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Spring/Summer 2017

Summer 2018

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Farmers Market Fresh

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Your guide to area farmers markets Shoppers peruse the Ottawa Old Town Farmers Market on Jackson Street on a recent Saturday.

Searching for that perfect zucchini? The best rhubarb pie? Chances are, you’ll find what you’re looking for at one of the many farmers markets in Starved Rock Country. Markets are scheduled at many cities throughout the warmer months, offering handmade wares and homegrown food. You’re sure to be delighted with the selection. Here’s our guide to Starved Rock Country farmers markets:

The Times | Tom Sistak

p.m. at corner of DeKalb and Depot streets, first Thursday of the month through October. Call 815-498-3500 to learn more.

LA SALLE Hegeler Park, at the intersection of Route 351 and Maple Road, hosts the market 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through the end of September and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. second Sunday of the month at Rotary Park. Call 815780-7952, email lasallefarmersmarket@gmail.com, or visit lasalle-il. gov or visit fb.com/lasallefarmersmarket for more information.

MENDOTA The market is staged 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday through early October at 700 Main St., west of the Amtrak / Union Depot Railroad Museum. For additional information, call Bryon Walters at 815-252-9605 or visit fb.com/mendotafarmersmarket

MORRIS The Three French Hens French Country Market is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. the second Saturday of each month through October, at Canal Port Plaza near the Illinois & Michigan Canal in downtown Morris. Handcrafted items, fresh produce, baked goods and flowers are among the items for sale. To learn more, call 815-513-5600, find the market on Facebook or go to 3frenchhensmarket.blogspot.com.

OTTAWA The Old Town Farmers Market


takes place 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays on Jackson Street, between La Salle and Columbus streets, through late October. To learn more, call the Ottawa Area Cham-

ber of Commerce and Industry at 815-433-0084, visit the market’s Facebook page at fb.com/ottawailfarmersmarket, or ottawachamberillinois.com.

PRINCETON The Princeton Farmers Market runs through October from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, and sets up shop at 439 S. Main St. Additional information can be found on Facebook.

SHERIDAN The Sheridan Community Club’s market, at Centennial Park, runs 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday until October, with proceeds benefiting Community Club projects. To be a vendor, call 815-579-2489, or visit Facebook for more information.

SOMONAUK A market runs 3 to 7

Marty Hawley shops at the Streator Farmers Market on their opening day at City Park.

Kimberly Crawford

Located in the Heartland Bank parking lot, 100 E. Dakota St., the city-run market is open 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 5. To learn more, call Debb Ladgenski, 815-327-4327 or 815-303-2114, or email sveconomics@comcast.net.

STREATOR The Streator Farmers Market, which runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through October, is located City Park. For more information, call 815-257-6807 or streatormarketmanager@gmail.com.

UTICA Canal Market open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays through September at the La Salle County Historical Society Museum grounds on Route 178. Check lasallecountyhistoricalsociety.org for additional dates.

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Cucumbers are a ‘peak season’ find Kate Reynolds

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A versatile fruit, strawberries mix well with both sweet and savory flavor combinations.

Strawberries are summer’s first berry Kate Reynolds

I often start my weekend with a farmers market stroll, wandering through fresh fruits and vegetables. I love strawberries and usually buy too many, if that’s possible. It’s hard for me not to start eating them while I continue my slow walk among the vendors with their varied displays. Since strawberries are summer’s first berry, you might want to pick up a few containers and find some good recipes to use before they spoil. There are so many ways to use them. Chop, sprinkle with a little sugar if you want, then freeze. I eat frozen strawberries for breakfast or as a snack. Of course there are strawberry pies, but try roasting them with a little oil. Or savor a bowl drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Here’s an interesting salad

​When I’m at a farmers market, I’m always more aware of what “peak season” means. I see spring/summer’s variety of produce available, brimming with those delicious seasonal flavors and it’s peak season heaven for me – everything I’ll buy will make this season’s meals a breeze to make with little effort on my part. Cucumbers make me think of summertime sides. I usually dice them for hotdog toppings or add to a lettuce/tomato salad. But seeing so many produce varieties in one place, I’ve discovered a

definite farmers market benefit. I normally wouldn’t think of trying a combination of watermelon, cucumber and onion. I love all of them and yet, I’ve used them separately. I found an interesting recipe that I’ll try this weekend because it combines all three.

