Delicious tips to help you eat local and in season!

Stacey Sprenz, local food photographer, recently taught a class on behalf of The Produce Box at Whisk in Cary. This great class helped emphasize the importance of eating fresh, local and in season — while showing how foods that grow in the same season often combine really naturally into delicious dishes! When you belong to a food delivery service like The Produce Box, you’ll see these items side by side in your Box – why not enjoy them side by side on your plate too!

It’s easy to use seasonal vegetables side by side in a frittata, pasta, or stir-fry. Here are a few examples of veggie that grow together and go together easily:

Summer: zucchini, tomatoes, onions, eggplants, and peppers
Fall: sweet potatoes (or butternut squash), kale (or collards), and shiitake mushrooms
Winter: kale, winter squash, and root vegetables.
Spring: onions, spinach, and new potatoes.

Some of Stacey’s unique ideas for serving seasonal foods together also include using peaches and tomatoes to create a Caprese salad along with mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Two recipes featured on her blog that combine seasonal produce are shown here.

Roasted Poblano Sweet Corn Soup



Ingredients:
-10 ears of sweet corn – husks removed
-3 large Poblano peppers
-1 medium onion – halved and sliced
-4 T. olive oil
-2 cloves of garlic – coarsely chopped
-4 cups of vegetable stock
-2 cups of water
-1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
-½ tsp. ground coriander
-1 tsp. smoked paprika – divided
-salt & pepper
-1 lime
-½ cup cilantro leaves
-crème fraiche or Mexican crema

Instructions:
  • Preheat broiler.
  • Cut the corn off the cobs. This should yield about 6-7 cups of kernels.
  • Put the Poblano peppers on a baking sheet under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes per side or until the skins are blistered and charred. Place in an airtight container for at least 15 minutes.
  • Place 5 of the corncobs in a stockpot with the vegetable stock and water.
  • Bring to a simmer.
  • Cover and continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • Peel the skins off of the peppers. Cut the top off each pepper and make a slit down the side to open the pepper. Removed the seeds and the membranes. Set aside.
  • In a skillet, heat two tbs. olive oil. Sauté the onion over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Add the spices to the onion/garlic mixture. Stir to incorporate. Add ½ cup of the vegetable stock to deglaze the pan. Pour this mixture into your blender (or use immersion blender)
  • Place the following ingredients into your blender in this order: vegetable stock, 5 cups corn kernels, Poblano peppers, pinch of salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • Blend on high for 7 minutes.
  • In a skillet, heat two tbs. olive oil. Sauté 1-2 cups of corn kernels over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add smoked paprika and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Use to garnish soup.
  • Once the soup in blender is done, pour it into a saucepan to keep it warm.
  • Add the juice of half a lime. Stir to combine.
  • Serve topped with crème fraiche, sautéed corn kernels, and cilantro.

Stewed Green Beans and Tomatoes

Ingredients:
-1 pound green beans – trimmed & cut in half

-1 pint of cherry tomatoes OR 4 Roma tomatoes
-1 medium red onion – halved and sliced thin
-3 cloves garlic – chopped
-3 tbs. olive oil

-1 cup white wine
-1 tsp. Honey
-½ tsp. crushed red pepper
-½ tsp. ground cinnamon
-salt & pepper

Instructions:

  • Prep your green beans, onion, and garlic. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half (or chop the Roma tomatoes)
  • In a heavy cast iron pot with a lid, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
  • Add the onion and sauté for about 4-5 minutes until translucent and softened.
  • Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, honey, and red pepper. Stir to combine ingredients.
  • Continue to cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add the green beans and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the wine. Stir to incorporate the ingredients and turn the heat down to low. Place the lid on the pot and let simmer for about 40-45 minutes.
  • Stir in the cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
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