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Listings of what's available at the farmers' markets and how to use the produce available.
August 05
Mini English Cucumbers

​English cucumbers are the long skinny ones usually wrapped in plastic at the grocery store.  They are sometimes called "burpless" cucumbers. There are basically three kinds of cucumbers - pickling cucumbers, slicing cucumbers and English cucumbers.  The English variety has smaller seeds and a thinner, more tender skin than the regular slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers are usually smaller, thicker skinned with no waxy coating and have little bumpy spines on them.  The English and slicing cucumbers are used for fresh eating while the pickling cucumbers are best for making pickles and relishes (the other two varieties don't preserve well).  

Mini English Cucumbers.jpg

The last couple of weeks I have picked up some mini English cucumbers at the Bedford County farmers market.  These are a smaller version of the ones found at the grocery store and are very sweet and tender without a hint of bitterness.  They are excellent in salads or cut up to eat fresh with a dip or to add to tomatoes in an Italian marinade.

So I had several of the cucumbers in my refrigerator along with some Alabama peaches and decided to make a salsa with grilled chicken.  I love fruit and a protein together.  I love the freshness and sweetness against the savory, umami flavors of meat or poultry or seafood.  Scallops with mango salsa, pork tenderloin with apples, ham with pineapple - all favorites.  And cucumbers and tomatoes also play well with fruits.  One of my alltime favorite salads is a watermelon, tomato and cucumber marinated salad - yum!

Glazed Chicken with Curried Cucumber Peach Salsa.jpg

Often when we think of salsa, we think tomatoes and hot pepper with a Mexican flavor profile with cumin and oregano.  But for my peach and cucumber salsa I took a different route - a delicious route - through India. Peaches, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and a little jalapeno form the base with seasonings of peach or apricot preserves, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and curry powder.  You can't believe the fresh yet warming, comforting, not super spicy (you can leave out the jalapeno and/or red pepper flakes if you wish) flavor that this salsa adds to a simple sauteed chicken breast.  The curry is not overwhelming, but adds a special, unique flavor that makes you want to eat this with a spoon from the bowl.  Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle before serving.  You can also store it in the refrigerator for a day or so.  I used my mini English cucumbers but if you have a larger English cucumber or even a slicing cucumber (I would peel this one), those will work also.

The chicken is simply sauteed in a little butter in a covered skillet and then glazed with a little of the peach or apricot preserves.  Be sure to season the chicken well with a sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper.  Don't forget to pour the pan juices, over the top of the chicken before serving.  They mingle with the juice from the salsa and make a wonderful sauce to swirl your chicken in before scooping up some of the salsa for the perfect bite!

I know this sounds very different - but every time I eat this I say, "Wow, that was a great dinner!".  Give it a try and give English cucumbers a try.

Glazed Chicken with Curried Cucumber Peach Salsa

2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped (about 2 cups)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 mini English cucumbers or half a large, chopped (about 1 cup)

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

5 tablespoons peach or apricot preserves, divided

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons butter

4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts

kosher salt

black pepper


In a large bowl stir together the peaches and lemon juice.  Add the cucumbers, bell peppers, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, curry powder, salt, red pepper flakes and 3 tablespoons of preserves.  Mix well and let stand for at least 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt the butter.  Add the chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook over medium high heat for 7-8 minutes.  Turn over, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook another 5 minutes.  Spoon the remaining 2 tablespoons of preserves over the top of the chicken and cover and cook until chicken reaches 160 degrees, about another 2-3 minutes.  Place chicken breasts on four plates and pour any drippings in the pan over the top.  Spoon the salsa next to the chicken and serve immediately.​


July 15
Zucchini Cornbread Casserole

​There are two questions when it comes to summer produce.  The first is "when will the tomatoes be ripe?"  The second is "I have a thousand summer squash coming in, what do I do?" While the first is hard to answer since each year they ripen up a little differently (the general answer is July), the second has many answers and today I'll share one of them.

