By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

At the market, resistance is futile

It’s that time of year again, when the farmers market issues it siren call, and your eyes become, to twist the time-proven adage, bigger than your refrigerator.

Or at least bigger than your ability to use all that good produce in time.

Surrounded by juicy berries, piles of glistening cooking and salad greens of every variety, onions, fragrant herbs, new potatoes, radishes, carrots and beets — oh my, it’s easy to get carried away.

Next thing you know, you’re broke and have enough vegetables to feed a small army. And if Murphy’s Law happens to come into play, that will occur right before your week explodes with too much to do, and not enough time to do it, leaving all that beautiful produce to wilt uselessly and end up feeding nothing but the compost pile.

Unfortunately, I have no advice for magically creating more time. If I did, I’d be applying it in my own kitchen.

What I can suggest is cooking with an eye toward using things up. Too many greens in the fridge? Maybe breakfast eggs or supper vegetables should be served on a bed of sauteed greens. Looks fancy, tastes delicious, uses up a lot of greens. Adding some sauteed onions or leeks is a tasty touch, and helps to cope with that bunch of spring onions that looked so essential at the time.

Definitely, the eggs or vegetables should be garnished with some of that giant bunch of parsley or basil you couldn’t resist. Mince it, and sprinkle generously. Add some to your salad, too.

Eat a lot of salad to make good use of all that gorgeous lettuce that somehow came home with you. If you’re packing brown bag lunches, remember that salad makes quite a nice, refreshing lunch that lets you feel virtuous about how well you’re eating. It can accompany a serving of last night’s spaghetti, or a mundane peanut butter sandwich equally well. Chop up some of those carrots and radishes, and put them in, a sprinkle of that parsley or basil, maybe some sunflower seeds, or tiny chunks of cheese, or minced pickles, or a few dried raisins. Maybe all of the above. Pack the dressing separately in a leak-proof container to avoid unfortunate spills. Do not forget to include a fork. Put in a cloth napkin, too. Special little touches make a home-packed lunch all the more appealing.

When you bake up those new potatoes, or dice and saute them, sprinkle them with some minced herbs, too. Add a spoonful of plain yogurt, if you like, to dress things up a touch.

If you’re anticipating a busy week ahead, think about baking some extra potatoes to have on hand; maybe make stuffed potatoes, which reheat beautifully when you get home late and tired. Next to that container, put a big bowl of mixed green salad, being careful to leave out any acidic ingredients, since it’s going to be sitting awhile. You’ll have supper all ready to go the next night. If you’ve got enough time to put together a pot of soup, too, you’ll be in beautiful shape for the upcoming week.

If you’re wondering what on earth possessed you to buy garlic scapes, and what to do with them, try mincing them, sauteeing lightly in olive oil and adding them to the potatoes or scrambled eggs, or sprinkling them over fried eggs.

Enjoy all of the spring deliciousness. There’s another farmers market next week, and you’re going to need room in the fridge.

Nicole Montesano can be reached at

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