Farmers know what to do with extra produce, even if they’re not preserving it by canning, freezing or drying. So their stash of recipes is usually full. Here are four seasonal soup, stew and appetizer recipes from local farms that you can use now, and some that will make you wait for high summer.
Each was contributed from Northeast Ohio farms offering a farm share program.
If you’ve never had the enchanting herb called lovage, you’re in for a treat. The leaves have a sweet, round celery flavor that makes regular celery seem brusque. When it starts to come in, in late spring, use it for this soup from Front 9 Farm in Lodi, or chop and stir into room-temperature butter (freezable for Thanksgiving bread), or in your favorite hot German potato salad. After you try these, nothing less will do.
2 tablespoons butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped, divided use
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 quart chicken stock
2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 ounce fresh lovage
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup (or less) heavy cream
Cook’s note: Front 9 Farm will be selling lovage at the Lodi farm this year, also at their farmers market stands in Medina and LEAF in Lakewood.
Saute: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Once melted, reduce the heat to medium and stir in half of the chopped green onions and the chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add the chicken stock and the chopped potatoes.
Simmer: Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Then add the lovage and simmer, covered, for 5-6 minutes.
Blend: Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and add heavy cream as desired, up to 1/2 cup. Garnish with remaining green onion tops.
Source: Adapted from Front 9 Farm, Lodi.
I have friends who hate lemon balm because itself-seeds all over the garden. I don’t mind it because I can walk each morning to pick the best leaves, weeding as I go, and steep them into my green tea for a shading of grassy, lemony flavor. Along comes this recipe from Front9Farm in Lodi, which uses plenty of the herb as a pesto to dress pasta.
Lemon Balm Pesto
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups tender, unblemished lemon balm leaves, stems removed, rinsed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper
6-8 ounces uncooked egg noodles
Blending: Mince garlic in food processor or blender. Add lemon balm leaves, walnuts, salt. Process until finely chopped but still chunky. With the machine running, slowly pour in olive oil. Once blended, add cheese and process briefly to mix. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serving: Cook 6-8 ounces of egg noodles according to package directions. Drain, place in bowl and stir pesto into hot cooked pasta. Serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from Front 9 Farm, Lodi.
It doesn’t always have to be hummus.
Give a colorful, veggie boost to the crackers and cheese you put out before a party with this lively beet tapenade created by chef Adam Lambert, partner in Ohio City Provisions, the all-local grocery store on Cleveland’s West Side. OCP is also partner to Fresh Fork Market, the local food buying club, which shared this recipe.
About 4 cups
2 pounds red beets, washed, tops removed
2 cups white wine
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
2 cloves garlic
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated, fresh Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup minced shallot
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup aioli or mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Lemon zest and lemon juice, optional
Plan ahead: Leave time to bake and cool the beets. Starting the day before is a good idea.
Bake: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets, wine, water, olive oil, thyme, rosemary and garlic in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper, then cover in foil. Place in heated oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the beets can be pierced but are not soft or squishy.
Cool, cut beets: While hot, carefully peel the beets with a towel. The skins should come off with ease. Use a paring knife to remove any remaining skin. Let beets cool for 20 minutes or so, then refrigerate until completely cold.
Final seasoning: Once cold, uniformly small dice each beet and set aside. In a food processor, add cheese, beets, shallot, parsley, capers, Dijon, mayo, and sherry vinegar. Pulse until all ingredients have come together and texture is that of a chunky, spreadable paste. Finish seasoning with kosher salt, and feel free to add more vinegar, Dijon, or lemon zest and lemon juice, if desired. Serve with crostini or crackers.
Source: Adapted from chef Adam Lambert, Ohio City Provisions and Fresh Fork Market.
This, from Cat McAllester, who developed the recipe for Fresh Fork Market:
“Jambalaya is traditionally a rich stew of tomatoes, peppers, rice, shrimp and smoked sausage. We doubled down the sausage and swapped in a bunch of chopped summer squash. We used zucchini and patty pan, but almost any variety would work. We also used Ohio-grown spelt berries instead of rice for a totally local take.
“The broth was delicious, but the spelt berries don’t soak up as much liquid as rice, so the end was a little soupy. In a traditional recipe, they use 2 tablespoons flour, added in with the spice blend and the aromatics, to help thicken it up. Might be a helpful step when we make this again. But if you have a nice, crusty baguette, you could just mop up the tasty sauce instead.
“It’s a great meal to make as a big batch on the weekend.”
Summer Squash and Sausage Jambalaya
Cajun spice blend:
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (1/2 teaspoon if you don’t want it spicy.)
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 links (1-1 1/4 pounds) smoked sausage
2-3 cups chicken stock
4 cups (32 ounces) chopped tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 cups summer squash (zucchini, patty pan, yellow squash, etc.) cut into bite-sized pieces
2 1/2 -3 cups cooked spelt berries (1 3/4 -2 cups uncooked and soaked overnight)
Plan ahead: If using spelt berries, note they must soak overnight.
Cook’s notes: The spice blend will make a little more than you need. Store extra in a sealed container in the fridge for a few weeks. Use in rice, eggs or potatoes.
Combine: Mix spice blend ingredients together and set aside.
Fry sausage: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large (preferably cast iron) soup pot over medium heat. Slice smoked sausage into small rounds, then crisp them in the oil in batches. Set crisped rounds aside in a bowl. Leave the drippings in the pot.
Simmer: In another, smaller, pot, heat the stock and the tomatoes to a simmer.
Saute: Add the onion to the bigger soup pot with the drippings and stir to coat. Cook alone over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add celery, green pepper and garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the spice blend for 5 additional minutes. Stir well to fully distribute the spices and allow them to bloom. Your kitchen is starting to take on a little bayou!
Steam: Using a wooden spoon, move all the veggies and spices to the sides of the pot making a well in the center. Dump in all the summer squash and zucchini, cover the pot, and allow to steam for 5 minutes.
Finish: Pour in the heated tomatoes and stock and add the crisped sausage. If using uncooked (but pre-soaked) spelt berries, add in here. Cover and simmer over low heat, 25 minutes. If using fully cooked spelt berries, uncover, add them, and cook an additional 20 minutes.
Serving: Serve immediately, or cool, and keep in fridge up to three days. Also freezes well in portions.
Source: Adapted from Cat McAllester, Ohio City Provisions and Fresh Fork Market.