Back to the Kitchen: Farmer’s Market Recipes

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gwen-upper110x110BY GWEN KENNEALLY

As my east coast foodie friends are writing about the most awesome fall harvest recipes and I get slightly melancholy. This past week end the thermometer read triple digits in Southern California. As I was daydreaming about pumpkins, apples, pears and the other fall delights I made my way through the open-air market! We still have the freshest herbs, berries, peaches and the most amazing heirloom tomatoes. I guess it will be a few weeks before you get my autumn best so enjoy the L.A. heat and fire up the grill for some late summer recipes!

Heirloom Gazpacho


This refreshing cold soup works well as a first course or on its own perfect for light appetites in the heat. Unlike most gazpacho I don’t use any oil so the flavors really pop!

6 large heirloom tomatoes, all varieties and colors, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch cubes

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

4 Parisian cucumbers or 1 hothouse cucumber, seeded and diced into1/4 inch cubes

2 purple bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

In a blender or food processor combine tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and peppers. Add cilantro, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and jalapeno. Add a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Process vegetables into a juicy soup, leaving it nice and chunky. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Heirloom Tomato Sauce


As with all tomato base sauces if you add a 1/2-teaspoon of baking soda it greatly cuts down on the acidity of the tomatoes and gives it a much smother flavor.

1/2-cup olive oil

2 onions, chopped

3 large carrots, chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 bunch thyme, finely chopped

1 bunch oregano, finely chopped

1/4-teaspoon crushed red pepper

Pinch salt/ fresh pepper

12 heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

1/2 cup red wine (or 1/4 cup vinegar mixed with 1/4 cup water.)

In a large saucepan heat oil. Sauté onions, carrots, garlic and seasoning. Add tomatoes and wine and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir and smash the tomatoes. You can use a fork or an emulsion blender. Simmer for30 minutes longer.

Sautéed Swiss Chard


3 pounds Swiss chard

5 Garlic cloves, thinly chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons sugar

1-tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and trim the rough edges of the Swiss chard. Slice stalks about 1/2 inch thick and slice leaves about 1 inch thick. In a large sauté pan with a lid melt butter and sauté garlic for about 3 minutes. Stir in stalks and cook until soft about 5 minutes. Add half the leaves and sprinkle with half the sugar. Cover and Cook about 5 minutes. Add the rest of leaves, sprinkle with remaining sugar and cover and cook tossing a few times until leaves are tender about 8 minutes. Uncover and cook for a few more minutes to allow the liquid to evaporate. Toss with balsamic and salt and pepper to taste.

Butternut squash in coconut milk


3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2-teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2 inch pieces

1 cup, toasted coconut

Fresh cilantro

Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger and sauté until tender. Add coconut milk, sugar and pepper flakes and cook until sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil; add squash. Simmer until fork tender about 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove squash from the pan and place in a serving bowl. Boil remaining liquid until thick, stirring constantly. Toss with the squash and garnish with toasted coconut and fresh cilantro!

Pesto Planked Salmon


1 18″ cedar plank, soaked in water 2 hours

1 – 2 1/2 to 3lb salmon fillet rinsed and patted dry.

1-cup fresh pesto

Juice of one lemon.

Spread pesto on fillet. Sprinkle generously with ground black pepper and lemon juice.

On a hot gas grill or very hot charcoal briquettes heat the plank for 5 minutes each side.  Place fish on plank and return to the grill. And cover.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. Check out her website and blog and

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.