Recipes help make the most of garden fresh vegetables

Garden fresh vegetables are a once-a-year treat in our northern climate. Make the most of them by trying a few new recipes.

The new Canada’s Food Guide recommends that half your plate, as judged visually, should be vegetables and fruits. The guide also recommends cooking at home, sharing food with others, being mindful of your eating and enjoying food.

A variety of vegetables is important for optimum health. And choose a variety of colours. Eat the rainbow isn’t just a catchy phrase but good advice.

Each colour in fruits and vegetables is caused by specific phytonutrients and indicate an abundance of specific nutrients.

Yellow and orange vegetables tend to be high in Vitamin A, C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene. Some carotenoids, most notably beta-carotene, convert to vitamin A within the body, which helps promote healthy vision and cell growth.

Red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene and ellagic acid. These nutrients have been studied for their cancer-fighting effects and other health benefits.

Greens are one of the healthiest foods we can eat. Green fruits and vegetables are rich in lutein, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, and vitamin K, which is essential for blood and bone health.

Yellow wax beans

Wax beans, which are commonly yellow but can also be purple or green, are low in fat, high in dietary fibre and rich in nutrients like vitamin A. Yellow beans have a milder flavour and firmer texture than their green bean cousins. To preserve water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C, you should choose methods that don’t involve much contact with water.

Warm yellow wax beans in bacon vinaigrette

  • 2 lb. yellow wax beans, trimmed1 kg
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 45 mL
  • 6 slices thickly cut bacon, cut into lardons
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar 30 mL
  • 10 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small shallot, very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1/3 c. chopped basil 75 mL
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Cook the beans in a large pot of salted boiling water or steam them until crisp-tender, about five minutes. Drain the beans and cool in a bowl of cold water with ice cubes added so they don’t continue to cook. Drain well and pat dry.

Transfer the beans to a large bowl.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add bacon and cook over moderate heat, stirring until golden, seven to eight minutes.

Remove skillet from the heat and stir in vinegar, tomatoes, shallot, garlic and basil. Pour the bacon vinaigrette over the beans, season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Serve warm.

Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

Use thickly cut crusty bread and toast it if you wish. Slather with the buttermilk sauce and pile on crisped bacon, fried green tomatoes and greens of your choice. I like arugula.

Serve with more buttermilk sauce on the side.

Fried Green Tomatoes

  • oil
  • 4 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch rings .5 cm
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour 175 mL
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder 15 mL
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. milk 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch paprika

Heat oil to 350 F (180 C) in a deep pot on the stovetop or use a deep fryer.

Season green tomatoes, on both sides, with salt and pepper.

Place flour and garlic powder in a shallow dish.

In another shallow dish, beat eggs with the milk. In another dish, mix breadcrumbs with cayenne and paprika.

Dredge tomatoes through the flour, then the eggs, and then through the breadcrumbs. Add only a few pieces to the fryer at a time so they cook evenly, about two to three minutes.

Drain on paper towels.

Buttermilk sauce

  • 1 c. apple cider 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar 15 mL
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk 175 mL
  • 3/4 c. mayonnaise 175 mL
  • 2 tbsp. barbecue sauce 30 mL
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the apple cider and brown sugar. Allow to reduce until thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix buttermilk, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and lime juice and whisk well. Add in the green onions and the apple cider mixture.

Patty Pan Squash Carpaccio

  • patty pan squash
  • fresh chopped parsley
  • arugula, optional
  • shaved parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon zest
  • lemon and olive oil vinaigrette

Slice the tops off of the patty pan squash with a knife, set aside.

Thinly slice the remaining squash with a mandolin if you have one.

Slices should be very thin.

Add sliced squash plus the tops of the patty pan squash into a bowl and add parsley, zest, shaved parmesan, arugula, use as much as you want, to taste.

Whisk together fresh lemon and olive oil dressing then pour over the squash and toss very gently. Marinate for an hour before serving. Serve at room temperature.

Lemon and olive oil vinaigrette

  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest 2 mL
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 30 mL
  • 1 tsp. sugar or honey 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt, or to taste 1 mL
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 45-60 mL
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, and fine sea salt, whisking until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add three tablespoons of the oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is well blended.

Season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

If desired, whisk in the remaining oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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