Archive for the ‘Recipes’ 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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I’ve got the perfect salad combo for you to bring to all those summer bbq’s this year.  My Tomato Basil Couscous is not only healthy, but nutritious as well.  Head out to a local market today to pick up all your ingredients!

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Radishes are overlooked often at market because folks simply know one way to eat them- sliced in salads, but today I’ve got a recipe for braised radishes.

Did you know that radishes are rich in folic acid and Vitamin C . These nutrients make it a very effective cancer-fighting food. It is said that radish is effective in fighting oral cancer, colon cancer and intestinal cancer as well as kidney and stomach cancers.  More reason to stock up on this nutritious vegetable at your next shopping trip to the market.

Easy Braised Radishes
2 bunches radishes (about 1 pound), preferably icicle, tops trimmed to 1 inch above root, sliced in half
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the radishes in a large skillet and add just enough cold water to cover, about 1  1/2 cups. Add the butter, sugar, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the radishes are tender when pricked with a paring knife and the liquid has reduced to a glaze, about 12 minutes.

If the radishes are tender but the liquid hasn’t reduced sufficiently, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a serving dish and continue reducing the liquid. Spoon it over the radishes and serve with buttered crusty bread.

So the next time you take a stroll through a farmers market, pick up an extra bunch of radishes for a powerful nutritious punch!  I’m Lane McConnell, The Market Lady, taste the freshness and visit a farmers market today.

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Our family has always eaten well, but too much of anything isn’t a good thing. So, that’s why we’ve decided to make healthier eating choices. Now, don’t think that means you won’t see me post deliciously divine desserts from time to time, but eating healthier has been a goal for my family and this recipe is a perfect start.

This is a Weight Watchers recipe that a friend passed along to me.   I decided to try it after she raved about it at a recent lunch.   These muffins with homemade strawberry sauce are amazing and healthy!

I was stunned on how good the strawberry sauce was…..I could have just eaten it alone. The best part is it’s strawberry season in the Ozarks…look for strawberries to be ripe for the picking soon, although I’ve seen two markets already have them for sale.

Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Lemon Yogurt Muffins with Fresh Strawberry Sauce
from Weight Watchers

2 spray(s) cooking spray
2 cup(s) strawberries, finely chopped, divided
2 Tbsp strawberry jam
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cornstarch
2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
2 large egg(s)
8 oz Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free Lemon Yogurt, or similar product
1/3 cup(s) sugar
1/4 cup(s) canola oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-hole muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup strawberries with next 4 ingredients; set over medium-low heat. Cook until boiling, whisking constantly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 cup strawberries; set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, lightly whisk eggs; whisk in remaining ingredients until smooth.

Make a well in center of dry ingredients and spoon in egg mixture; gently fold to combine.

Fill each muffin hole 3/4s full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from oven and serve each muffin with 1 heaping tablespoon strawberry sauce on top.

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Dijon Salad Dressing

Make Your Own Dressing

Salads are one of my favorite meals.  There are so many ways to jazz up a salad, either with a dressing, fruit or adding a protein.

One of the top New Year’s Resolutions is always to loose weight, so I thought that this recipe would fit nicely into many folk’s meal plans for 2012.  Maybe you are on a full-fledged diet and exercise routine or just eating a few more salads each week, this dressing is a perfect addition to your recipe box.

The recipe comes from my friend Marissa, who brought a delicious Spinach Salad to a dinner party recently.  She had been experimenting with dressings and had came up with a perfect combo.  (I love having friends that cook!)

Try adding this dressing to a spinach salad and add chopped eggs, mushrooms, blue cheese and some crumbled bacon.

Special Dressing
3 T. chopped onion
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. celery seed
1 T. prepared Dijon-Style Mustard

Prepare the dressing in a blender by combining the onion, sugar, salt, oil, vinegar, pepper, celery seed and Dijon mustard. Blend until smooth.

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When I told folks I was going to make my own homemade baby food..they laughed. “Yeah, we will see how much time you have for that after the baby comes…” It’s mind over matter people!

Well, if you were to come on over to my house and see the bags of baby food I made over a year’s times for my son- you would be impressed. I was always experimenting with new combinations of flavors and textures.

I choose fresh vegetables mostly (shopped at local farmers markets), and the fruits and vegs that are high in pesticides typically, I purchased either locally or frozen.

If you are unsure about the differences in homemade baby food compared to the jarred stuff- just make a batch of sweet peas.  I used this example the other day for a Parents As Teachers baby food cooking class I put on.  I made sweet pea puree and showed how brightly colored the peas were. The jarred stuff looked like a brown-green color and I’ve never known a baby to like peas. Well, mine did, it was one of his favorite foods as a baby and as a toddler.I’m also made sure Caston had an adventurous palate by incorporating things like avocado, salmon, pumpkin, butternut squash and even kale. I think kids are picky eaters bc they aren’t shown how fun food is!  By making your baby’s own food, you can show them the adventures of the food pyramid and the farmers markets is a great place to start.  And, don’t fret…just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that all market are closed.  There are many communities that offer winter markets.

