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Roughly chop a bunch of kale, including the stems. Put in a food processor along with two cloves of garlic (or more or less depending on your garlic taste), three quarters of a cup of toasted walnuts or pine nuts, and three quarters of a cup of grated parmesan. Give these ingredients a few pulses to get them going, then turn on the processor and slowly add olive oil until it looks, well, pesto-y. Keep it going for another few seconds to keep it all together. Eat fresh within a few days or freeze. (Hint for pesto freezing: put it in an ice tray, freeze it, and then store the individual cubes for use throughout the winter!)

Variations:

Add the juice of one lemon or zest of half a lemon before blending.

Supplement kale with some basil.

Use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan.

For dressing: combine one small tin anchovies (8-10 pieces), one clove of garlic, two tablespoons of dijon mustard, and the juice of one lemon. Once combined, slowly add olive oil and keep blending until it makes a creamy dressing texture. Mix in a quarter cup of parmesan, along with salt and pepper to taste, and store in the fridge while you prep the salad.

For salad: separate kale leaves from the stems (use the stems in a stir fry or in your pesto). Roughly chop thin slivers, less than half an inch wide. Add other sturdy ingredients you like, such as fresh croutons, radishes, cucumbers, shrimp. Dress in advance of serving - kale does well when it gets to sit in dressing for a while, unlike many other salad bases (but leave out the croutons and shrimp until just before you serve it!).

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Separate the leaves of a bunch of kale from the stems. Cut leaves into chips approximately an inch and a half on each side (but don't worry if they're varied). Drizzle enough olive oil over the kale to get all the pieces a light coating, then salt and pepper to taste. Toss the kale to make sure all the pieces are fully covered with oil and seasoning - doing it by hand is best. Bake until they're crispy and getting a little translucent probably around 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Shake them around once or twice while baking to make sure all sides are cooked relatively evenly. Cool to room temperature before eating (and make lots because they go faster thank you think!)

Mix it up by adding your favorite flavors and spices to the seasoning stage - smoked paprika? red pepper flakes? lemon juice? parmesan?

Southern collards

Another member of the leafy greens contingent, collard greens are in the same broccoli family as kale and have much of the same nutritional value. But these greens have attitude - they stand up to a hefty cooking effort and pack a bitter punch. Here's a pretty traditional southern approach to taming the collard beast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of collard greens
  • 4-6 thick slices of bacon or pancetta depending on your taste, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced, or 2 cloves of garlic and a shallot or small onion
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. cider vinegar, or to taste

Cut off the stems of the collard greens, then roll and slice crosswise into half-inch wide strips. Fry up the bacon in a deep skillet until crispy, then set aside on paper towels to drain (but keep the bacon fat in the skillet. Put the garlic/onion in the skillet and fry on low heat for about a minute, then add a handful of greens and cover (but keep all on low or medium-low so nothing burns). Let that handful wilt, then add another handful, continuing this pattern until you've incorporated all of the greens.

Let the greens continue to simmer covered, on low, for anywhere from 15 (for crisper greens) to 35 (for more wilty ones) minutes. When they've achieved your desired texture, add red pepper flakes, and salt to taste. Start with one tablespoon of the cider vinegar, mix it in, then add more if you like.

One of the best summer drinks out there is a Pimm's Cup, which we get from the Brits. Of course, the fact that it features cucumbers makes it all the better.

Ingredients:

  • Pimm's No. 1 (a gin-based liqueur)
  • Club soda
  • Lemons
  • Cucumber, sliced into thin spears
  • Ice

Fill a glass halfway with ice. Add a shot and a half of Pimm's No. 1 (about a fifth of the glass once it has ice) and fill with club soda. Squeeze in two slices of lemon and add two spears of cucumbers. For even more cucumber flavor, if you have a juicer, squeeze in the juice from a quarter of a cucumber.

Here at Waldingfield, we're excited to have a range of heirloom varieties of summer squash and zucchini: Patty Pans (the flying saucers), Floridor (the small yellow softballs), and the crooknecks - Zephyr and Lady Godiva. All of these can be eaten entirely, skin and all. There are also yellow zucs and Italian green stripe zucs to go with our standard green ones. Look to these fruits (yes, they are technically fruits) for magnesium, niacin, potassium, and other elements that are critical for cell function.

