Image of Damaris Phillips

Damaris shares some of her favorite recipes using ingredients from your garden or a trip to the farmers’ market. Photo by Kylene White

This month, Damaris shares simple, delicious recipes inspired by early spring produce — whether it comes from your tiny herb garden or your first trip to the farmers’ market. 

By Damaris Phillips

It’s the time of year when we start working on our gardens. Turning soil, adding compost dirt to our raised beds, digging, planting, and grounding ourselves back to the earth after a cold and long winter.  

I would love to say that I am someone who delights in these activities, but, truthfully, I am someone who likes the idea of gardening more than actual gardening. I’m good about planting; but the upkeep, watering and weeding just wear me out.  

My lovely husband takes care of our beautiful yard and I consistently grow less with each passing year. We are down to herbs, a cutting garden and strawberries — and the strawberries were the handiwork of the house’s previous owner so I can’t take credit for them. Luckily, we have so many wonderful farmers’ markets in Louisville that I’m still able to have homegrown vegetables regardless of how much I’m reaping on my own. 

While I don’t love to garden, I do love what gardens produce. I delight in arranging flowers and cooking seasonal produce that makes the most fun and flavorful food. My enthusiasm for the spring harvest could not be any greater after a long winter, but as we all know, it’s still chilly here and the garden’s bounty is somewhat limited until later in the season. In May, you won’t have a large variety of produce, but what you do have you’ll have in spades. Parsley anyone?  

Parsley, mint, onions and rhubarb are a few of the early plants that will be flourishing right about now. So, here are a couple of my favorite recipes that can make the most of your gardens’ bounty or your first trip to the farmers’ market. 

Image of garden-fresh pesto

SPRING PESTO

Ingredients:

  •  2/3 cup walnuts (Pecans, pine nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas will also work.) 
  • 1/2 cup hard cheese (Parmesan, Asiago, Aged Gouda) 
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt 
  • 8 cloves roasted garlic or 1 garlic scape chopped  
  • 8 cups spring greens and herbs (combination of parsley, mint, spring onion tops, kale, and arugula)  
  • 1 cup olive oil 

Method: 

  1. Add the walnuts, cheese and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are pulverized. Add the garlic cloves and pulse. With the motor running, add the herbs. Drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and add remaining salt if needed. 
  2. Store covered in the refrigerator for 1 week or freezer for 6 months. 

Image of strawberry rhubarb crisp

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CRISP 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup rolled oats  
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar 
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 1 quart strawberries, halved 
  • 3 cups chopped rhubarb (one-inch pieces) 
  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 3 tbsp bourbon  
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Honey Greek yogurt, for a garnish

Method:

  1. Evenly cover the fruit with the topping and let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Place the dish on a baking sheet so that you catch any juices that may bubble over.  
  2. Bake until the filling thickens and begins to bubble to the top and the topping is golden brown — about 45-50 minutes. 
  3. After removing it from the oven, let the crisp cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with honey Greek yogurt.

Want more delicious recipes? Check out Damaris’s Vegetarian Stroganoff in her Meat-Free Southern Cuisine column.