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Farmers Market Recipes

Farmers’ Market Recipe: Lion’s Mane “Crab” Cakes

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Seasonal recipes inspired by fresh ingredients found at the Covington Farmers’ Market, by Chelsea Cochrane

Who doesn’t love crab cakes? Well for starters, people who don’t eat crab. But that doesn’t mean that you want to miss out on the delectable flavor experience that has made this dish a southern staple. In comes lion’s mane mushrooms to save the day!

What is Lion’s Mane?

The lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is an edible gourmet mushroom known for both its tastiness and medicinal benefits. Their flavor and texture is very similar to crab or lobster meat, especially when hand-torn and fried. The mushroom is named for its long, shaggy spines, resembling a mane. They are fairly common throughout the northern hemisphere, found here in wintertime growing on hardwood (usually dead or sick) trees. Most studies link lion’s mane to its memory protecting traits and over-all brain boosting benefits. Here’s a wonderfully informative video from world-renowned mycologist Paul Stamets on lion’s mane mushrooms and their medicinal uses:

This recipe was adapted very slightly from the one found at I highly recommend checking out their article, which goes into detail about the lion’s mane mushrooms, including how to cultivate them at home and forage for them out in the wild. Incredibly educational!

Lion’s mane is available at the Covington Farmers’ Market, locally grown year-round from Screaming Oaks Mushroom Farm. The mushroom we used was wild-harvested, a gift from our friends at Soul’s Journey here in Covington. In addition to providing amazing massage and bodywork, Soul’s Journey has a full line of medicinal tinctures, essential oils and more. Herbalist Sammy Plaisance prepares many of these with locally-sourced ingredients. Follow them on Facebook:

This recipe isn’t just for those wanting to avoid crab meat! It’s truly delicious, and a great way to use your lion’s mane mushrooms. Or to sneak them onto any picky eaters’ plate. 😉

Lion’s Mane “Crab” Cakes

(with a quick sauce recipe)


  • 1 lb lion’s mane mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs or duck eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbs minced fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbs minced green onion
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh basil
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted (additional butter needed for frying)
  • 2-3 tsp sea salt (plus some to sprinkle after frying)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1-2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup bread crumbs or panko


  • For the lion’s mane: you may need to brush off some dirt. This is better done with a brush, if possible, rather than water to not water-log the mushroom. If you must rinse, rinse quickly and do not soak – mushrooms are like sponges!
  • You can dice up the mushroom, but it’s much better for the texture to tear it. Start from its toothy ends and pull small 1/4 inch thick strips down to the base. You can chop lightly if your pieces are too big to manage.
  • Heat a large skillet to medium with just a little butter and add the mushrooms. You are just trying to cook out any additional moisture here, so keep it low and uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cook until all extra moisture has evaporated, being careful not to scorch them. Time here varies depending on how wet your mushrooms are, but don’t skip it! This step is essential to the patty-making process – wet mushrooms make crumbly cakes!
  • Once your mushrooms are done, remove from the skillet and let cool.
  • In a large bowl whisk your eggs, butter, herbs and spices. Add the onions, pepper, garlic, cooled mushrooms and bread crumbs and mix well. Mash together until everything has absorbed and mix is patty-able. More crumbs may be needed for wetter mixes, but be careful not to add too much, or you’re back to crumbling cakes. Let the mix sit for 5-10 minutes to fully come together.
  • Pre-patty cakes into about 3 inch wide, 1/2 inch thick patties before frying. You can dust them lightly with flour to make them easier to handle. Mix should make about 4 – 6 cakes.
  • I just wiped out the same large skillet to fry with. If you do this, be careful not to leave any debris that will burn up in the pan. Heat to medium-high and melt 2 Tbs butter. Once the skillet is hot, arrange patties carefully, allowing for 1 inch spacing.
  • Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. Once the cakes are browned on both sides, remove and sprinkle with a little extra sea salt. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Secret’s in the Sauce

I’ll share a secret with you – delicious sauce is in your fridge, and all you need is a whisk and a bowl!

As many local sushi restaurants can attest, I am a fan of all the sauces. And we all know you can’t have crab cakes without it. But before you go filling up the back of your fridge with a sauce for every occasion, let me fill you in – most sauces are super easy to whip up at home. Not only is it usually a fraction of the cost, but you can personalize it and make it your own! Try out this homemade garlic aioli recipe from Tyrant Farms, the same folks that inspired this crab cakes recipe. Or you can just use some of your favorite brand mayo.

Whisk & Drizzle Crab Cake Sauce

  • 3 Tbs aioli or mayo
  • 3-5 tsp hot sauce (I used our homemade hot sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • sprinkle of paprika

Whisk thoroughly for an even blend!

Make ahead to cool before serving. You can double the batch for more sauce. We’ve never had any left over, but I’d image it would keep well in the fridge. This sauce isn’t just for crab cakes – you could use it for fries, zucchini fritters and more – the possibilities are endless!

Farmers Market Recipes

Farmers Market Recipe: Lacto-Fermented Veggies

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Did you know you can pickle your veggies with just salt water? For many health enthusiast this is the preferred method because it contains more probiotics and digestive enzymes. It’s easy too! Here is a quick how-to on fermenting almost any veggie.