CUCUMBER and WATERMELON SALAD (Adapted from “The Locavore’s Kitchen,” by Marilou K. Suszko) u 1/4 Cup distilled white vinegar u 1/4 Cup sugar u 1/2 Teaspoon crushed

red pepper flakes u 2 Fresh cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced u 4 Cups seeded and cubed watermelon u 2 Teaspoons salt, divided u 1/4 Cup thinly sliced red onion Combine vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Let cool. Toss cucumbers with 1 teaspoon salt and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Just before serving toss watermelon with remaining teaspoon salt, add cucumbers and red onion. Dress with the vinegar mixture. Serve.

recipe I recommend, no lettuce required.

FARMERS MARKET STRAWBERRY CORN SALAD (forkinthekitchen.com) Whisk ingredients together: u 1 Tablespoon shallot, minced u 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice u 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar u 1-2 Teaspoons honey u 1 Teaspoon dijon mustard u Salt and pepper to taste Salad: u 4-5 Cups baby spinach u 12-14 Strawberries, quartered u 2-3 Ears of corn, kerneled u 1/3 Cup sunflower seeds u 4 Ounces cubed Dubliner or semi-hard cheese Toss together spinach, strawberries, corn kernels, sunflower seeds, and cheese. Combine with dressing immediately before serving.

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Cool, crisp and tangy, cucumbers can make the hottest of summer days cooler.

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Peas – not just a side dish

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Kate Reynolds

Good cooking begins with fresh ingredients and there’s no better place to find them than at a farmers market. When I find green peas, I can’t wait to get them home and shell them. I’ve got happy memories of my grandmother shelling peas for her delicious beef stew. There are tender peas inside the pods that make the work of shelling them so worth it — a healthy farmers market choice. One cup contains 117 calories, one fat gram, seven fiber grams, eight protein grams and a lot of vitamins and minerals. I can’t ask for more in any vegetable that tastes so good. Sugar snap, snow and garden peas are available during spring and fall, making it easy to add them to almost everything you make. Don’t think of them as a side dish — this receipe doesn’t.

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STRAWBERRY ALMOND PEA SALAD (bonappetit.com) u 1/2 Cup almonds u 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar u 2 Teaspoons whole grain mustard u 1 Teaspoon poppy seeds u 1 Teaspoon sugar u 1/4 Cup vegetable oil Kosher salt u Freshly ground pepper u 1 Cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed u 3 Cups baby arugula or watercress, thick stems trimmed u 8 Ounces fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered if large (about 2 cups) u 1 Cup pea tendrils u 1 Ounce Parmesan, shaved Preheat oven to 350°. Spread almonds on small rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Whisk vinegar, mustard,

Upgrade this traditional side dish vegetable with strawberries and almonds. poppy seeds, and sugar in large bowl. Whisk in oil; season with salt and pepper. Cook peas in large saucepan of boiling salted

water until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes for fresh peas, or 2 minutes for frozen. Drain; transfer to colander set in bowl of ice

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water. Drain. Add arugula, strawberries, pea tendrils, peas, and almonds to vinaigrette; toss to coat. Top with Parmesan.

Spice up your sausage with fresh peppers Kate Reynolds Peppers are just one of many farmers market main attractions. Whether you like banana or jalapeno or the more common green, orange, red or yellow peppers, just seeing them at a vendor’s display could make you think of all the ways you could wow your crowd with that one special recipe. Peppers are one of the brightest and most colorful finds at a farmers market. Their sweet flavorful taste, with health benefits of vitamins and antioxidants that can help reduce some cancers, cataracts and heart

disease while also alleviating arthritis and asthma symptoms, makes peppers a great purchase. It’s grilling season and peppers are often the secondary star of a shish-ke-bob or raw vegetable tray. But if you’re a little tired of hamburgers and hot dogs, think about grilling a new main star, all in about 35 minutes.

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Brightly colored bell peppers add pop to any dish.

