U-Pick…Shop Local

June 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

We picked up some French Onion Parmesan Dip Mix from Annie’s Gourmet Foods of Oak Park at the Farmers Market this weekend along with Portobello Mushrooms, Baby Eggplant, Pink Heirloom Tomatoes, Thin Asparagus, Strawberries, Snapdragons and Cheddar Garlic Bread ( Bread Man Baking Co. from Naperville– you can like them on FB).  I love trying to figure out how to work our wonderful market finds into delicious and flavorful meals during the week.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

  • 5 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces fresh goat cheese (recommended: Deborah Rogers Farmstead Goat Cheese)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh dill
  • 3 to 4 large fresh basil leaves


Clean the dark black gills from the mushrooms, then drizzle with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place over medium heat on an open barbecue grill, face down. After a few minutes, turn them over and continue to cook.

In a mixing bowl combine the goat cheese with minced garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and the mixture of fresh herbs torn by hand.

Mix the cheese until all of the ingredients have been incorporated and a nice creamy texture is achieved.

When the mushrooms begin to get soft and give off a little of their juice, add a nice spoonful of the goat cheese mixture right into the center of each portobello.

Close the lid of the barbecue and let cook until the cheese gets bubbly and the mushrooms are nice and soft.

Grilled Vegetable Panzanella from the Chopping Block

Yield: 4-6 servings as an appetizer

For the bread and vegetables:
4 cups French bread, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 zucchini, cut into thick slices
1⁄2 bunch asparagus, tough ends removed

For the vinaigrette and assembly:
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup small fresh mozzarella balls
1⁄4 cup basil leaves, torn


1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Toss the cubed bread with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to
taste. Toast on a parchment-lined sheet tray until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
3. Heat a grill pan over medium heat.
4. Brush the vegetables with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill until tender and nicely caramelized. Allow the vegetables to cool a bit, cut into bite-size pieces
and place in a serving bowl.
5. To prepare the vinaigrette, mix together the shallot and red wine vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the
oil while whisking rapidly to create an emulsion. Mix in the capers and season with salt and
pepper to taste.
6. Pour just enough of the vinaigrette on the grilled vegetables to coat. Mix in the toasted bread,
mozzarella and basil leaves.
7. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes and serve at room temperature.

Click here to find out more!

Layered Eggplant and Polenta Casserole from Martha Stewart

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds fresh or canned plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 (16-ounce) log precooked polenta, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees; with rack in upper third. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in vinegar, oregano, and basil; season with pepper. Remove sauce from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Lightly brush eggplant slices with the remaining tablespoon oil. Working in batches, lay slices in skillet in a single layer; cook until browned and they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Spoon about 1/2 cup tomato sauce into a 9-inch square baking dish, spreading to coat evenly. Arrange eggplant slices snugly in a single layer. Spoon about 1 cup tomato sauce over eggplant, and arrange polenta rounds in slightly overlapping slices on top. Repeat with sauce and another layer of eggplant. Finish by dotting with remaining tomato sauce.
  4. Cover with foil; bake until bubbling and juicy, about 30 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking until sauce is lightly caramelized and eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes more. Remove from oven; let cool slightly, and serve.


Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward.  ~Terri Guillemets


My friend Tanya says she went overboard picking strawberries today- I think it looks like the perfect amount!

Strawberry  Fields Forever!



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