Sunday, August 9, 2015

Farmer's Lunch, a Recipe You're Going to Thank Me For

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: As we all know, I've been basking in the joys of my CSA shares: fresh organic veggies from the farm (literally) next door. Not just boring veggies, either, but cool heirloom and foreign varieties that I've never seen before and can barely pronounce.

One of the great things about the Bumbleroot Organic Farm CSA is the e-newsletter they send out each week. It helpfully identifies the vegetables, so when Ross picks up a leafy bunch and says, "What's this?" I can sound suave and knowledgeable by saying, "Rainbow chard" or "Baby kale." There are also beautiful pictures, which, even though I walk the dogs by their fields every day, and see the stuff growing, I still find enchanting. (If you want to drool, check out their Instagram page.)

They also include serving suggestions and at least one recipe. This week's was Farmer's Lunch, so-named because it was quick, requires no actual cooking (perfect for hot days) and uses lots of fresh veg. It is, in fact, a vegetarian recipe, and if you left the cheese off, it could be vegan as well. I modified the original to bulk it up to feed four adults, so I suppose I should call it dinner.

(the original recipe came via Lecia Phinney's blog, A Day That is Dessert.)

2 cans chickpeas, drained
2 large cucumbers, or several small - we have an interesting assortment of cukes from our share, and I put in all three varieties into this dish
1/3  c chopped cilantro - we had run out of cilantro making a faux ceviche, so I subbed in a generous tablespoon of coriander. If you want to heat things up a bit, add some cumin as well.
1/2 bunch scallions, finely chopped
2 avocados
juice of one lime - use fresh, it really is better! If you get an extra lime, you can use it for accompanying gin & tonics.
1/2 c crumbled queso fresca or  mild feta. The former is pretty exotic for our little Hanneford supermarket, so I went with the latter.

My own addition: 2 cups (or more) of small shell pasta, cooked.

Peel the cukes, half and then quarter them, and cut them into bite sized chunks.

Peel the avocados, remove from the seed and cut them into chunks. Try to resist licking the avocado that will inevitably smear over your fingers.

Mix cukes, avocados, chickpeas, pasta, chopped scallions and cilantro (or coriander/cumin) together in bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the mixture, toss, then sprinkle with the crumbled feta. That's it!

Celebrate having such a delicious and healthy dinner by eating two slices of blueberry pie afterwards. No? Just me, then?


  1. Wow . . . this sounds delicious, and so easy to prepare; thanks for the recipe. [I think the hardest part of preparing this dish is the "try to resist licking the avocado that will inevitably smear over your fingers" but following up with blueberry pie is a heavenly idea!]

  2. I must lick the avocado, Julia. What is the point of preparing an avocado for salad if I don't get to lick?

    I'm sorry for not being around to comment much lately. I don't mean to worry anyone here and appreciate—very much—the notes I have received from Reds and commenters. Some of you know that my husband has been very sick and that I have been fighting the sick system of power wheelchair repair for myself. Until the paperwork clears the system, about a two-month process that doesn't include the time it takes to get parts and the actual repairs made, I am almost immobile. This means I cannot accompany Steve to his medical appointments or treatments. It's all leaving me a tiny bit overwhelmed and down, but I am okay. xoxoxxxx

  3. Oh Reine, we are all keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Can't imagine being immobile while your dear hub is sick. Wish I could send you a piece of Julia's blueberry pie!!

  4. Reine, my heart goes out... and I DO miss your inimitable comments.

    Julia, this sounds great! We've been eating lots of chopped up vegetables with cold pasta, jazzed up with chopped calamata olives and feta cheese, olive oil and vinegar. 'Tis the season! And joy of joys, local tomatoes are in! Ditto local peaches which taste like PEACHES.

    I just made Ina Garten's recipe for Pasta, Pesto, & Peas FABULOUS - you make a pesto and then whirl in spinach and a little mayo (!) serve over pasta and sprinkle with parmesan and toasted pine nuts.

  5. Reine--sitting here ranting on your behalf--2 months of paperwork is unacceptable b.s.!! And prayers for you and Steve.

    Summer recipes are the best, Julia and Hallie! My favorite is a gazpacho recipe from a dear friend--you'll note everything is chopped--I like the chunkiness of fresh vegs in my gazpacho. And this would be great with those heirloom tomatoes!

    Marilyn's gazpacho: 6 medium tomatoes, peeled, cored, chopped; 2 medium cukes, peeled, seeded, chopped; 1 large onion, chopped; 1 small green pepper, chopped; 1 stick celery, chopped; 1 clove garlic, minced; 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce; 1 quart tomato juice; 1/cup red wine vinegar; 2 tbsp olive oil. Sour cream/croutons for garnish. Will keep for several days in the fridge.

  6. Recipe correction for the gazpacho: that should read: 1/3 cup red wine vinegar....

  7. YUM! Happy Sunday, all! xooo We are in the Berkshires today, and off to hear the SYmphony!

  8. Julia, I want to come eat at your house during the summer. I love it when someone is so comfortable with using vegetables that she can say substitute this for that if you want or you don't have it. I really need and want to get more adept at using different kinds of vegetables. I do admit that I like the addition of pasta to your recipe, and, Hallie, I like the sound of your recipe with pasta, too. FChurch, your recipe sounds interesting, but I don't think I could do the hot pepper sauce.

    Reine, I have been keeping you in my thoughts, as I've been following your frustrating delays and immobile status on FB. I am so sorry that you are having to go through this, and with your husband sick, too, it has to be overwhelming. You are such an interesting person, Reine, that comments from you are always missed.

  9. Julia, I have half the feta left from the feta/cream cheese/olive oil spread I made for the peach and avocado toast recipe I posted on FB. (And I have to say that the spread, by itself, is great on crackers or crostini, or to just eat with a spoon! And is especially heavenly with fresh figs, honey, and prosciutto...)

    But back to your chickpea salad... we have queso fresca in our local supermarket, however, so I think I'll use that. I have everything else, including a bag of avocados from Costco yesterday. This looks like yummy lunch for me this week!

    And I love the photos from your produce share. So pretty. Our CSA has not been as great as I'd like this summer--I think first, way too much rain, and then too hot--but we've had terrific stuff from the farmer's market.

    Our peach and blueberry seasons are ending, however. Sigh.

    Reine, thinking of you every day. And we so miss your comments. Big hugs and lots of love to you and Steve. xoxo

  10. This looks delicious and I will definitely give it a try!

  11. I wish more people at my house would eat this. Yum.

  12. Definitely going to try this! And a friend showed me years ago to halve the avocado without peeling it, then strike a knife into the seed with a knife to twist it out. Then you can scoop the entire half out with a spoon and voila, nice, tidy avocado, ready to fill, slice, or chunk. Alas, no fingers to lick! This works great with thick skinned fruit, such as Hass...not so well with thinner skinned varieties such as Bacon.
    Now you may already know to do this but I was well into my thirties before I learned so wanted to share!