Step aside cheese sauce. One simple star vegetable is making headlines with foodies everywhere. Chefs, bloggers and those looking for new ways to eat healthy are finding the cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower, is not only versatile but also savory. Available in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, cauliflower is sneaking into dishes from appetizers to desserts. No longer limited to being bathed in cheese sauce, locavores are exploring new ways of preparing cauliflower that will transform and enhance its natural flavors, like high heat roasting for a savory soup. (see the recipe below) The vendors at Spenard Farmers Market will be sharing their best varieties of cauliflower with heads of florets larger than bowling balls! After Saturday, you may never look at a head of cauliflower the same again. With only two more markets left, now is the time to explore all that the Market has to offer! Stock up on gifts from our artisans and get free literature at the information booth on canning to take advantage of the fall bounty. Free inspiration and recipe cards celebrating the produce world’s newest star, the cauliflower, will be also be available!
Other vendor highlights include: P&M Garden Services will have vine ripened tomatoes, fresh herbs and jasmine house plants. Chugach Farm will feature their monster cauliflower, leeks, sweet celery, beet greens, pestos, rosehip kombucha, seasonal cranberry rose and a special lemonbalm vinegar. Black Bear Farm will have zucchini, kale and collard greens. Glacier Valley Farm will feature beets, sweet salad onions, Yukon gold and purple potatoes that will make a lovely September potato soup or roasted for flavor! Wildrose Natural Harvest is working up another batch of raspberry jalapeno vinaigrette for Saturday along with, blueberry bread, hand-milled apricot cornbread, lavender plants, and a new honey infused soap. Brown Dog Farm will be harvesting jumbo carrots, beets and vitamin packed kale just in time for the Market. Ba-Lescas Brothers are known for their sweet varieties of salad greens, tofu, beans, lettuce, white sweet chard and a sweet, intense garlic that is so flavorful you use only half as much! Dinkel's Veggies will have the bowling ball sized cauliflower perfect for the recipe below along with vine ripened tomatoes, cabbage and tender green broccoli florets. Midnight Sun Farm called in from the field and said they will have lovely purple potatoes and even honey
SUPERSTAR ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH BACON AND THYME
2 heads cauliflower or 1 Alaska-size (about 4 1/2 pounds total)
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea Salt to taste
1 quart chicken broth (or more for a thinner soup), divided
1 pint half-and-half
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus 8 sprigs to garnish
2 cloves minced garlic or more to taste
Pinch of white pepper
10 slices smoked bacon (or 3 slices country ham), minced and cooked
-Heat the oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with foil.
-Use a paring knife to carefully cut out and discard the core of each head of cauliflower, then cut the heads into large florets. Place the florets in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of salt, tossing to coat.
Arrange the florets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, then use tongs to flip the florets, then roast for another 30 minutes, or until the florets are deeply caramelized and golden.
-Transfer the florets to a blender and add 2 cups of the broth. Puree, then add the half-and-half and puree for another 3 minutes, or until completely smooth. The puree should be very thick. With the blender running, add the remaining broth, garlic, parsley, thyme and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
-The soup can be transferred to a saucepan and gently heated, or refrigerated overnight before reheating and serving. The flavor is best when it is allowed to rest overnight.
When ready to serve, garnish each bowl with a bit of cooked bacon and a sprig of fresh thyme. Serve in mugs or bowls for the big game on TV!
The Spenard Farmers Market is Anchorages only all volunteer-led Market offering a culturally rich mixture of vendors. Along with over 45 friendly vendors and community service booths, special events and musicians entertain each Saturday from May 18 - September 28 from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm in the Chilkoot Charlie’s windmill lot on Spenard Road between W. 25th and W. 26th Avenues. Only eligible vendors who meet strict criteria and fall under three vendor categories of “Alaska Grown/Caught,” “Locally Baked or Cooked” and “Locally Made Arts & Crafts” are selected to participate. Sprinkled in the Market mix each week are FREE special events, “Blooming Youth Booths”, Community Service booths, table top micro-vendors, local Spenard area businesses along with live, talented musicians who happily entertain vendors and market customers alike.