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Tips and Recipes
Recipes from Chef Brett and Friends!

These recipes accompany the sample menus prepared by Chef Brett Grohsgal of Even' Star Farm (and friends!) for Buy Local Week.


ABBREVIATIONS
Most of these are standard in most US cookbooks.

t = teaspoon
T = tablespoon
c = cup
temp = temperature, °F
s and p = Kosher or sea salt, plus ground black pepper, to taste.


Day I

GAZPACHO
(care of Julia Shanks of Interactive Cuisine, Boston, MA)

Ingredients:

3 San Marzano, Rio Grande, or other heirloom plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 Beefsteak or other heirloom beefsteak tomato, coarsely chopped
1 red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 Bell Pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Spicy Pepper, coarsely chopped (remove seeds for a milder soup)
1 Large Cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tbs. Lime Juice
1 tbs. Lemon Juice
1 tbs. Red Wine or Balsamic Vinegar
3 tbs. Extra virgin olive Oil
3 stems Egyptian Onion or 2/3 bunch scallion, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Puree first 6 ingredients in a blender.

2. Adjust seasoning with lime juice, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper

3. Chill soup for at least one hour in the refrigerator

4. Garnish with diced green onion just before serving

Serving Suggestions: On its own, this soup is a great way to start off a summer meal. You can give it an extra loving touch of Fried Croutons or Grilled Shrimp.


Day 2

Italian sausage and peppers with local sausage and bell peppers
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

Ingredients:

One pound Italian sausage, in ½ inch slices.
Four large or six small or medium bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
1 T olive oil
¼ C water

Directions:

Saute sausage with olive oil under moderate heat until slightly browned. Add chunked peppers and sautee for four minute. Put in oven at 350 degrees about 10 minutes till peppers are soft. Salt and pepper to taste.


Day 3

EASY WHITE PIZZA WITH SQUASH BLOSSOMS
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

Ingredients:

Buy a Pillsbury pizza dough roll or make your own. Pre-bake as per directions or your own experience to the just-golden-brown stage. Remove from oven but keep heat on. Prepare the toppings:

4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ onion, slivered
1 bag squash blossoms
2-3 cups grated mozzarella
¼ - ½ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheeses
2 Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper

OPTIONAL: 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or basil, or 1 ½ teaspoon dried basil or oregano
OPTIONAL: 1 cup chopped tomatoes

Directions:

Arrange the toppings on the crust, with the cheeses placed on last. Bake at 400 or broil very carefully until golden brown. Excellent served with a chilled white wine or a lager or pilsener.

CHILLED SPAGHETTI SQUASH & TOMATO SALAD
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

Cut 2 spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds and inner soft pulp with a large metal spoon. Place face down on a plate and microwave about 120 seconds per half (multiple batches should be necessary) until BARELY soft. If you lack a microwave, steam for about 6 minutes until just soft. Let cool, then plunge a fork longitudinally through the inside flesh and work it from end to end to make the “spaghetti”. Use a metal spoon to get out the last strands. Chill.

Cut one quart flavorful tomatoes into chunks. Chop 3 cloves garlic finely and ½ onion coarsely. Add all this to the cold squash strands. Mix in 1-3 tablespoons balsamic or cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon each Kosher or sea salt and black pepper, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and either 1 teaspoon dry or 3 tablespoons fresh basil.

Taste, and adjust for vinegar, salt, and pepper. A nice crunchy change of pace, this.


Day 4

STUFFED AND DEEP-FRIED SQUASH BLOSSOMS
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

Ingredients:

About 20 squash blossoms, picked over to remove any stray insects
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ c onion, minced
1 T olive oil
optional: ½ cup minced ham, baby shrimp, or sweet corn kernels
1 c ricotta cheese
1/3 c grated mozzarella
2 T grated Romano cheese
1 large egg, beaten and divided into 2 bowls
½ t each salt and pepper
3 T bread crumbs, semolina flour, or coarse yellow corn meal
1/3 c fresh basil, coarsely chopped
at least 2 qt. peanut or corn oil
commercial fish or chicken dredge, or seasoned flour
¼ c milk

Directions:

Saute the garlic, onion, and optional ingredients in the olive oil until the garlic has barely browned. Let cool, then mix into a large bowl these and the three cheeses. Add the salt, pepper, basil, 1 bowl (i.e., ½ beaten egg) egg, and the bread crumbs, corn meal, or semolina and gently mix. Fill each blossom only 2/3 full with this mix (a teaspoon works best) and gently twist the petal tips to close; lay on a cookie sheet after stuffing. Start heating the oil for deep frying. Prepare an egg wash by beating that reserved ½ egg with the milk in a medium-sized bowl. Dredge the stuffed blossoms into the commercial dredge or into about 1 c flour or semolina that you have seasoned with salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Then carefully roll these in the egg wash and re-dredge in the dry floury mix. Deep-fry about 5 at a time, until they float; drain on paper towels. This makes a great appetizer. Also very nice served with a tart dipping sauce such as the Agrodolce sauce of ancient Italy, but more creative dipping sauces may take less time to make than an Agrodolce

PASTA ESTIVI
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

This is another of the really light and healthy meals that match hot summer evenings. Estivi celebrates really good tomatoes and fresh basil or other herbs.

