Farm to Table

It's market season!



By Brack Johnson


From the venerable farmers' markets in Raleigh and Carrboro to the fresher iterations in cities and towns all over the Triangle, a bumper crop of local fruits and vegetables soon will be ripe for the picking.


Browse the stalls for the season's best, including buttery asparagus, vine-ripened tomatoes, juicy strawberries, peak-harvested greens, colorful carrots, hand-picked Brussels sprouts, plump beets, fragrant green onions, local broccoli, full-bodied kale, select peas, hearty spinach, flavorful cabbage and melt-in-your mouth pecans.


Whether used in hors d'oeuvres, appetizers, entrées, snacks or desserts, the natural flavors of your market-fresh favorites will shine in these recipes from recent cookbooks.



Meatless All Day
Recipes for Inspired Vegetarian Meals

Taunton Press









Whole Wheat Rigatoni With Asparagus, Leeks and Lemony Goat Cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt plus a few tablespoons for salting the pasta water, divided
1 pound whole wheat rigatoni
1 bunch thin (1/4-inch-thick) asparagus, bottom 2-1/2 to 3 inches trimmed off and discarded and the remainder cut into 1-inch-long pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, ends trimmed and white and light green parts quartered, thinly sliced and well rinsed
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups 2% milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup minced fresh chives, divided
2 heaping teaspoons lemon zest, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 grinds black pepper
8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Fill a large, heavy saucepan two-thirds full of water and season with a few tablespoons of salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, around 9 minutes. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Let the water return to a full boil, add the asparagus and cook until just tender and still bright green, about 3 minutes. Pour into a colander that has been set in the sink, and then add to the bowl of warm rigatoni.


While the pasta and vegetables cook, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the leeks and sauté until very aromatic and soft, about 6 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking until it disappears, about 1 minute. Add the milk, half of the chives, half of the lemon zest, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the nutmeg and pepper, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thick, about 4 minutes. Add both cheeses, remove from the heat and whisk until smooth.


Pour the sauce into the bowl with the pasta and asparagus. Toss well, and serve portions garnished with the remaining 2 tablespoons chives and 1 teaspoon zest.


Makes 4 servings




Spanakopita With Roasted Red Peppers
12 sheets phyllo dough
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped red onions
1/2 cub thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach, washed, stems removed, and leaves roughly chopped
12 ounces crumbled feta
1 cup whole milk ricotta
One 10-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped, then drained again
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 heaping teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
8 grinds black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted


Remove the defrosted phyllo dough (still in the box) from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch, heavy, nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions, scallions, and garlic, and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach one handful at a time, tossing with tongs to wilt; continue adding and cooking the spinach until all of it is very tender and some of the liquid has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.


Transfer the spinach mixture to a cutting board and chop, then add to a large bowl lined with a clean kitchen towel. Let the mixture sit until it's cool enough to handle, then form a bundle with the kitchen towel and squeeze the spinach to thoroughly drain.


Pour out any spinach liquid from the bowl. Add the drained spinach plus the feta, ricotta, roasted red peppers, parsley, dill, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix very well with tongs or your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until the phyllo has sat out for 2 hours. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.


When ready to assemble and bake the dish, place the bowl of filling, a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish, the melted butter, a pastry brush, and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on the counter. Using the pastry brush, brush the entire interior of the baking dish with a bit of the butter to grease it. Place a baking sheet on the counter next to the ingredients; carefully place the phyllo sheets on it and cover them with a sheet of waxed paper and a damp, clean kitchen towel.


Gently place 1 sheet of phyllo in the baking dish, folding over the side to make it fit. Brush with some of the melted butter. Place another phyllo sheet on top and brush with more melted butter. Repeat four more times. Spoon the filling on top and spread evenly. Cover with another sheet of phyllo dough and brush with more butter. Repeat five more times. Score the top of the final phyllo sheet gently into serving shapes, without puncturing the filling. Brush the top with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown on top and flaky, about 45 minutes. Cut and serve.


Makes 6 to 8 servings





Nom Nom Paleo
Food for Humans Over 100 Nomtastic Recipes!
Michelle Tam & Henry Fong
Andrews McMeel









Brussels Sprouts Chips
2 cups Brussels sprouts leaves
(the outer leaves trimmed from about
2 pounds of sprouts)
2 tablespoons melted ghee or fat of choice
Kosher salt
Finely grated zest from 1 small lemon (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.


In a large bowl, mix the leaves and melted ghee. Season with salt to taste.


Arrange the leaves in a single layer on the baking sheets and bake each tray for 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy and brown around the edges.


If desired, grate some lemon zest over the crispy Brussels sprouts leaves and serve immediately.


Makes 2 cups



Kale Chips
1 pound kale (about 2 large bunches), washed, stemmed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil or fat of choice
Fleur de sel, Magic Mushroom Powder (recipe follows) or seasoning of choice
Finely grated zest from 1 small lemon (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle position, and line a couple of rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.


