Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Kitchen Gardener Cook

‘Local Foodie’ News

From within Buy Fresh Buy Local Chesapeake and without, I have heard many of you express the need to find a year round source of local produce and dairy. Then the issue comes in as to how to get it. Put it out there and the questions are often answered. Voila Washington's Green Grocer which serves the Washington, Baltimore and even Annapolis regions year round. For meat and poultry, Polyface Farms also delivers to the Annapolis area.

Watch this short, quick and gritty video telling about the Harrisonburg Farmers Market during the winter

and WHY you should buy local 

Harrisonburg Winter Market Video


The 36-Hour Dinner Party-and don’t you want to be there for that splendid communal gathering! Oh those gorgeous photos (swoon). Click through the slideshow in the NY Times Magazine.


Fall Farm Mezze Platter

Serves: a crowd or 1

Ah those little plates of gems from the garden are popping up everywhere. Call them tapas, mezze, Dim Sum, tastings or samplers they are a sure winner because one gets to pick and choose without getting overwhelmed by consuming vast amounts of one item. I've always loved sampler plates and used to offer a  salad sampler plate in my cafe in Santa Cruz, CA. I'm drawn to making a selection of 'starters' even when preparing the entire meal. Now I'll just skip 'the entire meal' and stick to those darlin' little plates.






Mini Bacon-Stuffed Potatoes

Sautéed Bright Lights Swiss chard stems, sliced

Okra with Coriander and Tomatoes

Pickled Okra

Local Goat Cheese with Pepper Jelly

Watermelon Radishes

Roasted bell peppers with Balsamic vinegar



 Serves 4

You were given the alert this recipe was coming when the eggplant was bountiful. One could eat their weight in this dish! It's a great dip that is simple and fast. Use as a starter, a sauce or for a dip with crudités.

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • juice and zest 1 lemon
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander, optional
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the grill to medium high.
Put the eggplant on the grill, close lid and grill/roast until charred and tender. Cool and scoop out the pulp with a large spoon. Place the eggplant flesh in a food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, zest and chickpeas Season well and whiz together. With the motor still running, pour in the sesame and olive oil and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Okra with Coriander and Tomatoes

Serves 8

  • 1 pound chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pound fresh okra
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and ground black pepper

Trim off any stalks from okra and leave whole. Heat oil in a saute pan and fry the onions
and coriander for 3-4 minutes until beginning to color.

Add okra and garlic and fry for 1 minute. Gently stir in the tomatoes and sugar and simmer
for about 15 minutes, until okra is tender, stirring once or twice. Stir in lemon rind and
juice and add salt and pepper to taste, adding a little more sugar if necessary. Serve warm or cold.


Pickled Okra

  • 5 pounds okra
  • 8 cups vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 8 or more dried or fresh chiles
  • lots of dill seed

Wash okra, leaving top cam and removing excess stem. Combine vinegar, water and kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Drop okra into boiling mixture (and chiles if you're using fresh chiles) and bring to a rolling boil. Place in hot, pint-sized sterilized jars. Add one clove of garlic and, if you're using dried instead of fresh chiles, one or more dried hot chiles (depending on how hot you want them) and the dill seed to each jar. Seal while hot. Let stand 8 - 10 weeks before serving.

Mini Bacon-Stuffed Potatoes

Makes 2 dozen


I used to do this version of small potatoes as hors d’oeuvres for many of the parties I would give. They were always THE hit! Maybe next time I’ll give you my version with a crab stuffing.

Sumac is a decorative bush that grows wild throughout the Middle East and parts of Italy. The dark purple-red berries are sold dried or ground and have a fruity, astringent taste. The Sicilian sumac and those berries grown at the highest latitude are said to be the best flavored of the sumac. The berries are picked just before they ripen and dried. Sumac is used in the cooking of Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Iran. Ground sumac is rubbed into meats for grilling and is good with potatoes, beets, and in mixed bean salads. This alluring spice can be found at Wilder Foods in Baltimore by mail order.

  • 12 small red new potatoes, boiled until cooked through
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup bulb onions or scallion, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • Ground sumac


Cut each potato in half and scoop out the centers with a small melon baller, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Mash potato with yogurt, goat cheese, scallion, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in bacon. Spoon filling back into potatoes, forming mounds so that they look like stuffed baked potatoes. Sprinkle with sumac.


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