Friday, August 8, 2008

best of summer : : two

Farmers Markets. Farmer's Markets. Farmers' Markets.

However you choose to punctuate it, I'm completely enamored with this best of summer showing. Every city I've lived in has had their summer and autumn market--practically as reliable as the solstice and equinox in terms of charting the seasons. Albany is no different. Wednesdays and Fridays there is a small market at the Empire State Plaza. Whole grain breads, veggies, fruits, plants, and tempting baked goods. Thursday there is a market down by the Hudson River near the SUNY headquarters.

Yesterday I purchased plums, sweet corn, tomatoes, beets (has anyone seen this?), and bulk basil for making another batch of pesto (my poor plants at home look like they've barely survived an epidemic since I made pesto last week :) Ok, I also sampled the wares from the Adirondack Fudge guy and ended up walking away with a peanut butter chocolate square for RJR.

While I wait for my own zucchini to grow to size, the farmers market has plenty to spare. Wednesday's New York Times profiles what sounds like a fantastic restaurant in Nice and shared the chef's recipe for Zucchini Stuffed With Marco’s Pistou:

Adapted from La Zucca Magica, Nice

Time: About 45 minutes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup mixed herbs, like borage, mint, rosemary, sage, lavender
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Salt
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for baking
8 zucchini, preferably round
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts.

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor or, if you have time and patience, a mortar and pestle, mix together herbs, garlic, cheese, salt and oil. Herbs should be chopped, not puréed. Taste and adjust seasoning.

2. Wash and trim zucchini, then remove top third (or so) of each; if you are using the more typical long zucchini, cut them in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out as much of the insides as is practical, then chop the insides with the removed slice and combine with the pesto. Salt the zucchini shells.

3. Stuff shells with pesto mixture and put in an oiled baking dish; drizzle more oil over top and sprinkle with pine nuts. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until zucchini are very tender. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings.

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