Produce is the Star of the Season

Local produce is starting to show up at farm stands and farmer's markets. Celebrate the season and showcase nature's bounty with a few recipes sure to satisfy.

Summer time brings fresh produce that is hard to pass up.

Residents of St. Peters and O’Fallon have many options when it comes to picking up fresh produce. It is still a bit early to find everything locally grown, but vine-ripened tomatoes are starting to arrive from Arkansas. Locally grown rhubarb is available. Herbs are growing like crazy.

Stop by ,  or the Dardenne Prairie Produce Market, located at 7397 Highway N in O’Fallon, and pick up some of the season’s best.

In addition to produce, the Dardenne Prairie Produce Market carries fresh-baked bread from The Hill. While you are there, buy a loaf to add to the Bruschetta Salad and bring the Hill to St. Charles County.

Grilled Zucchini                      

Serves 4

  • 4 small zucchini, about 6 inches long
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Herb Seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

Wash zucchini, trim ends and cut each lengthwise down the center. Brush both skin side and cut side with olive oil. Arrange on tray, cut side up. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Set aside while the grill preheats.

Preheat the grill to medium high heat.

Place zucchini on grill, cut side down. Close grill lid. Grill until slightly soft and grill marks are visible,  about 4 minutes. Flip zucchini so the cut side is facing up.

Carefully sprinkle ½ tablespoon cheese over each zucchini half. Close the grill lid and grill 4 more minutes.

Bruschetta Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 30 basil leaves, chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 slices French or Italian bread, grilled or toasted lightly

Combine the tomato, basil and mozzarella in a bowl.

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a small bowl, whisking to combine. Pour over tomato mixture, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Meanwhile, tear or chop toasted bread.

Just before serving, toss the bread with the tomato mixture.

Watermelon Cocktail

Serves 1

  • 1 ½ cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 to 2 ounces tequila, depending on taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon superfine sugar, depending on sweetness of the watermelon
  • 4 mint leaves

Spread watermelon cubes on a tray and freeze for at least one hour.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Rhubarb-Oat Coffee Cake

Serves 8

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softend
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup rhubarb, chopped


  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unbleached flour

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9-inch glass pie pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.

Beat together butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Stir in yogurt and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in rhubarb. Pour into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients until they form coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over cake batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes until light golden brown.

Holly Hunt June 20, 2011 at 07:18 PM
I'm always up for ways to use Farmer's Market goodies! Love the grilled zucchini-totally going to use this!
Patti Baratta June 20, 2011 at 09:52 PM
I have to admit that Parmesan cheese makes everything taste better! Try sprinkling some fennel seed on the zucchini, also. It makes it taste a bit like pizza ~ even the kids like it that way!
Stacey K. June 21, 2011 at 04:07 AM
The coffeecake was fantastic!


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