Parents of picky eaters, take heart! I was the pickiest of eaters when I was young. I went through a peanut butter sandwich phase—no crust, hold the jelly, white bread only. I would only eat canned green beans—certainly not my grandmother’s garden-fresh green beans. I always loved pizza, and still do, of course. Fortunately, my Mom always made sure to offer salad and fresh fruit at the dinner table. I’m pleased to report that my taste buds have expanded exponentially since I left for college.
The fresh ingredients on the table back then generally came from the produce section of a grocery store. These days, I enjoy picking up my produce at farmers markets whenever possible. I like to talk to the vendors and find out more about the food they brought with them. It's also fun to watch kids find their favorites and ask questions about fruits or vegetables they haven't seen before. They're probably more likely to try new tastes when they’ve helped pick them out!
My parents would never have guessed that I would grow up to become a food blogger and write a cookbook, but that has happened. If you’re wondering what to cook up with your surplus farmers market finds, here are a few of my favorite recipes from my new cookbook, “Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body.”
BIO: Edmond native Kathryne Taylor is the personality behind the hugely popular blog Cookie and Kate (cookieandkate.com). The blog is the No. 1 vegetarian cooking blog in the country. In six years, the vegetarian and all-natural food blog has grown from a hobby to a full-time project, and now garners more than two million visits per month. Kathryne researches, develops, cooks, photographs and writes every recipe on the blog. She now lives in Kansas City. Her cookbook “Love Real Food” is published by Rodale.
[Editor's Note: Kathryne is the daughter of MetroFamily publisher, Sarah Taylor and her husband, John.]
Click through the following pages for special recipes for your farmers market finds.
Green Goddess Hummus
I’m so glad to have hummus in my life. It wasn’t long ago that hummus was an obscure celery dip for hippies and health fanatics. Hummus is here to stay, and for good reason—it’s a healthy snack and spread that is far more redeeming than most.
Most of the big-brand, store-bought hummuses skimp on tahini, which means that they aren’t rich, thick, or flavorful enough to do hummus proper justice. This homemade hummus has just the right amount of tahini, plus it’s free of preservatives. It’s ultra creamy thanks to the blending method (basically, you make sure the tahini is nice and fluffy before adding the chickpeas). Serve this herbed hummus with veggies or pita chips, or use it as a sandwich spread.
Makes 1 ¾ cups
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup lemon juice (from 11⁄2 to 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley (some stems are okay)
¼ cup lightly packed fresh tarragon leaves, basil, or cilantro
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh chives or green onions
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
Chopped fresh herbs (whatever you have left), for garnish
In a food processor or high-powered blender (i.e., Vitamix or Blendtec), combine the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Process for about 11⁄2 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary until the mixture is well blended.
Add the herbs and process for about 1 minute, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary, until the herbs have blended into the mixture and the mixture is nice and smooth.
Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl, then add the remaining chickpeas and process until the hummus is thick and quite smooth, 1 to 2 minutes more.
If your hummus is too thick or hasn’t yet blended into creamy oblivion, run the food processor while drizzling in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water until it reaches your desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt, if necessary.
Scrape the hummus into a small serving bowl. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with some chopped herbs. Leftover hummus keeps well, chilled, for 4 to 6 days.
Lemony Almond-Blueberry Cake
This almond-blueberry cake is lightly sweet and possesses an almost graham crackery flavor and lemony tang. Plus, it’s studded with gorgeous, jammy blueberries. It would be a great treat to serve as dessert for any occasion, but it’s wholesome enough to pass for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. It’s also easy to make and gluten free, which means that I can share it with more of my friends!
Makes 1 loaf cake (about 8 slices)
2 cups (8 ounces) plus
1 tablespoon packed almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup maple syrup or honey
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest (from
2 medium lemons, preferably organic)
1 cup blueberries
(6 ounces), fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
This cake is very simple to make but requires about 1 hour 45 minutes combined baking and cooling time.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously grease a 9 × 5-inch loaf pan and dust it with almond meal to prevent sticking.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the almond meal, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk to blend.
Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and beat with a whisk until the yolks and egg whites have blended together. Add the maple syrup, olive oil, and lemon zest and whisk to blend. Pour the wet ingredients into the almond meal mixture and stir until there are just a few clumps remaining.
In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon almond meal (this helps prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is deeply golden brown, the center is firm to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the lemon-maple glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and maple syrup until blended. (If you’re using honey and having a hard time blending it into the lemon juice, place the bowl on top of your stove to warm it up while the cake bakes, or warm it briefly in the microwave until you can whisk them together.)
Once the cake is out of the oven, place the cake, pan and all, on a cooling rack. While the cake is warm, use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over the top of the cake. It should soak right in. Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes before carefully inverting it onto a serving plate or cutting board. Carefully flip it back over, then use a bread knife to cut it into 1-inch-thick slices.
Store any remaining cake in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.
Roasted Strawberry, Basil, and Goat Cheese Crostini
If you haven’t experienced roasted strawberries yet, you’ve been missing out—they’re sweet and jammy, like the inside of a strawberry pie. Roasted strawberries collide with tangy goat cheese and fresh basil to create this simple and sophisticated summertime appetizer. You could also serve these with a big green salad for a light summer meal.
Makes about 2 dozen crostini
4 to 5 ounces goat cheese
1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole-grain baguette or small loaf of crusty whole-grain bread (about 14 ounces), cut into ½-inch slices
Small handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into little pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
Tip: If you don’t love goat cheese, alternatives include mascarpone, cream cheese or ricotta.
Preheat the oven to 350°F with racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper for easier cleanup. Set the goat cheese on the counter to soften up a bit.
On one baking sheet, toss the strawberries with the honey, then spread the strawberries into a single layer. Bake on the upper rack until the fruit is tender, juicy, and collapsing on itself, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway. Watch the fruit on the edges of the pan, as the honey can burn quickly.
Meanwhile, on the remaining baking sheet, brush the olive oil lightly over both sides of each slice of bread. Bake on the middle rack until the toasts are golden on top, 10 to 12 minutes.
Once the toasts are cool enough to safely handle, top each one with a smear of goat cheese, followed by a spoonful of roasted strawberries and their juices. Finish off the crostini with a sprinkling of torn basil and black pepper. Crostini are best served immediately.
Outrageous Herbaceous Chickpea Salad
Here’s a simple chickpea salad that I could eat every single day. It’s bursting with fresh Mediterranean flavors, thanks to chopped bell pepper, parsley, red onion, and celery. Lemon and garlic take it from tasty to transcendent. This salad packs well, so it’s perfect for potlucks and picnics. It’s also a great lunch option, so long as your serving is large enough. You can also pile it onto greens and drizzle some extra olive oil and lemon juice on top for a quick and substantial green salad.
Makes 4 side salads
2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 ½ cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1 bunch)
½ cup chopped red onion (about 1⁄2 small)
½ cup chopped celery (about 2 ribs)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 to 11⁄2 lemons), or more if needed
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, bell pepper, parsley, onion, celery, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss until combined. Taste and add additional lemon juice, salt, or pepper if necessary.
Serve immediately, or chill until you’re ready to serve. Leftovers keep well, chilled, for up to 4 days.