Grilled Romaine and Halloumi Chese with Mint Vinaigrette

Grilled Romaine and Halloumi Chese with Mint Vinaigrette

adapted from epicurious.com

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped and divided
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 hearts of romaine, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 large red onion, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 8-ounce package Halloumi cheese, cut crosswise into 8 slices
  1. Prepare barbecue to medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk oil, vinegar, 1 tablespoon mint, mustard, and garlic in small bowl; season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush lettuce and onion slices with dressing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill onion slices until charred in spots and softened, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Separate rings.
  4. Grill lettuce until charred in spots and slightly wilted, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer 2 wedges to each of 4 plates.
  5. Grill Halloumi until charred in spots and softened, about 2 minutes per side, depending on brand used.
  6. Scatter onion rings over lettuce. Divide Halloumi among plates. Drizzle with additional dressing, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon mint, and serve immediately.
 
 

Corn, Roasted Pepper and Cilantro Salad

Corn, Roasted Pepper and Cilantro Salad

adapted from the Food Network

for the Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lime

for the Salad:

  • 2 cups cooked corn kernels (from 2 large ears)
  • 3 roasted jimmy nardello pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the dressing: Add the oil, vinegar, honey and lime juice to a deep bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. Make the salad: Add the corn, peppers, shallot and cilantro to the bowl. Stir with a spoon until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving so the flavors can marinate.
  3. Dress the salad and serve immediately.
 
 

Salsa Verde

SALSA VERDE

  • 1½ pounds tomatillos, husked and washed
  • 1 jalapeños, stemmed, seeds removed for milder sauce
  • ½ cup white onion, chopped 
  • ¼ cup cilantro, minced
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  1. Preheat your broiler and position a rack in the upper position, or about 4 inches below the heat.
  2. Place the tomatillos and jalapeño on a baking sheet or broiler pan and broil until blackened in spots. Keep an eye on them... they can go from perfect to burnt to a crisp in no time.
  3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully flip over the tomatillos and pepper with tongs. Return to oven and broil for 4 to 6 more minutes, until the tomatillos are splotchy-black and blistered on the other side.
  4. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the chopped onion, cilantro, half the lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt.
  5. Once the tomatillos are out of the oven, carefully transfer the hot tomatillos, pepper and all of the accumulated juices into the food processor or blender.
  6. Pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth and no big chunks of tomatillo remain, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  7. Season to taste with additional lime juice and salt, if desired.
 
 

Tomato and Cantaloupe Salad with Coriander Lime Vinaigrette

Tomato and Cantaloupe Salad with Coriander Lime Vinaigrette

for the Salad

  • 4 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves,  cut into chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

for the Coriander Lime Vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, to taste
  1. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, cantaloupe, cheese, avocado, basil and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Over medium heat, toast coriander seeds in a dry skillet until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes. Empty on a plate to cool. Transfer to a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle and coarsely grind.
  3. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, vinegar, honey, lime zest, salt, pepper and coriander.
  4. Pour over tomato mixture and gently toss. Season with more salt and pepper is desired. 
 
 

EGGPLANT PARMESAN WITH FRESH MOZZARELLA

EGGPLANT PARMESAN WITH FRESH MOZZARELLA

adapted from epicurious

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped, 8 whole
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 medium or 8 small eggplants (about 4 pounds), halved lengthwise
  • 8 sprigs oregano
  • 1 1/4 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about 3/4 cup)
  1. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6–8 minutes.
  2. Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you add them; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, mashing tomatoes occasionally, until slightly thickened, 15–20 minutes. Set tomato sauce aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a vegetable peeler, remove skin from rounded side of each eggplant half, leaving a 1" strip of skin around the cut edges. Divide eggplants, oregano sprigs, whole garlic cloves, and 1/2 cup oil between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Turn eggplants to coat with oil; season with salt and pepper and place cut side down. Cover baking sheets tightly with foil and bake until eggplants are very soft, 40–45 minutes.
  5. Toss breadcrumbs and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl. Transfer eggplants, oregano, and garlic to 2 large shallow baking dishes, placing eggplants cut side up.
  6. Top eggplants with tomato sauce and mozzarella, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Bake until mozzarella is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden, 25–30 minutes.
 
