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Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category


A couple weeks ago I visited the Farmers Market of the Ozarks in Springfield, MO.  I decided to make my recipes focus on mushrooms- portobellos to be specific.

Portobello mushrooms are a weakness of mine.  Grilled alongside steak, in salads, on sandwiches or even sautéed- these earthy tasting fungi are on my menu at least once per week.

The best part about shopping at your local market is the opportunity to taste food in its freshest state.  Mushrooms found at your local market are especially tasty because they are picked within hours of purchasing them from your local farmer.  When shopping for mushrooms at your market look for the under part of the shroom to be a lighter brown color.  The older the mushroom, the darker the underneath.

Here is one of the recipes I prepared at Farmers Market of the Ozarks using local portobellos from Willow Mtn. Mushroom.  Look for the video soon…

Grilled Portobello, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

4 large portobello mushrooms (about 5 inches in diameter), stemmed (Willow Mountain Mushroom)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced (Yang Family Farm)
Olive Oil
3 medium sized vine ripened tomatoes, diced (Suncrest Farm)
8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained, cut into cubes (Terrell Creek Farm)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (My Garden)
Preheat the grill.

Drizzle olive oil over both sides of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil on grill pan to prevent mushrooms from sticking. Grill until the mushrooms are heated through and tender, about 6 minutes per side.

In a small bowl, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil and garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Add the tomatoes, cheese, and basil and toss to coat. Season the tomato salad, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Place 1 hot grilled mushroom gill side up on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato salad atop the mushrooms, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to finish, about 1 tablespoon and serve.

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The Market Lady, Lane McConnell, will visit the Webb City Farmers Market in Webb City, Mo., Tuesday, May 15, 2012. The Market Lady and video crew will begin at 11 a.m., with two cooking demonstration incorporating products from the market and will be interviewing producers and consumers for various other segments.

“I strive to inform folks on the ease of preparing homemade meals for their families through shopping at the market,” said McConnell.  “Consumers can log on to our website or Facebook page to view short videos of interviews with the farmers that grow our food, topics such as food safety, organic, naturally grown and learn how to cook simple meals.”

The purpose of The Market Lady Project is to educate consumers about eating healthy, locally produced food found at their farmers market.

“The market will offer consumers a great event on Tuesday,” said Market Master Eileen Nichols.  “We hope that customers will come out to the market and bring their families to watch The Market Lady cooking demonstrations and take part in the market.”

Below is one recipe that The Market Lady will be preparing at the market. Be sure and come out to the Webb City Farmers Market on May 15 to meet the Market Lady.

Tomato, Basil and Couscous Salad
2 1/4 cups canned chicken broth
1 10-ounce box couscous
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup diced seeded tomatoes
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Cheese curds or feta for garnish

Bring broth to boil in medium saucepan. Add couscous. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Fluff with fork. Cool.

Mix all ingredients except cherry tomatoes into couscous. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and cheese.

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A visit to a market will allow you to reap the best of locally grown products.  This mild winter and warmer than average spring has jump started everything it seems.  But, I’m not complaining.

The past three weeks I’ve been enjoying the sweetness of market strawberries.  Strawberries to me signals the start of the summer season!

If you haven’t had the chance to get out to your local market, now is the time.  Produce is rolling in at markets, so you better get your shopping on soon.

Here’s a fresh strawberry dressing that has been a staple on our dinner table for weeks now.  Maybe it’s my pregnancy cravings or maybe it’s the fresh taste, but I simple can’t get enough!

Market Salad with Fresh Strawberry Sauce
1 bunch of salad mix from market
2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced thin
1/2 cup toasted almonds or walnuts

Fresh Strawberry Sauce
7 large strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon of a high-quality balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon canola oil

Clean and rinse the salad mix to large bowl.  Add chicken slices and nuts.

For sauce: Place strawberries, vinegar, pepper, sugar and salt in a blender or food processor; process until pureed, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides. Add oil and process until smooth.  Drizzle over the top of the salad and enjoy!