Zucchini Cornbread Casserole.jpg

Summer squash are characterized by an edible skin, as opposed to winter squash where the skin is hard and inedible, and include zucchini, yellow crookneck, yellow straightneck and pattypan, which look like little flying saucers. All of these are interchangeable in recipes and have a mild flavor that pairs well with many things. Small to medium squash are the best, but if you miss a few and they get bigger just grate them up for use in breads or casseroles. The larger ones tend to be tougher with a tougher skin and larger seeds. The other thing about summer squash is that they are prolific in the garden and one plant will produce many, many squash which means you need many, many recipes to use them up!

This recipe for Zucchini Cornbread Casserole is a great way to use up some of the squash. It is a cross between a vegetable casserole and cornbread with some vegetables in it and is packed with flavor. It is also packed with cheese so how can you go wrong there? If you don't have zucchini, use yellow squash or pattypan and while I used Cheddar cheese you can use whatever cheese you have (Colby, Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack, Swiss, a mixture, etc.).  Be sure to drain your squash well.  I lightly salted mine and let it sit in the strainer over a bowl for about 30 minutes or so and then took paper towels and pressed quite a bit more moisture out before adding it to my mixture.

The casserole is seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, dried oregano, dried thyme, seasoned salt and pepper for a punch of comfort food flavor.  You can substitute dill or sage for the oregano if you wish.

Serve this dish along side some grilled meat or poultry for a great dinner. I had mine with a grilled steak. You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for a few days and it's really good heated up the next day in the microwave for breakfast!

Zucchini Cornbread Casserole

3 cups shredded zucchini

kosher salt

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 eggs, beaten

12 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

1 (8 1/2-ounce) box cornbread mix (I used Jiffy mix for its sweet flavor)

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place shredded zucchini in a colander over a bowl.  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt (a large pinch) and let drain for about 30 minutes.  Press with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.  Place in a large bowl and stir in the onion, eggs and 8 ounces of the cheese.  Stir until well mixed.  Add cornbread mix, paprika, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, seasoned salt and pepper.  Stir until mixed.  Pour into a greased 8" square casserole dish.  Sprinkle with remaining 4 ounces of cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. 


July 14
Brown Sugar Peach Shortcake

​Peaches are summer's gift.  When just ripe, they are a juicy and sweet delight.  Getting there can be a little tricky though as underripe isn't juicy and overripe is mushy.  If the peaches are hard, let them sit (in a single layer, please, not all piled up in a basket or box) on the counter until they just slightly give when gently pressed in the palm of your hand - you don't want to bruise them.  If they are soft to the touch, they've gone too far.  When just right, you can place them in the refrigerator for a few days if you're not going to use them right away.

Brown Sugar Peach Shortcake 2.jpg

So a great way to enjoy those just right peaches - in addition to just eating them sliced off the pit - is in a shortcake.  We often think of strawberry shortcake, but peaches are delicious this way also.  I prefer a biscuit type shortcake, using baking mix and dropping them onto a sheetpan to bake.  Whenever I make sweet biscuits, like shortcakes or scones, I always sprinkle them with a little coarse sugar to add some crunch to the top.  I think the biscuits tend to retain some of their structure under the juicy fruit and don't turn as soggy.  My grandmother, however, always used a spongecake.  So use whatever type of shortcake you prefer. 

For the peaches, the flavor is pumped up with caramely brown sugar, ground cinnamon and nutmeg.  Peaches will turn brown after peeling, so a little lemon juice tossed in your bowl while you are peeling and chopping your fruit keeps it fresh and bright.  The sweetness of the fruit and sugar is offset with just a pinch of salt.  As the fruit sits, the juices will combine with the sugar and spices for a sweet, caramely, spicy mixture to spoon over the shortcakes.  Add a little whipped topping (or real whipped cream if you're ambitious!) and you have a perfect summer dessert!

Brown Sugar Peach Shortcake

4 large peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

pinch  kosher salt


2 cups baking mix (Jiffy baking mix)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons coarse sugar


frozen whipped topping, thawed (or whipped heavy cream)


In a large bowl combine the peaches and lemon juice, stirring to coat the peaches so they don't turn brown.  Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and kosher salt.  Let stand, covered for an hour (or longer in the refrigerator).

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the baking mix, sugar, milk and butter.  Drop the dough onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet (will make 4-6, depending on how big you want them).  Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes until browned and set.  Let cool to warm or room temperature.

