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Archive for the ‘Squash & Zucchini’ Category


Here is one of my favorite recipes that I prepared at the Camdenton Farmers Market in August – this dish was a crowd pleaser.

I start with small patty pan squash, I like cooking with the vegetables that are still young and immature because they are tender and have less seeds.  Then using my mother’s batter I coat the squash in an egg wash and then a cornmeal batter and deep fry to golden perfection!

You can also use this batter on eggplant, zucchini and a variety of other vegetables.

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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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The Market Lady will be presenting two cooking demonstrations at the fifth annual Taste of Springfield event held in downtown Springfield on Saturday, October 1, 2011.  Food sampling of more than 25 locally owned and operated restaurants and cooking demonstrations will run from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.   The Market Lady, Lane McConnell, will conduct cooking demonstrations that incorporate local farm flavors at 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

“I’m excited to show folks how easy it is to shop locally and prepare tasty meals for their family that consists of regional farm products,” said McConnell.  “I will not only be cooking at the demonstrations, but providing information about locally grown foods and answering any questions from consumers.”

One recipe that The Market Lady will prepare is a Butternut Squash Soup that is perfect for this winter.  The soup will be made with ingredients from local farms in the area.  Find below one of the two recipes that will be demonstrated and available for tasting this coming Saturday in downtown Springfield. 

Butternut Squash Soup
2 tbs. butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 whole butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
3 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken broth
½ c. local honey
1 tsp. thyme leaves, chopped
½ tsp salt
1 tsp. pepper

In large pot, melt butter, stir in onions and garlic. Cook and stir until browned (5 minutes). Stir in carrots and celery and cook until tender (5 minutes.) Stir in potatoes, squash, chicken broth, honey, and thyme. Bring to boil and simmer for 35 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Place mixture into a food processor and mix till smooth. Return pureed soup to pot and season with salt and pepper.

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Looking for an easy kabob recipe incorporating fresh products from the farmers market – The Market Lady has you covered!  Here is our video from the Marshfield Farmers Market visit.

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French Pumpkins at the farmers market

The nip in the air is intoxicating!  Fall is trying to make an appearance and I welcomed it wholeheartedly.

With fall brings a new array of garden vegetables to the farmers markets, things such as butternut squash, pumpkins, acorn squash, apples and a lot of the same items you see pop up in the spring like spinach, broccoli, cauliflowers, kale and others.

I always welcome fall with open arms and embrace the new season of foods that my local farmers provide.  But, remember each market is different so don’t go to your local market and expect to find all of these goodies.  What will be available at your market depends on the farmers that planted fall gardens this summer or have access to grow in high tunnels.

When I think of fall, I am reminded of the smell of pumpkin pie fresh out of the oven.  My mother taught me to make homemade pumpkin puree from the French pumpkins my father grew in his garden.  I can honestly say that I’ve never bought canned pumpkin and plan on never having to.  Making puree is simple and stores perfectly in the freezer.

If you are a new mom, be sure and make extra pumpkin puree for your little one.  Pumpkin will taste similar to squash.  I would add a little cinnamon to my son’s pumpkin puree to make it even more special.

Making Your Own Pumpkin Puree
I grew up in a family where we grew our own pumpkins in the garden. My dad always bought heirloom seed and planted a French variety pumpkin that made the BEST pumpkin pie.

We would grow our pumpkins, puree them and measure out a specific measurement of puree then place in freezer bags and freeze the puree until we were ready to use it. That way all we would have to do is go the freezer, thaw the pre-measured pumpkin and add it to our recipe.

Personally, I do not like ANY canned pumpkin. I tasted others pumpkins pies made with the canned stuff- and I will pass on dessert!  Maybe it’s the feeling of accomplishment eating my own processed pumpkin, I don’t’ know. But I know there is a major taste difference in canned vs. processed. It’s a fairly simple process to actually process your own pumpkin puree also. I think many folks think it’s a very complicated and time consuming process – not so!

First, pick out a small sugar pumpkin. Not the large Jack-o-Laterns you see in fields or for decoration. Those types of pumpkins have a very fibrous flesh and are not as sweet tasting as the smaller varieties. The smaller variety only weighs about 4-8 lbs, has a good stem intact and needs to have no soft spots of blemishes.

You can find these smaller cooking pumpkins at farmers markets, specialty stores and sometimes even grocery stores.

To make your puree:
Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove seeds (but save them, they make excellent garnishes for dishes and are great toasted) and stringy fibers, and place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Add about 2 cups of water to the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F until the pumpkin is soft to the touch. You may have to add a bit of water throughout the cooking process.

Scoop out the pulp and puree in a food processor until smooth. You may have to add a little bit of water in the food processor or blender to get the mixture to puree smoothly. Cool before using or storing in freezer bags.

I like to pre-measure all my puree in freezer bags. This way it’s very easy to go to the deep freeze and pick out 1 cup 2 cups, ect of measured pumpkin puree.

To celebrate the turning of the season here’s a simple soup that will warm your soul this winter!

Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup
2 tbs. butter
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
3-4 cups sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced (or 1 whole butternut squash)
3 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken broth
½ c. honey
½ tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
½ tsp salt
1 tsp. pepper

In large pot, melt butter, stir in onions and garlic. Cook and stir until browned (5 minutes). Stir in carrots and celery and cook until tender (5 minutes.) Stir in potatoes, squash, chicken broth, honey, and thyme. Bring to boil and simmer for 35 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Place mixture into a food processor and mix till smooth. Return pureed soup to pot and season with salt and pepper.

