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Market Fresh: Summer's bounty


Anne Freeze



With the farmers' markets getting more and more bountiful, it is time to load up your plate or bowl with all these beautiful colors and flavors.  


Today I've chosen recipes that will use as many different fresh ingredients as possible. The first is from one of the early Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) cookbooks. I am one of many who have collected everything she has ever written. I like her style and have never been disappointed. I've been making this version of Tabbouleh salad for several years and am at the point now that I use what I have on hand, be it bulgur or quinoa or faro. Most versions in the stores are primarily bulgur (cracked wheat) with a little bit of parsley and sometimes some mint. The traditional Lebanese salad is primarily a parsley salad with a little bulgur tossed in it. Ina's recipe is a meeting in the middle. 


The second recipe is from Frank Stitt of Birmingham, Alabama. I hear so many people who stay away from soup in the summer, and I ask, "Why?" Summer is just the time to make soup with the freshest of ingredients. I think you'll agree when you taste his field pea and okra soup. 


Anne Freeze enjoys good food and loves to cook. She was a restaurant general manager and owner of a gourmet food store before moving to Columbus. She can be reached at [email protected] 






Makes 8 servings 




1 cup bulgur wheat 


1 1/2 cups boiling water 


3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons) 


1/4 cup good olive oil (extra-virgin) 


3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 


1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts 


1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves 


1 cup chopped parsley 


1 cucumber (unpeeled if tender, peeled if older), seeded and medium-diced 


2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or large tomatoes diced 


1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 




  • Place the bulgur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about an hour. 


  • Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper; mix well. Season to taste and serve, or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if allowed to sit for a few hours. 


    (Source: "Barefoot Contessa Parties!" by Ina Garten) 








    1 tablespoon olive oil 


    2 onions, finely diced 


    2 carrots, peeled and finely diced 


    2 celery stalks, finely diced 


    1 leek, trimmed, cleaned and finely diced (Save green top for bouquet garni) 


    1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced 


    2 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed 


    Freshly ground black pepper 


    2 garlic cloves, 1 finely minced, 1 crushed 


    3 parsley sprigs, 3 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves and reserved leek top, tied together to make a bouquet garnish) 


    2 cups field peas 


    6 cups chicken broth (low-sodium if canned) 


    Kosher salt 


    1 cup sliced okra, 1- to 2-inch slices 


    2 tomatoes, seeded and diced 


    4 sprigs basil, leaves removed and torn into little pieces 


    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 




  • Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, leek, bell pepper, corn, season with pepper, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 5 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant and the vegetables are soft. Add the bouquet garnish, peas, broth, and a good pinch of salt and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Skim any foam that rises to the surface and simmer gently, partially covered, for about 25 minutes. 


  • Add the okra and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning. 


  • While the soup is simmering, combine the tomatoes, crushed garlic, herbs, and extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss together and allow flavors to marry for about 10 minutes. 


  • Ladle the soup into warm soup bowls and place a small spoonful of the tomatoes in the center of each one. 


    (Source: "Frank Stitt's Southern Table)



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