Are there any cookbook buzz-words more popular these days than “seasonal produce"? Apparently not, based on the number of new titles released over the past few months. Not that we’re complaining. When two copies of the Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook arrived at the Flyer, Susan and I stopped everything to pour over the books. Then we happily toted them home and tried out some recipes.
At almost 300 pages, the choices are endless but easy to focus on because the book is divided into seasonal chapters: spring recipes, summer's bounty, autumn harvest, winter storehouse. Plus, there's a fresh produce and herb primer at the end.
I was cooking that weekend for an elderly friend and I needed a dessert, so I tried the Cinnamon-Caramel Apple Dumplings with Golden Raisins. I did a trial run Friday night, cutting the recipe in half, and then repeated the full recipe using six Granny Smith apples the next day. Both batches came out fine.
The apples are cored (I found an apple corer at Superlo), wrapped in strips of refrigerated pie dough, brushed with egg, and baked in a syrup of apple juice, corn syrup, brown sugar, and butter. The apples were delicious (add a dollop of vanilla ice cream!), and my house smelled like a cozy bakery for two days.
Later in the week I tried the recipe for Ragout of Mushrooms with Creamy Polenta. This dish is basically sauteed mushrooms (fresh shitake and baby Portobello) with fresh herbs, shallots, and butter served over polenta mixed with cream cheese. The flavor of the dish was excellent, and it was a very appetizing entree, but I'll cut back the butter in half and skip the cream cheese next time.
Susan chided me for selecting recipes from the autumn section of the book (it was early March after all!) She stuck with the winter section.
Farmers Market Cookbook is now available at bookstores. Keep reading for recipes.
Cinnamon-Caramel Apple Dumplings
With Golden Raisins
prep: 30 min. • cook: 20 min.
1 (15-oz.) package refrigerated
6 large Rome or Granny Smith
6 Tbsp. golden raisins
1 large egg, beaten
1 ⁄2 cup butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed light brown
1 ⁄4 cup corn syrup
1 ⁄2 cup apple juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 cinnamon sticks
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Unroll piecrusts onto a
lightly floured surface; cut dough into 12 (10- x 1 1⁄4-inch) strips, reserving dough scraps for later use.
Crisscross 2 strips of dough on surface, forming an
“X.” Place 1 apple in center of “X.” Spoon 1 Tbsp.
raisins into apple core, pressing raisins to compact.
Pull strips up and over apple, pressing dough into
core; trim off excess, if necessary. Repeat with re-
maining piecrust strips, apples, and raisins.
2. Stir together egg and 1 Tbsp. water; brush dough
strips on apples with egg mixture.
3. Whisk together melted butter and next 4 ingredi-
ents; pour mixture into a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Place apples in baking dish.
4. Bake at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is
golden brown, shielding apple tops with aluminum
foil after 15 minutes to prevent excessive browning,
if necessary. Remove from oven. Press 1 cinnamon
stick into center of each apple to resemble a stem.
Drizzle sauce in pan over apples. Garnish, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings.
Ragoût of Mushrooms With
prep: 15 min. • cook: 13 min.
1 cup halved and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 (8-oz.) packages sliced baby
2 (3.5-oz.) packages fresh
stemmed and sliced
1 ⁄2 cup port wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 ⁄4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley,
4 Tbsp. butter
11⁄2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 ⁄4 tsp. salt
1 ⁄2 tsp. pepper
Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs
1. Sauté shallots and garlic in hot oil in a large skil-
let over medium heat 2 minutes. Increase heat to
medium-high, add mushrooms, and cook, stirring
constantly, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in wine; cook 2 min-
utes. Stir in broth and next 5 ingredients. Reduce
heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly
2. Serve over Creamy Polenta with shaved Parmesan
cheese. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.
*2 (8-oz.) packages sliced fresh button mushrooms
may be substituted.
prep: 5 min. • cook: 7 min.
1. Bring 6 cups chicken broth to a light boil in a
Dutch oven over medium-high heat; slowly stir
in polenta. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring
constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until polenta thickens.
(Do not boil.) Stir in cream cheese until blended. Stir
in remaining chicken broth. Cover and keep warm.
Yield: 6 servings.
Images and recipes courtesy Farmers Market Cookbook and Time Inc. Home Entertainment