Since moving into the Lake Norman area a year and half ago, Josh’s Farmers Market has become one of our family’s favorite local businesses.  We love to “shop local” as much as possible and Josh’s makes it easy to cook with fresh and seasonal produce, meats, and seafood.  We love shopping where the staff knows you by name (we can’t get enough of Miss Boots!) and treats you like family every time you stop by, which for us, is a few times a week!

Two of the most important decisions a consumer makes are the types of food they buy and where they buy it.  If the line to get into Josh’s parking lot on a Saturday afternoon is any indication, then plenty of us around Mooresville are excited about buying fresh, local ingredients and actively engaging with those who grow and harvest our food. Josh’s Farmers Market is truly a unique and valued asset to our community that everyone should know about!

Josh’s is open seven days a week, April through the end of December.  After three long months of buying sub-par grocery store produce, we were so excited for the 2016 grand opening this past week. On the weekends, other great vendors like The Shrimp Connection and Clearview Farms set up shop at the market to sell their goods.  The fresh selections at the market this week inspired the following recipes – crab cakes with iceberg wedge salad and grilled chicken with fresh tomatoes and pesto.

Here was all the produce we bought this weekend.  Look at the size of those scallions – they’re called petite sweet Vidalias – and those tomatoes!

 

For dinner Saturday night, we were really in the mood for a pan-seared fish, but by the time we got to Josh’s late Saturday afternoon, most of The Shrimp Connection’s stock was sold.  They did have lump crab meat so we decided to make homemade crab cakes. Here’s the recipe.

(Specific ingredients and instructions are located in a printable recipe card, below.)

In a medium-sized bowl, add garlic, red and green peppers, scallions, crab meat, seasonings, mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh tarragon and parsley, an egg and some crushed crackers. (The egg and crackers act as binders, preventing the crab cakes from falling apart during cooking.  Our crab cakes had to be gluten-free, so we used these yummy rice-based, Good Thins crackers.  If you don’t have to worry about wheat allergies, I think buttery Ritz crackers would be really good in these.

 

Combine (I used my hands!) until mixture comes together and can you easily shape into cakes.

 

In a large pan, sauté the cakes in some butter on medium-high heat, about 3-4 minutes on each side.  This should give the cakes a nice golden-brown crust.  Add a squirt of lemon juice over the cakes before removing from the pan.

Transfer cakes to a serving platter.  Garnish with minced scallions.  Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite Tartar or Cocktail Sauce.  These would also be awesome on a buttery brioche or whole-wheat roll with some Bibb lettuce and a slice of juicy tomato, something I’ll keep that in mind when I’m looking for tasty but packable sunset boat meals this summer!

We were really happy with how these crab cakes turned out. By keeping the ingredients simple, the sweet flavors of the lump crab meat were able to shine through.  Nate referred to these as “restaurant-quality.”  Whenever he says that about one of my dishes, I know it was a success!

We served the crab cakes with baked potatoes and a restaurant-style blue cheese iceberg wedge salad.  Wedge salads are so easy to put together and look rather elegant.  Cut and arrange iceberg lettuce quarters onto a flat platter and top with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, matchstick carrots, blue cheese crumbles, fresh dill, and a high-quality refrigerated blue cheese dressing.

Blue Cheese Wedge Salad
Blue Cheese Wedge Salad

Inspired by these beautiful tomatoes, (I mean seriously, these look and tasted too perfect for tomatoes available in the last week of March!) I made grilled chicken with pesto and tomatoes on Sunday.

Joshs Farmers Market Tomatoes

This is another super simple dish to pull together. On a pretty platter, arrange spinach and basil leaves.  Cut one of those tantalizing tomatoes into big slices and place on top of greens. Drizzle with a good olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Tomato Caprese Salad

We took advantage of the beautiful weather last Sunday and grilled our chicken outside.  We love Lowes Foods’ Sanderson Farms boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Lowes Foods strives to provide high quality, local products, including these North Carolina raised/processed chicken breasts.  By the way, the Lowes Foods here in Mooresville also had their big grand re-opening last week too!  Check out all of the community-centered events they have going on at the store if you’re in the area.

Prepare the pesto.  This is my go-to pesto sauce in the spring, using a combination of basil and parsley.

Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto

After the chicken is cooked, place on top of the tomatoes.  Pour pesto over the chicken and sprinkle with fresh Pecorino-Romano cheese and enjoy!

Stayed tuned for more spring dishes inspired by all of the beautiful produce at Josh’s.  Did you make it to the farmer’s market for opening weekend? If so, what goodies did you pick up?

*Featured image, facebook.com/joshsfarmersmarket

Grilled Chicken Tomato Caprese with Pesto
Crab Cakes

5 cakes

Crab Cakes

Crab cakes may seem like a delicacy, but they don't have to be. Less is more with sweet lump crab meat, just a few spices, and fresh tarragon and parsley.

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup red and green pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. minced scallions
  • 1 pound lump crab meat - North Carolinians, check out The Shrimp Connection for some of the best seafood in the state!
  • 1 cup crushed crackers (Our crab cakes had to be gluten-free, so we used Good Thins crackers. If you don't have to worry about wheat allergies, I think buttery Ritz crackers would be really good in these.
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne/red pepper (optional, for a little spice!)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • Juice from a 1/4 of a lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Additional lemon wedges for juicing during cooking and to serve

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a medium-sized bowl. Combine (I use my hands!) until mixture comes together and you can easily shape into cakes.
  2. In a large pan, Sauté in some butter on medium-medium high heat, about 3-4 minutes on each side. This should give the cakes a nice-golden brown crust.
  3. Add a squirt of lemon juice over the cakes just before removing from pan.
  4. Remove from heat, garnish with minced scallions. The scallions at Josh's this week were crazy big and super sweet - they were petite sweet Vidalias.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite Tartar or Cocktail Sauce.

*Gluten Free

http://libertyloveblog.com/index.php/2016/04/06/buy-local-eat-well-all-season-long/