Farm Stand and First Apples of the Season

Went to the farm stand today.  Picked up tomatoes, cucumbers and some apples.  They had some nice turnips and squashes, but I wasn’t in the mood to make stew or soup, so I passed those by today.  If I change my mind later in the week, they are on my way home so I can stop by then.

The apples reminded me of one of my favorite baked apple recipes, mixing two of my favorite things, apples and Snickers bars:

From October of last year:

Snicker Apples

  • 4 large Macintosh apples, cored
  • 2-2 oz snickers candy bars, cut into 4 pieces, set end pieces aside
  • 2 cups apple cider

large baking dish

Arrange apples in dish, using the middle sections from the snickers, press 1 piece each into each apple core. Pour apple cider over apples. Take snickers end pieces and place one on top of each apple, pressing down a bit so they don’t fall off. Bake 350 ° for 50-60 minutes.

Thursday Night Menu: Farm Stand Edition

Photo: Rebecca Hallas

Time to start the Farmer Stand editions of Thursday Night Menu.  Most of the produce tonight can be found locally.  So if you haven’t visited your local farm stand or farmer’s market, now’s your chance. I went to a local stand this past weekend and was surprised how small the tomato selection was. I shouldn’t have been, since my tomato plants, which are usually bent over with red fruit by now, are host to medium-sized green tomatoes which are slowly ripening.

I bought a few things and experimented with varieties of peppers I’d never even seen before. Some I really liked, some had surprisingly little flavor, though they smelled wonderful, it didn’t translate to the flesh.

Peach season is in full swing in Colorado, so we have sliced peaches tonight and hopefully if things slow down a bit for me, a week’s worth of peach inspired recipes all next week. My plan is to head to another farm stand this weekend and stock up on peachy goodness.

On the board tonight:

  1. Basil Grilled Chicken
  2. Marinated Potatoes
  3. Yellow Summer Squash
  4. Sliced Peaches

Basil Grilled Chicken – marinate overnight

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 to 6 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine (non-alcoholic ok)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic

zip-lock bag or sealed container

Wrap one breast in plastic and pound with flat side of meat tenderizer. Repeat with each breast. In zip-lock bag, add all ingredients and marinate overnight. Remove chicken from marinade and grill, approximately 15 minutes for each side, until cooked through. Don’t let dry out – sear 5-minutes each side, then move away from direct flame for remainder of cooking time.

Marinated Potatoes

  • 6 to 8 small red potatoes, scrubbed & quartered
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives

saucepan

In saucepan boil potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain well. Toss with remaining ingredients, serve hot or chilled.

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 to 6 basil leaves
  • 8 oz white wine
  • 6 to 8 small red potatoes
  • 8 oz Italian dressing (I really like Newman’s Own)
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 bunch fresh chives
  • 2 to 4 small to medium yellow summer squash
  • 4 to 6 fresh peaches

Also: crushed garlic, dried oregano, salt, pepper

Thursday Night Menu: Farm Stand Edition

Tonight’s menu is really in anticipation of fresh summer produce. We are not quite there yet, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the ingredients. While I lived in suburbia, there was a great farm stand a mile or so from my house. I passed it coming and going from work and errands. It was perfect for when I wanted something fresh for dinner that night. Farmers’ Markets are great, but nothing beats a farm stand you can shop at any day. I had in the back of my mind that since I moved, I needed to scout out a new one, but hadn’t given it a lot of thought or effort. And then came the lost wallet.

One of the guys I work with found a wallet, stuffed with cash, cards…you know basically someone’s entire financial life. A bit of investigation and he tracked her down. Come to find out she lives a few miles from me, so I was the logical person to return the wallet. I knew from the address it was going to be a beautiful location, and it was, farmland on the river with a breathtaking mountain view. Very nice family and even better, they operate a farm stand with organic produce. Kismet. You never know how you’ll find what you’re looking for.

And I must give a shout out to our wallet owner. Very kind, very appreciative, she handed me a wad of cash to give to my guy and then handed me a grocery card. I tried to refuse, because I really believed we were just doing the right thing. But she was a feisty 95lb woman in her 80’s that would brook no refusal and while I could have probably arm-wrestled her to the ground, it didn’t seem appropriate. I think I’m going to enjoy shopping their farm stand this summer.

On the board tonight:

  1. Creamy Chicken & Pasta
  2. Fresh Garden Medley
  3. Sliced Melon

Creamy Chicken & Pasta

  • 12 oz bow tie or other pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
  • 1pkg fresh basil (usually about 2 oz)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 large tomato, chopped

large saucepan and deep skillet

Heat water and cook pasta according to package directions. In skillet, heat oil, add onions and sauté. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Reduce heat, add basil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove onions, chicken & basil, set aside. Add garlic, butter and flour, stirring constantly, then add milk . Stirring constantly, heat for 1 minute until it bubbles and is thickened, reduce heat, add parmesan, salt & pepper, stirring constantly until creamy.

Add tomato & chicken mixture to sauce and stir together. Let simmer on low for 5 minutes. Drain pasta well (you may even want to dab with a paper towel) and toss with chicken mixture. Serve immediately.

Fresh Garden Medley

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 small eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or 3 leaves fresh, minced)
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan (opt)

skillet

Heat oil in skillet, add onion and garlic, sauté until onion is golden. Add eggplant, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add squash, tomato & spices, sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve w/parmesan if desired.

Shopping List:

  • 12 oz bow tie or other pasta
  • 6 green onions
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1pkg fresh basil (usually about 2 oz)
  • 1 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 small zucchini
  • melons

Also: olive oil, crushed garlic, butter, milk, flour, oregano, dried basil

Spinach-Raspberry Salad

Spent the morning at the Farmer’s Market and later this week I’ll go to the local farm stand (and by local, I mean 1/2 mile away).  Fresh pasta and sauce tomorrow and I’ve been asked to bring a salad to a dinner this week, this is what I’ll be taking:

 Spinach-Raspberry Salad:

  • 8 oz  fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ pint fresh raspberries
  • 4 oz chopped pecans
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 2 oz mild bleu cheese, crumbled

Serving bowl

Wash and thoroughly dry spinach & raspberries, add to serving bowl with pecans, toss with dressing and add crumbled bleu cheese.  Serves 4