Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Farm to Table at Home: Kitchen Table Talk #3

July's Kitchen Table Talk was all about preparing delicious meals with produce from the farmers' market or CSA box.  Chef Lesley Stiles demonstrated two easy and tasty salads.  The dinner was hosted by author Yvonne Prinz.

We discussed some of our favorite ways to use fresh produce and ate a locally sourced meal full of wonderful fruits and vegetables.

Recipes for Lesley's salads are below.

Sweet and Sour Tomatoes
2 pounds of assorted heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons of honey
¼ cup of seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoon spice mixture (recipe follows) or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Put tomatoes, green onions and cilantro in a bowl and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add spice mixture and heat until bubbly, about 2 minutes.
Slowly add honey and rice vinegar. Cook for 3 more minutes or until a little thick and gooey.
Pour mixture over tomatoes, cilantro and green onions. Season with salt and let sit for about 5 minutes before using.

Spice Mixture
½ teaspoon cardamom pods 
2 teaspoons fenugreek 
½ teaspoon coriander seeds 
4 cinnamon sticks, crushed 
2 star anise 
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds 
3 tablespoons of cumin seed 

Place all spices in a dry, non stick sauté pan.
Turn temperature to medium high heat and toast the spices until the seeds begin to pop and the pan is lightly smoking. This should be extremely fragrant at this point. Do not burn the spices. Remove from heat and let cool. Grind all together in a coffee grinder. Store in a tightly covered jar in a dark place.

Mushrooms w/ Lemon and Parmesan
2 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
Juice and peel of 2 lemons
½ bunch Italian parsley, chopped fine
½ pound of parmesan reggiano
2 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt

Mix mushrooms, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and peel, olive oil and salt in a bowl. Shave parmesan on top w/ a vegetable peeler. Serves 4 to 6.
Watermelon, Basil and Feta Salad w/ Balsamic Vinegar This may sound nuts as a salad but you have to try it to taste how luscious basil and watermelon can be together. Adding the feta and balsamic even out the sweet, sour, bitter and salty flavors.

One small watermelon will make enough salad for 10 to 12 people so you can double the recipe for a crowd.
½ of a small watermelon, peeled and cubed
20 basil leaves, sliced thinly
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt

Toss watermelon and basil in a bowl. Mix in vinegar and olive oil and lightly toss. Mix in feta and season with salt. Serves 6.

Water melon is also great in smoothies. You can freeze it and use as the ice so as not to water down the flavor. Same goes for strawberries and pineapple too. Put a cup of yogurt into a blender. It can be vanilla or plain. Add about a cup of cut up watermelon and a few whole strawberries. To make it a little sweeter, add a tablespoon of your favorite jam. Add about a ¼ cup of orange juice and blend it up. This will make about 3 cups of smoothie. Jamba juice eat your heart out!
Lesley Stiles


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  2. You can freeze it and use as the ice so as not to water down the flavor. Same goes for strawberries and pineapple too. Put a cup of yogurt into a blender
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