Most Saturdays in the summer, my day starts at the Howland Farmers Market.
Some mornings I show up with a plan and a mental list; other times, I'll loop around the different stands, see what looks good and figure out what to do with it once I get home.
Just as I did last year when I had a summer food page assignment, I decided to look for a recipe that could showcase some of the bounty available at the farmers market, which is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 13 at Richard E. Orwig Park. And since some of the ingredients would be locally sourced, I decided the recipe should be, too.
Tribune Chronicle / Andy Gray
Favorites from the Simply Delicious?cookbook, New Wave Pasta, above, and Pecan Squares, take on more local flavor with farmers market finds.
I started flipping through the Simply Delicious cookbook, which was published by the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County about 20 years ago and featured recipes Andrea and Walt Lazar served at their downtown Warren restaurant of the same name. I got more feedback on the food page I did a couple years ago using its recipes than any other (and, no, I still don't know where you can get a copy of the long out-of-print cookbook).
Scanning the vegetable and pasta options, I came across something called New Wave Pasta. I'm still not sure why it's called that (I felt like I should listen to the B-52s or early Elvis Costello while cooking), but the remarks at the end of the recipe caught my eye: ''This salad not only looks great but tastes great! It's the best of the summer growing season - basil, tomatoes and green beans!''
Even though it's still a couple weeks too early for prime Ohio tomatoes, I decided to give it a try. There were no roma tomatoes as recommended by the recipe, but Shipula Farm and Red Basket Farm both had ripe, meaty tomatoes. Green beans also were in abundance. I didn't notice any fresh basil there Saturday, but I used some from our tiny herb garden and supplemented it from the grocery store (the recipe calls for a cup and a half total).
New Wave Pasta
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup basil leaves, loosely packed, then chopped
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
8 ounces fettucine noodles
1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed, then chopped
1 pound fresh green beans
6 ripe plum tomatoes
2 cups black olives
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1/4 pound parmesan cheese, grated
To make the dressing, mix the garlic, mustard, vinegar and pepper in a food processor. With the machine running, gradually add olive oil. Gently fold in basil and parsley.
To make the salad, cook the fettucine al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Drain well. Toss with a half cup of the dressing. Let cool. Add basil.
Trim and blanch green beans. Drain and plunge into ice water until cool. Drain well and add to the fettucine.
Wash, seed and coarsely chop tomatoes. Add to fettucine. Slice or cut the olives in half. Add to the fettucine. Add parsley and parmesan cheese and toss gently with the remaining dressing.
2 cups unbleached flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons whipping cream
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Line a 9-by-11 pan with aluminum foil and butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor with a steel blade, mix flour and powdered sugar. Add the butter, cut into about 16 pieces, and pulse until mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. Pour into the pan and firmly press onto the bottom of the pan to form an even layer. Bake for 19 to 22 minutes until slightly brown.
While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. Mix the brown sugar, honey, whipping cream and melted butter together. Add the chopped pecans and stir. As soon as the crust comes out of the oven, pour the filling and spread gently to the corners of the pan to form an even layer.
Return to the over and bake for 23 to 26 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and chill before cutting.
This is a dish that shines based on the quality of the ingredients. The fresh vegetables and herbs taste of the season. Served at room temperature, it would be the perfect dish to enjoy for an outdoor dinner.
I tinkered slightly with the printed recipe. I used about 12 ounces of pasta (whole wheat) instead of 8, and the dressing still was plentiful. I also used kalamata olives instead of black olives, and I probably used no more than a cup and a half instead of two cups since kalamata olives are saltier and have a more dominant flavor.
For the red wine vinegar, I used some bottled by Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, which really made the dressing pop but didn't overwhelm the other ingredients.
With all of those fresh veggies, diners can feel less guilty about saving room for dessert. And it will take a whole lot of vegetables to offset the calories in these Pecan Squares, also from the Simply Delicious cookbook.
Essentially, this is a pecan pie in bar form, although instead of using corn syrup, the recipe calls for honey. And in keeping with the farmers market theme of this page, I used honey from John Snider of Champion.
The honey comes through, giving the bar a distinctive flavor, kind of like if a pecan pie and a tray of baklava got together and gave birth to a very fattening baby.
There nearly is a pound of butter and a pound of pecans in the tray I cut into 28 squares (and make sure to follow the recipe instructions to let the tray cool and chill before trying to cut the bars).
Rich and nutty, they paired well with the bourbon pecan coffee from Raptis that I got at last week's farmers market.