This is key: make sure the kale is super dry. I'm talking bone-dry, people. You don't want any traces of water on the leaves whatsoever. Pat them down with a paper towel if necessary.


Toss the dry leaves with the oil, using your hands to distribute it evenly. Arrange the kale in a single layer on the lined baking sheets, keeping some distance between the leaves. And make sure the leaves aren't folded over; otherwise, they won't crisp properly.


Bake each tray for 12 minutes or until crisp, but not burnt. Remove the kale chips from the oven and season to taste with fleur de sel (or your favorite seasoning salt) and lemon zest, if desired.


Makes 3 cups



— — Magic Mushroom Powder — —
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2/3 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Pulse the dried mushrooms in a clean spice grinder until they're finely ground. Transfer the mushroom powder to a bowl, and add the salt, red pepper flakes, thyme and pepper. Mix thoroughly to incorporate.


Store the powder in an airtight container. It'll keep for several months, but I bet you'll run out well before then.


Makes 1-1/4 cups



125 Best Vegan Recipes
Maxine Effenson Chuck and Beth Gurney
Robert Rose









Curried Vegetables With Tofu
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 sweet onion (such as Vidalia) coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1- by 1/2-inch strips
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup vegetable stock
2 or 3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 can (14 to 19 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked and drained
10 ounces firm tofu, cubed (1-inch) or fried bean curd
1/2 cup vanilla-flavor soy milk
3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons granulated natural cane sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add red pepper, curry powder and ginger and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add broccoli, cauliflower, vegetable stock and carrots and cook, stirring for 4 to 5 minutes or until heated through. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft.


Stir in chickpeas and tofu. Increase heat to medium and cook until the mixture begins to bubble. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until flavors are blended.


Stir in soy milk, coconut, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.


Makes 4 to 6 servings



Sticky Pecan Squares
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 cup soy margarine
1/3 cup soy margarine
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons soy creamer
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1-1/3 cups coarsely chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square cake pan.


Crust: In a bowl, mix flour with sugar. Using two forks, a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press evenly into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 200 minutes or until light golden and firm.


Topping: Meanwhile, in a pot, melt margarine over medium heat. Add brown sugar and soy creamer and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until blended and heated through. Reduced heat to low. Add maple syrup and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add pecans, stirring until evenly coated.


Spread pecan mixture evenly over hot crust. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes longer or until topping is set and pecans are fragrant. Let cool to room temperature in pan on a rack. Cut into squares.


Makes 25 squares



A Fresh-From-the-Vine Cookbook

Storey Publishing








Panini of Heirloom Tomatoes, Pancetta, and Basil Mascarpone
1/8 cup fresh basil with no black marks
1/2 cup mascarpone
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 pieces pancetta cut into 1/8-inch slices
8 slices focaccia or other firm flavorful bread
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1 bunch arugula, washed and dried
4 heirloom tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch slices


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Process the basil in a blender for 10 seconds, add the mascarpone, and season with salt and pepper. Process a few seconds longer, until just mixed. Remove from the blender and set aside.


Lay the pancetta on a baking sheet and crisp in the oven for about 12 minutes, until it is golden on both sides. Drain the pancetta on a paper towels. Toast the bread either on a grill or in the oven, brushing it with oil if you wish.Spread a small amount of basil mascarpone on the top half of the bread and place the arugula on top. On the bottom half, place the tomatoes and crispy pancetta, then season with salt and pepper. Put the sandwiches together and serve immediately.


Makes 4 servings



Tomato and Potato Casserole
2 pounds potatoes, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/3 cup milk
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)
3 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons tomato paste as needed
1/4 cup chopped basil or parsley leaves
10 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 or 2 slicing tomatoes, sliced


Put the potatoes in a large pan of cold water, add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste), bring to a boil, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until soft. Drain the potatoes and sprinkle with pepper to taste.


Mix the mustard with the milk and pour it over the potatoes; roughly mash them. Reserve 2 tablespons of the cheddar; add the remainder to the potatoes and mash until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8-inch round baking dish or something similar.


If you are using canned tomatoes, drain them and reserve the liquid. Combine the tomatoes with enough of the liquid and a little tomato paste to make a thick, saucy mass. If using fresh tomatoes, simmer them for a few minutes to release their juice, and then add tomato paste only if needed.


Stir the basil into the tomatoes and pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Top with the potato mixture. Arrange the cherry tomatoes attractively around the edge of the dish. Run a fork over the potatoes to rough them up and then scatter on the reserved cheddar.


Bake in the center of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through. If the top browns too much before the casserole is hot, cover the dish with foil and lower the heat to 350 degrees. Serve hot.


Makes 4 servings



Pickles & Preserves
A Savor the South Cookbook

The University of North Carolina Press









Pickled Beets
1-1/2 pounds beets
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick


Place the beets in a large pot and cover with water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil and cook until easily pierced with a knife. The cooking time will depend on the size of the beets.