Place a shortcake in a bowl and spoon some of the peaches over the cake.  Place a dollop of whipped topping on the top.  Serve immediately.​


June 19
Marinated Cucumbers and Tomatoes: A Classic Summer Side

​Marinated cucumbers and tomatoes are a great summer salad.  What says summer better than red, ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and a vinaigrette dressing.  This salad works well along side grilled burgers and hot dogs or baked chicken or even picnic sandwiches.  The tomatoes make it not only tasty but a beautiful dish as well.

Marinated Cucumbers and Tomatoes.jpg

There are many ways to make this classic.  One of the easiest is to use a bottled Italian Dressing - doesn't get much more simple than that and I do this when I'm short on time.  I also have recipes that boil a homemade vinegar dressing, some that are sweeter and some that are spicy.  This one is a balanced, not too sweet, not too tart, not spicy at all dressing that is just right to please a whole family.

You can use cherry tomatoes or chop up larger tomatoes.  If the larger ones are really juicy, take out some of the gel and juice before adding to the dressing or it will water down the vinaigrette.

I used an English cucumber which has a thin skin and smaller seeds.  If you use a slicing cucumber, you might want to remove some or all of the peel and seed the center by running a metal spoon down the quartered spears before chopping.

Since summer starts tomorrow, break out the grill, set the picnic table and enjoy a Marinated Cucumber and Tomato Salad with your dinner!

Marinated Cucumber and Tomato Salad

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 English cucumber, cut into 1/2" dice or a peeled and seeded slicing cucumber

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or a larger tomato, seeded and chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking.  Add the cucumber and tomatoes.  Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving.  For longer storage, place in refrigerator.  Let stand 15 -30 minutes when it comes out of the refrigerator to warm up a little before serving.


June 15
Lemon Rosemary Baked Chicken

​Sometimes a simple dinner is the best cure at the end of a long, hard day.  One you can simply throw in the oven and enjoy half an hour later.  Baked chicken is one of those meals.  In this recipe, chicken breasts are topped with a lemon and rosemary mixture and baked on high heat in the oven for a delicious, simple supper.

Lemon Rosemary Baked Chicken.jpg

One of the keys is to brine the chicken a little before cooking.  A bowl of water with some salt thrown in is used to plump and moisten the chicken before it bakes.  Just 15 minutes of soaking while you prepare the lemon rosemary mixture will help keep the chicken from drying out while it cooks.  Just drain and rinse the chicken before placing in a greased baking dish.

The flavoring for the chicken comes from the lemon and rosemary sauce poured over the top of the breasts before baking.  Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest add a tangy twist along with finely chopped fresh rosemary and whole grain mustard.  The mustard seeds give a little pop to the sauce.  Simply whisk the ingredients together while the chicken is brining and then pour over the chicken before baking.

As the chicken bakes, uncovered at 450 degrees, the mixture bakes onto the top and the juices mingle in the bottom of the dish for a wonderful pan sauce that you can drizzle over the cooked chicken for extra moisture and flavor.  The chicken should register 165 degrees when checked with a thermometer in the thickest part.  For  medium sized chicken breasts it took about 20 minutes but if yours are thicker they may take a little longer and if smaller check earlier.  Resting the chicken, covered with foil, for 5-10 minutes after it comes out of the oven allows the juices to redistribute.  This is very important so that when you slice it, the juices don't run all over the cutting board and remain in the chicken to keep it moist.

Serve the chicken with some long grain and wild rice and a vegetable for a wonderful, easy weeknight dinner that will please the whole family. 

​Lemon Rosemary Baked Chicken

water

kosher salt

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

Fill a bowl with water and a handful of kosher salt.  Add the chicken breasts and brine for 15 minutes.  Drain and rinse.  Pat the chicken breasts dry and place in a baking dish coated with vegetable spray.  In a bowl, stir together the rosemary, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, honey, kosher salt, pepper and olive oil.  Pour over the top of the chicken breasts.  Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes or until thickest part registers 160 degrees on a thermometer.  Remove from oven and cover with foil.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.  Serve with juices from pan spooned over the top.


