Farmers’ markets inspire a boon of vegetarian dishes



It’s a great time to be a vegetable lover. Local supermarkets showcase crisp, fresh greens and slender summer squash from nearby farms. Signs advertise weekend farmers’ markets selling heirloom tomatoes, baskets of rainbow carrots, peppers and farm-fresh eggs.
Cooking with the season is one of the 50 foodie things you must do this summer.


Egg, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, yum. Bacon is certainly welcome, as are slices of smoked ham or paper thin prosciutto.

3 T. mayonnaise

3 T. chopped fresh basil leaves

1 t. Dijon’s mustard

1/4 t. coarse salt

1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs

4 slices of hearty whole grain country bread

4 leaves of leaf or green lettuce

1 large or 2 medium heirloom tomatoes, ends trimmed, thinly sliced

Combine mayonnaise, basil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Put aside.

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Spray with non-stick spray or olive oil. Break 2 eggs into the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and cook until the egg yolks are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

While the eggs cook, toast 4 slices of bread.

Spread the mayonnaise mixture on one side of each piece of toast. Top 2 slices of bread with 2 lettuce leaves each and divide the tomato slices between them. Top each with fried eggs, then add the second piece of bread to make a sandwich. Serve with plenty of napkins. Makes 2 servings.

Roasted carrots with curry and fingerling potatoes. (Kristen Mendiola for The Daily Meal; Shannon Kinsella / food styling / TNS)


It’s also good with lean peeled parsnip sticks instead of carrots.

1/4 tsp. olive oil

2 tablespoons of ketchup

1 1/2 t. curry powder

1 t. hot red pepper sauce

1/2 t. ground cumin

1/2 t. salt

1 lb fingerling potatoes, preferably multi-colored, halved lengthwise

1 lb thin orange or multi-colored carrots, ends cut off, peeled, halved crosswise

1 large sweet onion, ends trimmed, halved into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

1 can (14.5 oz) black beans or chickpeas, drained

3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives and cilantro

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet.

Combine oil, ketchup, curry powder, hot sauce, cumin and salt in the bottom of a large bowl.

Add the potatoes, carrots, onion and beans. Toss to coat well with the sauce.

Scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice, until potatoes and carrots are fork tender, about 35 minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped herbs. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings.

Sweet corn, green pepper and cheddar pudding. (Kristen Mendiola for The Daily Meal; Shannon Kinsella / food styling / TNS)


3 medium sized sweet corn cobs, hulled OR 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) Frozen corn kernels

8 large eggs

5 T. unsalted butter, softened

1 white serving of large leek or 1 medium white onion, finely chopped

1 small medium-sized poblano or jalapeño, seeded, seeded and finely chopped

6 tablespoons of flour

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 tsp. skimmed or skimmed milk

3/4 t. salt

1 1/2 tsp. white cheddar cheese, about 5 oz.

1/4 tsp. chopped chives or green onions

1 tablespoon of sugar

Using a sharp knife and over a shallow bowl, cut the corn kernels off the cob. You should have 2 generous cups. Mash corn to an almost smooth puree with an immersion blender or food processor.

Carefully separate 8 eggs as follows: Break one egg into a small bowl, letting the whites flow into the small bowl. Pour the yolk into a second small bowl. Then pour the egg white (which should be free of yolk) into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Repeat to separate all the eggs in the same way with the yolks in the small bowl and the whites in the large mixer bowl.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the chopped leek and chili pepper; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour and crushed garlic; cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Whisk milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and whisk constantly for 3 minutes. Stir in the corn mash and salt. Remove from fire.

Incorporate the cheese, then the egg yolks. Stir until cheese is melted. Stir in the chives.

Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and let sit for up to 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a 3 quart baking dish at least 2 inches deep.

Beat egg whites over high heat until frothy. Stir in sugar until soft peaks form, but mixture is not dry.

Use a rubber spatula to whisk 1/3 of the egg whites into the corn and cheese mixture to lighten it. Then transfer the remaining egg white mixture to the bowl. Fold gently until most of the egg white streaks are incorporated. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until the top is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. You can leave the dish in the oven off with the door slightly ajar for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot when most inflated or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.

Sweet onions and mushrooms from the pan. (Kristen Mendiola for The Daily Meal; Shannon Kinsella / food styling / TNS)


Serve them with grilled meat and fish or mixed with scrambled eggs. Or, stack on top of a baked sweet or red potato with a dollop of crème fraîche. Chilled and chopped, the combo makes a hearty salad garnish.

2 large sweet onions (about 18 oz)

2 T. sunflower or safflower oil

1 1/2 tsp. assorted mushrooms, thinly sliced, such as cremini, oyster, maitake, shitake (about 6 oz)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 t. coarse salt (kosher)

1/4 tsp. chopped fresh mixed herbs, such as chives, cilantro, basil, tarragon or parsley

Cut the onions in half by the end of the stem. Place cut side up on the cutting board, then thinly slice on an angle to create wedge-shaped pieces.

Heat a large nonstick or seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until heated through. Add the oil then the onion rings. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms; cook and stir until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed garlic and salt; cook 1 min.

Refrigerate covered for up to 1 week. Serve hot sprinkled with chopped mixed herbs. Makes about 2 cups.

– Tribune press service


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