Fresh From the June Garden and Farm

Thursday:Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

On a stunning day in early mid-June, I started thinking which week of spring, summer, fall I would pick as the harvest favorite. That’s a tough one as those little hand-picked strawberries rank high, but what can compete with the time period that yields tomatoes, cucumber, eggplant, corn blueberries, peaches and melons at the same time? I believe I just decided by writing it! Non the less, summer produce is a treat-period! Here’s a menu reflecting what is in season this week.

Crunchy Nut Encrusted Chicken Tenders

Spring Vegetable Ribbons and Chickpea Salad

Lemon Balm Blueberries and Gelato



Spring Vegetable Ribbons and Chickpea Salad

Serves 4

Grab those spring vegetables when they are young and tender. They don’t need much of a dressing because their delicate flavor shines. As I plucked some sugarsnap peas from the vine they were crunchy and sweet completely naked. If it appeals, a sprinkle of feta or chevre cheese is a salty fresh garnish.


  • 1 cup shaved fresh young fennel
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 3/4 cup radishes, shaved
  • 2 cups young zucchini shavings
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons tiny fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Simply toss all of the ingredients in a large shallow bowl and serve.


Crunchy Nut Encrusted Chicken Tenders

Serves 4


The term chicken tenders is just a short reference for the tenderloin of the chicken breast. Tender, it is and that’s the draw-even for the little ones. Make sure not to over cook as they get dry very quickly. Cooking time will vary dependent on size of tenders.

  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 1 cup natural almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh bread cubes, chopped very fine (I used multi seeded bread)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon garlic scape pesto (‘Fire Up the Grilling Season’ blog post)
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Preheat grill to medium high.

Rinse chicken and pat very dry.

This size of nuts and breadcrumbs allows the coating to stick

Pulse nuts and bread in food processor until they resemble course bread crumbs. You want some texture, but be sure not to process too much. Place in a shallow bowl.

Combine the 2 different mustards, horseradish, pesto, worcestershire in a shallow dish. Mix well.

Dredge the chicken tenders through the mustard mixture, then coat with nut and bread crumbs, pressing in firmly. Place on greased sheet of heavy aluminum foil. Repeat until all chicken tenders are coated.

Place the foil with tenders on the grill and close the grill lid for about 6 minutes. Flip tenders and cook for an additional few minutes until golden on the outside and firm to the touch.



...just a hint of vanilla-a beautiful addition!

Lemon Balm Blueberries and Gelato

Serves 4

As a lemon scented member of the mint family, lemon balm’s use dates back 2000 years is rich in flavanoids,  which can have an antioxidant effect and is considered a healing herb for fatigue, headaches, anxiety and depression. The fresh leaves can be used in sauces, salads, vegetable dishes, stuffing and as a garnish. As for the blueberries, we should all know by now they are one of the healthiest fruits available.

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon balm, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons local honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint gelato or ice cream of choice (pistachio is great)
  • Fresh lemon balm leaves as garnish

In a medium bowl add 3/4 cup blueberries and mash with a fork. Add the, lemon balm, honey and vanilla and mix together. Let rest 30 minutes to flavor. Add the remaining berries.

Place a scoop of gelato in each serving bowl. Top with blueberry mixture. Add a fresh lemon balm leaf on each.


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