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Recipes From a Farm Kitchen

Photo by PrairieWind Family Farm

“On the farm, summer is really two distinct seasons: early summer and late summer. Early summer is thrilling, with increasing day length, rainy and sunny days, and the foundational farming activities like daily trellising that will support our later summer crops. In late summer, the day length begins to shorten and we cherish each day filled with warmth and sunshine, beloved by sweet corn, pepper, peaches and tomato crops. We can feel that the season will soon shift to autumn, so we work hard to bring in the late summer harvests and enjoy the cicadas that serenade our relaxing evening dinners on the porch,” says Jen Miller of Prairie Wind Family Farm, in Grayslake.

Fresh Sweet Corn and Beans Salad

Yields: 4-6 servings

5 ears of corn, shucked

½ cup diced onion

½ cup chopped vegetables (Use what you have on hand. I used green beans.)

½ cup cooked beans, rinsed  (I used garbanzo; cannellini beans  would also work.)

3 Tbsp cider vinegar

3 Tbsp good olive oil

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ cup julienned fresh basil leaves

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

Balsamic Roasted Cipollini Onions

Yields: 2 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ lb cipollini onions, peeled

2 tsp sugar

1 dash red pepper flakes

⅛ cup balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan, add the onions and sugar, generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and red pepper, and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat until bottoms of onions are well browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vinegar, toss well, and cook on stove an additional 5 minutes, until vinegar begins to reduce. If your sauté pan is ovenproof, place it in the oven to roast. If not, transfer to a baking dish and roast in the oven. Cook until onions are fork tender, about 15 to 30 minutes.

Grilled Peach and Cheese Sandwiches

Yields: 2 servings

2 Tbsp softened butter

4 thick slices of bread

2 firm-ripe, peaches, pitted, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp runny honey

2 slices fresh mozzarella

¼ cup crumbled blue or goat cheese

Butter one side of each bread slice. Flip 2 slices over and top with peaches. Drizzle with honey. Top with cheeses and remaining bread slices, buttered sides up. Cook sandwiches in a large frying pan over medium heat, turning once, until golden and crisp on both sides, about 8 minutes total.

Recipes courtesy of Jen Miller, of Prairie Wind Family Farm, which grows a wide variety of certified organic vegetables and pasture-raised hens for eggs, and provides fresh fruit to CSA members, delivered to north and western suburban locations, and area farmers’ markets. For more information, a schedule of farm events and to sign up for this year’s harvest, visit