Ingredients:

1 lb. box capellini, fettucini, linguini or other pasta of your choice
boiling salted water
2 pints rainbow cherry tomatoes, halved, or 3-4 cups cubed heirloom tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 to 2 T olive oil
1 t salt
½ t black pepper
1 bag Genoa basil or herbs of Provence, chopped

on the side: grated Romano, Parmesan, or Asiago cheeses

Directions:

Cook the pasta and drain. While still very hot, add the salt, pepper, and garlic; toss. When at about room temp, add the basil and tomatoes. Taste for final seasoning, and consider adding a splash of wine or balsamic vinegar.


SUBLIME SALAD DRESSING FOR CUCUMBERS
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

Ingredients:

1 cup cider or rice vinegar
2 cup roasted (dark) sesame oil
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ cup peanut oil
½ cup light soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoon raw ginger, chopped
4 clove garlic, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 package special herb blend (fresh mint, anise hyssop or tarragon, garlic chive or scallion), de-stemmed OR 1 teaspoon dry tarragon, ½ cup fresh mint, & ½ bunch scallion
2 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon white wine
1 medium egg

Directions:

Toast sesame seeds in skillet until golden brown; cool 5 minutes. Put all ingredients in blender; blend 30-60 seconds, until smooth. Taste; add salt and pepper as desired. Keeps indefinitely if refrigerated.


Day 5

Burgers from local free-range beef with herbs and garlic
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef from local farm
1 t salt
½ t black pepper
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 T fresh local onion, minced

Optional: 1 t chili powder, ¼ t cumin, 1 T fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Mix all together. Form into patties. Grill or fry to taste. Serve on crusty bread.


Day 6

Cherry tomato relish
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

Ingredients:

1 pint local cherry tomatoes, halved
1 t balsamic vinegar
1 t olive oil
¼ t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1-2 T minced or chopped fresh basil

Directions:

Mix together and chill well. Serve on top grilled rockfish or steak.

REFRESHING CHILLED OKRA
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

An excellent light appetizer to serve guests or yourself, especially when the heat of summer makes heavier foods less appealing.

Ingredients:

one heaping pint fresh tender okra
ice water bath in a medium bowl
2 or 3 t of any good vinaigrette

Directions:

Briefly steam or boil the okra until the color just changes from bright green to darker green, being sure to start the cooking with either fully steaming vapor or fully boiling salted water. Immediately drain the okra and as fast shock them, by dumping into the ice water bath. Swirl okra in bath until cold, then drain again. Place onto a serving platter or into a pretty bowl. Chill. Drizzle vinaigrette onto the okra about 5 to 20 minutes before serving.


Day 7

CARAMELIZED CHERRY TOMATO SAUCE
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

Ingredients:

3 pints whole cherry tomatoes and/or cubed bigger heirloom tomatoes
½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoon minced onion
½ to 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
2 tablespoons brown sugar
fresh herbs

Directions:

Mix the above. Then attentively broil, not bake, in an oven until the skins of the top tomatoes have just blackened. Remove from broiler, and stir in half of the above chopped herbs, or fresh herbs of your choice (not dill). Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and taste for any further need for salt or pepper.

This recipe is one I treasure and retain from the days in the early ‘90’s when I was the chef at Restaurant Nora in the District. We got our heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes from a great journalist, organic farmer, and mentor, Ward Sinclair, and our much-beloved Gold Turtle Egg heirloom tomato was originally given to us by Ward.

The sauce is outstanding served atop otherwise mundane chicken, fish, shrimp, or vegetarian rice dishes. It freezes well, but taste after thawing for additional herb, vinegar, or salt needs.

SAUTEED SUMMER SQUASH WITH TOMATO AND CORN
(Care of Julia Shanks of Interactive Cuisine, Boston, MA)

Ingredients:

2 medium fresh summer squash, coarsely sliced
1 medium vine-ripened tomato
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 ear corn
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 tbs. fresh genoa basil
salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

Directions:

Cut summer squash into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Chop tomato. Dice onion, chop garlic and cut corn from cob. In a heavy skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté summer squash with salt to taste, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer summer squash to a bowl. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and add corn, onion and garlic. Sauté over high heat until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir and continue cooking for 2 minutes more until onions and garlic are soft. Stir in summer squash, tomato and basil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes, until everything is heated through. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste


Day 8

PESTO SAUCE
(care of Brett Grohsgal, Even’ Star Organic Farm, Lexington Park, MD)

There are many pesto sauce recipes. This one is balanced and straightforward and tested on countless restaurant patrons in my years of chef-ing. It freezes superbly if jarred and covered in ample amounts of olive oil. The oil stops oxygen from oxidizing the basil and turning it bitter, and is imperative. The recipe does require a Cuisinart or similar food processor; a blender tends to overheat the basil. --Brett

Ingredients:

¼ c olive oil
8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ t salt
¼ t black pepper
¼ c white wine
¼ c almonds or pine nuts, toasted and then cooled
about 4 c basil leaves (Genoa type)
at least ½ c more olive oil or vegetable oil
¼ c grated Romano cheese
more salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Sautee the garlic in the ¼ c olive oil until soft but not very brown. Immediately add the next three ingredients and simmer until the wine volume has reduced by one half. Let cool. Process all this in a Cuisinart until the garlic is fully pureed. Add the nuts and process until nearly smooth. Add the basil and PLENTY OF OLIVE OR VEG. OIL. Process further, until the basil is just barely smooth (no leaf pieces bigger than 1/8”), always adding more oil if the surface of the basil appears exposed to air. Add the cheese and process 15 seconds more. Taste for s and p. Place in a Tupperware or a glass jar and immediately be sure that there is at least ¼” oil floating over the basil. Keeps 6 weeks in the ‘fridge or 2 years in a freezer.

Serve over linguine or angel hair pastas.