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Goat Cheese Pizza

“Oh how yummy! One more piece….and another and another.”

Yes, that is what I sound like when I’m indulging in one of my favorite “treats” – goat cheese.

I had always liked goat cheese, but after our vacation to visit my husband’s family in Spain a couple years ago – I have become a fan of goat cheese. Goat cheese on crackers, with salami, top on a salad or pasta, stuffed with chicken….there are so many wonderful combinations.

I cooked a variety of meals with local goat cheese at the farmers market this year and I had many consumers explain that they were not fond of goat cheese.  I explained that many times the goat cheese found in stores isn’t stored and handled properly.  Sometimes many of the grocery stores that sell goat cheese haven’t properly stored the cheese at proper temps, therefore making the cheese have a “rancid” taste. I assure you there is nothing rancid tasting about local goat cheese, quite the opposite – goat cheese is smooth, creamy and a “taste for the ages.”

If you are one of these type people that has tried goat cheese only once and now swears you will never try it again – I’m here to change your mind.

In Missouri we have lots of wonderful goat cheese operators that sell their products at many farmers markets and other marketing outlets.

Another benefit of Goat cheese, like goat milk, is it is easier on the human digestive system and lower in calories, cholesterol and fat than its bovine counterpart (but that doesn’t keep me from my cow’s milk). Goat cheese is rich in calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin K, phosphorus, niacin and thiamin. So, why not give it a try – improve your taste palate and your health!

One of my family’s favorite goat cheese recipes is our McConnell Goat Cheese Pizza. You can incorporate whatever your favorite vegetables are (we like to use bell peppers, eggplant, olives and sun-dried tomatoes).

McConnell Goat Cheese Pizza
Dough:
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
3 cups unbleached white flour salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Toppings:
Sauce (try using a pesto instead of a tomato based sauce)
8 ounces Goat Cheese (Chevre, Teleme and/or Feta)
1 1/2 cups topping of choice: sliced bell peppers or roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, eggplant, chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes or anchovies.

Dissolve honey or sugar in 1 cup warm water. Add yeast, and set in a warm place for about ten minutes. Foam will form on the surface of the yeast.

Meanwhile, put the flour into the food processor (using metal blade) with a dash of salt. Drizzle in the olive oil, followed by the yeast mixture. When the dough forms a ball (motor will begin to slow down), place it in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.

Punch down and roll into desired shape.

Cover the surface of the dough with sauce, and top with 8 ounces of goat cheese and toppings of choice. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10-14 minutes until crust turns golden. Brush the edge of the crust with a little olive oil before serving.

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Pork Loin with Roasted Apples

Cooking with fresh products truly makes any dish tastier.  I am always trying to find new ways to incorporate local products in my meals, whether that is adding a local vegetable for a side, preparing meat that comes from a area farmer, using eggs from Martha down the road or even indulging in locally made spirits – there is always room on the plate for local food.

With fall arriving that leads many consumers back to the stores for all their ingredients, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  Just because the summer harvest is complete, doesn’t mean that local produce and other items are tucked away until spring.  There’s a wealth of new fall harvest items just waiting to be discovered.  Winter squashes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, lettuce and apples are just a few.

Don’t be afraid in trying a new vegetable, you never know what new taste you will find.

Here is a recipe that I stumbled onto a couple weeks ago, while trying to figure out what to do with my surplus of apples.  (I somehow always purchase WAY too many when I stop in at farms.)

My husband and I decided we wanted to try a new pork loin recipe and upon searching for roasted pork loin and apples I found a number of choices, but decided that the following recipe seemed simple enough, but tasty.  And, I was correct.  The sauce that the juices and reduced apple cider create is amazing.  I used 4 apples instead of the 2 that the recipe calls for.

Even our toddler gobbled up this dinner.  I hope your family it enjoys this meal as much as mine did…it’s a keeper.

