“crab” cakes without the crab

We shoppers at The Collingswood Farmers’ Market are fortunate to have many wonderful farmers and vendors.  We are especially fortunate to have a wonderful mushroom vendor.

Our location is only a  short car ride away from the Mushroom Capital of the World, Kennett Square, PA.

Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms’ table is located (at the market) near near Duker T’s.  Their presence is small but their products are amazing.  If you’ve never eaten a fresh mushroom from Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms, you haven’t really tasted a mushroom.

Because Davidson’s grow their mushrooms indoors, they can guarantee to have portabello, crimini, shiitake, oyster, and maitake (Hen of the Woods) on a weekly basis.  They have now been carrying Lion’s Mane mushrooms regularly too.

Lion’s Mane mushrooms have a distinct texture that is different from a common crimini mushroom.  For this reason it is not recommended that the Lion’s Mane mushrooms be pan fried.  They will absorb all the butter or olive oil and become soggy.  Roasting is the best way to treat these unique fungi.

What follows is a recipe recommended to me by the Mushroom Man himself.  Because of their texture and delicate “seafood” like aroma and flavor, Lion’s Mane mushrooms can be made into “crab” cakes.

Ingredients and Directions for Preparing the mushrooms:

1/2 lb. Lion’s Man Mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic (roasted and then combined with the mushrooms OR 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (again, to taste)

Pull the root off the mushroom and discard, then shred the top of the mushroom like mozzarella cheese sticks.  Mix the above ingredients.  Spread out in a baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 35 minutes.  Stir every ten minutes during the baking process.

While the mushrooms are baking mix the following ingredients in another bowl:

1 Tablespoon dried parsley
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko for some crunch)
1/4 cup diced onion
1 egg
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon paprika
When the mushrooms have finished roasting, allow to cool slightly and mix with the rest of the ingredients.  Form into patties.  IMG_8908

At this point the patties can be put in the refrigerator until later.IMG_8917

Fry the patties in oil or butter until they are browned and warmed through.  10 to 15 minutes.
Serve them plain.  Serve them with your favorite sauce.  Serve them with mayonnaise on a roll.

My husband was born and raised in New England.  Fish cakes of any kind are a big thing.  He likes his served with baked beans….me, some mac and cheese.

My husband was skeptical…but he liked the Lion’s Mane “Crab” Cakes very much.  What he said was “these are actually good”! Definitely a recipe to make again and again (as we are part of the “aging population” and to share.


Mushrooms from Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms
Eggs from Savoie Organic
Mac & Cheese from Hillacres Pride

Amish corn pudding (with a little help from my grandson!)

This is an easy to prepare delicate pudding.  It’s perfect for a large group and perfect for when you grow weary of corn on the cob!

My grandson is a little more than four years old and he likes to help.  He likes to help in the yard and in the kitchen, specifically .  This recipe is easy enough to allow a four year old to help and complicated enough for a four year old to be proud to help.

(All of the ingredients were pre-measured and set up on our prep table before my helper stepped up on the stool).fullsizeoutput_58cf

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 small green onions (scallions), trimmed and cut into thin rounds
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)


1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly butter a 6 cup soufflé or baking dish.
2.  Melt the butter.  Cook the green onions in the melted butter until they just become translucent (about 3 to 4 minutes)
3.  In a small bowl, whisk the flour and 1/2 cup milk until smooth.  Set aside.
4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, and the seasonings.
5.  Next add the milk and flour mixture.  Then quickly stir in the corn and sautéed green onions.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
6.  Bake until the corn pudding is cooked through, 50 minutes to 1 hour.  It will jiggle when you move it, but it should not be liquid in the center.  Remove from oven and serve.
Great served with something off the grill!