 

Fried Eggplant With Chickpeas and Mint Chutney

Fried Eggplant With Chickpeas and Mint Chutney

adapted from the New York Times

FOR THE EGGPLANT:

  • 2 eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
  • 1 white onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 15-ounce can cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • sea salt, as needed

FOR THE MINT CHUTNEY:

  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 green onion, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  •  Plain yogurt (optional)
  1. Season the sliced eggplant with salt. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is heated add enough eggplant slices to fit in one layer without overlapping. Cook until the bottoms are browned, then flip and continue to cook until well browned and soft, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Add more oil if things begin to dry out. Transfer cooked eggplant to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and repeat with more oil and eggplant until all the eggplant is cooked. Taste eggplant and add more salt if necessary.
  2. Heat another tablespoon of oil in pan, then add the onions. Cook until golden soft.
  3. Add garlic to the onions and cook until fragrant, 1 or 2 minutes longer.
  4. Add all the spices and cook for 1 minute longer, then add tomatoes, chickpeas and 2 tablespoons of water.
  5. Partly cover the pan and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking until tomatoes start to break down, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Add eggplant to the pan and cook until sauce thickens, or about another 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. While the eggplant cooks, combine all the ingredients for the chutney in a blender with 2 tablespoons water. Blend until puréed, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust for more lemon juice or salt as needed.
  8. Serve the eggplant topped with the chutney and, if using, the yogurt.
 
 

Frisée Salad over Roasted Beet Purée

Frisée Salad over Roasted Beet Purée

For the beet purée:

  • 2 medium beets, topped and scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

For the salad:

  • I head frisée, chopped 
  • 1 granny smith apple, sliced into matchsticks*
  • 1 firm but ripe pear, sliced into matchsticks*
  • 2 tablespoons manchego cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • sea salt to taste

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup red onion, julienned
  • 2 teaspoon size nub of ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • sea salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wrap the beets in tin foil with the stem side up, leaving the cut stem exposed to the air. Place in a baking dish and roast for 90 minutes. 
  3. Allow the beets to cool enough that they can be safely handled then cut into wedges. Combine with the rest of the purée ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator.
  4. Make the topping: melt the butter of medium high heat in a medium sized skillet. Add the red onion and minced ginger and stir gently until they start to loosen and release fragrance but before they turn translucent. Pull from heat and set aside. Stir in the walnuts.
  5. Combine all ingredients for the salad in a large bowl and toss to even distribute.
  6. To plate: spoon the purée onto serving plater or divide between plates. Use the back of the spoon to push the purée around and "paint" the surface almost to the edge. Pile the salad on top then sprinkle the topping over it. Garnish with edible flowers like bachelor buttons and marigolds. 
 
*Matchstick cuts can be achieved with a little practice and patience. Check out this video for step by step instructions. You can, however, make the whole process much faster and easier with a mandoline slicer. Mandoline slicers make short and consistent work of any cutting task and a good one will handle a matchstick or waffle cut with no problem. We recommend this one, the PL8, from Progressive International. Not only is it very feature rich it is also one of the safer ones on the market due to its larger hand guard and turn dial controls. Click here to see it in action on youtube.
 
 

Shiso Cucumber Shrub

Shiso Cucumber Shrub

Courtesy of guest chef Suzanne Oliver.

Shrubs, or drinking vinegars, are just another way to utilize the bounty of the season! The acidity accents the herbal flavor without overbearing sweetness. Add this refreshing shrub to your arsenal when making summer beverages. We thinks Hendricks Gin would love this partnership…. so does good ole Le Croix. 

