Jennifer Ruple

If you read this column regularly, you know I’ve written about many small, food-related businesses and the people who create them. Hearing their stories about how they got started is inspiring to me and having the ability to share those stories with you is a big reason why I love what I do. I believe in supporting small businesses and shop at the local level as much as I can.
Sylvania is blessed to have a fabulous weekly farmers market that showcases a wonderful variety of locally grown produce, made-from-scratch baked goods, and handmade food products. It is the perfect outlet to meet farmers, makers and creators; sample delicious products; meet friends for dinner; and pick up some groceries.
The abundance of beautiful vegetables on display at farmers’ stands last week provided me with the inspiration to work on a couple of new recipes, handpicked for the season. What inspires you?

Tomato, Zucchini and Basil Pie
Louis Keil and Sons’ zucchini and tomatoes sparked the idea for this savory pie – perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anytime in between. The seasonings and cheeses give the pie Italian flair, and the fresh basil provides just a hint of sweetness. Serve it alongside an assortment of olives and a loaf of crusty bread.

1 refrigerated pie crust
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, diced
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
4 eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 350 F. Place zucchini and tomato slices in a single layer on paper towels to soak up any excess moisture.
Line a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate with crust. Crimp the edges. Set on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a skillet, sauté the zucchini and onion until soft. Spread vegetables evenly over the bottom of the crust. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Spread tomatoes over the cheese.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper and seasoning. Pour mixture into crust. Sprinkle with basil.
Bake for 60 minutes or until the center of the pie is set.
(Recipe by Jennifer Ruple)

Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Fall is looming, but you can turn the heat back up by making these zesty stuffed peppers. I picked up these smaller-sized poblano peppers from Stevens Gardens’ booth. The magic in this dish presents itself in three layers of spicy flavor – the poblanos, the chorizo sausage, and the taco sauce.

1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4-pound bulk chorizo
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup homemade taco sauce
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 large or 4 small poblano peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons taco sauce
1/4 cup water

Heat oven to 350 F. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir chorizo until completely browned and broken into small pieces, 7 to 10 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat. Stir in rice, onion, 1/4 cup taco sauce, and cheddar.
Fill poblano halves with the chorizo mixture. Place in a small casserole dish or pie pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon taco sauce over each pepper.
Pour water into bottom of the dish; cover loosely with foil.
Bake until peppers are tender, about 1 hour.

Taco Sauce
15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup water

In a small saucepan, add all ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
(Recipes adapted from allrecipes.com)