Thursday, September 23, 2010

Webb City Sentinel 9-24-10

The down side of appearing on early morning shows is that it’s really EARLY (and those who know me, know that I don’t do early well). The up side is that it’s a great way to tell folks about the market and gives me an excuse to experiment with real cooking.

The fact is that my husband Phil is the real cook of the family. Nine times out of ten, he prepares the meals at our house. He likes a substantial meal while, during the growing season, I’m happy as a clam snacking on fresh produce. However, when it’s time for me to cook on TV I break out the recipes and I found some real winners this time.

I did four recipes on KOAM Tuesday, two live and two taped. The latter will show in October so I had to consider what produce might be at the market for the next six weeks. That means either the summer produce that kept setting in the heat of August or the fall crops.

Unfortunately, that lets out anything tomato. The market has really been hurt by the lack of tomatoes for the last month. The high night temperatures in August caused the flowers on the tomatoes to drop without setting fruit. And with little or no tomatoes, we lose a lot of customers. Nationwide, tomatoes are the top sellers and top draw to farmers markets. Without them, we’ve seen a dramatic drop in attendance.

But I’m here to tell you that there is still gold at the market. And the recipes I prepared this week prove it.

All four recipes are at the information table at the market and they are delicious: Roasted Pepper Roll-ups and Mozzarella Pepper Wraps are super easy and tasty appetizers, Thai Chicken Soup uses Maria Vang’s fresh ginger and the Lee’s lemon grass (it was so good that Phil and my dad had two bowls-full Tuesday night) and Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Soup. I didn’t make it home with that, the TV staff devoured it, and for good reason. It tastes very much like French onion soup, but with the nutritional punch of high fiber eggplant and high vitamin C peppers.

The market is loaded with gorgeous egg plant right now and Broken Wire makes roasted peppers easy. Tom has a good supply of sweet roasting peppers that can be roasted right at the market in a few minutes.

Some folks just wash the charred skin and seeds off with water. I like to maintain the smoky flavor, so I slice the pepper open and use the flat edge of a knife to scrape off the skin and seeds. They can be used immediately or stored. You can refrigerate them for up to two weeks, placing them in a small container and covering with olive oil. You can also freeze them for several months by layering them between sheets of wax paper in a plastic, tight-fitting container. The wax paper makes it easy to take out the amount you need.

And while we’re thinking about the winter ahead, stock up on ginger as well. Fresh ginger is easy to freeze as whole pieces, grated or sliced into coins about 1/8 thick.

You can also freeze lemon grass. Most of the baked goods at the market freeze beautifully as well. And while you’re stocking up, stop by Amos Apiaries stand. Tuesday will be Resa’s last day at the market until the Winter Market.

Lunch today is all-you-can-eat ham and beans, plus cornbread, cake and drink for $6. Amy Schroer, Mike Snow and Justin Cauble perform.

Tomorrow, breakfast benefits Healing the Family, a counseling service working to prevent child abuse in our area. Red Bridge Bluegrass (formerly the Missouri Mountain Gang) performs. Tomorrow is the last Saturday market of the season and next Tuesday, the last Tuesday market. In October we will be open on Fridays only, from 11 to 2. See you at the market!