Farmer’s Market Cooking

Posted on October 20, 2011 – 6:47 PM | by Sarah H
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Occupy Sacramento took a break for the Farmer's Market at Cesar Chavez Plaza


Let’s get one thing straight: I am not one of those people who only buys locally grown produce and makes things from scratch. I typically eat frozen foods and maybe a vegetable if it’s prepackaged and microwaveable. But since I recently moved to Midtown, and farmer’s market season is almost over, I decided to check out the farmer’s market in Cesar Chavez Plaza and challenge myself to make a meal entirely from things I bought there.

I’d decided to make baked butternut squash since my culinary overachiever sister recently made it and, judging by her facebook photos, it looked good. It was somewhat eye-opening when I arrived at the market and realized I had no idea what a butternut squash looked like. I asked the vendors and found a squash, along with lettuce, golden delicious apples, baby carrots, and a huge bouquet of flowers that I didn’t need but made me very happy.

Word of advice: take into account the weight and overall awkwardness of the things you buy, especially if you’re walking. I walked the four blocks home with the huge bouquet under one arm, cradling my squash like a newborn child and attracting all sorts of stares.

huge bouquet and a butternut squash


Then it was cooking time. Here were my recipes:


Baked Butternut Squash


1 Butternut Squash

1 tbsp butter


Salt and Pepper

Chili Powder


— Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

— Cut the squash in half lengthwise (it helps to have a good knife for this. Mine is incredibly crappy and I’m surprised I still have ten fingers, let alone managed to cut the squash). Then cut the lower “bulge” part in half width-wise.

— Scoop out the “guts” (seeds, pulp, etc.)

— Place 1 tbsp of butter in each squash half. I also spread a bit of butter around the sides, because I love butter. I probably used more than 1 tbsp, to be honest.

— Shake some salt and pepper, nutmeg, and chili powder over the halves. I didn’t even measure this, I just put enough to make it look pretty/appetizing.

— Put the halves in the oven, covered, for approximately one hour. They should be about the consistency of a baked potato when done.


Balsamic Honey Glazed Baby Carrots


Baby carrots (I used about a pound)

Balsamic Vinegar


Olive Oil


Salt and Pepper

— Cut up the carrots into small slivers and peel them (if you buy baby carrots from the store, you won’t have to do this, but mine were legit carrots with hairs and roots and dirt and everything)

— Put them on a cookie sheet or pyrex dish and drizzle with olive oil. Shake a little salt and pepper and nutmeg on as well.

— Put them in the oven (400 degrees) for about 20 minutes

— Take them out and drizzle with about 1 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

— Put them back in the oven for about 5 more minutes. If you like softer carrots, leave them in longer.

I also made a salad of lettuce and chopped up apples to go on the side, so the meal wasn’t entirely orange. It was delicious, and except for the seasonings and the Alleycat Amber Ale I paired it with, entirely local! I won’t be doing this every day, but I am going to try to go back to the Farmer’s Market before it goes on its seasonal hiatus at the end of October. You all should too!

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