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup (packed) Shiso leaves
  • 1 large cucumber or two medium cucumbers 
  • Optional: agave or sweetener of choice
  1. Combine apple cider vinegar and distilled white vinegar in jar or bowl with lid.
  2. Coarsely chop shiso, then muddle in a mortar with pestle until just bruised. Add shiso to vinegar mixture and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Strain vinegar into bowl using fine mesh sieve, gently pushing on shiso to extract all flavor and goodness.
  4. Peel, seed and coarsely chop cucumber. Add to blender and puree until just smooth (add some vinegar if you need some liquid). Strain into bowl of vinegar using fine mesh sieve. 
  5. Store refrigerated in jar with tight fitting lid for up to two weeks. You may add sweetener to taste if desired, or leave as is for application in more savory drinks.
 
 

Poblano, Mushroom, Zucchini and Corn Tacos

Poblano, Mushroom, Zucchini and Corn Tacos

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium sized white onion, chopped
  • 1 pound tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ancho poblano chiles
  • 1 ear of white corn, kernels cut from the cob
  • 2 medium zucchinis, unpeeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, scrubbed clean and sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup queso fresco
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • fresh corn tortillas
  • 3 limes, cut into quarter wedges
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat in a large pot.

  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, about 8-10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Add the garlic for the last minute of cooking.

  3. In a blender or food processor puree the tomatoes. Set aside.

  4. Roast the whole poblanos over the flame of your gas range, on the grill, or under the broiler until the skins are charred black all over. While hot, place in a tea towel and roll up tight to steam and loosen the skins. Once they are cool enough to handle use your hands to slip the pepper from its skin and give it a good rinse under cool water. Slice into thin strips. Set aside.

  5. Once the onions have finished cooking add the tomato puree. Cook, covered, stirring often until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

  6. Increase the heat to medium high and add the sliced poblanos, corn kernels, zucchini, and heavy cream. Stir well to combine and cook for 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the zucchini is soft but not mushy and the mushrooms have softened and absorbed some of the sauce, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and mix in cumin, then season to taste with salt to taste.

  7. Meanwhile, as the vegetables cook, heat a frying pan over medium high heat and warm each tortilla for about 30 seconds, flipping once. Wrap the tortillas in tin foil or a towel and place in a warmed oven to keep, or use a tortilla warmer. 

  8. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a serving platter and top with the chopped cilantro. Serve with the shredded cabbage, lime wedges, queso fresco, hot sauce (if using) and the warm tortillas. Assemble and enjoy.

 
 

Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic, Pancetta & Caramelized Onions

Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic, Pancetta & Caramelized Onions

  • 1 pound new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarts
  • 2 new onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 pound pancetta 
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a skillet set over medium high heat, sauté the pancetta until crispy. Using tongs, transfer to a plate or pan lined with paper towels to drain and cool.

  3. Toss the potatoes and oil together in a mixing bowl and spread in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes.

  4. Top the potatoes with the sliced onions and garlic cloves and roast for an additional 45-60 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned. Make sure to check and stir every 10 minutes to prevent burning.

  5.  When finished, turn the potatoes, onions and garlic out of the pan into a serving bowl and toss with the chopped parsley and pancetta. 
 
 

Eggplant Manicotti

Eggplant Manicotti

  • 1 lb eggplant
  • 1½ cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cups mozzarella, grated 
  • ½ cups parmesan, grated plus extra for 
  • ¼ cups basil leaves, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups tomato sauce*
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices and generously salt both sides of each slice. Let the salt draw out the moisture from the eggplant for 20 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, fold together all three cheeses with about half of the basil, spinach and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  4. Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry with a paper or kitchen towel.
  5. Brush each slice, front and back, with the remaining olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes to make the slices more tender and pliable then cool on the baking sheet.
  6. Add about 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture to narrower end of a slice of eggplant. Roll up the filling and, if necessary, use a toothpick to keep everything in place. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.
  7. Spoon some of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, arranging the eggplant manicotti rolls so that they lay in the pan seam-side down in a single layer. If you used toothpicks you can remove them at this time.
  8. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the manicottis and bake them for 30 minutes or until they've heated all the way through and the cheese is bubbly.
  9. To plate, spoon some of the hot tomato sauce onto the middle of the plate, then, using a thin spatula, remove the manicottis and place on the plate, sprinkle with basil and more parmesan cheese.

