July 30, 2009

Missouri State Fair Will Bring Local Produce from the Farm to the Fork

The Missouri State Fair is right around the corner and I’ve been gearing up for some of the local food cooking demos that I will be conducting at the fair. Both professional and amateur chefs will putting on daily local foods cooking demonstrations centered on using local foods and simple fresh ingredients.

I wanted to make sure my recipes were simple and really made local foods the main component of the recipe. Here are the two recipes I will be performing at the fair.

Localvore’s Tomato Sandwich
By Lane McConnell, Missouri Department of Agriculture

1 large loaf ciabatta (local bread)
Herb Vinaigrette, below
2 large ripe, local heirloom tomatoes
1 large local yellow or red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and quartered
4 ounces of fresh local goat cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Herb Vinaigrette
¼ cup local basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped local parsley
1 small local garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons aged red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Slice the top third off the loaf of bread and set it aside. Pull out the inside (use to make bread crumbs for a later date). Paint the inside of the bread with some of the dressing, then make layers of sliced tomatoes, pepper and cheese. Bathe each layer with more dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Add the top, press down, the cut into quarters or sixths. This recipe packs well if wrapped up tightly.

Melon Salad with Thai Basil
Thai Basil
By Lane McConnell, Missouri Department of Agriculture

1 large shallot, finely diced
Seas salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup cilantro
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1/3 cup Thai basil leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
1 jalapeno chile, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ to 2 pounds melon (honeydew, watermelon, cantaloupe), chilled
1 bunch arugula

Put shallot in bowl with lime juice, zest and ¼ teaspoon salt. Chop the herbs and add them to bowl along with the chile, ginger, garlic and oil. Stir and taste for salt.

Halve the melon, remove the seeds and cut into wedges. Slice off the skins, then cut the melon diagonally into bite sizes pieces or into very small cubes, as you prefer.

Pour the dressing over the melon and toss well. Season with pepper. Arrange the greens on small plates and spoon the melon into the center. If the melons are extra sweet, add as extra lime wedge to each plate. Garnish with the purple tipped Thai basil leaves.

July 15, 2009

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

I've been doing a lot of baking lately it seems- brownies, cakes, muffins and cookies. But I have an excuse- I'm pregnant. And when the cravings hit- it's better to have some sweets on hand.

This is a recipe I got from our recent vacation to South Carolina. This is a very simple recipe to make and makes delicious bars!

Lemon Cheesecake Bars
1 (18.25 oz) box lemon cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1 egg
1 stick butter
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
2 eggs
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon extract

Combine cake mix, pecans, butter, and 1 egg in a medium mixing bowl. Press mixture lightly in a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, 2 eggs, powdered sugar, and lemon extract. Pour over cake mix mixture. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool. Refrigerate until set. Cut into small squares. serves 12 to 15.

July 8, 2009

Just Peachy Breakfast Shake

It seems all I do anymore is eat- 24/7. And, if I’m not eating I’m hungry! But, I guess it comes with the territory of being pregnant- 21 weeks and going strong.

I can’t complain though- I’ve had a wonderful pregnancy and told my husband how much I enjoy being pregnant.

We found out that our house will be expecting a little boy come November. My husband was very pleased, knowing that he will have a little fishing buddy in the near future and!

Here is a quick breakfast treat that is both healthy and flavorful! I found this recipe on What to Expect.com.

Just Peachy Breakfast Shake
1 medium banana, frozen and sliced

1 cup frozen unsweetened peach slices
¾ cup vanilla yogurt
½ cup calcium-fortified cranberry juice
Soy protein powder (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until pureed. Pour into a tall glass and serve.