This is quick preparation with a bit of a long bake so my helper, Pop, and I (Gramma) went on to build with bricks in the screened in porch while the pudding baked.  Our brick challenge (from a game where one chooses a card to see what has to be built) was to build a chair.  I think we did brilliantly!fullsizeoutput_58ce


Corn from Muth Organic Farm (but can be purchased at Buzby, Hymer, Fruitwood, and many other stands throughout the market)

Green onion also from Muth Organic Farm (can be purchased at many other stands throughout the market.

Butter from Hillacres Pride.


Easy way to save (freeze) corn to use when summer is over.  Shuck the ears of corn.  Cut the kernels off the ear…best to hold the ear on end in a deep bowl.  Spoon the kernels into zippered freezer bags.  Toss in the freezer.  Yup.  That’s all it takes.

Stuffed peppers in a slow cooker

When I was a child bell peppers came in one color and during one season.  Green.  Summer.  Occasionally someone would leave the pepper on the plant too long (or so we thought) and it would turn red.  But those were very exotic.

At the Collingswood Farmers’ Market there are green, purple, and white peppers for sale right now.  The red ones are coming.  It may be my imagination, but I think the purple and white peppers are milder than that traditional, old style green bell pepper.

This week I stopped at Muth Organic Farm to buy their white and purple peppers.  I wanted to make stuffed peppers.  The peppers were beautiful and the day was certainly hot enough to qualify as summer.IMG_8775

I learned to make stuffed peppers from my mother.  A traditional recipe to be sure.  Rice, meat, onions.  Stuffed in a pepper and put in a pot of tomato “sauce” and cooked on the stove top all afternoon.  I loved them.  But…as I grow older…this recipe is a little “harsh”.

What follows is an easy recipe that is mild and does not heat up the entire kitchen.  It takes about 15 minutes to prepare and stuff the peppers and to make a “mellow” tomato sauce.  Then everything is put into a slow cooker and cooked on low for 6 hours.  A perfectly perfect dinner for an extremely hot summer day.  While my dinner was cooking I was reading a book (…because I know you’re curious….the novel I am reading is the great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, written by Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset, tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period.  It is an enormous book and perfect for drowsy summer afternoons.  Try it…you might like it!) …  in front of an air conditioner.

Ingredients for the stuffed peppers:
a slow cooker
4 bell peppers
1/8 to 1/4 cup pearl barley
1/2 onion
6 button type mushrooms
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound ground beef
salt to taste

Directions for the stuffed peppers:
1.  Put the barley in a bowl and cover with water so that the water is about an inch above the barley.  Let soak while you are preparing the meat mixture.IMG_8815
2.  Cut the tops off each pepper and clean out the membrane and seeds that are inside.IMG_8812
3.  Dice the onions and mushrooms into small pieces.
4.  Melt butter in a frying pan and fry the onions and mushrooms for about 5 minutes (be careful not to burn them).IMG_8811
5. Drain the barley in a colander.
6.  Mix together in a bowl the ground meat, onions, mushrooms, barley, cheese, and salt.

7.  Stuff each cleaned out pepper.IMG_8821

Ingredients for the sauce:
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can tomato soup
2 soup cans of water
2 tablespoons dried parsley
the juice of one whole lemon
1 teaspoon sugar

Directions for the sauce:
1.  Mix all ingredients together and pour into slow cooker.

When the sauce is mixed and in the slow cooker, stand the stuffed peppers in the sauce in the slow cooker.  The meat mixture should not be covered with the sauce.  The filled peppers should be standing in the sauce.

Set the slow cooker to low for six hours.

Then go read a book.

When finished take the cooked peppers out of the slow cooker and stand up in a serving bowl.  Sprinkle some more cheese on top.  Serve with a bowl of the sauce on the side.


Peppers purchased from Muth Organic Farm (peppers are plentiful at the market right now)

Ground beef and cheese and butter purchased from Hillacres Pride

Onions purchased from Muth Organic Farm and ATBuzby

Mushrooms purchased from Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms

Romanesco and gray zucchini ….treasures found.

