Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kitchen of Coleman-Garden Variety

One of the best parts of summer is starting to come upon us. I love all of the fresh produce coming out of the garden and popping up at the farmer's markets. If any of you every visit Des Moines, the downtown farmer's market is a must visit. This week there were beets, purple beans, baby carrots, zucchini blossoms, zucchini, squash, and of course sweet corn! It is hard to think of a menu with such a wide array of vegetables, but I think I am up to the task. I also, for some odd reason, go through a lemon phase around the beginning of August every year. I still am in search of the "divine" lemon dessert; but today I am craving the taste of a lemon cream pasta with fresh vegetables. Of course, the menu wouldn't be complete be without a bruschetta and then some kind of fruit crostata. (Luckily for me black raspberries were the rave of the market this week!)


Sweet Pea & Caramelized Shallot Bruschetta
Fresh Garden Vegetables w/ Lemon Cream and Whole Wheat Penne
Black Raspberry & Peach Crostata with Vanilla Sugar Whipped Cream

Sweet Pea & Caramelized Shallot Bruschetta

1 tsp. olive oil
1 c. fresh sweet peas (You can use frozen peas if you want to. Frozen vegetables, although not as good as farmer's market, are still more fresh than produce you might buy out of season)
1 tbsp. fresh mint
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
4 small shallots
1 baguette
parmigiana reggiano

Saute sweet peas in 1 tsp. olive oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Just when they start to caramelize take them off the heat. Allow to cool. Heat remaining olive oil and butter in 10 fry pan over medium low heat. Add shallots, saute and cooking until deep golden brown, stirring intermittently, about 15 minutes. If they start to brown reduce heat to low. There is a difference. When you caramelize the vegetable it is releasing its juice and then reducing it down, therefore it is a slower cooking process than just browning the shallots. They should be golden, not "burnt".

Preheat broiler. Slice baguette into pieces about 1/2 inch thick. Brush olive oil on one side and place in jelly roll pan. Put under broiler until golden brown.

Place peas and shallots in mini food processor. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. fleur de sel. Process about 1 minute.

Place peas and shallots in mini food processor and puree until smooth.

Spread on baguette slices. Top with fresh grated parmigiana reggiano and minced mint leaves.

Fresh Garden Vegetables w/Lemon Cream and Whole Wheat Penne

One package Whole Wheat Penne
2 small zucchini
1 yellow summer squash
2 cups green beans
3 zucchini blossoms
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. vegetable stock (can use chicken stock if you don't have vegetable on hand)
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1-2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
fresh ground pepper and fleur de sel, as needed

Cook penne according to directions on package. Small dice zucchini and squash. Cut green beans into bite size pieces. Chop blossoms. Heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat in saute pan. Add zucchini, squash and green beans. Reduce heat to medium and saute until crisp tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add blossoms the last minute or two. Put pasta back in large pot, add cream, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook on medium heat until lemon cream starts to reduce and thicken, about 5 minutes. Add vegetables and salt to taste, cook another minute or two. Serve immediately with fresh ground pepper.

Black Raspberry and Peach Crostata w/Vanilla Sugar Whipped Cream

(This is a basic pastry crust that is used by numerous chefs. You can adjust the water as needed)

2 c. flour
1/4 sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter (some recipes say to dice, others say to grate. I prefer diced because I like the small pieces of butter in a pastry. They seem to bake better and are quite a bit more flaky)
4-6 tbsp. ice water

Put flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Pulse a few times to incorporate. Add diced butter and mix well with your hands (avoiding blade!) until butter is well coated. Pulse until butter pieces are the size of peas (about one minute total). Add ice water slowly, pulsing at the same time, until mix starts to form a ball. Remove pastry from processor and place on floured pastry board. Blend minimally to form a soft ball and pat into disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

Fruit filling

3-4 firm, ripe peaches, peeled
2 cups black raspberries
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4. c sugar
1/2 stick cold butter, unsalted and diced
1 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. vanilla sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. (A baking stone works great for this if you have one) Slice peaches. Put in bowl with black raspberries. Add the 1 tbsp. flour and 1 tbsp. sugar. Mix softly, but well. (A folding technique works best with tender fruits like raspberries).

Take pastry out of fridge and roll out into 12 inch circle, about 1/2 inch thick. Add fruit to center, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border.

Combine remaining flour, sugar and butter in bowl. With pastry blender, mix until crumbly. (You can use your fingers if you need to break up larger pieces of butter). Sprinkle over fruit.

Fold edges of pastry over the fruit, pleating it as you go.

Bake 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes.

Put cream and vanilla sugar in a glass bowl. Mix until soft peaks form. Slice crostata and top with a big dallop of whipped cream. Crostata is great warm but also can be served at room temperature.

Okay, so I didn't use all of the vegetables I bought at the farmer's market this week. But corn and beets just didn't seem to fit in. However, I have this great beet salad w/goat cheese and a spicy corn bisque that I will make in the next couple of days. I will post those recipes for you to. Let me just say that beets and goat cheese are almost like ice cream and hot fudge...they are meant to go together!


  1. That food all sounds delicious. I love the pictures from racoon river. Looks like a ton of fun. I'll have to go their sometime. Have a great day. See ya soon!

  2. Pretty sure the Coleman's need to have the Morris' over for dinner SOON!!! You always make the best things Ginnie. I too love the Farmer's market. Good to know the raspberries are good there!

    Cute pics at Raccoon River!

  3. your recipes rock! I can't wait to try some out. I'm so glad that I found your blog! looks like you've had an enjoyable summer.