GRILLED PEPPERS and ITALIAN SAUSAGE (pocketchangegourmet.com) PREP AND COOK TIME: 35 MINUTES u 3 Bell Peppers, sliced (we used tri-color; yellow, orange & red)

u 1 Tablespoon of our house seasoning (equal parts salt, black

pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika) u 2 Tablespoons of olive oil u Italian sausage Combine peppers, seasoning and olive oil in bowl and set aside. Place a foil pan large enough to hold sausages and peppers on medium high grill. Add sausage and cook for 10 minutes. Add seasoned pepper strips to pan and cook for 20 minutes or until tender, tossing several times as they cook.

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Best known for its use in gumbo and soups, okra is often overlooked thanks to its thick juice and resin.

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Thicken your stews with the surprisingly healthy okra Kate Reynolds There’s unusual produce to be found at a farmers market. Praised for its taste, okra is mainly used as a thickening agent. But I was surprised to discover that many people won’t actually eat okra because of … slime? Break a leaf from an aloe plant — that’s what you’ll find in an okra pod, a sugar residue that gets thick when exposed to heat. Good for gumbos, soups and stews, bad for sautéing. If not prepared properly, you’ll have a slimy mess. Brown garlic, onion and tomatoes to make a delicious coating that minimizes slime. Battered and fried, it’s a unique crunchy appetizer.

Slime reputation aside, okra’s one of the best medicinal vegetables around. Okra shares the same health benefits of a kiwi — high vitamin C and filled with fiber that stabilizes blood sugar and aids digestion issues. Despite the slime, I’ll consider okra’s health benefits. Since this recipe has most of what I like, perhaps I might add okra to that list too.

SPICY OKRA and TOMATOES (thespruceeats.com) PREP AND COOK TIME: 35 MINUTES u 1 1/2 Pounds okra u 1 Medium yellow or red onion u 3 Medium tomatoes

u 3 Cloves garlic u 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil u 1 1/2 Teaspoon chili powder u 2 Teaspoons cumin seeds u 1 Teaspoon turmeric u 1/4 Teaspoon cayenne (optional) u 1/2 Teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste u 1 Tablespoon lemon juice   Trim off and discard stem ends from okra; cut pods into 1/4- to 1/2inch slices. Set aside. Peel and thinly slice onion; set aside. Chop tomatoes, reserving juices; peel and mince garlic; set both aside. Heat oil in large frying pan or saute pan over high heat. Once oil is hot, add chopped onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions

start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until brightly fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin seeds, turmeric, and cayenne, if using, and cook, stirring as the spices sizzle, another 30 seconds. Add okra and stir to coat the pieces with the onion/spice mixture. Add tomatoes, any juices they’ve released, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine, then cover. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook until okra is tender and the flavors are well blended, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and add more salt to taste, if you like. Serve the okra hot or warm.

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Nothing says summer quite like corn on the cob.

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Corn: As good as it gets — fresh from the farm Kate Reynolds Most produce travels an average of 1,300 miles before arriving in a grocery store. Local produce growers often harvest vegetables before they’re ripe so farmers market freshness is guaranteed. Here’s an easy corn on the cob recipe that tastes like the kind you find at a fair.

GRILLED MEXICAN FARMERS MARKET CORN (geniuskitchen.com) SERVES 4 u 4 Ears corn on the cob u 1/4 Cup mayonnaise u 1/2 Cup queso Cotija cheese (crumbled Mexican feta or parmesan cheese) u 1 Dash cayenne pepper or chili powder Fire up grill to medium heat. Remove husks and silt from corn; roll in foil, twisting ends. Grill 15 to 20 minutes, turning at least once. When done, remove foil. Place cheese on flat plate. Brush corn with thin layer of mayonnaise; roll in cheese. Sprinkle corn with cayenne pepper (really hot) or chili powder (not hot).


404 W. Main St., McNabb 815-882-2111


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Asparagus means spring The benefits of shopping farmers markets Metro Creative Services

Kate Reynolds Asparagus at a farmers market means spring. The tender spears are a vitamin-packed delicacy, harvested between March and June. Farmers markets offer fresh asparagus, as opposed to buying possibly a week old bunch of spears from the store. This recipe can be doubled as long as the asparagus isn’t crowded in the pan.