May 22
A Vegetable Tray with a Great Dip for Memorial Day

​This weekend brings the celebration of Memorial Day.  It is a special day of remembering those who have served our country and paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  So remember those who have gone before and thank those who are or have served in the Military.  My Dad is a 26 year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.  He went the Naval Academy and then was commissioned into the Air Force (before the Air Force Academy started graduating cadets).  He tested aircraft equipment at Edwards Air Force Base where I was born, taught at the Air Force Academy, worked on the Air Force budget at the Pentagon and managed the propulsion program before retiring and working for a contractor at Arnold Engineering and Development Complex.  I'm proud of my Dad and his service to our country and for his love of our country and the benefits and freedoms it brings.

Dried Beef Dip with Vegetables2.jpg

Memorial Day is also a time for cookouts and family gatherings as we remember and celebrate and also as the weather warms up.  A pretty vegetable tray with good dip makes a beautiful and fresh side to the burgers, barbecues and hot dogs.  While you can use some ranch dressing, Dried Beef Dip makes a party worthy vegetable tray!

Dried Beef Dip is a long time family favorite recipe. Back in the late seventies/early eighties, my family was living in Beavercreek, Ohio. There was a local grocery store called Lofino’s. It had a demonstration kitchen in the middle with all kinds of different products and I thought it was a most fun place to go and wander. My Mom went to one of the demonstrations and they had this Dried Beef Dip recipe as part of a holiday class. We’ve been using it ever since. 

Before you cringe, yes there is a place for jarred cheese product (processed cheese dip – aka Cheez Whiz) and it’s in this dip. It gives the dip a great creamy texture and a cheesy flavor. The second jarred product is the dried beef - thin round sheets of dried meat rolled up in a jar. This adds a salty flavor that is great with the fresh vegetables (this is also why this dip is not good with crackers or chips). While these are not products that I use everyday, they are great in this dip for special occasions.  Then there are four seasonings – onion, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish - that bring incredible depth and flavor to the dip. Grate the onion on the smallest holes on your grater. It will make a lot of juice as well as grated onion – just scoop it all up into the measuring spoon. Mix all that with some cream cheese and you have a wonderfully unique vegetable dip for a great party. 

For dippers, along with the usual suspects of carrots and celery, try stripped up bell peppers, radish coins, sugar snap peas, slightly blanched asparagus, zucchini sticks, jicama sticks or mini seedless cucumbers cut into sticks for a great variety.

So have a great Memorial Day and celebrate at your cookout with a good old vegetable tray with a new twist.

Dried Beef Dip

16 ounces cream cheese

1 (8-ounce) jar cheese dip (Cheez Whiz)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons cream style horseradish

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon grated onion

1 (5-ounce) jar dried beef, chopped

 In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and cheese dip until fluffy. Add Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, garlic powder and grated onion. Stir in dried beef. Serve with cut up vegetables.

 

May 21
Cabbage Steaks with Dijon Vinaigrette

One of the current trends in cooking vegetables is steaks. No, not beef steaks with vegetables on the side. Instead, the vegetables are cut into thick, steak like slabs and then roasted until tender and served with a sauce drizzled over the top. No, they don’t taste like beef steaks but they make an easy, flavorful side dish or even a vegetarian main dish. Cauliflower and cabbage are two vegetables that work well for steaks.

 Cabbage Steaks with Dijon Vinaigrette.jpg

Cabbage steaks are great for spring or fall when the cabbages are in season.  Thick slices from a small head of cabbage are roasted until browned and caramelized in places and tender throughout. Some of the outer leaves around the edge of the steak become even crispy for a unique texture. If they become too browned, just remove them after cooking. On the plate you simply cut around the core of the cabbage, like a bone. 

The vinaigrette sauce for these cabbage steaks starts with a base of mustard – Dijon for flavor and a whole grain mustard for the little pop of the mustard seeds. Orange juice balances the mustard with sweet and seasonings are added for flavor. Drizzled over the warm steaks, it dresses them perfectly with a tart zip for the mellow cabbage. 

Choose your favorite sauce and try a vegetable steak of cabbage or cauliflower. A new way with familiar vegetables.