*Use your favorite recipe or store bought (we like Bertolli's Organic in a pinch) and check back later this summer for Vibrant Valley Farm's own tomato sauce recipe.

 
 

Super Fast Kimchi

Super Fast Kimchi

  • 3 cups bilko cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon sambal olek (Indonesian raw chili paste, available in the Asian section of most grocers)
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
  • pinch of salt
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with an airtight lid.
  2. Chill overnight or up to a full day.
  3. Serve over rice, eggs, in a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, as a replacement for sauerkraut on hot dogs, in soups like ramen or just eat it right out of the bowl!
 
 

Cucumber & Thyme Vinaigrette

Cucumber & Thyme Vinaigrette

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  •  Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Peel the cucumber and make juice: either run the peeled cucumber through a juice extractor or place in a blender and pulse until liquified and strain through a piece of cheesecloth into a bowl to separate out the solids. You should have about 1 cup of juice. 
  2. Whisk together the cucumber juice, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.
  3. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
 
 

Greek Broccoli Salad

Greek Broccoli Salad

For the Salad

  • 1 head of broccoli, florets removed and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup shallot, chopped
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  1. Toss together the broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot, feta, olives and almonds in a large salad bowl.
  2. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well.
  4. Let the salad rest on the countertop for 30 minutes before serving to bring all the flavors together. 
 
 

Chilled Carrot and Squash Soup

Chilled Carrot and Squash Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cocozelle squash, chopped
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chives or green onions, chopped for garnish
  1. In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3 minutes.

  2. Add the carrots and broth. Cover and bring to a boil.

  3. Lower heat to medium and simmer until carrots begin to soften, about 7 minutes.

  4. Add the cumin, salt, coriander, pepper, and the squash. Cover, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil.

  5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender and flavors are blended.

  6. Carefully pour the mixture into a food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree soup until smooth.

  7. Pour into a large bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

  8. Stir in the yogurt until well combined.

  9. Divide into serving bowls and garnish with chives.

 
 

Cucumber Ice Cream

Cucumber Ice Cream

  • 1 cucumber 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 2 eggs  
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  1. Peel and seed the cucumber, chop finely and place in a blender with lemon juice and purée until very smooth. 
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or with an electric hand mixer) beat eggs, sugar and honey for two minutes or until light and foamy.
  3. Add puréed cucumber, cream, milk and vanilla and mix for 30 seconds. 
  4. Strain through a sieve or cheesecloth set over a bowl to remove any solids. 
  5. Whisk in nutmeg.
  6. Pour liquid mixture into an ice-cream maker, following the machine's directions.
  7. Transfer to an air-tight container and freeze until firm enough to scoop, about 3 hours.
 
 

Nero Tondo Salad with Spicy Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

Nero Tondo Salad with Spicy Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

  1. Combine the Nero Tondo, apple, carrot, mint and green onions in a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk to mix well. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Toss gently together the vinaigrette and the slaw in the larger bowl. Enjoy!
 
 

Fennel, Parsley, and Red Onion Salad

Fennel, Parsley, and Red Onion Salad

  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 
  • 1 cup parsley leaves
  • 1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • Juice and Zest from 1 lemon 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Prepare an ice-water bath in a large mixing bowl.

  2. Soak the parsley leaves and sliced fennel and onion in a colander set in the ice-water bath. Let soak 10 minutes. This not only chills the final salad down for a nice treat on a summer night, it also smoothes the onion's intense flavor. 

  3. Drain, and transfer to a salad spinner. Spin until dry, and transfer to a serving bowl.

  4. Add the celery seeds, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil. Toss to combine.

  5. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.