Crazy news for fresh produce fans: the mild winter we experienced this year has meant that the summer produce season is running about two weeks ahead. Fresh blueberries—something we don’t usually see until July—are here already while strawberries are finished for the year.
But here’s some better news: while it’s not always possible to get to your local Farmers Market to get fresh, seasonal just-picked produce, I was pleased to hear about Kings Food Markets‘ Local Fresh 24/7 initiative, and eat some delicious food: warmed goat’s cheese salad and chile rubbed salmon all made with their finest local produce.
They have committed to offer customers locally grown, farm-fresh produce with 24 hours of harvest. This program is unique to Kings and was developed with Massachusetts-based Red Tomato, a non-profit committed to better connecting farmers and consumers.
I learned about this new initiative at the Jersey Best Bites event at the Kings Food Market Cooking Studio in Short Hills, in which I represented Barista Kids and Baristanet. It was a fun day with a cooking demonstration by Chef Kathleen K. Sanderson who showed how to use seasonal ingredients to make a quick, easy and delicious meal – the recipes are to follow.
The rest of the time was spent chatting, eating and listening to hints from a panel of NJ’s finest food bloggers. Deborah Smith, founder of JerseyBites.com moderated the event. Guest panelists were Rosie Saferstein, food writer for njmonthly.com with her column “Table Hopping with Rosie”; wine expert Peter Conway from Manoavino.com and award-winning food photographer, Conway Yen.
So back to food, chef Kathleen loves cooking simple and fresh which is exactly how summer meals should be; just let the fresh produce shine and the flavors speak for themselves.
Here are those recipes:
Salad with Warmed Goat Cheese
This dish makes a perfect appetizer that you can prepare a day in advance. All you need to do on the day is heat the cheese and assemble the salad.
- 2 x 4 oz log chilled goats cheese cut into 4 rounds (3/4” each)
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh cracked pepper
- 3-4 tbsp chopped herbs, such as thyme, parsley, rosemary and oregano (just use a combination of 2 or 3)
- 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
- 1 tbs Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup vinegar, red or white wine, sherry or balsamic
- 8-10 cups assorted salad greens (frisse, endive, mesclun)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Combine olive oil, herbs and mix well. Place goat cheese rounds in a shallow dish and pour the olive oil mixture over, turn to coat the cheese with oil. Cover and refrigerate 10-15 minutes.
- Place crumbs on a sheet of wax paper. Remove the cheese from the oil (reserve oil for dressing) and turn into crumbs, totally coating each piece of cheese. Arrange on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- Mix together mustard and vinegar; whisk in reserved oil (herbs and all). Adjust seasoning and set aside.
- When ready to serve, bake goats cheese in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Toss greens with dressing and arrange on 8 plates. Top each salad with a round of goats cheese and serve immediately.
Chile Rubbed Salmon with Sweet Pepper, Lime & Cilantro Vinaigrette
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients this salmon dish is so summery and fresh. And the Black Bean Relish is good enough to eat on its own as a salad.
- 6 x 6oz salmon tails or fillets
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp ground red pepper
- Canola oil
- Black Bean relish
- In a bowl, combine paprika, salt, cumin and red pepper, mix well. Brush the salmon with oil and sprinkle the rub over the flesh side of the salmon and let stand for 20-25 minutes.
- Preheat the grill or broiler. Grill or broil salmon for 2-3 minutes per side. Serve fish with the Black Bean Relish.
Black Bean Relish (makes 1 ½ qts)
- 1 x 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 5 scallions, diced
- 1 x 10oz package corn defrosted (or fresh corn, roasted first gives it a sensational flavor)
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup lime or lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- In a medium bowl, combine black beans, mango, red pepper, scallion,corn, jalapeno and cilantro, toss to combine. Add lemon juice and olive oil and toss to blend. Let salsa stand for 1 hour or overnight before serving as directed above.
We finished the meal with Berry Buttermilk Short Cakes. The recipe is on What’s for Dinner? on Barista Kids as its a surefire recipe the kids will love.
Kings Food Markets run a wide variety of inexpensive hands-on cooking classes check out their website for more information.