If you are interested in making your own baby food check out these resources:
Baby Center
Wholesome Baby Food

Cookbook: So Fresh

Once a week I took about an hour and made a couple batches of baby food and froze the food in ice cube trays and some freezer cups. Then, when ready to use some of the food pull out only what you will need (yeah- no waste) and you can either thaw overnight in the fridge or microwave in a bowl.

I whole-heartily believe this is the best food for your baby….no preservatives and additives just fresh and healthy food!  Give it a try, you won’t be sorry.

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It’s always about this time of the year that I start to get antsy for the growing season to hurry up and make it’s appearance. Maybe because of all the seed catalogs I’m thumbing through, the farmers’ markets workshops/conferences I’m attending for my job, the diminishing frozen vegetables in my deep freeze or maybe because I’m just tired of the cold weather already – and it’s only December!

The good news is that there are a number of farmers markets that remain open year-round and offer a wealth of local products for your family to choose from.  Check out this list of markets for a winter market near you.

Baldwin Lentil Soup
from my mother
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups water
1 cup dry green lentils
1 red potato, peel and dice
1 large tomato, peel and dice
1 small celery stalk, diced
1 small carrot, slivered
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

In a deep soup pot, saute shallots and onions in heated oil. Add water and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, adding more water if needed to keep the 3-cup level of liquid. Cook lentils until barely tender. Add all other vegetables and seasonings. Continue cooking at least 20 minutes longer. Fork mash or puree mixture. Serve warm, garnished with croutons or chives.

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Pepper Jelly

I’ve posted some recipes for pepper jelly in the past and given a couple of great marinades to use this diverse treat. But, I know folks are always searching for new ways to use pepper jelly, so I thought this post from Serious Eats would do the trick.

1. Spicy PB & Jelly: Bring a little spicy style to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

2. Spiked Monte Cristo: Mix equal parts mayo and pepper jelly, spread evenly over two slices of bread, layer smoky ham or turkey with Swiss or Gruyere cheese. Dip finished sandwich into lightly beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper, lightly brown in a buttered skillet, cut in half and enjoy.

3. Simple Stir-Fry: In a skillet, sauté chicken slices in canola oil, add a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, season with teriyaki sauce and crushed red pepper and finish by swirling in pepper jelly until melted.

4. Glazed Honey-Drunken Salmon: Simply mix together bourbon liquor, honey, melted butter and pepper jelly until evenly incorporated. Spread over salmon, and cook until done.

5. Mediterranean Turkey Burgers: Mix together ground turkey, melted butter, dried sage and pepper jelly, season generously with salt and pepper, and throw on the grill.

6. Sweet and Sour Pork: Cube pork into 1/2-inch cubes, and brown in a skillet with oil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and pepper jelly until smooth. Add mixture to a few minutes before removing pork from skillet, stir, simmer and serve.

7. Spiced-Up Vinaigrette: In the bottom of a large salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, grainy mustard and pepper jelly until emulsified. Add lettuce, tomato and other salad ingredients to bowl, and gently toss to coat.

8. Fish-n-Dip: Mix together equal parts horseradish sauce with pepper jelly; serve this dip alongside any deep-fried fish for a uniquely tangy and spicy bliss.

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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
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
3 cups unbleached white flour salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

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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Sweet Potato Muffins

Sweet Potato Muffins

Farm cooks have always had a way of making so much out of so little.  I have visited many farmer’s kitchens across the state and tasted some of the most delectable dishes.  Plus, I’ve learned many cooking skills on my travels.

Today, I want to share one of my favorite recipes that bring back fond childhood memories of cooking in my grandmother’s kitchen.

My grandmother was a farmer’s wife, but she also played an important role of the family’s dairy operation in Ava, Mo.  My grandmother was also one of the founders of the Ava Polk Salad Days Festival, where she and other ladies made delicious dishes incorporating polk from the land that they gathered.

One special treat I recall making with her in the fall was Sweet Potato Muffins.  She tended to a very large-scale garden on the farm, not to sell produce, but to feed their large family.  We would dig up the sweet potatoes and store them in the basement all winter long.

As a child watching my grandmother in the kitchen was like magic and when I was able to help her, I was very excited.  This is a perfect recipe to make with your children- my toddler loves these muffins in the morning with a little butter and a cold glass of milk.

A couple ways I make these muffins even more special is adding a cup of any of the following: pineapple, cranberries or dates.

Southern Sweet Potato Muffins
1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
6 Eggs
2 cups Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
¼ tsp. Fresh Ginger, grated
½ tsp. Cinnamon
1-1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 T. Baking Powder
1 pound Sweet Potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a medium mixing bowl combine butter and sugar with a mixer. Next, combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Blend in eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon cooked sweet potatoes. Then, add all dry ingredients at once. Use wooden spoon to blend all ingredients well.

Spoon muffin batter into greased muffin tins ( I use muffin cups). Fill 2/3’s full and bake for 23-26 minutes.

Sweet Potato Muffins
Ingredients –
1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
6 Eggs
2 cups Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1-1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Baking Powder
1 pound Sweet Potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.2. In medium mixing bowl combine butter and sugar.3. Blend in eggs, buttermilk, flour, baking powder and cooked sweet potatoes.

4. Use wooden spoon to blend all ingredients well.

5. Spoon muffin batter into greased muffin tins. Fill 2/3’s full.

6. Bake 25 minutes.

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