You Will Need:

  • 1 sterilized 32 oz glass pickling jar with secure lid
  • 32 oz of distilled water (4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt (or sea salt)
  • Enough veggies to tightly pack your jar, shredded or cut in evenly sized pieces
  • Optional: pickling spices, fresh dill, peeled whole garlic cloves, hot peppers, mustard seeds (whole), loose black tea

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Step 2: Tightly pack veggies into your jar. If you are adding fresh herbs, garlic or hot peppers mix them in now. The idea is to pack the veggies so tightly that when you add water they will not float to the top. This can be difficult for smaller cut veggies, but it is important that they are not exposed to air. Most feed stores sell glass weights that you can put on top the veggies to keep them submerged. This will also need to be sanitized first.

Step 3: Sprinkle your seasonings. Classic pickling spice blends include cinnamon, allspice, ginger, coriander and bay leaves. You can buy pre-mixed spices or make your own blend! One trick is to add a teaspoon of black tea, said to reduce the ‘murky’ appearance lacto-fermented veggies can take and to make them crispier. I used it in my pickles and it seems to have helped. Note: black tea may not be a good additive for those who have a caffeine sensitivity.

Step 4: Fully dissolve the salt into the water. The easiest way to do this is to mix into a sealable jar/bottle and shake thoroughly. If you plan to ferment more than a jar or two you can mix a whole gallon jug with the ratio 2 Tbs salt per 1 qt water, so 8 Tbs salt per 1 gallon water. Remember to use fresh, distilled water.

Lacto-fermented cucumbers

Step 5: Pour salt brine over your veggies in the jar. Pour slowly, a little over 3/4 full, and gently tilt jar around in small circles, working out any air bubbles. Continue slowly adding water up to ‘burp line’ on jar, usually where the mouth begins. Make sure all veggies are securely submerged in brine and that there are no air bubbles.

Step 6: Secure the lid, label and date, and store in a dry, cool place. In our climate, check in 2 days. ‘Burp’ the jar – just untwist the lid, slowly, to release any gases that may build up. Secure lid tightly or it WILL leak. Do this every other day – you are looking for a popped up lid with good gas build-up. The brine should begin to smell like vinegar. Veggies are soft but crisp, with a distinct pickled flavor. Generally, most veggies are done fermenting within 5 – 7 days. Move veggies to fridge to significantly slow down fermentation process. Generally speaking, again, veggies can be kept refrigerated for 2 months or more, although they will continue to age.

Bubble begin forming as veggies ferment

Fermentation, done PROPERLY, is completely safe. The salt brine creates a habitat in which harmful bacteria cannot survive and helpful bacteria can thrive. This helpful bacteria, called Lactobacillus, converts sugars to lactic acid, eventually creating an acidic enough environment to preserve the vegetables. Proper fermentation means using fresh, uncompromised vegetables, clean and sterile utensils and a proper salt-to-water ratio.

According to USDA microbiologist Fred Breidt, Jr., fermented vegetables can be safer than raw vegetables, thanks to the ability of lactic acid, which forms during fermentation, to hunt down and kill any harmful bacteria that might be present. This is a great article from Food Safety News that encourages home fermentation:

What to Ferment:

You can ferment pretty much anything, but some veggies are better suited for lacto-fermentation than others. Root vegetables like shredded beets, radish, or carrots are great for this fermentation process. So is cabbage (think sauerkraut or kimchi), cucumbers, peppers, eggplant or squash. Ferment mushrooms by blanching in boiling water first. Veggies like broccoli or brussels sprout produce a good bit of gas when fermenting and are best mixed with other veggies. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to okra after lacto-fermenting to cut back their ‘slime’. Ferment garlic cloves and small peppers whole. Fun Fact: garlic will often turn blue when fermenting!

Farmers Market Recipes Healthy Living

Farmers Market Recipes: Turnip Recipes (That You’d Actually Eat)

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Fresh recipes inspired by seasonal ingredients found at the Covington Farmers Market

Got Turnips? Don’t know what to do with them, or how to convince your kids to eat them? Try these:

Creamy Turnip Soup


turnip2 large turnips, peeled & chopped

1 large potatoes, peeled & chopped

2 green onions, chopped

2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

2 tbs butter



salt & pepper

Cooking Instructions:

Start by sauteing the green onions in the butter in a large soup pot.  Cook until they begin to soften, then add the chopped turnips & potatoes.  Simmer for a second, then cover with the broth.  Stir in the herbs and cover.  Cook until the turnips have softened, mashing them and the potatoes with a wooden spoon.  You may puree this mixture or serve chunky.  Salt and pepper to taste


Garlic Mashed Turnips


turnip 21 large or two medium turnips, peeled & cubed

4-5 tbs minced garlic

2 tbs butter



salt & pepper

Cooking Instructions:

Boil some water in a pot with some water and add the cubed turnips.  Boil until soft and drain.  Set aside, covered in a colander.  Saute garlic in the pot with the butter on high, crisping them.  Add the turnips with the garlic and mash, mixing in the rosemary, savory, salt & pepper. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary!

Turnips In Basket