ROASTED ASPARAGUS (omahafarmersmarket. com) u 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound) u Juice of 1/2 orange or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar u 1/4 teaspoon black pepper u 2 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, thyme or mint) Preheat oven to 450°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Trim off tough end from each asparagus stalk and arrange on sheet. Drizzle orange juice or vinegar over asparagus. Toss to coat; season with pepper. Roast, shaking sheet occasionally, until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Watch after 5 minutes to avoid overcooking. Transfer to platter, scatter herbs over top and serve.

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Farmers markets have grown in popularity in recent years. Nowadays, consumers interested in farmers markets can likely find one near their homes whether those homes are in rural communities, the suburbs or bustling cities. People who have never before shopped farmers markets may be curious as to why many people find them so appealing. The following are a handful of benefits of shopping farmers markets that might turn market novices into full-fledged devotees. u FRESHNESS: Many people visit farmers markets because the fruits and vegetables sold at such markets seem to taste more fresh than those sold at chain grocery stores. People are not mistaken, as the produce available at farmers markets often comes from local farms, meaning there’s no long-distance shipping necessary. Locally sourced foods need not be frozen en route to the market, meaning foods purchased there tend to taste especially fresh. u IN-SEASON FOODS: Some grocery stores may sell fruits and vegetables even when those foods are out of season. Farmers markets only sell in-season fruits and vegetables. To grow fruits and vegetables out-of-season, farmers may need to rely on chemicals or other unnatural methods. No such means are necessary when farmers stick to growing foods in-season. u ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, food in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to consumers’ plates. Such journeys burn natural resources, pollute the air and produce sizable amounts

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Farmers markets are more accessible than ever, and the benefits to shopping such markets are endless.

of trash that ultimately ends up in landfills and/or the world’s oceans. Because food sold at farmers markets is locally sourced, considerably fewer natural resources are necessary to transport the food from farm to table, and the relatively short distances the food travels translates to less air pollution. u BIODIVERSITY: Many farmers market shoppers find unique foods not readily available at their local grocery stores. This is not only a great way to discover new and delicious foods, but also a way to promote biodiversity. u HORMONE-FREE ANIMAL PRODUCTS: Farmers markets do not exclusively sell fruits and vegetables. Many farmers markets also are great places to find meats, cheeses and eggs. Animal products sold at farmers markets are typically antibiotic- and hormone-free, which is both more humane to the animals and healthier than animal products produced with hormones or antibiotics.

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The Times - Delivering Your Community

Thursday, June 21, 2018 n 9

9 great things to do with boring old parsley BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT The Seattle Times (TNS) Poor parsley. Its songmates sage, rosemary and thyme are all so much more evocative — each one brings a scent, even a feeling, to mind, while the ear just elides parsley. And who doesn’t love basil? Even cilantro inspires fear and loathing, at least. Parsley’s barely thought of as an herb at all. In American cooking, parsley’s most frequent role is as an absolutely expendable extra — a mere garnish. Picture any of millions of diner dishes with a sprig of parsley, valiantly curly and bright, consigned to a corner with an equally arbitrary half-moon of orange. You might eat the orange slice; you definitely don’t touch the parsley. The party that is herbes de Provence does not invite parsley in, though this is understandable, because dried parsley is a dud. Dried parsley is definitely part of parsley’s overall PR problem: Compared to how other, admittedly more potent (you could say pushy) herbs smell and taste when dried, parsley’s like dusty leaf-particles of why-bother. (Check the aroma and taste of dried versus fresh rosemary, then parsley, and you’ll see. Never mind; don’t: You’ll just end up with dried parsley sitting there sadly among your spices until you throw it away.) Poor unsung parsley didn’t make the cut for James Beard’s six essential herbs in his essential-reading “Beard on Food” from 1974, though he does acknowledge its ubiquity in an offhand, backhanded way: “Parsley too, of course, but that is so universal it goes without saying.” But it needs saying. The goddesses