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The Market Lady, Lane McConnell, will visit the West Plains Farmers Market in West Plains, Mo., Saturday, September 10..  The Market Lady and video crew will begin at 8:00 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 Saturday,” said Market Master Laura Esterle.  “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 West Plains Farmers Market on September 10 to meet the Market Lady and video producer Kelsie Young at 711 Washington Ave.

Zucchini and Squash Penne with Ricotta
1 cup ricotta cheese, room temperature
2 lbs. zucchini and squash
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. lemon juice
3 T. basil or marjoram
Sea salt and peppercorns, to taste
¼ tsp. cracked peppercorns
I lb. cooked penne pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare penne al dente.  Sit out ricotta cheese to bring to room temperature.  Slice zucchini and squash diagonal into stripes about ½ inch thick. 

Heat oil in a wide skillet.  Add zucchini, squash and red pepper flakes and sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, basil and lemon juice and remove from heat.  Season with sea salt and peppercorns.  Add cooked pasta to zucchini and toss.  Season with salt and add ricotta cheese and toss together.  Plate and grate parmesan cheese over the dish.

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One of my favorite ways to enjoy zucchini is making this Zucchini Fritters recipe- easy and not to mention tasty!  We filmed this video at the Neosho Farmers Market and this recipe has become a favorite of readers.  I hope you find it as delicious as my family does.

Zucchini Fritters from the Market
2 medium sized, coarsely grated
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Sour cream

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Salt the zucchini with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Remove excess moisture by squeezing the liquid with paper towels.  Whisk egg in a large bowl; add the zucchini, flour, scallions, garlic, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix to combine well.

TIP: zucchini is a popular summer squash that are usually picked when under 20 cm in length, when the seeds are still soft and immature. It can be prepared using a variety of cooking techniques, including steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, fried, or incorporated in other recipes such as soufflés. Its flowers can be eaten stuffed and are a delicacy when deep fried.

Cook fritters in two batches, by dropping five mounds of about 2 T. of batter.  Flatten the fritters.  Cook, turning once, until browned, 4-6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately, with sour cream on the side.

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The Market Lady, Lane McConnell, will visit the FARM Farmers Market in Camdenton, Mo., Saturday, August 27.  The Market Lady and video crew will begin at 7:30 a.m., with two cooking demonstrations 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.”

“Our market and community are excited about The Market Lady’s cooking demonstration on Wednesday,” said Sandy Nelson, FARM Market Manager. “We will have a variety of products available for consumers to shop from and The Market Lady will be here to answer questions about eating locally and provide lots of wonderful cooking tips.”

One recipe The Market Lady will be preparing at the market is Battered Patty Pan Squash.  Below find the recipe for printing in your publication.  Be sure and come out the FARM Farmers Market on August 27 at the square in downtown Camdenton to meet The Market Lady.

Battered Patty Pan Squash
2 eggs
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable Oil
½ tsp. red pepper
½ cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. parsley
2-3 patty pan squash, washed and sliced, lengthwise

In a pie plate add the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and red pepper and whisk together.  Add the sliced squash to the mixture to coat. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add enough oil to fry the squash.

To make the batter add ½ cup flour, ½ cup cornmeal, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper and parsley.  Add the squash that has been dipped in the wet mixture and coat with dry batter.

Place in skillet with hot oil and fry to a golden brown.  Drain on a paper towel and serve.

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Pepper Jelly

My mother and I make Jalapeno Pepper Jelly every year to give to friends during the holidays.  Straight out of our garden we pick  peppers and prepare the kitchen for jelly making.  This takes quite a bit of time, but is worth the wait.  You can find the recipe we use here.

Most folks only know one way to consume this delicate and spicy jelly- with cream cheese and crackers.  Yes, that is one of my favorite ways as well, but there are a lot of other options to be aware of.  Such as using the jelly as a marinade or basting sauce for pork and chicken.  Pepper Jelly is perfect with grilled meat – give it a whirl this weekend.

You can find many local farmers selling Pepper Jelly at area markets, made from peppers from their own gardens.  Ask your farmers what their favorite way to use Pepper Jelly is- I bet they can provide a wealth of knowledge.

Here is one of my mother’s favorite recipes that uses her homemade jelly as a baste.

Jalapeño Pepper Jelly Glazed Chicken with Corn and Zucchini
Recipe from 1997 Gourmet

6 plum tomatoes (about 1 pound)
1 pound zucchini
1 cup packed fresh coriander sprigs
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups fresh corn (from about 3 ears)
2 tablespoons jalapeño pepper jelly
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets
2 tablespoons cream cheese

Prepare grill.

Seed and chop tomatoes and cut zucchini into 1/2-inch pieces. Finely chop coriander. In a heavy skillet cook onion in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, corn, and salt and pepper to taste and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

While corn mixture is simmering, prepare chicken. In a small saucepan melt jelly over moderate heat, stirring, and remove pan from heat. Stir in lemon juice and chili powder and divide jelly mixture between 2 small bowls (to prevent the potential contamination caused by uncooked meat juices). Pat chicken dry and brush with jelly mixture from 1 bowl. Season chicken with salt and grill on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals until just cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side. With a clean brush, coat chicken with jelly mixture from other bowl.

Stir cream cheese into corn mixture until melted and stir in coriander and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve corn mixture topped with chicken.

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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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