End of Summer Harvest with Chef Jen


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Today might be the last day of summer, but it’s a great time to visit your local farmers market. Today we’re talking about late harvest finds and some tasty recipes you can make with Chef Jen!

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Serves 6

All you need:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
  • ½ cup mayo
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3 large cucumbers (or 8 small ones), peeled and sliced 
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced

All you do:

1. Place dill, mayo, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

2. Add sliced cucumbers and red onion and toss gently to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.


Serves 8

All you need:

  • 2 small eggplants
  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 yellow squashes
  • 2 zucchinis


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Chopped basil and parsley, for garnish

All you do:

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Slice eggplants, tomatoes, squash and zucchini very thin and set aside.

3. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add fresh basil and remove pan from heat.

4. Arrange sliced veggies on top of the sauce and drizzle with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer.

5. Garnish the ratatouille with basil and parsley and serve.

Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon and Goat Cheese

Serves 6

All you need:

  • 1 (3 lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced small
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Crumbled goat cheese, for garnish

All you do:

1.  Preheat oven to 425. Place butternut squash, onion, red pepper and garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until browned and crispy and all the fat as rendered, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

3. Add the roasted squash mixture to the saucepan along with the chicken stock and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Puree with an immersion blender until creamy and smooth.

4. Finish the soup with fresh thyme. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cooked bacon and crumbled goat cheese.

Kale and Roasted Beet Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing

Serves 8

All you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 small beets (red and/or golden), scrubbed clean
  • 2 bunches kale, stemmed and chopped
  • ½ cup toasted pecan halves
  • Dressing 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

All you do:

1. Preheat oven to 450. Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven or oven-safe casserole dish with olive oil. Trim the stems of the beets with kitchen shears. Place the beets in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared pan and cover the pan with foil. Place in the oven for 1 hour, flipping the beets halfway through roasting. After cooking, allow the beets to cool for 5-10 minutes, then cut off the stems and tails. Peel the skin with your hands under cold running water, then quarter the beets.

2. Place kale in a large mixing bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over the kale. Massage with your hands for 1-2 minutes, or until broken down slightly.

3. Transfer kale to a serving platter and top with roasted beets and toasted pecans.

French Apple Tart

Serves 6

All you need:

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1-2 large honey crisp apples, peeled and sliced thin
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apricot jam

All you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a large sheet of parchment paper over a baking sheet. Unroll your puff pastry sheet. Use a fork to pierce all over the puff pastry.

2.  In a large bowl, gently toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and brown sugar. Layer the apple slices on the puff pastry square.

3. Bake the tart for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the apples and puff pastry begin to brown.

4. Immediately loosen the tart from the pan using a metal spatula. Transfer the tart to a serving platter or wooden board. Warm up the apricot jam in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Use a pastry brush to brush the jam all over the tart. Enjoy warm or room temperature.

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