I have written before about the idea of the treasure hunt at the market. There are dozens and dozens of beautiful varieties of fresh produce piled up at all the farmers tables lining the market pathway.  There are blueberries and peaches, corn and tomatoes, summer squash and green, yellow, and purple beans.  All old familiar sought after summer treats.  This week at the market (and for a few weeks to come) I found Romanesco and Grey Zucchini!  These are two delicious varieties of vegetables that, until a few years ago, I had never heard of.  Now, I seek them out.IMG_8652

These unique vegetables were found at The Collingswood Farmers’ Market at Springdale Farms’ table.  Right out in front!

Romanesco (also known as Romanesco broccoli, Roman cauliflower, or even Christmas Tree Broccoli) It is not a new vegetable.  This variety has been grown in Italy since the 16th century. It is uniquely shaped like fractals (which should appeal to your computer and math wizard friends) and is  light chartreuse (yellowish green) in color (which should appeal to your artist friends).  It is crunchy when eaten raw and mild when roasted.  My husband is not a fan of roasted cruciferous vegetables so I steam cook our romanesco and top it with delicious sweet butter and some salt.  Then I mash it!  (I made this recipe for cousins from Ireland we met for the first time….when I’m not cooking I am researching our family tree…and they loved it!  Such a unique presentation, they said!)  It’s easy and different. And my husband will even take seconds.

Mashed Romanesco

a head of Romanesco
three tablespoons of sweet butter (or more to taste)
salt to taste

1. Cut the fractals from the core stem
2.  Fill a pot with a steamer basket and water up to the bottom of the basket.
3.  Steam the Romanesco pieces until soft.  Begin testing by sticking in a fork when you begin smelling the vegetable’s aroma.

4.  When the Romanesco can be pierced with a fork, remove it from the steaming pot and put into a bowl with the butter and salt
5.  With a large fork or potato masher (you could even use a ricer here), mash the cooked romanesco with the butter and salt.

6. Optional….at this point you could toss in some grated cheese or a tablespoon of cream cheese.  Allow the cheese to melt and mix.



The other exciting vegetable found this week was gray zucchini or Mexican Summer Squash.  This can be used in any favorite zucchini recipe.  The recipe spelled out here is for zucchini chips.  This variety of zucchini is mild and holds it’s shape.  It cooks up soft…but not mushy.

Gray Zucchini Chips

2 small to medium gray zucchini squash
olive oil
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
2.  Wash the squash (if you can’t find gray squash…but try!…you can use regular green zucchini) and slice into 1/4 inch rounds

3.  Pour olive oil in a bowl (you are going to dip the slices and coat the with the olive oil…a 1/2 to a whole cup).  Dip a slice of squash into the bowl.  Coat both sides.
4.  In a separate bowl mix the panko bread crumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper.
5.  Dip the olive oil coated squash slice in the bread crumb mixture.  Be sure to dip both sides.

6.  Place the breaded squash on a foil lined baking tray.  Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.
7.  Take the rounds out of the oven and put them on a plate.  Include a dipping sauce.

Dipping sauces:

…a bottled or fresh Ranch dressing is delicious

…or mix a tablespoon of basil pesto into a  1/2 cup of mayonnaise

Or…our new favorite…homemade Halal sauce (you know, the white sauce in a gyro…)

For Halal sauce mix together:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 single serving container of plain green yogurt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


Liz’s blueberry crumb bars

Blueberries are now in season here in NJ.  Every year when the market opens in May with strawberries and asparagus, I have to remind my husband that blueberries come in July…around the 4th of July.  And then he waits.  Not always so patiently.  He likes blueberries right out of the box.  When blueberries finally arrive at the market I buy six at a time (and hope I have enough).  Breakfast at our house starts with opening a pint box of blueberries, rinsing them, pouring them in a bowl, and setting them on the table.  My husband eats a pint at breakfast every morning in July.