Using a slotted spoon, place the beets on a cutting board until cool enough to handle. Peel the beets and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Quarter the slices or cut into 6 pieces so they fit more easily into the jars.


Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and strain out the cloves.


Pack the beets into hot, sterilized jars. Pour the brine over the beets, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Follow the instructions for boiling-water canning below.


Process the jars for 10 minutes. Let the beets sit for 1 month before eating.


Makes 3 pint jars




Gammaw's Marinated Carrots
2 pounds carrots, cut into 1/3-inch slices
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large green bell pepper, diced


Place the carrots in a large stainless-steel saucepan filled with salted water. Cook over medium-low heat until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain well.


Combine the salt, sugar, vinegar, oil mustard, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and tomato soup in a large bowl. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.


Add the carrots, onion and bell pepper. Stir to saturate the vegetables. Pack the vegetables and sauce into clean jars and seal with lids. These carrots will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.


Makes 2 quart jars



— — Get Ready to Can — —
First, gather your equipment: the canner, jars, lids, bands and tools. Wash them in hot, soapy water and dry with a clean kitchen towel. Place the number of jars you plan to use inside the canner and fill the canner with enough water to cover the jars by 1 inch. Place the canning pot on the stove over high heat, cover with the lid, and bring the water to a boil. (If you can't easily move the water-filled canning pot from the sink to the stove, place the pot on the stove and use a large pitcher to fill it with water.)


Place the self-sealing lids in a small saucepan with the sealing compound facing up. (After a marathon day of canning, I noticed that the lids facing down left rusty rings on the bottom of the saucepan.) Fill the saucepan with enough water to cover the lids. Cover the saucepan, turn the heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer. The lids must be heated for at least 10 minutes to achieve a vacuum seal.


Make your pickles or preserves. Once they're ready to go into the jars and the water is boiling in the canner, get ready to work.


Use a jar lifter to remove the hot, sterilized jars from the canner, draining out any water, and place them on a clean towel on the countertop. Fill the jars with a ladle, using the headspace tool to make sure you leave the recipe's prescribed space between the top of the food and the inside of the lid.


Use a bubble remover or thin plastic spatula to slowly stir the contents of each jar to release any air bubbles and run the spatula around the inside of the jar, which will make sure the jar seals properly. Don't use a metal knife or tool to remove the air bubbles since it may scratch the glass and cause the jar to break during processing.


Use a clean damp cloth to wipe the rim of each jar. Remove the self-sealing lids from the simmering water with a lid wand and place a lid on each jar. Place a screw band over each lid and turn it until it's tight. Use the jar lifter to place the jars back in the canning pot. If you're using a rack that doesn't space the jars properly, be sure to leave space between the jars and keep the jars away from the sides of the canning pot. Process as long as required in the recipe.


When done, use the jar lifter to remove the jars from the canner and place them several inches apart on a towel-lined counter. You should soon hear the "pop" of the lids sealing, signaling a job well done. Let the jars cool to room temperature and sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Check to make sure the lids are properly sealed. Each lid should be concave and shouldn't move when pressed with a finger. Be sure to label each jar with the contents and the date it was canned.


Store canned goods in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard. Most canned goods should be consumed within a year. (Home-canned goods can be consumed after a year, but the quality won't be as good.) All opened canned goods should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within a month.




The Healthy Slow Cooker
135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness

Robert Rose










Mixed Vegetables in Spicy Peanut Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
(about 4 cups)
4 stalks celery, diced (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced gingerroot
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 cup vegetable stock
3 cups frozen sliced green beans
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons gluten-free reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
4 cups shredded napa cabbage
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions, white part only
1/2 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add vegetable stock and stir well.


Add green beans and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until vegetables are tender.


In a bowl, beat together peanut butter, soy sauce, lemon juice, maple syrup and red curry paste until blended. Add to slow cooker stoneware and stir well.


Add napa cabbage, in batches, stirring until each batch is submerged in liquid. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until heated through. Stir in bean sprouts.


Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of green onions, then peanuts.


Makes 8 servings




Red Beans and Greens
2 cups dried kidney beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or 6 whole allspice, tied in a piece of cheesecloth
2 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
2 pounds greens, thoroughly washed, stems removed and chopped
Butter or butter substitute
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


    Soak beans according to either of these methods:
  • Long soak: In a bowl, combine beans and water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Beans are now ready for cooking.
  • Quick soak: In a pot, combine beans and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Beans are now ready to cook.


In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, peppercorns, allspice and bay leaves and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add beans and vegetable stock.


Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours, until beans are tender. Stir in smoked paprika, if using.


Greens: Steam greens until tender, about 10 minutes for collards. Toss with butter or butter substitute and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add to beans and stir to combine. Serve immediately.


Makes 6 to 8 servings