Sunday, August 9, 2009

Farmers Market Yellow Bean Coconut Soup

There are may aspects of the Minneapolis farmer's market that I enjoy. The variety, of course. Stall after stall of fresh sweet corn, juicy heirloom tomatoes, and all manner and shades of greens and herbs. My first experience in an American farmers market was not here but in St Joseph, Minnesota where I attended college. A little background: this was a small college town with a couple bars, couple churches, one coffee shop and one grocery so you can guess that the options for fresh produce were minimal. Until summer came around and the farmers came out. It was as though I was tasting fresh food again for the first time. The Minneapolis version is like that for me but on a much larger scale. There is always something new and interesting to try and, consequently, some new inspiration. Last weekend, it was yellow string beans. (See recipe below for Yellow Bean Coconut Soup.)

Oddly enough, it is the size of the market that also attracts me. The sheer volume of people who throng the Lyndale location is unlike much of the city during the rest of the year, with the exception of the State Fair. Saturday morning crowds turn that part of town into a scene more characteristic to uber metropolises like New York City and Los Angeles. Maybe it's the fact that for most of the year nothing comes close to the the noise and outdoor energy that I just savor the congestion while it's here. Or the the notion that everyone there, at that one moment, is connected by the same purpose: searching our wholesome food, for themselves or to feed their families.

There are many more reasons we should try to eat locally, especially during the summer when it's more convenient. My feeling is that, more than anything, it bridges the gap between producers and consumers by allowing for direct contact between the two. These farmers bring high quality, wholesome, fresh foods to an area or population that otherwise would have had to pay more than almost twice the price in conventional grocery stores. Of course for many people, including myself, it is not always convenient to shop locally but when there's all of that fresh food and endless variety just a quick three and a half miles away, I just can't help myself.

Jennifer Wilkins of Cornell University makes a good case for eating locally. Click here to read her opinion piece. And here to find a farmers market close to you.

Yellow Bean and Coconut Soup
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 dried red chillies (optional)
4 basil leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 lb fresh yellow string beans
3 cup low sodium vegetable stock
1 1/2 coconut milk (reduced fat)
salt and pepper

1. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic. Saute for ten minutes until onions soften then add basil, turmeric and two thirds of the beans (chopped). Saute an additional eight to ten minutes to slightly soften the beans.
2. Add the vegetable broth and coconut milk, cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for eight to ten minutes.
3. Meanwhile, toss the remaining beans with two tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in a 500 degree F oven until brown on the edges, about six to eight minutes Set aside until ready to serve soup.
4. To serve: puree the coconut-yellow bean soup base to desired consistency (I like it almost smooth and silky) and serve over a handful of the roasted beans.


Tangled Noodle said...

I've been seeing all those lovely yellow beans at the market but always seem to have other produce I need to get through first (the only downside, if you could call it that, of the bounty of fresh food!)

This recipe sounds delicious - I'd better snag those beans before I miss them completely for the summer!

Anonymous said...

It's fun to read bloggers close to home! I visited the Kingfield Market today on 43rd and Nicollet, but as the CSA from Foxtail has me overwhelmed with fresh produce, I opted for preserved. This old-timer and his wife put everything in a jar! It's a beautiful thing.

I love the turmeric with coconut idea. I'll have to try it!

Anonymous said...

looks yummy!!!

Teanna said...

That soup sounds SO interesting! What a great way to use yellow beans! I want to try this out! I have bookmarked it!

Juliana said...

Wow, this soup is very interesting...sounds and looks delicious...yellow bean and coconut. Nice picture!

Sophie said...

This is one excellent been soup!!

So tasty looking!!! Yummie!!

Natasha said...

Tangled Noodle & Vegetarian Perspective,
Aren't we lucky to have all this good food almost right here on our doorsteps? The Minneapolis Farmer's market is one of my most enjoyable things here in the city.

Anonymous, Teanna, Juliana, and Sophie,
Thanks for your enthusiasm for this combination; coconut and turmeric really work well with the yellow beans.

Hugging the Coast said...

What a great idea for a lovely soup!