Saturday, May 25, 2013

Recipes from The Farmer’s Markets

Fruit and vegetables are slowly coming out at the Farmer’s market, my favorite place to be on Saturday morning.

Here are some of my new favorite recipes - a healthy appetizer with strawberries and fresh ricotta or cream cheese, a delicious salad where tomatoes are roasted to bring out their smoky flavor (a perfect salad recipe for the holiday weekend) and then combined with watermelon, a new twist on a Wedge salad…it is grilled and a wonderful strawberry mojito.

I’m not crazy about sweet drinks but I really loved this Mojito and used a bit more sparkling water than what the recipe called for.

The traditional Strawberry season use to be from June until mid-August but new farming methods have extended the season from April to mid-December.

We were so into Strawberries today that we also made S'mores and a sugar-coated biscuit with Strawberries and Ice Cream for our dinner tonight.

Strawberry and Blue Cheese Bruschetta
Recipe: Eaing Well

12 medium strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel) or Ricotta
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1-2 teaspoons water, if needed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 slices whole-grain baguette (1/4 inch thick), warmed or toasted

  Combine strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl and let stand while you make the cheese spread.
Combine cream cheese and blue cheese in a small bowl using a fork. Add water, if necessary, for a thick but spreadable consistency. Stir in 1 tablespoon chives and pepper.

Spread about 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture on each piece of baguette. Top with the sliced berries. 

Garnish with a sprinkle of chives, if desired.

Strawberry Mojitos
Recipe: Fine Cooking

11 oz. strawberries, hulled (2-3/4 cups) 
1/3 cup fresh lime juice 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
10 large fresh mint leaves 
1 cup white or amber rum 
1 cup seltzer 
Mint sprigs, lime wedges, or fresh strawberries, to garnish

In a medium pitcher, combine the strawberries, lime juice, sugar, and mint leaves and crush with a muddler or wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the rum and stir gently.

Fill 4 rocks glasses three-quarters full with ice, divide the mojito among them, and top each with about 1/4 cup seltzer. Garnish with mint sprigs, lime wedges, or strawberries. Makes 4.

Watermelon and Charred Tomato Salad
Recipe: Food and Wine

4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
2 pounds seedless watermelon—rind removed, flesh cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 English cucumber—halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Kosher salt

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan; oil the grill grate. Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and grill cut side down over high heat until charred, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch dice.

In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the watermelon, cucumber, lime juice and crushed red pepper. Stir in the cilantro, season with salt and serve at once.

Grilled Iceberg Wedges with Tomato, Bacon and Blue Cheese
Recipe: Fine Cooking

6 oz. slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (lardons)
3 oz. good-quality blue cheese, such as Roquefort
1/2 cup buttermilk; more as needed
3 Tbs. sour cream
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives
1 head iceberg lettuce (about 1-1/2 lb.), trimmed of tough or discolored outer leaves, quartered or cut into sixths through the core, with the core intact
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium (4 to 5 oz.) ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill fire for direct grilling over medium heat (350°F).

Put enough water in a 10-inch skillet to just cover the bottom (about 1/4 cup) and add the bacon in a single layer. Cook over medium heat until the water evaporates and the bacon starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is golden outside and tender inside, about 20 minutes. (You want it to be chewy rather than hard and crisp.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mash the blue cheese with a fork. Add the buttermilk, sour cream, and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Season with 1 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper. Stir in the chives.

Put the iceberg on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, toss gently to coat evenly, and season with salt. Place the iceberg on the grill cut side down and grill until nicely marked, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Turn and mark on the other cut sides, about 2 minutes more.

Transfer the grilled iceberg to a platter or individual plates. Spoon a generous amount of the dressing on top, then scatter with the bacon and tomato. Serve immediately, passing any remaining dressing at the table.

Bon Appetit!