Alton Brown’s parsley salad recipe, with flat-leaf parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, walnut and sesame oil, honey and sesame seeds. Find it online, along with a minute-long video in which he declares it’s “perfectly capable of playing first string” — my hero! And he notes that this parsley salad keeps for three weeks (!?) in the refrigerator, though how you wouldn’t eat it all up immediately is a mystery. MAKE A SALAD WITH LOTS OF PARSLEY IN IT: Tear up any mild lettuce (butter is nice), and mix in plenty of Italian or curly parsley, roughly chopped (a cup or even two!), then dress with a favorite vinaigrette. I Alan Berner | The Seattle Times | TNS know this sounds boring. It Parsley, the underrated, underappreciated herb, can be so much more than a garnish. In fact, it is not. Or … MAKE SUPER-DELICIOUS tastes great on or in almost everything. CREAMY PARSLEY SALAD DRESSING, AND PUT IT ON A and around and over evgo to waste! Start putting it SALAD WITH LOTS OF PARSLEY erything. And parsley was on everything. Don’t take good! Parsley was beautiful! the simplest, loveliest things IN IT: It’s just 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (whole milk is Parsley made life better! for granted. best), 1/4 cup extra-virgin Some say Italian parsley PUT CHOPPED PARSLEY olive oil, 1/4 cup (or more!) tastes less bitter than the ON EVERYTHING: Don’t fresh parsley (either kind), diner-plate curly kind, but chop it too finely — bigger kosher salt and fresh-ground “bitter” is such a judgmenpieces are prettier and have black pepper, all mixed up tal term. Curly parsley more flavor. Throw it with together — chop the parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. abandon on top of grilled crispum) is cute, all riledvegetables, roasted potatoes, a and mix by hand, or use an of cooking, Julia Child and immersion blender (easiest up looking, and it stays cold green-bean salad, stews, Marcella Hazan, likewise, full of lively texture in, soups, pasta, hot or cold grain cleanup), regular blender or recommend its use everyfood processor. say, a salad. Italian parsley dishes like couscous or quiwhere, yet do not deign to This also makes a great (Petroselinum crispum var. noa or tabbouleh or … discuss it, as far as I can find neapolitanum) makes a dip for vegetables. Or for MAKE A SUPER-SIM(and Hazan, especially, has chips. Or your life in genermore sedate confetti. Both PLE PARSLEY SALAD: unminced words on everyal. This dressing is really, look and smell and taste like Throw it together along thing). truly, surprisingly spectacfreshness incarnate, full of the lines of the Epicurious The handful of chopped ular. (I stole the idea from verdant color and leafy life. recipe that involves just a parsley that’s supposed to be Use whichever! Maybe you’ll couple-few cups of Italian Amy Pennington’s cookbook flung over so many dishes at like one better! That’s your “Salad Days,” which has the parsley leaves, a couple the end seemed like such an prerogative! same recipe but calls for dill. tablespoons of extra-virgin afterthought to me that, for When you buy fresh olive oil, a teaspoon of fresh Nobody truly loves dill.) a long time, I just blithely MAKE TOMATO-PARSparsley, trim the ends off lemon juice and a little salt skipped it. Then a couple LEY SUMAC SALAD: the stems right when you (or, to get fancy, substitute summers ago, I happened Mehdi Boujrada of local get home, and stick it in a umeboshi vinegar for the to grab two Italian flat-leaf spice-and-oil company Villa cup (or a pretty little vase!) salt). parsley starts and stuck of water, as you would for MAKE A SLIGHTLY MORE Jerada sent me this one, and them in two pots on the it is good. cut flowers. If you don’t use COMPLICATED PARSbalcony. They went nuts! I it all right away, change the LEY SALAD: Try (or make started putting parsley in water every day. Don’t let it your own variation on) See PARSLEY, page 10



And parsley was good! Parsley was beautiful! Parsley made life better!





