Cookin’ with the Farmers at the Holland Farmers Market

After a two-week hiatus while on an adventure in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I was back at the Holland Farmers Market Chef Series today to see what Chef Shelly Rash, of the CityVu Bistro, had in store for us.

Despite the rain, it was a good turnout, and thankfully held inside the civic center.

Shelly demonstrated two recipes made with ingredients purchased at the Holland Farmers Market: Sweet Corn Soup and Blueberry Bread Pudding. (You can get the recipes online from the Holland Farmers Market website.)

I was really excited to see the bread pudding recipe since I need to make a dessert for an event this week and had just discovered a recipe for blueberry bread pudding online. After today’s demo, I plan to make the one Shelly did.

One of the points Shelly emphasized during the demo was the importance of fresh ingredients. I couldn’t agree more. The fresher the better–from produce to meat and cheese.

Sweet Corn Soup

First, Shelly started assembling the soup so it could simmer while he made the bread pudding. What I really liked was the way Shelly used as much of the vegetable parts as possible by putting the scraps–such as onion peels and corn cobs–into boiling water to make the stock.

Meanwhile, he sautéed the following vegetables in butter: onions, garlic, and sweet corn, which he shucked and trimmed right from the cob. It really doesn’t take much time to cook with fresh ingredients.

After an imagined time lapse, the stock was ready so Shelly strained it and added it to the vegetable mixture, which was set on the stove to simmer. Finally, he seasoned the soup with salt and fresh ground pepper and pureed it in a blender, then strained it again to remove the corn kernel shells.

A nice garnish for this soup would be a couple of strips of roasted red pepper.

Blueberry Bread Pudding

The bread pudding recipe is another easy one: All you need to do is cut up a loaf of bread (preferably an egg-y type like Shelly bought from Yoder’s at the market), make a custard out of cream, sugar, and eggs, and mix them together with some fresh blueberries and ground cloves. I was intrigued by this recipe, which is why it’s the one I plan to use for my event this week, as mentioned above.

After pressing the mixture into a pan, Shelly drizzled Grand Marnier over the pudding. This ingredient–as well as the ground cloves–is what really intrigues me and makes me want to try the recipe!

After baking for 35 minutes in a 350-degree oven, just cut into squares and serve with ice cream!


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