Archive for the ‘Peppers’ Category

Start with a platter full of local veggies

Over the weekend I pulled out a recipe that I couldn’t wait to try – Pasta Primavera!  I got online to Food Network and printed this great summer time recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. 

This recipe is packed pull of veggies found at your local market.  I added the juice of one lemon for an extra punch.  For leftovers we added some grilled chicken to the mix for a complete meal.  Enjoy!

Pasta Primavera

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

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I’ve had this recipe in my inbox for awhile, waiting for the perfect moment to give it a whirl.

That day presented itself yesterday.  While cooking dinner for my family last night I wrote down the simple ingredients and mixed my own little evening refresher – a Watermelon and Cucumber cocktail.

You can find the original recipe on TheKitchen.com.  If you want to make this a non-alcoholic drink, just switch out the alcohol for some club soda or even 7-Up.  But, below was my variation.

Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher
3 parts tequila
1 part triple sec
1 part (1/2 ounce) watermelon-cucumber-mint juice*
1 part (1/2 ounce) fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a watermelon and/or cucumber slice and/or a sprig of mint.

*Watermelon-Cucumber-Mint Juice
yields one cup

2 parts (I used 2 cups) diced, seeded watermelon flesh
1 part (1 cup) peeled, seeded cucumber
2 sprigs mint (I used 7 leaves)
A couple of pieces of diced jalapenos

Whir all ingredients together in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard pulp.

Another great way to enjoy in the freshness that the farmers market offers!  So, get out today and shop local.




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An array of peppers from the Webb City Farmers Market

I’ve got the perfect take-along dip for your next backyard BBQ.  With a little experimentation in my kitchen I stumbled unto this simple, yet tasty pepper dip.  This is a perfect recipe for the time of season at the farmers market, because markets are popping with brightly colored peppers.  Don’t be afraid to mix in some purple peppers in this dip- you won’t be sorry.

Triple Pepper Dip
by Lane

2 cups sour cream
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup finely shredded Mexican four-cheese
½ cup salsa
1 T. lime juice
3 T. parmesan cheese
¼ cup finely chopped red pepper
¼ cup finely chopped yellow pepper
¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
2 T. minced green onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. chili powder or use ¼ tsp. of chipotle chili powder
1 bag of tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate.

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Wondering what to do with all those jalapeno peppers from the market or your backyard garden?  Stock up for Christmastime.

One special homemade gift my mother and I also enjoy making together is Jalapeno Jelly. We always have plenty of Jalapenos from the garden and it seems like we always have to find something to do with them.   You can only make so many Jalapeno Poppers.

Making jelly isn’t as difficult as most believe- it’s actually quite simple. Just be sure and wear gloves when preparing the peppers so your hands aren’t burning for a week. I’ve made that mistake before – TRUST ME – Wear the Gloves.

This jelly makes a perfect holiday gift for neighbors and friends. Serve this jelly with a cream cheese topped cracker for your holiday gatherings!

Jalapeno Jelly
Yields: about 5 half pints
from My Mother

¾ lb jalapeno peppers (or more if you want more heat)
2 pouches liquid pectin
2 c. cider vinegar (divided)
6 c. sugar
Green or red food coloring

Wash peppers; drain. Remove stems and seeds. Puree peppers and 1 c. vinegar  then add mixture to a large pot. Add the remaining vinegar, sugar and bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Stir constantly.

Stir in liquid pectin and return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, while continuing to stir.

Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary. Stir in a few drops of food coloring of choice. Ladle hot jelly into jars in a boiling water canner.

NOTE: When cutting and seeding the peppers, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned.

Don’t know how to can? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Check out the University of Missouri Extension website for info on how to can. Or check out PickYourOwn.org for more recipes and tips on canning and making jelly.

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Sampling at the Greater Polk County Farmers Market

We grilled up some fajitas at the Greater Polk County Farmers Market recently and they were a hit with the crowd and vendors!

A vendor that raised Belgian Blue cattle provided fajita meat that was lean and already thinly sliced that was perfect for fajitas.  Goes to show…never know what you will find at the market.

The term Fajitas refers to any grilled meat that is served on a flour or corn tortilla and also goes back to the cut of beef used in making this dish.  Typically you will see skirt steak used when making fajitas, but don’t be afraid to use shrimp, pork or even chicken.

Market Steak Fajitas Recipe
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb of flank steak, skirt steak
1 large onion, peeled and sliced with the grain
2-3 bell peppers of various colors, stemmed, seeded, de-ribbed, sliced lengthwise into strips
Juice of 1 lime
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced fine
½ cup fresh chopped cilantro

Sauteing peppers and onions for the fajitas

Now, I just used prepared meat, but you can season your own skirt steak with a simple  marinade and letting your steak sit at room temperature for about an hour, or longer in the refrigerator.  Be sure and wipe the marinade off the meat, before you cook it.

Heat up a large cast iron skillet and add a couple tablespoons of oil to the pan.  Add the steak, frying on each side for 2-3 minutes or medium rare.  You want the meat to be browned, but not burned.  When the meat is done, remove from skillet and let rest.  Resting allows the meat to redistribute the juice throughout.

Next, cook the vegetables in the same skillet while the meat is resting. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, then add the onions and bell peppers. Let these sear for 1 minute before stirring, then stir so as the veggies sear. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Slice the meat against the grain into thin slices. If you slice the meat at an angle, you will be able to get your slices pretty thin. These cuts of steak are flavorful but can be a little tough, so thin slices will really help make it easier to eat.

The Market Lady talking with consumers at the market

Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and tomato.

We were lucky enough to have freshly made flour tortillas and homemade blueberry banana bread supplied by The Berry Patch from Bolivar, Mo.  Thanks to all the vendors that supplied products for our cooking demos.

Lots of folks showed up to ask questions and sample the fresh food we prepared.  A great community with a strong market presence.

The farmers market offers an array of tastes and colors that will make every dish special.

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