Cooking in the Bucket: Harvest that garden goodness

Kale Pesto paired with grilled shrimp and cheese tortellini is one of dozens of ways to bring summer flavor to your meals year-round. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

I am always so inspired after my trips to farm stands and farmers markets. Who wouldn’t be? Everything is so generous and beautiful and the farmers are so friendly. I want to buy everything, but I have to pace myself. I can only eat so much in a week.

During my last expedition it was the kale that spoke to me, along with the multi-hued plums. I couldn’t wait to get home to the kitchen!

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in Cundy’s Harbor Village. You can reach it at [email protected]

This kale pesto is bright and peppery and can be made year-round, especially for those times when fresh basil is hard to come by or you have such an abundance of kale that you don’t know what to do with. all. Of course, you can use any combination of basil and kale if you like.

For this recipe, use only the kale leaves and save those stems to add flavor to the soup. Pine nuts are traditional in pesto, but who wants to be predictable? Try pumpkin seeds, walnuts, or even almonds. Sunflower seeds work too.

Once it’s done, you can freeze the pesto in plastic trays with ice cubes and then put the little firm squares in a Ziploc bag to store in your fridge. These flavorful nuggets can garnish pasta, chicken, and salmon, and can be added to soups and sauces or spread on crusty bread, used as a pizza or veggie, and even rolled into mac and cheese. You have to choose. Mix it together in five minutes and be ready to enjoy the versatility.

The Plum Cobbler is so divine and reminds me of my first few summers here in Maine. We lived in a farmhouse in Bowdoinham and just down the road was a lovely plum orchard where a sweet couple sold several varieties of plums from their roadside stand.

This recipe is for any very ripe stone fruit, so mix and match as desired and adjust the sugar accordingly. You want the cake to be on the side of the cake to contrast with the ice cream on top.

My wish for you is that you find some delicious juicy plums that are worthy of this decadent summer dessert. Enjoy!

Kale Pesto

1/2 cup raw pepitas, almonds, pine nuts or walnuts

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese or 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups packed kale leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon honey or maple syrup, as desired

In a food processor, pulse the pecans/nuts and garlic until pulverized. Add the cheese or nutritional yeast, salt and a few grinds of pepper and pulse again.

Add kale and lemon juice. With the food processor on, drizzle with olive oil and process until combined. Season to taste. It keeps in the refrigerator for five days and can be frozen for two months. Yield: 1 cup

Plum shoes


2½ pounds ripe plums

Juice of half a lemon

1/2-2/3 cup sugar

4 spoons of corn starch


2 cups of flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup butter, diced

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup heavy cream, divided

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve and pit the plums, then cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place in a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish and stir in lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers or a pastry blender to process the butter into smaller pieces until the largest is the size of small peas. Add the vanilla and all but 1 tablespoon of the heavy cream. Combine the butter mixture with the flour, then mix once or twice with your hands to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Dust the dough with flour and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Use a knife to cut the dough into 1½-inch squares. Place squares on top of the fruit in the pan, spacing them slightly apart. Spread the tops of the squares with the remaining 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake the cobbler for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is puffed and browned and the fruit is puffed. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve with ice cream. Yield: 8 servings

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