June 27, 2008

Squashing Around

This year has been a tough one for many farmers’ across Missouri. Floods, heavy rain, damaging winds and then more flooding has caused many farmers’ to loose their vegetable crops, meaning their farmers’ market business well also suffer this season.

But there are many folks that have salvaged their gardens or vegetable operations. I attended the recent Fahrmeier Field Day Monday for work and received a bountiful basket of fresh produce from the Fahrmeier family that included, tomatoes, squash, zucchini and raspberries.
My garden is almost ready to provide me with some wonderful squash, but I’ll still have to wait about another two weeks for tomatoes.
Reminder: Get out to your local Missouri Farmers' Market this season and enjoy the wide variety of produce and talking with the producers.

Here’s a new recipe for squash that I know you will all enjoy!

Italian Summer Squash
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2-1/2 tablespoons chopped dill (use the feathery portions only)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 pattypan squash - trimmed and cut into
1/2 inch thick slices
3 zucchini, trimmed and cut into 3/4" thick slices
3 yellow (crookneck) squash, trimmed and cut into 3/4" thick slices
Combine lemon juice, oregano and garlic in a non-reactive bowl. Whisk in mustard and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the dill and feta cheese; set aside. Cook squash until tender, but not mushy. Carefully transfer squash to a serving plate. Stir dill and feta dressing to recombine, spoon over squash.

June 25, 2008

Back With Many New Recipes from Spain

Yes, I know it’s been a bit since I’ve posted and I do apologize but with being gone for three weeks in Spain put me a little behind in work when I arrived back. Thanks for the emails from some loyal readers, I appreciate the kind notes.

How was Spain? It was a wonderful experience that I will always remember. We walked up mountians, view world famous paintings and buildings, shopped at local farmers' markets for meat, fish and produce. From tours of palaces where I saw walls and ceilings of gold and beautiful paintings, fountains galore, to cathedrals that absolutely amazed me by the treasures that laid inside and not to mention the best part of all- THE TAPAS! View my photos from Spain.

Tapas, you ask? Tapas are snacks, canapés or finger food. Tapas come in many different forms and can vary from town to town! But, what are they?

Tapas can be practically anything from a chunk of tuna, cocktail onion and an olive skewered on a long toothpick to meat with sauce served piping hot in a miniature clay dish or even a plate of olives. They are served day in and day out in every bar and café in Spain. So much a part of the culture and social scene that the Spanish people invented the verb tapear which means to go and eat tapas!

In most regions of Spain one tapa is complimentary with each round of drinks ordered. Tapas keep the Spanish fueled for their long journeys from bar to bar before their mid-day meal and in the evening before dinner. (I think I will start serving tapas when we have friends over more often, you can almost fill up on them.)

We really enjoyed sharing in the culture of the Spanish and with my husband’s family who all live outside and surrounding towns of Madrid. We traveled, we ate (a lot), we met family we had never met and learned so much! It was a wonderful experience that we will always cherish.
Spain also showed me a new appreciation for new tastes to draw upon to create new recipes which I will be sharing. Today, I’ll pull out one of my favorite recipes from Spain that we had with dinner almost everyday – A Spanish Salad. No, salad dressing on Spanish Salads- just olive oil and vinegar.

Lettuce (two kinds if your prefer)
1 tomato, sliced
Spanish Olives
3 green onions (scallions), chopped with tops
A little cracked black pepper

Place on large plate. Drizzle with a good olive oil and some vinegar, don’t use too much though. (I also like to use red wine vinegar.)

Simple recipe that is also good for you. In Spain you sit this salad in the middle of the table and everyone eats from the plate, no salad bowls. It’s kinda fun!