Archive for the ‘FRESH Recipes’ Category

Posted on June 17, 2011 - by

Wake Up and Smell the Rhubarb


Growing up in Minnesota, where snow often remains on the ground well into April, I anticipated the arrival of the first spring vegetables with an especially ravenous impatience. My parents grew green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupes, and pumpkins (accidentally), but before any of those were ready to eat, our garden grew brilliant with rhubarb. Their elephant ear leaves, big as my head, obscured thick vermillion stalks that gleamed like firepokers in the sun.

When the rhubarb grew ripe, Dad chopped the thick stalks into chunks like celery and the kitchen smelled fresh like a rainstorm. That was how I knew we would have crisp for dessert. Some evenings we ate it with vanilla ice cream, other nights in a rich puddle of half-and-half. I liked the crisp best fresh out of the oven, the warmed cream soaking up cinnamon and sugar. I drank it all, like cereal milk.

Grandma made rhubarb pies, their crusts redolent with nutmeg and the gentle porkiness of lard. An egg beaten into the filling prevented the juice from bursting Its banks. She packed so much rhubarb inside that the pie had altitude, rolling hills of spice-dusted crust on top.

I still love any dessert made with rhubarb, but have learned that it complements savory dishes just as well. Simmer diced rhubarb with ginger, garlic, sugar, spices, and cider vinegar to make a tangy chutney that you can serve with grilled cheese sandwiches or pork tenderloin; combine it with red lentils, cilantro, and chilies in a hearty curry, or puree it with strawberries, orange juice and sugar and chill for a refreshing summer soup.

The following recipe for rhubarb chutney comes from Loulies, my favorite source for simple seasonal recipes using whatever’s fresh locally here in DC.

Rhubarb Chutney

Makes about 2 cups

4 c. fresh rhubarb (about 1 pound)
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. cider vinegar
1 Tbls. minced peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbls. ground garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper

Rinse and cut rhubarb into small pieces. Combine all ingredients, except rhubarb, in heavy large pot. Bring to simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add rhubarb, increase heat to medium-high and cook until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Place in a glass jar and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

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Posted on April 30, 2011 - by

What to Do With All Those Herbs

Photo: Jenny Holm

Whether in your garden, at the farmer’s market, or at the grocery store, herbs are everywhere come May, their glistening leaves and fresh scents as tantalizing as cool water on a hot day. I eagerly stock up on fragrant bunches of cilantro, parsley, mint, and dill, dreaming of all the springtime dishes I’ll make. I throw a handful here, a sprinkle there, but can’t seem to make it through a full bunch of anything before the leaves have wilted in my fridge, their once-lush greenery faded and sad.

This year, I’ve come up with a plan to make sure this doesn’t happen again. You can, too: instead of thinking of herbs as just a garnish, let them take center stage in dishes that capitalize on their punchy flavors and springtime abundance.

Russian “green borscht” contains no beets and instead takes its color from copious amounts of sorrel, parsley, and dill. It’s a light yet filling spring meal in itself.

Finely chop generous handfuls of parsley and mint and mix them with bulgur wheat or couscous, ripe tomatoes, green onions, olive oil, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice to make a cool and refreshing tabbouleh salad.

Basil, parsley and Dijon mustard make a snappy accompaniment to grilled tofu and mushrooms. The flavor pairing works equally well with shrimp.

Herbs are a natural fit in all sorts of spreads and sauces. A traditional basil pesto can be spread on homemade pizzas, folded into Sunday morning omelettes, or stirred into pasta with fresh peas and fava beans. But pesto needn’t be limited to basil: try parsley-almond or lemon-dill for a change.

Gremolata is a Italian minced herb condiment that enlivens everything from red meat to grilled fish and sautéed vegetables. For this cilantro and mint gremolata, just toss the herbs together in a bowl with garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper. Scatter over pan roasted zucchini and drizzle with lemon juice to serve.

There’s even room for herbs on your dessert plate! If you’ve got an ice cream maker, experiment with herbal flavors like honey lavender or ginger chamomile. If not, try crushed ice granitas in unexpected flavors like grapefruit-mint and blood orange-tarragon. Once the strawberry season starts, toss strawberry slices with sugar and a splash of balsamic vinegar, then scatter with chopped basil for a classy meal-closer.