Cabbage Steaks with Dijon Vinaigrette

1 small head green cabbage

olive oil

kosher salt

black pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1/2 teaspoon sherry wine vinegar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Wash the outside of the cabbage and cut a little off the core end to make a flat surface. Place on cutting board with flat core end down and cut vertically into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place on a silicone or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until tender and golden brown, turning over once after about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk the mustards, vinegar, orange juice, dill weed, chives, salt and pepper together. Slowly stream in 1/2 cup of olive oil while whisking. Place cabbage steaks on plate and drizzle with vinaigrette.​


May 20
Kung Pao Chicken with Vegetables

Years ago, when I was in high school, my Dad went to Washington, DC for several months for school.  While there he picked up two Chinese cookbooks.  One was divided into sections by the area of China and in the West section was a recipe for Kung Pao Chicken.  My Mom would make this quite often for dinner and we loved it.  The recipe only had chicken and peanuts and growing up that's the way we had it but now I like to add some vegetables along with the chicken.  The Kung Pao is spicy, sweet, savory and salty all at once - lovely and rich like so many Chinese dishes.

Kung Pao Chicken with Vegetables.jpg 

A critical component of this recipe is the way the chicken is cooked.  A mixture of egg white and cornstarch is whisked together and then the chicken cubes are tossed in this mixture.  The coating protects the chicken from getting tough and dried out when stir fried.  It also helps the chicken to get a little crispy and browned on the outside.  The original recipe called for almost deep frying the chicken in a cup of oil, but I use just a few tablespoons.  Interestingly enough, while I was getting groceries today, chicken is somewhat limited in the choices and you could only purchase 2 packages.  So instead of my normal boneless, skinless chicken breasts, they only had thinly sliced breasts in the smaller packages (I didn't want 8-10 breasts).  So this worked just great since I was going to cut it into 1/2" pieces anyway - saved me some work!​

I also didn't have any sugar snap peas (which I usually use) and the only package in the store was very large and I knew I wouldn't use all of it before spoiling.  So I had some regular frozen English peas in the freezer and used those instead.  Another example of making do with what we have and what we can get in these different times!  Good thing recipes are flexible.  

In fact, I have also just used bottled Kung Pao sauce instead of making my own and that works too.  Most of the bottled sauces are pretty hot though, so you may not need to add any red pepper flakes when using bottled sauce - taste it first or you might be suprised but realize that it will mellow out a little when combined with the chicken and rice.

For me, the very best part of Kung Pao Chicken is the peanuts.  I use cocktail peanuts which are fairly large and don't have any skins.  I add them towards the end so they stay a little crunchy but if you like your peanuts a little softer, then add them in earlier so they cook more.  I like the peanuts so well, that now I often add peanuts or cashews to other stir fries too.  They add protein and a great texture and flavor.

I serve my Chinese dishes and stir fries over a sticky rice.  It is a medium grain rice, higher in starch so it sticks together rather than cooking up into individual, fluffy, separate grains.  It makes eating with chopsticks much easier.  If you don't have this rice just use regular white or brown rice and use a fork.

So if you have a craving for Chinese food, Kung Pao Chicken at home is a great option!

Kung Pao Chicken with Vegetables

1 egg white

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2" chunks

1/4 cup brown bean sauce (or black bean sauce)

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

4 teaspoons sherry

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup water

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 carrots, sliced

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

4 ounces sugar snap peas, cut in half crosswise

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup cocktail peanuts

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg white and cornstarch.  Stir in chicken to coat and set aside.  In another bowl, stir together the brown bean sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, sherry, sugar and water.  In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over high heat.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly until just done.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a clean bowl.  Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of oil  and add the carrots and mushrooms.  Cook, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes, until carrots are almost tender.  Add the peas, garlic and crushed red pepper.  Cook for another couple of minutes until the peas are just slightly tender but still have some crunch.  Add the chicken, sauce and peanuts and heat through.  Serve over rice.


May 19
Baked Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

​Back on April 3, I shared a recipe for a Teriyaki Glazed Salmon.  The teriyaki sauce from that recipe works just as well on chicken.  So for dinner last night it was Baked Teriyaki Chicken Skewers.  I had chicken breasts in the refrigerator along with a green bell pepper and a can of pineapple chunks in the pantry.  The perfect combination with the sweet and salty glaze. 

Baked Teriyaki Chicken Skewers.jpg

Cut the chicken up into chunks about 3/4" to 1"  square and pour some of the teriyaki sauce over them to marinate for about 30 minutes (or longer if you have time), reserving some of the sauce for later.  Using metal skewers (or wooden, if you soak them in water for about an hour to keep them from burning), thread on a chicken cube, a pineapple chunk and a pepper square, repeating to the end of the skewer and repeat until you run out of ingredients.

