have to make a trip up to Palos Verdes for the FM! You’ve captured the essence of this challenge beautifully – would love to be a guest at your table and devour each layer of that tower of flavor!
Wow. This is gorgeous. I can’t wait to try something simlar!
layer upon layer of fresh flavros and textures!! lovely submission lori!! love the last pic!
This is a stunning dish! A+ for presentation and such an array of flavors. I’m envious of the variety you see at your market. Lucky girl!
Wow. Just wow. That dish is a triumph, a real treat for the senses – well done!
I think you outdid yourself. Talk about the delights of the season – here you are with a fantasy come true – it’s just vegetable magic!
Oh, Lori Lynn,
the closer I scrolled to the finished dish, the closer my eyes inched to the screen!
What bounty and what tasty transformation it underwent in your hands!
I am in love with fresh goat cheese. I eat it almost daily (oh well, daily).
Last Saturday, I avoided going to the farmers market because I knew there was nobody around home this week and I did not want to be stuck with cooking every day. I miss the bounty.
Oh my, this is out of this world, Lori! Each layer has its own flavor and texture and compliment one another. This is simply clever concoction! Your photo really brings out the taste out of a monitor screen.
I am almost certain I would have put the polenta cake at the bottom but you’re totally right in placing it higher up to avoid it getting soggy. Beautiful presentation. I had no idea that was the name for Japanese chives and I love curried carrot in any form.
very appetizing looking!
I would love to serve this as the vegetable course in a tasting menu dinner party. Can you recommend a good wine to pair with it?
Hi Suzanne – I would pair the wine with the sauce since there are so many flavors in this dish. Carrot/curry would go well with Viognier or perhaps Dry Riesling.
Please let me know how it goes.