By mid-summer your garden and your food markets may not yet have the local tomatoes, corn and peppers you are waiting for. But other produce is abundant – bush beans, lettuce, zucchini and turnips are currently plentiful in our garden.

I plan to combine them into a meal of cold green bean soup with a crusty loaf of bread, followed by turnip patties, creamed tofu with zucchini and lettuce au gratin. Offset the high cost of fresh raspberries by serving them simply – preferably unrinsed, with a dribble of partly whipped whipping cream or melting vanilla ice cream.


  • 8 servings
  • 20 minutes preparation
  • 15 minutes cooking
  • 30 minutes chilling

The summer onions, new potatoes, lemon peel and buttermilk give this classic a light, fresh flavor.

  • 3 tbsps. butter
  • 1 cup diced summer onions, the white part
  • 3 cups chopped green beans, stems removed
  • 1 cup diced, peeled new potato
  • 2 tbsps. flour
  • 2-inch-square slice lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or cereal cream with 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Heat butter in a large saucepan. Fry onions until clear. Fry beans until bright green. Reserve a few pieces for garnishing. Add potatoes, flour, lemon peel, salt and 3 cups water. Simmer until potatoes have softened (about 10 minutes). Uncover and put saucepan into a basin of cold water. Stir until no longer hot. Remove lemon peel.

Blend in a blender for a velvety texture; in a food processor or through a food mill for a coarser texture. Stir in buttermilk. Chill in refrigerator for several hours or in freezer for 30 minutes. Serve garnished with reserved bean pieces.


  • 1 dozen patties
  • 20 minutes preparation
  • 15 minutes frying

Turnips, as with other members of the cabbage family, have a bad reputation from being cooked too slowly or for too long a time. Frying helps you avoid these pitfalls.

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tbsps. soft wheat flour
  • 2 tbsps. chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded turnip, rutabaga or kohlrabi
  • Oil or half butter and oil for frying

Stir together the eggs, flour, parsley and salt. Stir in the turnip enough to coat evenly.

Preheat one or two large frying pans. Put 1 tbsp. oil in each pan. When hot, drop in batter to form patties. Fry until lightly browned on both sides (about four minutes). Repeat with additional patties. Serve right away plain, or with dollops of yogurt.


  • 4 servings
  • 10 minutes preparation
  • 5 minutes cooking

Tarragon enlivens the bland character of both tofu and zucchini.

  • 250 gms. unpressed tofu
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard powder or prepared mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (4 small) sliced green or yellow zucchini
  • 1 tbsp. chopped tarragon (preferably fresh)

Put tofu, oil, garlic, lemon juice, honey, mustard and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth. Put zucchini and tarragon into a saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Steam on high heat until wilted (about three minutes). Stir in tofu mixture and heat through, but do not boil (it may curdle). Serve immediately.


  • 4 servings
  • 10 minutes preparation
  • 10 minutes boiling

Prepare this when you have lots of lettuce to serve to just a few people. Dipping the lettuce heads into boiling water assures that they are quickly and evenly cooked.

  • 1/4 cup shredded
  • Swiss or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 1 large head leaf, Boston or romaine lettuce

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Preheat broiler. Combine cheese, bread crumbs and sunflower seeds in a small bowl. Cut the lettuce heads vertically in quarters.

Drop lettuce into boiling water. lift to drain and drop in again – this assures even cooking inside. Repeat several more times. When lettuce is completely wilted (about two minutes), drain well and set on an oven-proof platter or serving plates, cut side down.

Sprinkle cheese mixture over top and wipe any spills from dish. Set under broiler until browned (about five minutes).