Let the proliferation of herbs outside and inside your kitchen serve as a challenge to expand your culinary and gastronomic horizons. Bon appetit!

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Posted on December 18, 2009 - by

Holiday Recipes from the FRESH team

It might be winter, but you’d be surprised at how simple it can be to cook a locally sourced meal this holiday season. We encourage you to hit up your local farmers’ market for some seasonal bounty. We know how easy it is to get overwhelmed this time of year, so we gathered some of our favorite seasonal dishes that together make up a tasty, sustainable holiday feast.

Wheatberry Salad with Apples and Mint
Recipe By: Lorna Sass

from her cookbook entitled WHOLE GRAINS EVERY DAY, EVERY WAY that won the prestigious James Beard Award in the “healthy focus” category. To learn more about Lorna and find more of her flavor-packed, healthy recipes, visit

Serves 4 to 6

Photo by: David Prince

Photo by: David Prince

Wheatberries develops a juicy “squish” when marinated briefly in dressing. A citrus dressing is a particularly good complement to the tart green apple and vibrant mint tossed into the mix. You may be able to find “winter” wheat berries at your local farmers market along the apples and mint.
Vu Manh Thang – I Am Superman


1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup tightly packed mint leaves
2 cups cooked wheatberries
2 teaspoons grated orange zest (from 2 juice oranges)
1 small green apple
1 small red apple
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped


  • First prepare the dressing: Blend the orange juice, oil, vinegar, salt, and 1/2 cup of the mint in a food processor or blender.
  • Set the wheatberries in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over them and toss to coat. Stir in the orange zest. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Toss occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, core the apples and cut them into 1/4-inch dice. Stack the remaining mint leaves and roll them into a log. Slice them as thinly as you can. Toss them into the salad along with the apple, and hazelnuts. Add more salt, if needed.

Copyright © 2009 Lorna Sass, adapted from WHOLE GRAINS EVERY DAY, EVERY WAY

Root Vegetable & Chestnut Ragout
A Fresh Favorite


chestnuts1 ½ pounds celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1 1/4 pounds turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1 1/4 pounds baby golden beets (2 bunches), stems trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped thyme
1 ½ cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
2 cup roasted peeled chestnuts
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons organic butter, at room temperature


To Roast Chestnuts

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Find the flat side of each chestnut and cut a large X with a sharp paring knife all the way through the skin.
  • Place chestnuts on a shallow baking pan and place in the oven to roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on size of nuts. Shake pan several times to rotate chestnuts so they will cook evenly. If you just want them cooked enough to peel, roast for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Peel roasted chestnuts as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Once they cool completely, they are difficult to peel. However, they may be reheated briefly to aid in peeling.
  • You can also try using a gas stove. Place on top of a flame-tamer and cover with a deep lid. Roast over low heat until done, about 10 minutes, turning often to cook evenly.
  • Once you have the chestnuts going. Prepare to blanch veggies by placing the saucepan on a high heat and fill it with about with 2 litres of water. Now add the salt and bring it to a strong rapid boil. Use 30 grams / 1 oz of salt for every litre / 1.5 pt of water. The salt creates a barrier on the surface of the vegetables and also raises the temperature of the water, sealing in the nutrients.
  • Add the celery root and blanch for about 6 minutes.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer to a large baking sheet.
  • Add the turnips to the pot and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to the baking sheet.
  • Add the beets to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Drain the beets and transfer to a large plate.
  • Let cool slightly, then peel and quarter the beets.
  • Return the pot to the stove.
  • Add the olive oil, and when it’s hot, add the garlic, shallot and thyme and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the celery root, and turnips cover and cook over moderately high heat, folding gently a few times with a heat-proof rubber spatula, until heated through.
  • Add the beets and chestnuts and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  • Gently stir in the butter, transfer the ragout to a bowl and serve.
  • The ragout (without the butter) can be refrigerated overnight.
  • Reheat gently, and then stir in the butter.

Aunt Bea’s Squash Pudding
Recipe by: Bea Schlot

Courtesy of Sustainable Table

Courtesy of Sustainable Table


6 medium yellow squash, organic or locally grown
1 cage-free egg, beaten well
3/4 cup organic milk or half and half
3 heaping tablespoons flour, locally sourced
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 to 1 cup pure cane sugar can be substitute for 1/3 – ½ cup of agave nectar.


