Cooking Up Some Local Flavor
Early summer is one of my favorite times of the year. So many fruits and veggies are coming into season, I feel like a kid in a candy store when I hit the local farmer’s market to stock up on goodies.
With several new markets starting up this year, I can find fresh-picked produce nearly every other day within minutes of home. Eating healthy and supporting our local economy has never been easier![sws_pullquote_left]I’m always trying out new recipes on my family, but this would also make a great meal for out-of-town visitors. [/sws_pullquote_left] We like to make a special Sunday dinner in our family, but with our kitchen torn apart for renovation we are relying heavily on the grill for cooking. Fortunately, since we are all tired of grilled chicken, we have A&V Seafood Market in town to supply us with a bounty of fresh seafood 7 days a week. The grouper was looking particularly delicious, so we chose to make a grilled grouper topped with a fresh fruit salsa. If you are strictly a lemon juice on your fish type of person, you really must branch out and try this recipe. The deliciousness of the honey/lime/mint flavor combination can’t be overstated!
By the way – if you have been wanting to start an herb garden, but are not feeling confident in your ability to look after one more living thing…start with mint! I’ve had the same planter of mint thriving on my neglect for years! Grilled zucchini boats, which are quickly becoming a favorite in our home, were served along side the fish.
If you have pizza lovers in your family, these zucchini boats are a great way to get them eating more veggies with the flavor of something they already love. An arugula side salad rounded things out and provided me with one more goat cheese conveyance to feed my addiction.
I’m always trying out new recipes on my family, but this would also make a great meal for out-of-town visitors. What better way to show some Southern hospitality then to whip up a delicious meal chock full of ingredients straight from the farm to your table! Each recipe includes some seasonal farmer’s market selections as well as cheese, honey, jam and fish from local small businesses.
- 1 Small Cucumber – Whited Farm
- 5-6 Large Strawberries – Campbell Farm
- Juice of 1 Lime
- Handful of Mint Leaves
- ½ T Honey – Brosemer Farms
Seed and dice cucumber, place in medium-sized serving bowl. Chop strawberries and add to cucumber. Remove stems and finely chop mint leaves. Add mint, juice of one lime, and ½ T honey to the chopped cucumbers & berries. Stir and let sit 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to soak in. Serve on top of your favorite grilled fish, chicken, or pork.
- 2-3 Small Bunches of Arugula – J. Sparks Hydroponic Farm (https://www.jsparksfarms.com)
- 1 Large Carrot
- ¼ c Walnuts
- 2 T Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 T Jamakithot Goat Cheese – Humble Heart Farms
- 1 T Mango Ginger Butter – Queen Bee Jams
Wash and drain arugula, trim stems, and place in serving bowl. Peel and thinly slice carrots and add to arugula. Warm the jam for 10-15 seconds in the microwave to make it easier to pour. Add balsamic vinegar to the jam. Stir well and drizzle over the arugula and carrots. Crumble the goat cheese over the salad, and sprinkle the crumbled walnut halves over the top. Here’s a tip: since goat cheese can be a bit sticky/clumpy, toss it in the freezer for about 10 minutes before you are ready to add it to the salad. Then scrape along the top with the tines of a fork, and voilà – perfectly crumbled goat cheese!
- 2 Medium-sized Zucchini – Whited Farm
- 1 White Onion – Whited Farm
- 10 Cherry Tomatoes
- ½ c Basil
- ¼ c Bread Crumbs
- ¼ c Shaved Parmesan Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Trim zucchini ends and cut in half lengthwise. Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Finely shave about ¼ of the white onion. Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Chop basil leaves into thin ribbons and set aside. Sear flat sides of the zucchini for 2-3 minutes on the grill at medium heat. Turn zucchini over and cover with a thin layer of onion. Add several tomato halves to each boat. Lightly cover with bread crumbs, shaved Parmesan, and a few more sprinkles of bread crumbs. Grill 8-10 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from grill, top with basil before serving.
The mom of three rambunctious redheads, Meg Nester is a Chicago area native and wannabe crafter extraordinaire. When she’s not tending to her boys (and baby girl) or training for triathlons, you can find her in the garage wielding her beloved power tools or firing up a kiln full of enamel jewelry.
You had me at “honey lime salsa”! Sounds delicious!