Back to the Kitchen: Cooking with farm fresh fruits and vegetables

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(Editor’s Note: Do you have a favorite restaurant dish and want the recipe? Gwen will do her best to get it!  Email Gwen Kenneally  at:

Friends are handing me fruits and veggies by the bag full and we have not even hit the heat of summer! I am constantly figuring out fun and inviting ways to prepare so I don’t get that “What Mommy! Green beans again?!” Whenever I get fruit and vegetables I always cut them up and put in zip locks so we can just grab and go. We will have a great selection of great produce way into the fall! So don’t forget to eat your fruits and veggies!

Strawberry Muffins

2 1/2 cup flour

1/2-cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

1/2-teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup melted butter

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1-teaspoon vanilla

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

Sugar mixed with cinnamon for topping

Pre heat oven to 400. Spray muffin tin with bakers joy spray or line muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir well until all ingredient are well blended. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour liquid mixture in and the strawberries. Gently fold ingredients just until moist .Do not over mix. Spoon the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with about 1/2-teaspoon sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Snap Peas, Green Beans and Snow Peas

2 pounds green beans

2 pounds sugar snap peas, trimmed

2 pounds snow peas, destemed

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

2-tablespoon soy sauce

1-tablespoon sesame oil

1-tablespoon brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch ginger, minced

Crushed red pepper (to taste)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pot of boiling water blanch green beans, snap peas and snow peas for 2 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold water and drain again. Transfer to large bowl.

Whisk vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and ginger in small bowl to blend. Pour dressing over snap peas and beans. Season salad to taste with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Serve at once or refrigerate for several hours.

Curried Lobster And Mango Salad

2 mangos, cubed

3 tablespoons fresh limejuice

1-inch ginger, minced

2 teaspoons curry powder

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons shallots, minced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 Mangos, cubed

1/2-cup fresh cilantro leaves

White pepper

2 pounds cooked lobster tail meat, chopped

Place first 4 ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in chives and shallots. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

In a large bowl toss together bell pepper, celery, mangos and cilantro. Add lobster. Drizzle some dressing over and toss lightly. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Orzo Salad With Heirloom Tomatoes And Feta

8 ounces orzo

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

½ cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2-cup olive oil

1-¼ pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1/2 cup sliced pitted oil-cured olives

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Sautee 1/2 of the orzo in a little olive oil until golden brown. Cook all of the orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Transfer to medium bowl; cool.

Whisk vinegar and lemon juice in small bowl; gradually whisk in oil. Pour dressing over orzo. Mix in remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Potato and Green Bean salad

3 pounds new or red bliss potatoes

4 cups green beans, trimmed

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1-teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

3/4-cup balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 cups olive + to coat potatoes for roasting

2 shallots finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork and arrange them on a baking sheet. Coat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. When cool enough to touch. Cut into quarters. Sautee Green beans, walnuts and red pepper flakes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. In a small bowl whisk together oil and balsamic with garlic and shallots in a serving bowl toss the potatoes with the green bean mixture. Pour dressing and gently toss thoroughly. Let stand a t room temp for one hour and toss again before serving.

Mix Summer Greens and Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon Maple Syrup

6-tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup Olive Oil

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

6 cups summer greens

Toss all lettuces together. Lightly toss with dressing.

20 grapes, halved

6 ounces Gorgonzola

Arrange lettuces on platter. Place grapes prettily on top and sprinkle with Gorgonzola and fresh ground pepper.

Crunchy Green Salad with Creamy Guacamole Dressing

2 Heads Romaine Lettuce, chopped

1 bunch watercress, leaves picked

1-cup pipitos

1 large ripe avocado

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

Juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1-4 dashes of Tabasco sauce

1/4-cup canola oil

Halve the avocado and remove pit. Scoop out flesh into a food processor. Add mustard, lemon juice, zest Tabasco. Salt and pepper to taste and blend until smooth. With the motor running pour in the oil in a steady stream. Allow it to become rich and creamy about one minute. In a large bowl add the lettuce, watercress and pipitos. Toss with the dressing and serve.

Shrimp and Berry Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

1 basket black berries

1-basket raspberries

1/4-cup pine nuts

2 firm-ripe avocados

1-teaspoon fresh limejuice

1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 cups each baby spinach and arugula (or your favorite mix of greens)

Quarter avocados lengthwise, then pit and peel. Cut length wise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Drizzle with limejuice and season with salt and pepper.

Prepare barbeque or stovetop grill (medium-high heat). Pour 1/4 cup dressing into small bowl. Reserve remainder for salad. Brush shrimp with dressing from small bowl and grill until opaque in center, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.

In a large serving toss together spinach, arugula, berries and pine nuts and dress lightly. Arrange avocados and shrimp on top of salad and serve.

Citrus Vinaigrette

1/4-cup fresh orange juice

Juice of one lime

1/4 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped

6 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

3/4-cup canola oil

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients with salt and pepper to taste.

.Grilled Chilean Sea bass with Watermelon Salsa

2 cucumbers, finely chopped

2 cups finely chopped red watermelon

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 Seeded jalapeno chili, minced

2 Cloves garlic, minced

1-inch ginger, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1-teaspoon fresh limejuice

3/4-teaspoon salt

6 (6-oz) pieces Chilean Sea Bass

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare gas or charcoal grill for cooking. If using charcoal, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderately high.

Toss together cucumber, watermelon, onion, chili, cilantro, limejuice, garlic, ginger and salt. (Do not make salsa more than 1 hour ahead or it will become watery.)

Pat fish dry, then brush with oil and season with salt. Grill fish, on lightly oiled grill rack, turning over once, until just cooked through, 8 to 9 minutes total.

Serve fish topped with salsa.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • Jo Perry

    These are wonderful. Will try the green bean and potato salad first.

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