  • Peel and cube squash and boil until soft. Mash well. You can also take the easier route and bake halved squash in oven at 350 degrees until soft and scrape out and mash when cool.
  • Mix flour, milk, vanilla, sugar and egg.
  • Pour over mashed cooked squash mixture and bake at 350 degrees 30-45 minutes until set.

Hope you enjoy sharing one or more of these recipes with your loved ones this season!


The FRESH Team
ana Sofia joanes
Lisa Madison
Lisa Amadeo


Posted on November 28, 2009 - by

FRESH Recipes: Holiday Seitan Loaf w/ Mushroom Gravy

Eating Liberally’s gobbly-good holiday seitan loaf with mushroom gravy

By: Kerry Trueman
Kerry Trueman is co-founder of, a netroots organization and website that promotes sustainable agriculture, and, a website for farmers, gardeners, and eaters who favor conservation over consumption. She blogs about climate change, low-impact living and sustainable agriculture for the Huffington Post, AlterNet, the Green Fork, EatingLiberally, among other websites, and authored a chapter on ecological eating for Rodale’s Whole Green Catalog (September 2009).
To make the loaf:HolidaySeitanLoaf
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup cooked pinto beans
1 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup yellow miso
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic till translucent. In a blender or food processor, combine the beans, broth, miso, and tamari. Add the onions and garlic and process till smooth.

Combine the wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and seasonings in a large bowl and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well (it’s easiest to use your hands.)

Shape the dough into three loaves and wrap in tinfoil. Place in a steamer for 40 minutes. This method of cooking yields a moist loaf; to brown and crisp them on top, place them in a loaf pan and bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for half an hour or so. You can also slice up the loaves and crisp them in a frying pan.

To make the gravy:

½ ounce dried mushrooms (shitakes or porcinis, ideally)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
1 cup thinly sliced leeks
1 cup fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 12 ounce carton firm silken tofu
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons yellow miso
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
¼ cup nutritional yeast
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

Soak the dried mushrooms in a ½ cup of hot water while you prepare the garlic, leeks, and fresh mushrooms.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the leeks till translucent. Add the garlic and shitakes and sauté for another five minutes or so. Add the flour and stir, coating the leeks and mushrooms.

Place the dried mushrooms and their liquid in a food processor or blender. Add the tofu, the water, miso, tamari, nutritional yeast, and seasonings. Blend well, then add to the pan, stirring thoroughly. Whisk for several minutes, till the mixture thickens.

Place the gravy in the blender or food processor and process till smooth. Serve hot over slices of the seitan loaf.


Posted on November 24, 2009 - by

FRESH Recipes: Cranberry-Kumquat Sauce

Welcome to FRESH Recipes!

We’ll be posting new recipes on a regular basis that feature healthy, local ingredients. Wanna have your recipe included? Send it our way!

In honor of the holiday season, we’ll be posting recipes for the comfort foods that we all enjoy on a seasonal basis.

Cranberry-Kumquat Sauce

Submitted by: Lorna Sass, QUEEN OF PRESSURE COOKING


Here’s an unusual but quick and easy relish to make for Thanksgiving. Kumquats–which happily are in season at the same time as cranberries–add a definite citrus punch, and the pressure cooker does a great job of softening their skins. If you can’t locate kumquats, you can substitute an orange.

If you don’t have a time-and-fuel-efficient pressure cooker, you can do this recipe in a heavy, 4-quart covered pot. It will take 25 to 30 minutes; stir occasionally.


Makes 5 cups

Three 12-oz. packages cranberries, rinsed

12 ounces (2 1/2 cups) kumquats, rinsed and halved (or substitute 1 orange, pitted and chopped

1 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey, or to taste

1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a 6-quart or larger cooker. Add the cranberries, kumquats, and crystallized ginger.

Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. (This is likely to take at least 5 minutes.) Cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, and allow the pressure to come down naturally for 10 minutes. Release any remaining pressure by setting the cooker under cold running water.

Cool slightly. Add agave syrup to taste. Transfer to a bowl or storage container and bring to room temperature. Stir in the nuts just before serving. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.