It's hard to beat grilled produce in the summer, so here's a fun grilled squash and zucchini recipe (with a hat tip to Bobby Flay).

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium summer zucchini or squash, sliced very thinly (about half a centimeter thick)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, basil, mint, or oregano (or a mixture)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Wedge of pecorino romano or other hard, nutty cheese
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or shaved almonds

Lightly coat squash with enough olive oil just to make sure they don't burn. Grill on medium-low heat until soft. Meanwhile, mix together mustard, lemon juice and zest, herbs, honey, and enough olive oil to bring them together (probably a third of a cup or so). Salt and pepper vinaigrette to taste. Once the squash are cooked, toss in vinaigrette and let sit at room temperature for at least ten minutes. Plate portions individually, and top with toasted nuts and a few slices of cheese.

Zucchini veggie burger

with thanks to Mark Bittman's awesome cookbook How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Note: a food processor will make this recipe quite easy.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 large shallot or 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped, or chili flakes
  • cumin, curry powder, cardamom or other dried spices to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated (easier in food processor)
  • 2 ears' worth of corn kernels (2 cups, ish)
  • 8 baby bella mushrooms or equivalent other mushrooms, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • cornmeal
  • all-purpose flour if needed

Heat up a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, put the onion, garlic, and jalapeño in the food processor (once you've removed the zucchini!) and pulse until it's all minced and combined. Put in skillet and add plenty of salt and pepper.

Add zucchini and a quarter of the corn to the onion mix. After a minute, add the mushrooms. Meanwhile, put the rest of the corn in a food processor and let it run until the corn becomes paste-like. Keep cooking the zucchini and once all the water is released from the veggies and starts to evaporate, add the corn paste and about half a cup of cornmeal, along with a teaspoon or two of cumin, cardamom, curry, or your other spices. Stir all together and if the cornmeal isn't showing up dry, add a couple tablespoons more. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. If it still seems wet, add a little flour to bind it together. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Form patties of whatever size you like, about three quarters of an inch thick, and let them rest for a few minutes. Wipe out your skillet, heat oil in it to medium, and add patties. They should take about five minutes on each side to form a nice brown crust.

This is a refreshing side dish or garnish for your hot summery meals.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small-medium cucumbers
  • 3 cups plain yogurt - greek works great
  • 2 cloves garlic, or less if you're not a fan
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • squeeze of lemon juice, about a quarter or half lemon's worth
  • salt and pepper

First, prep the cucumbers: Cut the cucumber lengthwise so that you avoid the seeds (discard the core). Then dice what you have into centimeter-long pieces and set in one layer on paper towels to extract some of the moisture. Meanwhile, mince the garlic into the yogurt and finely chop the mint into it. Add lots of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Finally, once you have created a refreshing and flavorful base, add the cukes.

Zucchini Nut Bread

With thanks again to Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, plus some for your pan (leave it in the fridge till you need it)
  • 2 cups flour (whole wheat works great)
  • 1 cup raw sugar, or regular sugar if you prefer
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • zest of one lemon or one orange
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small-medium zucchini (or try summer squash)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or cashews or nut of your choice.

Peel and grate the zucchini so you have about a cup of it. Preheat the oven to 350 and use some butter to grease a loaf pan (9x5).

Stir the dry ingredients together. Cut the butter into small pieces and then, using two knives, cut it into the dry ingredients.

Beat juice, zest, and egg together. Pour into the dry ingredients but only mix enough to get the dough moist - don't beat or smooth it out. Add and mix in the zucchini and nuts.

Pour dough into loaf pan. Bake for about an hour, until the top is golden brown and you can stick in a toothpick and have it come out clean.

with thanks to Mastering the Grill by Andrew Schloss and David JoachimSage Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 lb new potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage
  • 10-20 leaves fresh sage
  • olive oil to coat, about 1/4 cup
  • salt and pepper

Quarter your potatoes, or if they're on the larger side, cut them into sixths. Mix together olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and dried sage. Add the potatoes and let sit for about 10 minutes. Heat up the grill to medium-high and grill the potatoes, turning every couple of minutes for about 10 minutes. Top with fresh sage and let it sizzle, then remove everything from the grill. Cool and serve.

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