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 beans. I always loved pizza, and still do, of course. Fortunately, my mom always offered salad and fresh fruit at the dinner table. I’m pleased to report that my palate has 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’re selling. It’s also fun to watch kids find their favorites and ask questions about fruits or vegetables they haven’t seen before. They’re more likely to try new foods when they’ve helped pick them out!
My parents never would have guessed that I would grow up to become a food blogger and write a cookbook.
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.”
Kathryne Taylor is the personality behind the hugely popular blog Cookie and Kate (cooki
Roasted strawberry basil and goat cheese crostini
Makes about two 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.
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit 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.
Green goddess hummus
Makes 1¾ cups
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup lemon juice (from 1 1⁄2 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 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
Chopped fresh herbs (whatever you have left), for garnish
DIRECTIONS: 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 90 seconds, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary, until the mixture is well blended.
Add the herbs and process for about one 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 one minute. Scrape down the bowl, then add the remaining chickpeas and process until the hummus is thick and quite smooth, one to two minutes more.
If your hummus is too thick or hasn’t yet blended into creamy oblivion, run the food processor while drizzling in one to two 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 four to six days.
Makes one loaf cake (about eight 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 oil1
½ teaspoons grated lemon zest (from two medium lemons, preferably organic)
1 cup blueberries (6 ounces), fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 325-degress Fahrenheit. Generously grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, and dust it with almond meal to prevent sticking.
In a large bowl, combine two 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 one 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, about one hour and 10 minutes to one hour and 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 four days.
Time warning: This cake is very simple to make, but requires about one hour and 45 minutes combined baking and cooling time.