There's still a chill in the air coming off Lake Michigan, and it's not so far away from December that the torment of this year’s long winter can be forgotten. But, salvia, sundrops, and peonies are beginning to bloom on the side of Chicago streets; the city is slowly thawing and trees are coming back to life. Farmer's markets and produce stands are starting to open. On Sunday June 1st the Glenwood Farmers Market will reopen in Rogers Park. An outdoor market that runs every Sunday from 9 AM- 2PM, and is located between Morse and Lunt, the Glenwood is known for supporting farmers who work within a 200 mile radius of the city. Big Head Farm will be there this year with their organic fruits, herbs, and flower plants; as will Brunkow Cheese, Delfloured Bakery, and Fat Blossom Farms. For many, the farmers markets can be overwhelming and daunting, wondering what to make with all the fresh produce before it sits, moldy and forgotten in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. While at the market, it’s hard not to imagine fresh fruit and veggies sitting on the dining room table, idyllic, with basil and mint growing near the window. To make purchase choices easier, consider new easy to make salads this year; get inventive and mix dandelion greens, tomatoes and blueberries on the same plate with a hard boiled egg. Try making new salad dressings and marinades at home to keep meals fresh and creative. A long hazy spring and summer are ahead, and there are endless choices of vegetable and fruit parings. Although Rogers Park is locked on the North side, far away from what is considered the organic foods mecca of Chicago, there are still some great food choices. A food co-op will be opening soon, and the Glenwood Market continues to offer a wide array of artisanal fare. Below is a timeless salad dressing and marinade recipe to help get the new season started. Welcome to spring and summer!
Measurements are to taste, so use as little or as much of each ingredient as you choose. Use it as a time to feel free and experimental.
Dandelion Dijon Dressing: Throw all ingredients into the blender. Pulse for 2-3 minutes until the Dijon is infused with the olive oil. There will still be some separation, and this dressing will need to be shaken before use. Keep refrigerated.
Minced garlic (2-3 cloves), pulverized into a small paste, with a mortar and pestle
Crushed black pepper
Basil, thyme and oregano: finely chopped and mixed together by hand, into one little bundle for the blender
*Serve dressing over dandelion greens, cucumbers, and warm tomatoes. Or use as a dipping sauce for hard boiled eggs served with basil and fresh mint. Delicious and adds a beautiful golden hue to the dinner table!