Labor Day may mean the end of summer to some, but not to our gardens. The produce continues, even though some herbs may have bolted and a few tomatoes have become fodder for the birds (or the chipmunks, as in my garden). Our wet spring here on the Cape resulted in a bountiful summer, and we took full advantage of it when cooking at Highfield Hall.

This year I joined a CSA (at Pariah Dog Farm) and, as luck would have it, my pickup time was on Tuesday afternoons. That meant I was able to bring lots of produce directly to the Highfield kitchen for use in Wednesday classes. Our recipes are chosen from newspapers, books, magazines, and the internet. Some of my favorite websites include,, and

The Farm to Table series will be coming to an end next week, but I thought I would share with you some of the “sleeper” dishes we made over the past few months. There are good recipes, and then there are great ones. Here are the ones that repeatedly drew raves, from both volunteers and participants in the classes.

I wasn’t present at the first class of the season; my colleague, personal chef Peggy Eagan, took over for me. These were a couple of the recipes that I heard about after the May 29 class.

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Risotto

1 cup each: snap peas and fava beans

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 TBSP olive oil

One and a half cups aborio rice

1 onion, diced

1 cup leeks, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

4 TBSP butter

1 cup spinach

One bunch of chives, roughly chopped

1 lemon, zested

Bring a small pot of water to a boil; fill a large bowl with ice and cold water setting it near boiling water. Add the snap peas until they turn a bright green and are crisp-tender; transfer to the ice bath. Repeat process with fava beans and diced carrots; pat snap peas dry and cut into bite-sized pieces on a diagonal; set aside.

Turn on the sauté function on your Instant Pot. Add oil and let the pot heat up; once the pot is heated, add rice and toast rice for 1-2 minutes. Add onions, leeks, and garlic cooking for 1-2 minutes until they begin to turn translucent; add butter and thyme, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot, and cook for 1 minute. Add stock and stir well; turn off the sauté function and turn on the pressure cooker setting. Set timer for 10 minutes; secure lid in place and close valve. Once time has elapsed, open the valve to vent and release the pressure. When pressure is released, open the lid and add prepared vegetables and spinach stirring until well combined. Squeeze in the lemon juice, about 2 TBSP—the spinach should cook in the residual heat in the pot; place the risotto in a serving bowl. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped chives and serve warm.

Raw Kale And Brussels Sprout Salad With Tahinin Maple Dressing

1 bunch of curly green kale

12 brussels sprouts

¼ cup each: sliced almonds, shaved Parmesan, and tahini

2 TBSP white vinegar

2 tsp each: miso and maple syrup

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup water

Prepare kale by slicing out the stems from the leaves; chop kale into small, bit-sized pieces. Sprinkle lightly with salt over the kale; using your hands, “massage” the kale by lightly scrunching handfuls of the leaves in your hands. The leaves will become darker in color and fragrant; transfer the kale to a medium serving bowl. Prepare brussels sprouts by cutting off the stem ends and removing any discolored outer leaves; use a knife to slice the sprout as thinly as possible. Break up any clumps and add to the bowl with the kale. In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, vinegar, miso, maple syrup and red pepper flakes. Whisk in the water until the mixture is smooth and creamy; adjust the thickness with water and adjust the flavor by adding additional vinegar if necessary. Pour dressing over greens and toss until well coated.

In a small pan over medium heat, toast the almonds stirring frequently until almonds are fragrant and are golden—should take about 5 minutes. Garnish with toasted almonds and Parmesan and serve immediately.

In early June we did one of my favorite classes that we call “Lettuce Entertain You.” You will see why if you look at the following recipes.

Whole Lemon Thyme Salad Dressing

1 small lemon washed well and dried

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp honey

2 medium cloves garlic finely minced

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 TBSP fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Cut both ends off the lemon and discard; thinly slice lemon, discarding seeds as you go. Place in a small food processor and pulse a few times; scrape into a jar, add the other ingredients and shake well. Use on salad, of course, but also on grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or as a dipping sauce for shrimp. Whisk some into mayonnaise and you have a variation on lemon aioli to spread on sandwiches and wraps, or use as a dipping sauce for raw veggies.

Salmon Chowder With Fresh Dill

1 TBSP canola oil

1 cup each diced celery and fresh (or frozen, thawed) green peas

4 to 5 cups chicken broth, divided

12-oz fresh or frozen (thawed) north Atlantic salmon fillet (skin intact), cut in half vertically if very thick

2 cups diced cauliflower florets

½ cup chopped fresh dill (coarse stems removed), plus more sprigs for garnish

1 cup instant mashed potato granules

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 cup whole milk

In a 4-quart saucepan combine the oil, celery, and peas; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add two and a half cups broth and bring to a simmer; lay the salmon on the broth and poach, uncovered, for 6 to 10 minutes or until just cooked through. Place it skin-side up on a cutting board; add the cauliflower to the pan and cook until piping hot and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape off and discard the salmon skin; flake the flesh into bite-sized chunks using a fork. Gradually stir the dill, mashed potato granules and mustard into the pot until well blended; stir in 2 cups more broth and the milk until evenly incorporated—thin the chowder with additional broth if needed. Bring back to a boil and add the flaked salmon; reheat the chowder until piping hot. Add black pepper to taste and garnish the chowder with small sprigs of dillweed, if desired.

Note: Be sure to check along the fleshy side of the salmon fillet and remove any bones along the lateral line before adding it to the pot.

