Welcome to FOOD & FELLOWSHIP: Old & New Recipes from the Green Acre Kitchen. Each week we will share three recipes, both old and new. When the day comes—and it will—that we can sit at a table and break bread together again, perhaps we will all have a few new dishes to share.
Here’s three recipes incorporating fresh local produce to help celebrate this amazing new season.
Pesto Pasta with Fresh Peas
English Peas or shelling peas have a peak season from May to early Summer though they can be found throughout the warm weather. They usually come in their pods but may also be found shucked. 1 pound of English Peas will yield approximately 1 cup of shelled peas. Frozen peas can be substituted but need slightly less cooking time. Some good examples of short pasta are Ziti, Cavatappi, Farfalle, Gemelli, Penne and Rotini.
1 bunch basil, leaves and young, tender stems
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup walnuts, toasted lightly
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup parmesan or romano cheese
1-pound short pasta (see above)
2 cups of English peas
In a food processor blend the rinsed basil, mint, garlic, salt and olive oil into a rough paste adding more oil if needed. Pulse in the cheese.
Bring a lightly salted pot of water to a boil. Add the peas and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until slightly tender. Remove peas with a sieve and allow to cool. Add more salt to water until it tastes like the ocean. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Drain pasta saving a cup of cooking water. Mix pasta, peas, cooking water and pesto in cooking pot, folding gently. Serve immediately with shredded cheese on the side for sprinkling.
Sautéed Swiss Chard and Garlic
Swiss Chard in all its colorful varieties begins to make an appearance in farmer’s markets in late April and will remain there until fall. Swiss Chard is in the same vegetable family as beets and spinach and a nutrition powerhouse with significant amounts of vitamins C, A and K plus iron. While many recipes call for trimming and disposing of the ribs, they can be cooked and eaten along with the leaves saving waste and adding visual appeal, nutrients and additional flavor to the final dish. Sauteed chard is a great side dish, but can be a meal when served over pasta, polenta or quinoa and pairs nicely with feta, goat cheese or parmesan. One large bunch feeds 2 to 4.
1 large bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed and diced, leaves torn into large pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
salt and pepper
Pour olive oil into a medium hot skillet. Add the diced ribs and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the hot pepper flakes and garlic, cook for a minute, then add the chard leaves. Gently stir and fold briefly until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Rhubarb Cream Pie
A big thanks to my mom for sharing this recipe from my great Aunt Ida. It has been used in my family for many years. Rhubarb is a very sour fruit and the original recipe called for even more sugar. As diets have changed over the years, we have lowered the sugar content.
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 beaten eggs
3 cups rhubarb, diced 1 inch pieces
1 recipe pie crust, double-crust
1 beaten egg, for egg wash
Preheat oven to 450F.
Blend sugar, flour, nutmeg and flour. Add beaten eggs and mix until smooth. Place rhubarb in a prepared pie crust and spread the egg mixture over the rhubarb.
For a stunning presentation, add a lattice top crust or add slightly overlapping stars or leaf shapes. Brush the top crust with an egg wash and bake for 10 minutes at 450F. Lower the over to 350F and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.