Green beans, one of my personal summer favorites, have arrived this week. I love their color, their snap, their subtle sweetness. Summer squash, too, is another long-awaited vegetable. All early summer vegetables have an easiness that lends them to the kinds of low-maintenance foods we crave during the chaotic summer months: sliced raw into salads, tossed in oil and grilled, folded into a pasta dish. All the veggies in the bag this week are great ingredients for backyard barbecue fare or quick summer meals before the ballgame.
Bright lights chard
Swiss chard salsa verde I love using greens and other vegetables to make sauces for meals; it adds more vegetable content to the plate and replaces less healthy garnishes. This salsa verde would be lovely over veggie dishes such as stuffed squash or sauteed beans and would be equally at home atop a piece of grilled fish or meat.
Swiss chard with olives and lemon The interplay between green chard, bitter salty olives and bright lemon in this recipe is intriguing. Oil-cured olives have a unique flavor, but I imagine others would work well here. Leaving the olives out is another option if you're not an olive fan or if you're for a slightly lighter (or cheaper) dish.
Purple peacock (Wednesday)
This broccoli-kale cross works equally well in recipes calling for either vegetable. If you love its purple-green coloring as much as I do, consider using it in a raw salad; the color tends to fade as you cook it.
Spring Rolls with Shredded Broccoli Stems, Vermicelli, and Red Pepper For a little extra work, you can have fresh, homemade spring rolls to rival the ones from your favorite takeout place.
Daikon, carrot, and broccoli slaw Another Asian-inspired use for raw broccoli or kale. Sub the radishes from this week's share and you've scratched that hard-to-find ingredient off the list.
Caesar-style kale salad with roasted onion and ricotta salata Or, treat the leaves like kale and make the Caesar-inspired salad, complete with sweet roasted onions and salty ricotta salata. Ricotta salata is drier and saltier than the fresh ricotta that comes in tubs at the grocery. If you can't find ricotta salata, feta cheese would work in its place.
Bruschetta with smashed beans, sage, and kale A healthy small plate appetizer or light lunch.
Lemon-dill orzo pasta salad with cucumbers, olives, and feta Great Greek flavors in this fresh pasta salad. If you have the choice, I wouldn't skimp on the dill.
Spicy cucumber salad Add a little spice to your cucumbers while these cooler July days last! Control the heat by adding pepper slowly to this salad. Sichuan pepper adds a different, tingly heat to this salad, but if you don't have any in the pantry, you needn't go out of your way. Plain crushed red pepper will work in place of the Thai chilies, too.
Radish cucumber salad This recipe balances peppery radishes and cool, crisp cucumbers to form a simple summer side.
Summer Squash: Zucchini, White Lebanese squash, Pattypan (Thursday shares)
Tuscan grilled zucchini and summer squash All kinds of summer squash are great on the grill. Seasoned with garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs, this grilled squash recipe offers a simple but sophisticated flavor.
Stuffed pattypan squash Almost too cute to eat, these sunny little summer squashes are great for stuffing. Try this vegan recipe for squash with vegetables or this vegetarian recipe for pattypan squash stuffed with corn. Grains (think rice, barley, quinoa, or millet) beans, and peppers are also great stuffing ingredients. Try smashed white beans, sage, and garlic with a little Parmesan. Or, rice, black beans, red peppers, and queso fresco.
Feta stuffed gem squash Try adapting this recipe for use with your Lebanese squash and zucchini this week. Feta and squash is one of my favorite combinations for summer.
Kentucky Wonder pole beans
Braised romano beans Green beans braised in an aromatic sauce of tomatoes, carrot, celery, and herbs. How can you go wrong?
Mark Bittman’s green beans with crisp shallots In a play on texture, this recipe combines bright green beans with pan fried shallots and almonds.
Long-cooked Romano beans with pancetta My family has always cooked bacon with green beans on holidays for a delicious side. A variation on that dish, this recipe uses pancetta. Unlike bacon, pancetta is not smoked before being cured and thus contributes a lighter flavor to the dish.
Pan-braised radishes and greens Looking for a break from raw radishes? Try this braised radish recipe. Cooking the radishes in liquid mellows their flavor and smooths out their texture.
If raw radishes better suit your tastes, try the cucumber radish salad listed under cucumbers or the snap pea salad below!
New potato salad and pea salad with mustard and mint A fresh take on potato salad that incorporates peas and mint.
Sugar snap pea salad with radishes, mint, and ricotta salata This simple side pulls together the flavors of spring in yet another combination. Again, feta or another salty cheese would work in place of the ricotta salata in this recipe. The salty cheese helps to balance and highlight the fresh flavors of the veggies.
Chimichurri sauce Whip up a batch of this sauce to use on anything that comes off the grill this weekend. It would be lovely on a steak or spooned over grilled veggies. Roasted potatoes or oven fries would be another great option.
Last night, I made a salad dressing using parsley from my garden by combining mincing and mashing together a little garlic, a teaspoon or so of capers, and about 6 springs of parsley, then whisking in sherry vinegar and olive oil.