If you’ve lived in other parts of the country, you likely realize how spoiled we Twin Citians are when it comes to grocery shopping. Whether your jam is chandeliers, bulk discounts, cheerful baggers, or mile-long meat counters, there is a store for every style, budget, and palate. (Except wine drinkers, you still have to hit up a separate store, except on Sundays, when you’re completely out of luck; but those are grumbles for another day.)
For those of you who prefer seasonal/organic produce, grass-fed meat and dairy, artisinal bread, paraben-free beauty products, and no GMOs, the local cooperative (co-op) grocery scene is on fire—in a good way. What began in the 1970s with a handful of members collaboratively buying natural foods has grown into 12 sophisticated storefronts selling locally-grown, locally-produced, organic, pastured, and non-GMO food to both of the Twin Cities and their surrounding suburbs.
Which is worth celebrating! Join The Wedge Community Co-op this Saturday, August 2, for a birthday bash farm party at Gardens of Eagan Farm in Northfield. The family-friendly morning festivities are free—drive yourself or catch a bus leaving from The Wedge at 11:00 am and returning at 4:00 pm. Or, opt for the farm dinner/craft beverage/live music shindig from 3:30-7:30 pm for $75/person. Either way, enjoy farm-fresh food and a summer day with family and friends.
And then on Sunday, make this snappy, grain-free dish to finish off the weekend. Tender ground chicken, fragrant with ginger and scallions, is served atop cold zucchini “noodles” drizzled with a tangy-sweet dressing. I added bok choy to the chicken for extra crunch and greens and would highly recommend a garnish of pickled red onions if you have them (if I hadn’t eaten them all, they’d be pictured too).
Ginger-Scallion Chicken with Cold Zucchini Noodles
1 pound zucchini
3 tablespoons avocado (or other neutral) oil, divided
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1/4 c. coconut aminos (or 3 tablespoons soy sauce)
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 cup sliced scallions
2 cups chopped bok choy
1 pound ground chicken thigh (I buy locally-raised Kadejan chicken)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
Set out a baking sheet and line with a couple of layers of paper towels. Cut the zucchini into noodles with a spiralizer or sharp knife. Spread zucchini noodles on paper towels, top with a couple of layers of more paper towels, and roll up, pressing to extract liquid. With noodles still rolled up, transfer baking sheet to the fridge.
For the dressing:
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon oil, lime juice, maple syrup, coconut aminos, and fish sauce. Set aside.
For the chicken:
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and when oil is hot, add scallions and bok choy. Saute until wilted and tender, about 8 minutes. Add chicken, ginger, scallions, and salt to the pan and cook, breaking up chicken, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Whisk dressing and pour half of it over the chicken. Simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce is very thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Divide cold zucchini noodles among 4 bowls. Drizzle with remaining dressing, then spoon chicken over noodles. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve immediately.