Roast Pork Loin with Apples
from Food Network
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) boneless center cut pork loin, trimmed and tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 stalks celery, thickly, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 apples, such as Cortland or Rome peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large ovenproof skillet heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Season the pork loin all over generously with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until golden brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herb sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Stir until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced apples, then push the mixture to the sides and set the pork loin in the middle of the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the loin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140 to 150 degrees F, about 30 to 35 minutes. (See Cook’s Note.)

Transfer the pork a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil while you make the sauce. Arrange the apples and vegetables on a serving platter and set aside. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Return the skillet to a high heat and add the vinegar scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits. Reduce by half then add the cider and reduce by about half again. Pull the skillet from the heat and whisk in the mustard, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

Remove the strings from the roast and slice into 1/2-inch thick pieces and arrange over the apple mixture. Drizzle some sauce over meat and serve the rest on the side.

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Even though the summer harvest is complete, there are many ways to eat locally grown this fall and winter.  The Market Lady, Lane McConnell, will display how easy cooking seasonally can be, even in the winter.  McConnell will present three cooking demonstrations at the Springfield Food Day Celebration on Oct. 22, in the Wilhoit Plaza parking lot, on the corners of Elm and Jefferson, from 10 am to 6 pm.

“I am so excited to be involved with this event,” said McConnell.  “The event will help provide much needed assistance for the Ozarks Food Harvest and provide an educational experience for consumers and children to learn more about healthy eating and living through local foods.”

Springfield Food Day Celebration (SFDC) will have a beer garden, live music, kids activities, lots of things for families, free food sampling opportunities, exhibitor booths and other fun festivities.

Recipes that The Market Lady will prepare include Roasted Parsnips, an Apple and Walnut Salad and a Curried Squash Soup, all perfect for the season. All recipes will include local ingredients from area farmers in the region. Be sure and stop by The Market Lady’s booth to indulge in free samples after each cooking demonstration.

Below find the recipes  that The Market Lady will prepare this Saturday at the Springfield Food Day Celebration.

Roasted Parsnips
1 1/2 pounds of parsnips, peeled and cut into 2 1/2 inch batons
4 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup of stock – turkey stock, low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable broth (for vegetarian option)*
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 teaspoons drained, bottled horseradish (how to make homemade horseradish)
1/2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 Tbsp minced chives
1/2 small garlic clove, minced.

Pre-heat oven to 400°F. In a large roasting pan, toss the parsnips with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the broth, cover with aluminum foil and roast, stirring once or twice, until the parsnips are tender and the stock has evaporated or been absorbed, 20-45 minutes (depending on how tender the parsnips are to begin with). Check often to avoid their getting mushy – especially if they are to be reheated later.

Combine the softened butter with the horseradish, parsley, chives and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Toss the warm roasted parsnips with the horseradish-herb butter and serve.

Curried Winter Squash Soup
1 2-lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes, yielding about 6 cups of cubed squash, roasted
Olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
Salt
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds (if you substitute ground mustard, only use 1/4 teaspoon)
A dash of ground cumin
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (can substitute parsley)

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed stock pot on medium heat. Add a dab of butter to the olive oil. Working in two batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the cubed butternut squash to the pan. Toss to coat all sides with oil. Sprinkle a little salt over the squash. Then spread out in an even layer and let cook, stirring only occasionally, so that the edges and sides get lightly browned. You may need to adjust the heat up to ensure browning, or down to prevent burning or drying out. Add more oil and butter for the additional batches. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the pot, on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring now and then, until softened. Add the curry powder, mustard seeds, cumin, and fresh ginger, and cook for a minute or so longer. Use a flat bottomed wooden or metal spatula to scrape up any browned bits.

Return the butternut squash to the pot. Add the chicken stock and a teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, cover the pot. Cook for 40 minutes until squash is completely tender. Use an immersion blender (or a stand up blender in which case work in batches) to blend the soup smooth. Add more salt to taste if needed.

Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped cilantro.

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Interested in an easy kabob recipe…I’ve got your covered with my Market Style Kabob Cooking Video from the Marshfield Farmers Market.

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