While kebabs can be grilled for a great flavor, I did these inside in the oven.  I just placed the skewers on a silicone lined baking sheet and baked at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until cooked through, turning the skewers halfway through.  At the end, turn on the broiler and brush the skewers with some of the reserved marinade.  Broil for a minute or two to brown up.

Serve the skewers with the remaining reserved Teriyaki sauce and some rice or vegetables for a tasty, tropical dinner.

Baked Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

Teriyaki Sauce:

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 clove garlic, pressed

dash tabasco sauce​

Stir all ingredients together.


Skewers:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4" -1" cubes

1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained

1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1" squares


Pour about half of the teriyaki sauce over the chicken cubes and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to overnight.  On metal skewers or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for an hour, thread a piece of chicken, a pineapple chunk and a bell pepper square, repeating to the end of the skewer and repeat with other skewers until all ingredients are used.  Place on a silicone or foil lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 -20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, turning the skewers over halfway through.  At the end, brush the skewers with some of the remaining teriyaki sauce and broil for a minute or two to brown slightly.


May 18
Seared Scallops in Dijon Lime Sauce

​In the world of seafood, shrimp is my number one choice but running a close second is scallops.  Scallops are easy and quick to prepare and have a unique slightly sweet flavor that I love. So while I was at the grocery store the other day I picked up a bag of frozen scallops and last night it was Seared Scallops in a Dijon Lime Sauce.

Seared Scallops with Dijon Lime Sauce.jpg

Scallops are so easy to prepare.  I simply let them unthaw overnight in the refrigerator.  Then drain off any liquid that accumulates in the bowl.  Rinse off the scallop and check to see if it still has the side muscle attached.  This will be a little piece along one side that pulls easily from the rest of the scallop.  It is the muscle that was attached to the shell and is very tough.  Some of mine had this piece and some did not.  Next you need to pat the scallops dry on a paper towel.  If too wet, the scallops won't form a nice sear in the pan.

To cook the scallops, searing works really well.  Simply season the dried scallops with a little salt and pepper.  Heat a thin layer of oil on medium high heat.  Add the scallops and let them sit without moving for about 4 minutes for sea scallops (as opposed to bay scallops which are smaller and take a little less time).  They should sizzle when you add them or else the oil isn't hot enough and don't crowd the pan too much or they will lower the temperature and steam instead of sear.  Turn the scallops over and sear on the other side for 3-4 more minutes or until opaque through.  Don't overcook or they will turn tough and chewy.

Scallops are often cooked with butter to complement the sweetness but the sauce here uses olive oil and Dijon mustard with sauteed garlic, lime juice and chives for a tangy counterpart.  If your pan has a lot of cooked on bits, you can wipe these out with a paper towel before cooking the garlic, just add a little oil with the garlic.  The mustard and lime juice are whisked together like a vinaigrette with olive oil drizzled in and then the cooked garlic and chives are added.  If cooked together in the pan, they tend to separate into an oily mess.

So when you want some seafood for dinner, give scallops a try with a zippy sauce.

Seared Scallops with Dijon Lime Sauce

12 sea scallops

kosher salt

black pepper

1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

Juice of 1 lime

2 teaspoons Dijon style mustard

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 tablespoons chopped chives

Drain scallops of any liquid, rinse and remove side muscle if still on the scallop.  Pat dry on paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the seasoned scallops and cook, without moving, for 4 minutes.  Turn over and cook for another 3-4 minutes until browned and sides are opaque.  Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  Add the garlic to the pan and saute for a minute.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Add the sauteed garlic.  Slowly whisk in the 1/4 cup olive oil and add the chives.  Pour the sauce onto four plates and add four scallops to each plate.  Serve immediately.


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 Links

 
 Photos
 UT Extension Bedford County Seasonal Eating Page
 Franklin Farmers Market
 Rutherford County Farmers Market
 Bedford County Farmers Market
 

 Favorite Seasonal Cookbooks

 

​Fresh from the Farm by Susie Middleton

Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse

Cooking through the Seasons by Cooking Light