ONE of the joys of summer (assuming we get any summer this year) is heading to a farmer's market for super-fresh fruits and veggies.
Nothing tastes better than a sun-warmed tomato, crisp fresh corn or a sweet, juicy peach. The following are some recipes that do justice to the season's bounty.
GRILLED ZUCCHINI AND BUFFALO MOZZARELLA SALAD
Buffalo mozzarella is a beautifully soft, fresh cheese available at large supermarkets and specialty stores.
4 small zucchini, each about
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Dash of Tabasco sauce Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 150-gram ball of buffalo mozzarella Fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Trim the ends off the zucchini and slice each one
lengthwise into several thin slices. Lightly toss the slices with just enough olive oil to coat them and grill over high heat until softened and slightly charred, about one-two minutes per side. Remove to a shallow serving platter.
Tear the mozzarella into bite-sized pieces and scatter them over the zucchini. To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and Tabasco. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon dressing over salad and toss gently. Top with fresh basil. Serve immediately; makes four servings.
TEX-MEX Stuffed Red Peppers
You can substitute yellow, orange or green peppers.
4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
½ pound lean ground beef or ground turkey thigh
¼ cup chopped onion
2 cups cooked rice (pick up a container from your local Chinese restaurant to save time)
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 small can tomato sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Freshly ground pepper
½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with foil. Grease the outside of the pepper halves with olive oil. Arrange peppers cut side down on the prepared pan, and bake on lower oven rack for 15-20 minutes until just tender. When finished cooking, turn peppers right side up and arrange in a 9x13-inch pan. Meanwhile, sauté the beef or turkey until browned and drain the fat. Add onions and sauté for an additional three minutes until onions are soft. Add the rice, corn, zucchini, tomato sauce, spices and beans, and heat through thoroughly. Taste mixture and add salt if necessary.
Spoon rice mixture into pepper halves and sprinkle cheese over top. Return to oven for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Makes four servings.
COOKIE-TOPPED NECTARINE/ APRICOT CRUMBLE
2 ?3 cup granulated sugar, divided use
2 Tbsp cornstarch
6 cups mixed peeled, sliced nectarines and apricots
½ cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sliced almonds
1 Tbsp icing sugar
Place oven rack just above centre of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 11x7-inch baking dish. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 1 ?3 cup of sugar with the cornstarch. Gently stir in the fruit. Turn the mixture into a prepared dish and level it out.
Stir butter with remaining sugar until well mixed. Stir in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking powder and salt.
Mix dry ingredients into the butter mixture until a dough forms. Press walnutsized spoonfuls of dough between your palms until they're about three-quartersof-an-inch thick (they don't have to be perfect circles). Lay on top of the fruit; repeat with remaining dough, leaving gaps between the dough pieces. Sprinkle evenly with almonds. Bake for 35 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dusting of icing sugar on top. Makes four-six servings.