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Embrace the changes fall farmers markets bring

Well, I’m not going to do that again, miss my weekly visit to the farmers market.

Somehow I couldn’t get myself up and out last weekend. Can’t be giving into laziness, especially right now.

I look at the calendar and know there are only about six weeks of the outdoor markets. We’ve all got to get there while we can.

And we have to remember to go with the flow at the farmers markets. What you could buy even two weeks ago is different from what you’ll find there now. Remember, you don’t go to the farmers market with a list the way you do the supermarket. Instead you check out what’s there and plan your menus from there.

Right now in Illinois and most of the Midwest, spinach is filling the markets. (Local apples and cabbage should be available too, and greens should be showing up in the next two weeks.) Eat what’s locally grown and you bypass the problems they’re having with some California spinach right now. (Luckily, it doesn’t look like it’s been found in the Midwest.)

If you avoid eating vegetables because you think lots of prep work is involved, spinach is your friend. Nothing could be quicker.

After cleaning it, I saute the spinach in some oil and add a little salt and pepper to taste. I toss it around in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes. (As it shrinks down I add in more, because what may look like a lot of spinach never is.) Drain off excess liquid and then I sprinkle on some sesame seeds. Done!

How easy is that, right?

You can, of course, add other things: garlic and/or a shot of freshly squeezed lemon work nicely. Chopped bacon mixed in is good, too. Martha Stewart adds in pancetta, another super idea.

But it comes out just great using my simple method. Try it and you’ll be adding sauteed spinach to your repertoire of dishes you can make fast.

PHOTO: Lori Cain~AP