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Parsley From page 9 Combine 2 tomatoes (roughly diced), 1/4 cup white onion (more finely diced) and 1/2 cup parsley leaves (roughly chopped); drizzle with olive oil; then add sumac, salt and pepper to taste (start slowly, mix, add more, and when it starts to taste marvelous, add yet a little bit more). PUT PARSLEY IN A SMOOTHIE: This comes from Becky Selengut’s “How to Taste,” and she promises it gives “a burst of brightness.” (She also mentions doing this with mint … sure, fine.) Another Selengut parsley hint: Instead of discarding stems, stow them in a bag in the freezer, and throw them in when making stock. MAKE A SUPER-SIMPLE PARSLEY SAUCE, AND PUT IT ON EVERYTHING: Put a half a bunch of parsley (use mostly leaves, about a cup), a clove of garlic (I prefer a smaller one or half a big one), 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil together, and blend well. You could add lemon juice and zest, and call it gremolata;




add toasted nuts and Parmesan, and make it pesto; sub a bit of shallot for the garlic; add a little anchovy paste for a lot more oomph (but less pure parsley taste). Again, an immersion blender is your friend here, though a regular one or a food processor is fine; you also could chop and blend by hand. This sauce is magical on a juicy steak, or a piece of fish (maybe cooked en papillote), or on vegetables, or inside a grilledcheese sandwich, or drizzled on a soup or stew, or … It also keeps for a long time in the fridge — just let it warm to room temperature to use. MAKE GARLIC-PARSLEY BUTTER, AND APPLY WITH ABANDON: Called, fancily, “Beurre Maître d’Hôtel” in French, this is just butter (say 1/2 cup), fresh lemon juice (a tablespoon or so), garlic (optional, a clove or two, minced finely) and finely chopped parsley (1/4 cup) creamed together — start with the butter alone, then slowly add the rest in order. Add a little lemon zest for more, well, zestiness. Again, apply to seafood, grilled meat, vegetables, life. You might think it’s weird to love parsley, but you’ll see!


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Bored with vegetables?

These recipes add extra flavor to summer’s harvest JEANMARIE BROWNSON Chicago Tribune (TNS) By midsummer, my vegetable-recipe repertoire starts to veer toward boredom. Grilled ratatouille, planks of summer squash, skewered tomatoes and mushrooms begin to run their course. Yet the stunning selection at farmers markets and roadside stands tempts, and I stock up. My quest to discover new (to me, anyway) cooking methods and flavor combinations ensues. Especially when the grill is fired up. Golden flavors with a hint of smoke might just be the surest way to prevent vegetable tedium. The easiest way to cook many vegetables is to nestle them into the coals. No prep required. Afterward, I can add flavor. Proud of myself, when removing blackened sweet potatoes from the embers, I remarked

at this cool, new cooking method. The husband brought the moment back to reality, saying perhaps, cooking in the coals is older than that of fancy grills with shiny tools. No matter — the ember-cooking method proves worth pursuing. The only tricky part is building a fire so the embers are evenly, steadily glowing hot without flames. Just takes a little time and practice. And the right charcoal — I always employ a natural hardwood charcoal for its clean flavor. In addition to nestling whole, unwrapped potatoes and onions in the coals, I like to subject large eggplants to the method. You’ll want to turn them a bit more frequently than other vegetables, but once the skin is crusty and blackened, the interior will be moist, smoky and not at all bitter.


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Summer harvest: These delicious recipes will take the boredom out of your summer veggie routine

PREP: 15 MINUTES COOK: 40 MINUTES MAKES: 4 SERVINGS Coconut cream can be found canned in the Asian section of most large supermarkets. Unsweetened coconut milk also can be used. No charcoal grill? Cook the potatoes indirectly (not over the heat source) of a medium-hot gas grill, turning occasionally until tender, about 50 minutes. You can also steam the sweet potatoes (pierce them with a knife in a couple of spots) in the microwave on full power, turning every few minutes, until they are fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. u 5 medium-size sweet potatoes,

