Crunchy Cucumbers with Onion and Fresh Cheese
serves 4 (or more with melon) (The Heart of the Plate; 2013)
The author, Mollie Katzen, highly recommends the addition of diced cantaloupe or watermelon (the same amount and size of the cucumbers) added when you toss in the cheese along with thin strips of mint or basil.  I will back her up on this, the addition of watermelon and mint was excellent!  I’ve replaced the red onion in the original recipe with scallions and enjoyed it with crumbled feta.

¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
Up to 2 tsp. sugar (optional)
about 6 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
3 – 4 smaller cucumbers, cut into ½ inch chunks
1 cup or more crumbled or diced fresh cheese (Mexican queso fresco, ricotta salata, manouri, or feta)
Black pepper
Salt (optional)

1. Pour the vinegar in a medium bowl.  Add the sugar, if using, and stir until it dissolves.  Add the onion and cucumber and stir to coat as you go.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
2. Shortly before serving, gently toss in the cheese and melon or herbs if using.  Season to taste with pepper and a little salt if needed.

Basil Pesto
with all the basil in our bags it’s time to make a classic pesto recipe from the Spring Hill cookbook, printed in October, 2011.  The recipe notes: “Pesto is often served over warm pasta but can also be added to potatoes, spread on a sandwich or used as a pizza sauce and topped with fresh tomatoes and some Parmesan cheese.  It’s easiest to make using a food processor.  Add oil to get the texture you like and if you are storing it in the refrigerator rather than using it immediately, drizzle some olive oil on top so that the pesto retains its color.  Pesto can be frozen.  It can be frozen first in ice cube trays and, once frozen, put the cubes in zip lock bags.  Many people suggest leaving out the cheese when you freeze it.  Add the cheese at the time you use it.”

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1-4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts (try other nuts if you like)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ – ½ cup olive oil

Place basil, garlic, salt, nuts, cheese, and about ½ the oil in a food processor.  Pulse until its nicely blended.  Add additional oil in a stream until you have the consistency you want.

Spicy Cooked Carrot (& Beet) Salad with Paprika, Feta, and Olives
serves 4-6 (The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone; 2014) Cookbook author, Deborah Madison, suggests cooked carrots and beets can be subbed for each other in many of her salad recipes and I agree.  I doubled this recipe for a crowd and roasted 1 lb. beets and I lb. carrots, subbed basil for parsley and used Kalamata olives because that’s what I had on hand.  With the hot paprika this recipe has a smoky spice that you can adjust as needed.  It got good reviews from everyone adventurous enough to try it!

1 lb. carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. hot paprika or Harissa
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
½ cup crumbled or thinly sliced feta
12 oil-cured olives, pitted and diced

Gently simmer carrots in salted water until tender but not soft, then drain and rinse with cold water.  Slip off the skins and slice them into rounds or small pieces.  Smash the garlic with the salt, then add the paprika and vinegar, and whisk in the oil.  Toss the carrots with the vinaigrette, parsley and most of the cheese and olives.  Taste for salt.  Mound the carrots on a plate and garnish with the remaining olives and cheese.

Recipe Links of the Week – Broccoli! 

More Recipes Featuring Vegetables We Grow…

Arugula | Basil | Beets | Bok Choy | Braising Mix |Broccoli | Broccoli Raab | Brussels Sprouts | Cabbage | Carrots | Cauliflower | Celeriac | Chard | Cilantro | Collards | Cucumbers | Eggplant | Fennel | Garlic | Green Beans | Jalapenos | Kale | Kohlrabi | Leeks | Lettuce | Onions | Parsley | Parsnips | Pea VinesPeppers (Bell) | Potatoes| Pumpkins | Radishes | RhubarbRutabagas | Scallions | Spinach | Sugar Snap Peas | Sweet Potatoes | Tomatillos | Tomatoes | Turnips | Winter Squash | Zucchini  |