My oldest daughter has two little boys.  They are not such big fans of plain bowls of blueberries.  But they do like cookies!  This is her recipe for a blueberry “cookie”.  It is very crumbly and is best served in a bowl with lots of ice cream!

Ingredients for the crust and topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup finely crushed graham crackers  (her substitution to please young palates….the recipe called for 1/2 cup finely crushed almonds)  If you don’t have already crushed graham crackers, just put the whole crackers in a plastic bag and crush them yourself…by hand, with a rolling pin, or, my favorite…the meat tenderizing hammer!

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Ingredients for the filling:
2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and drained (you want the berries to be dry)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1.  Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.  Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.  Grease the foil lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
3. Make the crust and topping:  Put flour, oats, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.
4.  Add the butter and using a pastry cutter, your fingers, or a large fork, mash the butter into the dry ingredients until there are no large pieces of butter.  The ingredients should look. crumbly and should hold together if you squeeze in your hand.

5.  Set aside one cup of the crust mixture.
6,  Dump the rest of the crust mixture into your prepared pan and press firmly and every into the pan.

7.  Making the filling:  Put the blueberries in a medium bowl.  Add the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice.  Stir to combine.
8.  Spoon the blueberry mixture over the crust.
9.  Sprinkle the remaining (the one cup you put aside) crust over the blueberries.IMG_8644

10.  Bake until the blueberries are bubbling and the top is golden brown.  40 to 45 minutes.

Let cool about 2 hours before cutting.



Blueberries are plentiful at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market now.  You can purchase them from A. T. Buzby Farm, Brookeberry Farm, Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm, Fruitwood Farms, Hymer Farm, Muth Organic Farm, and Springdale Farms.

Quick collard greens

IMG_8566Many people avoid buying collard greens because they have a reputation for taking a very, very long time to cook (which is only partially true….sure, you can put them in your slow cooker all day…but that’s a different recipe).  This recipe will have you enjoying your collards as part of (or even as) a weeknight meal in about 35 minutes. Nutritious.  Delicious.  Easy!

My husband is not a big vegetable guy.  Loves his corn and tomatoes and carrots…but broccoli, cauliflower, even green beans, not so much.  But he eats these greens!  He likens the collard greens in this dish to a “hearty spinach”.  That sounds about right.   If you haven’t tried collards yet, now is the right time …fresh and tender from the farm.

This dish can be eaten as a side dish…we ate ours with ribs.  IMG_8606Or it can be the main dish….add beans (kidney, black, navy…) and pasta.  And it can easily be a vegetarian main dish by replacing the bacon with olive oil and adding beans and pasta.

But let’s start with the collards….

A bunch of collard greens
4 strips of bacon, diced and fried crisp
1 spring onion
a lemon

1.  Prepare the collard greens by cutting off the stems (they are edible but require a longer cooking time).  Cut the stem out of the leaf.  Roll some of the green leaves together and slice in thin strips.

2.  Fry the bacon in a large frying pan (use one pan to cook this entire dish) until crisp.  Take the bacon out and set aside.
3.  Dice the onion and fry in the bacon drippings. (I always fry on medium to medium high heat….that way things don’t burn…)

4.  When the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes), toss in the sliced collard greens.  Stir the greens around so they don’t burn.  They will cook down and they will soften.  About 15 to 20 minutes.  IMG_8595
5.  Squeeze a half lemon over the warm greens and stir.
6.  Place the cooked greens on a plate and sprinkle with the crispy bacon pieces.  Serve!IMG_8596

Like I said a great side dish that can easily become a main dish.

Collard greens and spring onion purchased from Muth Organic Farm.
Bacon (no nitrate) purchased from Hillacres Pride.

On the dinner plate….pork ribs (Hillacres Pride), corn (A.T.Buzby), yellow zucchini (Muth Organic), cole slaw (made from Muth Organic cabbage), collards (Muth organic), tomatoes (A.T. Buzby).