Unconstructed Farmer’s Market Cobb Salad


Loaded with farmer’s market lettuces, this is the freshest and easiest salad you can make!

Make this dish after your first farmer’s market visit of the season when lettuces of all types are bursting out of the ground and fresh as can be.

Layered rows look “uber” colorful on a large platter and all of the fixins’ are perfect for a variety of eaters who want to pick their favorites. Sweet onion-roasted garlic lemon dressing tops it all off and let’s the freshness of all the ingredients shine!

Cobb Salad
Variety of farmer’s market lettuces including: butter bib, romaine, red leaf, asian mustard greens, spinach, kale, micro greens
Radishes, sliced thin
Garbanzo beans
Corn, kernels off the cob and cooked
Grape tomatoes, red and yellow
Uncured applewood bacon, cooked and crumbled
Celery, chopped
Eggs, hardboiled and sliced

Optional ingredients:
Shredded chicken
Firm tofu
White cannelloni beans

On a large platter, arranged ingredients in rows as desired. Serve with Sweet Onion-Roasted Garlic Lemon Dressing below (dressing on the side).

Sweet Onion-Roasted Garlic Lemon Dressing
1 sweet onion (such a vadalia), chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, roasted
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
Juice of two lemons
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast whole garlic wrapped in foil in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, saute chopped onion in 2 Tablespoons olive oil till soft and translucent. Transfer to a blender and add other ingredients. Blend until emulsified.



Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait


Rhubarb and strawberries are early farmer’s market staples and go so well together. Skip the pie and go for an easy-to-make parfait.

Rhubarb grew out of my Grandma’s garden in the early summer and I loved the sweet-tart flavor of her strawberry-rhubarb pie as a kid. Now, I forgo the crust and have fun making these parfaits layered with  yogurt.

For extra farm-fresh taste, try sheep’s yogurt found at farmer’s markets and natural food stores. I used Turbinado sugar because it’s minimally processed and has a hint of molasses.  But feel free to substitute coconut palm sugar or approximately 1/3 cup honey. Use the best granola sweetened with honey or maple syrup.

3 cups rhubarb
3 cups strawberries
3 Tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 13 ounce cans organic coconut milk or 1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dice rhubarb and strawberries, tops removed, into 1/4 pieces. Add tapioca flour sugar and lemon juice and toss to combine all ingredients. Pour into a greased glass baking dish and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until fruit is soft and bubbly. Remove and let cool.

If using coconut milk, drain and whip the remaining coconut cream with vanilla and syrup. Alternately, stir vanilla and syrup into the yogurt. Layer  the dessert in a parfait glass or mason jar starting with coconut cream or yogurt and top with rhubarb mixture. Repeat to make a second layer and top with coconut cream or yogurt. Optional – sprinkle granola on top. Serves4-6

Cucumber-Pinapple Salad


Large slices make this a salad, or dice it up for a refreshing summer salsa.

1 pineapple cored and cubed, saving 1/4 cup juice squeezed from squeezing the skin
2 cucumbers; peeled, cubed and seeds removed
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
4 scallions
1 teaspoon chili powder
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup packed cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Combine pineapple and cucumber cubes in a bowl. Add jalepeno peppers, chopped scallions including the green stems and all other ingredients. Cover and set in the refrigerator for at least one hour to soak up all the juices.

Grilled Maple-Chile Farm Pork Chops


Take a break from burgers and serve these sweet and spiced up chops at your next barbecue!

Fortunately for me, Maple Breeze Farm in Westbrook CT is close by for farm fresh ingredients. Bonnie and Bill Hall run the farm and set aside some juicy loin chops for this recipe, along with their first batch of maple syrup tapped this spring.

Adapted from Bonnie’s Maple Syrup Pork Chop recipe,  I chose to soak the meat overnight in a cider brine…. so no one will ever say I serve dry pork chops. Brush on the maple chile glaze, grill till just pink, and serve with my Cucumber-Pineapple Salad.

Note – if you can’t find pork chops at a farmer’s market or near-by farm, select the freshest loin chops you can find, preferably bone-in.

Chipotle Cider Brine
1 cup apple cider or juice
1 cup water
1/8 cup kosher salt
1/8 cup turbinado or coconut sugar
1 chipotle pepper

Place all brine ingredients in a blender and blend on medium high for 1 minute. Transfer to a shallow dish and place 2 pork  loin chops with bone-in in brine. If chops are not covered in liquid, double the brine recipe. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Maple Chile Glaze
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Tamari soy sauce
1 teaspoon chile powder or 1 chipotle pepper finely diced
salt and pepper to taste

Remove chops from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Brush glaze in a thin layer on both sides of the pork chops. Grill on both sides while continuing to mop on more glaze without charring the chops. Done when pink and juicy in the center. Optional sauce can be made with remaining glaze by adding 1/2 cup orange juice and simmer for 10 minutes. Sauce can be thickened with cornstarch or tapioca starch.