Food Lovers’ Guide: Farm-Fresh Recipes

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Lemon Verbena Poundcake With Strawberries

This recipe comes from Molly Bloom, CSA manager at Eatwell Farm in Dixon. It calls for two spring favorites: lemon verbena and strawberries.

1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)   
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon verbena, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, separated
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 1-quart loaf pan, tapping out excess flour.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, verbena and lemon zest. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla extract. Beat in half of the flour mixture. Add milk and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating until just combined.

Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top. Bake on middle rack of oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown and tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, to make a glaze, place remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a large bowl. Slowly whisk the confectioners’ sugar into the juice until smooth and thick.

When the cake is completely cool, drizzle glaze over the top and let it drip down the sides. Serve the cake with sliced strawberries. Serves 8.

Raw Sunflower Greens and Pea Shoot Salad

Caren Hamilton of The Natural Trading Company, a certified organic farm in Penryn, likes this salad because it’s simple, healthful and delicious.

1/3 cup tahini
2 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 pound sunflower greens, washed and chopped
1/3 pound pea shoots
1 small onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup raw almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds

To make the dressing, place the tahini, tamari, vinegar, ginger and garlic in a blender and blend on high.
Place the sunflower greens, pea shoots, onion, almonds and sunflower seeds in a large salad bowl. Toss with the dressing just before serving. Serves 5.

Fresh Fava Bean Pure

Don’t wait to enjoy this hors d’oeuvre, a favorite at Soil Born Farm’s weekly potlucks; fresh fava beans are available for only a short time in late spring.

2 cups fresh fava (broad) beans
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed, or 1 stalk green garlic, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cumin and/or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Parboil beans in salted water for 3 to 5 minutes. Cool and remove shells. Place the beans and the other ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, scraping sides occasionally. Serve on crostini with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Or place in a bowl, top with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with fresh spring vegetable crudits. Serves 6.

Apricot Cherry Crisp

Annie Main from Good Humus Produce in Capay recommends searching farmers markets for heirloom varieties of apricots to ensure the best-tasting fruit.

1 1/2 pounds apricots, quartered
1/2 pound of cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
Zest of 1 lemon, minced
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss apricots, cherries, sugar, flour, ginger and lemon zest together in a mixing bowl and place in a 9-inch square baking dish. Set aside.

To make the topping, combine whole-wheat pastry flour, oats, cinnamon and cloves in a medium-size bowl. Using your hands or a pastry blender, work butter into the flour mixture until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle topping over the fruit. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until topping is golden brown. Serves 6