Roasted Shrimp And White Bean Salad With Whole Lemon Thyme Dressing

1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp, tails removed

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

6 cups mixed fresh greens

4 medium plum or Roma tomatoes cut in bite-sized wedges

1 large avocado, halved, peeled and pitted

15-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained

2 TBSP pine nuts

Whole lemon thyme salad dressing (recipe above)

Preheat oven to 400°F; line a sheet pan with foil and place shrimp on prepared pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper; turn to opposite side and season again with salt and pepper. Roast for 8 minutes or until shrimp are slightly curled and opaque—don’t overcook—and transfer shrimp to a plate (the shrimp can be made ahead and served warm or cold on salad).

Place pine nuts in a small pan; drizzle with ½ teaspoon olive oil and a small pinch of salt. Stir to coat and place in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to turn golden. For the salad, arrange lettuce, shrimp, tomatoes, avocados and white beans on 4 dinner-size plates or bowls. Drizzle with a bit of dressing and scatter with pine nuts; garnish with freshly ground black pepper and serve extra dressing at the table.

Late June gave us more kale, wonderful garlic, and some gorgeous fresh broccoli.

Best Kale Chips

1 large bunch flat-leaf kale

Good olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, remove and discard the hard rib from the center of each leaf, leaving the leaves as intact as possible. Place them on the sheet pans, drizzle or brush them with olive oil, and toss to coat lightly. Sprinkle generously with salt and bake for 10 minutes, until crispy. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese and bake for another 5 minutes; let cool before serving.

Roasted Broccoli With Garlic Tahini Sauce

1 garlic clove, cut in half

1⁄3 cup tahini

2 to 4 TBSP fresh lemon juice (more to taste)

1⁄3 cup water

Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes for sprinkling

1 to 2 lbs broccoli crowns

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

In a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic clove to a purée with a generous pinch of salt; transfer to a bowl and whisk in the sesame tahini. Whisk in the lemon juice, beginning with the smaller amount—the mixture will thicken. Gradually whisk in up to a third cup water, until the sauce has the consistency of thick cream; taste and adjust salt. Heat the oven to 450°F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the broccoli crowns one half-inch thick, letting the flower buds on the edges fall off. Peel any large pieces of stem by gently pulling away the thick skin, then toss the slices and the unattached buds with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on the baking sheet in an even layer; roast until the tops are nicely browned, stirring and flipping the large slices over after 8 minutes, roasting about 15 minutes total. Remove from the oven and transfer to a platter; drizzle on the tahini sauce and serve, or serve the tahini sauce in small bowls for dipping.

Early July brought an abundance of produce, from green beans to beets. And, of course, we had to make some form of strawberry pie—this one was extremely popular.

Sesame Ginger Green Bean Salad

2 lbs haricots verts or slender green beans, trimmed and blanched

1 TBSP each: sunflower oil and grated fresh ginger

2 TBSP honey

1 tsp each; soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha sauce

1 cup tiny peas, blanched

2 tsp each: white and black sesame seeds

Make the dressing by combining oil, ginger, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil and sriracha in a small bowl. Dry the blanched vegetables on towels; when ready to serve, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add sauce and stir continuously for 1-2 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and starting to thicken slightly.

Add green beans and stir gently for 2-3 minutes, until glazed and warmed through. Add peas and sprinkle with salt and a generous grind of fresh pepper; stir again for 30 seconds. Sprinkle with light and black sesame seeds and serve hot or at room temperature.

Alice Waters’ Life Changing Marinated Beets

One and a half lbs golden beets, about 7-8 medium-size beets

½ cup water

3 TBSP white balsamic vinegar or your favorite vinegar

1 to 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (thyme, dill, mint, chives or tarragon)

Preheat oven to 425°F; remove the tops of the beets, leaving about half an inch of the stem. Wash the beets thoroughly and place them in a baking dish; they will fit in without crowding. Add water and cover tightly with foil; bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the beets can be easily pierced with a sharp knife. If the beets are not all the same size, some may take longer. Remove from oven, uncover carefully (steam will be hot!) and allow to cool. Cut off the tops and bottom tails of the beets; rub the peel gently with a dry paper towel to remove the skin(peel)—it should slip right off. Cut beets in half, then in quarters or eighths, depending on size. Sprinkle with vinegar and season with salt and pepper; stir gently and let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the beets to absorb the vinegar. Just before serving, taste and add a pinch of sugar if you note any bitterness; stir gently and season with a bit more salt and pepper if needed, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle herbs over the top.

No Fuss Lemon Tart

1 cup each: graham cracker crumbs and salted pretzel twists

6 TBSP butter, melted

2 TBSP, plus 1⁄3 cup honey

Three and a half cups heavy cream

2 TBSP lemon zest

1⁄3 cup lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups mixed fresh berries (like strawberries)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. To make the crust. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and pretzels into semi-fine crumbs. Add the butter and 2 TBSP honey and pulse until the mixture holds together when pinched and starts to look like dough; press the dough into an 8- or 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom to form a flat, even crust. Transfer to the oven and bake until toasted, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the heavy cream, remaining honey, and lemon zest in a large pot—bigger than you think you’ll need. Set over high heat and bring to a boil; once boiling, boil 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Let cool 10 minutes; whisk again, then carefully pour the lemon cream into the baked crust. Cover and chill 1 hour or until set; before serving, remove the tart from the pan and top with fresh berries.

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