Farmers’ market bounty adds flavor to your table

Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grab some fresh zucchini at the farmers' market and try some of these recipes.

Summer is all about grilling, and farmers’ markets offer the best ingredients for the grill. This recipe pairs fresh vegetables with the versatile chicken, which some farmers’ markets also offer.

 Grilled Chicken Ratatouille



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3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram

1 teaspoon salt

Canola or olive oil cooking spray

1 red bell pepper, halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded

1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed and tenders removed

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar



1. Preheat grill to medium-high.

2. Combine oil, basil, marjoram and salt in a small bowl and reserve 1 tablespoon of the mixture in another small bowl; set aside.

3. Coat both sides of bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini, tomato and onion pieces with cooking spray. Grill the vegetables, turning once, until soft and charred in spots, about 5 minutes per side for the pepper, 4 minutes per side for the eggplant and zucchini and 3 minutes per side for the tomatoes and onion.

4. Rub the tablespoon of reserved herb mixture on both sides of chicken and sprinkle with pepper. Grill the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

5. Meanwhile, transfer the grilled vegetables to a cutting board and chop into 1-inch pieces. Return to the bowl and toss with vinegar and the remaining herb mixture. Serve the grilled chicken with the ratatouille.

Makes 4 servings

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Zucchini is versatile and available at any farmers’ market for most of the summer. Let it be the star in this easy salad.

 Zucchini Salad with Shaved Parmesan


1 medium lemon

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 pounds small zucchini, cut into lengthwise slices about 1/2 inch thick

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/3 cup thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese



1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the peel from lemon with a vegetable peeler, making sure not to include any white pith. (Reserve the lemon.) Cut the peel into thin slivers. Add to the boiling water and cook until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

2. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a small bowl. Add oil, pepper and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high or place a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.

4. Oil the grill rack or the grill pan. Grill zucchini slices, turning once, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Arrange the zucchini on a platter and drizzle with the reserved lemon dressing. Serve sprinkled with almonds, cheese and the lemon peel.

Makes 6 servings

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Farmers’ markets aren’t just about raw fruits and vegetables anymore. Many carry preserves, honey, cheese and even protein. This recipe features some fresh strawberry preserves.

Berries and Cream Cake Roll


4 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup cake or all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar

1 cup strawberry preserves

1 cup heavy cream

Fresh fruit and mint sprigs for garnish



1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly roll pan with flour no-stick cooking spray.

2. Beat egg whites on high speed 4 to 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Beat egg yolks in separate bowl 3 minutes or until slightly thick and light lemon colored. Add sugar and vanilla to egg yolks; continue to beat 1 minute.

3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Add to egg yolk mixture. Fold in beaten egg white. Pour into prepared pan, spreading batter evenly.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle powdered sugar onto clean kitchen towel. Loosen cake edges from pan. Immediately invert onto towel. Gently roll cake with the towel into a log, starting at long end. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.

5. Chill beaters and mixing bowl from electric mixer 10 minutes in preparation for next step. Stir preserves slightly for easier spreading.

6. Beat cream in chilled bowl with chilled beaters until stiff. Unroll cake; spread carefully with preserves, then with whipped cream. Reroll cake without towel. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Makes 12 servings

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To put a dent in that guilt, try this healthier version of your favorite southern cobbler, complete with farm fresh fruit and berries. Customize with whatever fruits you can find at the market.

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler


3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup reduced-fat milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ripe but firm peaches, (about 1 pound), pitted and sliced into eighths, or 3 1/2 cups frozen

2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries



1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Place butter and oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Heat in the oven until melted and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add milk, sugar and vanilla; stir to combine.

4. Add the melted butter mixture to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Spoon peaches and blueberries evenly over the batter.

5. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the top of the cobbler is browned and the batter around the fruit is completely set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 10 servings

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In this heat, a refreshing drink really hits the spot, especially when it includes that fresh watermelon you grabbed on a whim at the market.

 Watermelon Slush


3 cups diced watermelon

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup crushed ice

1/2 cup water



Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Makes 4 servings

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