GRILLED EGGPLANT AND ONIONS WITH GARLIC PREP: 10 MINUTES COOK: 40 MINUTES MAKES: 4 SERVINGS You can roast a couple of plum tomatoes directly over the heat source of the grill, then peel, seed and dice, and sprinkle over the cooked eggplant. u 1 large (or 2 medium) eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds total u 1 large red onion, unpeeled u 1 or 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

u 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice u 1 clove garlic, crushed u 1/2 teaspoon salt u Freshly ground black pepper to taste Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish 1. Prepare a charcoal fire and let burn until coals are medium-hot and covered in gray ash. Place eggplant and onion directly on the embers. Cover grill and cook, turning eggplant and onions every 10 minutes, until eggplant is scorched and feeling quite soft, about 30 minutes. Cook onion until exterior peels are charred and interior feels tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes more. 2. Remove vegetables from grill, and let cool. Peel off and discard their charred skins. Put the eggplant into a serving dish, and crush it up a bit with a fork. Chop the tender onion, and scatter it over the eggplant. Drizzle everything with the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss to mix. Let stand up to 1 hour. 3. Serve at room temperature sprinkled with cilantro.

CURRY-STEAMED KOHLRABI WITH ONION AND THYME PREP: 15 MINUTES COOK: 30 MINUTES MAKES: 6 SERVINGS u 4 medium-size kohlrabi, about 2 pounds total, scrubbed, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks u 2 small yellow onions, total 4 ounces, halved, thinly sliced u 2 large cloves garlic, quartered u 2 teaspoons curry powder u 1 teaspoon salt u 3 tablespoons olive oil u 3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs u 1/3 cup currants or raisins u 2 tablespoons chopped chives or green onion tops 1. Prepare a charcoal fire, and let burn until coals are medium-hot and covered in gray ash. Or preheat a gas grill to medium hot. 2. Meanwhile, cut two 2-foot lengths of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and place them on the counter in a cross shape. Put the kohlrabi on the center of the foil, and top with the onion and garlic. Sprinkle with the curry and salt; toss to mix. Drizzle with the oil,



and top with the thyme sprigs. Fold the foil over to make a packet that completely encloses the vegetables. 3. Place the foil packet directly on the hot embers. Cook with the grill covered until a knife inserted into the kohlrabi releases easily, about 40 minutes. 4. Open the packet over a serving bowl to catch all the juices. Add raisins and chives. Stir and serve warm or at room temperature.


Scoop out the soft flesh and season it with a bit of garlic and olive oil. Make more than you think you need — leftovers taste terrific seasoned with some balsamic vinegar and a shower of fresh herbs. Or, puree the flesh, and turn it into an eggplant dip with a touch of plain Greek yogurt. I mash the soft flesh of sweet potatoes with some unsweetened coconut cream instead of butter. A little lemon grass puree and grated lime add exotic flavor and aroma. Vegetables that require steam to tenderize do well wrapped snug in a foil packet. Add a bit of oil and seasonings, and cook the packet in the embers (or in a hot oven). Kohlrabi, a more common staple at the market these days, benefits from this method. I add a good dose of curry powder and onions for a side dish that is as aromatic as it is easy. Stir in raisins and chives just before serving. Cauliflower is on a hot streak right now. We can’t get enough of it mashed, riced or served as pseudo-steaks. I like to grill it and have a container of the golden nuggets on hand to toss into leafy greens, nibble on with hummus or use as the “meat” in a meatless main-course pasta entree. All in all, think outside the box this summer. Change up your cooking methods — take advantage of the grill or the backyard fire pit. Add bold flavors such as vinegar, coconut, ginger, garlic and of course, plenty of fresh herbs. Your vegetables will thank you.

about 2 1/2 pounds total, scrubbed u 2 to 3 tablespoons canned unsweetened coconut cream u 1 teaspoon refrigerated lemon grass puree u Grated lime rind from 1/2 a lime u 1 teaspoon salt u 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper u 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 1. Prepare a charcoal fire. and let burn until coals are medium-hot and covered in gray ash. Place potatoes directly on the hot embers. Cover grill and cook, turning potatoes every 10 minutes, until exterior is scorched and flesh yields nicely when a knife is inserted, usually 30 to 40 minutes. Carefully remove to a metal pan, and let cool a few minutes. 2. While potatoes are still warm, slice them lengthwise in half. Use a spoon to scoop the soft flesh out of the charred skin. Place the flesh in a bowl. Use a potato masher to crush the flesh, and mash in the coconut cream, lemon grass puree and lime rind. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat in the microwave on high (100 percent power) if necessary until hot. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.


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