Summer crops are about played out at local farmers markets, but there are still plenty of delicious ingredients to be found there. You just never know what you'll discover.

For example, meat is always in season. This week, I brought home some thick-cut pork chops from a local vendor. You can easily find the freshest cuts of meat at local butcher shops as well. I firmly believe locally raised and processed meats are the freshest, most tender options.

I Eat La.: Perfect Pasta: Yes, you can make really good pasta at home

This recipe, Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops, is one of my new favorites. The crunchy coating on these tender, juicy chops is absolutely delicious. This dish is perfect for a Sunday dinner, but it’s weeknight-friendly too because it cooks quickly and doesn't leave a lot of dirty dishes in its wake.

If you're lucky, you might also find a few unique ingredients at the farmers market. I bought some crisp, fresh Bosc pears at my local farmers market and turned them into a Fresh Pear Pie.

These pears are sweet and just a tad tart. Made with a little lemon and nutmeg, the pie is a perfect blend of seasons. The nutmeg (you could also use cinnamon) conjures up spicy, warm notes of fall while the lemon adds bright summer notes.

This pie is divine served warm with cold vanilla ice cream spooned on top.

I Eat La.: Fabulous Figs: These ancient fruits are still delighting us however you serve them

So next time you head to the farmers market, be on the lookout for new, different and always fresh ingredients. Keep the farmers — and your family — going strong by buying local.

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops

Makes 4 servings. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.

½ cup plain breadcrumbs

½ cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

2 eggs

½ cup butter

4 thick-cut pork chops

1. Heat oven to 350 F.

2. Stir together breadcrumbs, cheese, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic and dry mustard in a shallow pan.

3. Beat the eggs together in another shallow pan.

4. Pat pork chops dry. First dip in eggs, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture.

5. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

6. Brown pork chops in butter about 2 minutes per side.

7. Place skillet in oven and cook the chops about 15 to 25 minutes or until internal temperate reaches 165 F.

8. Serve immediately.

Fresh Pear Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.

1 pastry for a 9-inch pie

½ cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

⅛ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon melted butter

4-5 cups thinly sliced pears

TOPPING

1 cup flour

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup cold butter, chopped

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1. If frozen or refrigerated, let pie crust come to room temperature. Heat oven to 350 F.

2. Place crust in greased pie plate then crimp the edges as desired.

3. In a food processor, pulse brown sugar, flour, salt, nutmeg, lemon zest, lemon juice and melted butter.

4. In a large bowl, toss sliced pears in sugar/flour mixture.

5. Pour pears mixture into crust.

6. Place crumble topping ingredients in food processor and pulse until coarse.

7. Sprinkle topping over pears until covered completely.

8. Bake pie for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Contact her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.