Thursday, July 24, 2014

Webb City Sentinel column - July 25, 2014

‘Tis the season of the giant zucchini. Every year about this time the zucchini plants produce to such an amazing degree that it’s not possible to keep up with the harvest. Overnight it seems a wee zucchini expands to the size of a club. The good news for farmers and customers is that zucchini clubs are good for more than pounding. Large zucchini make great bread, cake and relish. And they’re a great buy for the quantity. 

Zucchini is an interesting vegetable. I call it a chameleon veggie because it takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with. You might say it provides a platform for the flavor. That’s why it works so well in combination with other veggies. If a recipe calls for tomatoes and eggplant, throwing in a bit of zucchini will not throw off the balance of flavors. It just adds low-calorie (and low-cost) nutrition and volume. For example, a cup of chopped zucchini has only 20 calories but provides 35% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
See below

So when you’re at the market, look for zucchini in a variety of sizes and colors. Most zucchini is green, but we do have a bright yellow variety. You’ll be able to tell it from yellow squash because it is shaped like zucchini, long and smooth. It tastes the same as the green but adds a bit of color. You’ll find small and medium sized zucchini, both good for sautéing and roasting. And you’ll find the large ones too (Fredrickson Farms has been loaded with them.)

On this last weekend of July (how is that possible?)we have some fun things planned. Today, the Sours will play traditional music. Granny Shaffers at the Market will serve homestyle chicken and noodles and chicken salad sandwiches. We’re expecting 34 vendors, including the eagerly awaited Broken Wire Ranch with their roasted peppers. They’ll only be at the market today this week, so if you want Anaheim, Big Jim or any of their other hot peppers roasted, today’s the day. However, those of you who cannot make the Friday market need not despair. Oakwood Farms has ordered a pepper roaster which should be in place at the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays beginning a week from tomorrow.

Tomorrow (on Saturdays we’re open from 9 to noon) we have a double musical treat. Randy Corbin and Friends will perform traditional music with a break at 10 am when the cast of Joplin Little Theatre’s upcoming production The Boy Friend sing a couple of numbers. Breakfast benefits the Chert Glades chapter of the Missouri Master Naturalists. Biscuits and gravy, sausage, eggs cooked to order and a drink are served by volunteers from 9 to 11. 
Josephine in one of Jim's dresses.

Tomorrow we're tickled to have Tami Fredrickson's grandpa, Jim Oxley, back at the market with his dresses for little girls.  He'll have dresses bedecked with lace and frills, as well as sun dresses in a variety of sizes.  If he doesn't have the right size in the right style, he'll custom make the dress for you and ship it.   He's a treasure and doesn't often make it to the market since he lives in Mountain Grove, so don't miss him.

For those wanting lunch, to eat in or take out, M & M Bistro will have pita wraps and hummus, along with baklava. Edith Bayless, our seamstress, and Odd Duck Soaps with also be at the Saturday market.

Tuesday, join us for supper and music and a market just as loaded with good things as the weekend markets. We’re open from 4 to 6, parking is easier and the choices are excellent.

And just in case you want to try one of those bargain giant zucchini, here’s a nice recipe that uses honey for the sweetener. Remember when buying your honey, that in Missouri it is sold by weight not volume. That means that 16 oz. doesn’t equal two cups, it equals a pound. So you’ll have to eyeball the jar to figure volume. In my experience a 12 oz. jar of honey is just about one cup. In this recipe, the zucchini provides a platform for the honey flavor, as well as moistness.

 Honey-Zucchini Bread

3 eggs

1 cup honey

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8 x 4 loaf pans.

In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Add oil, then honey (put honey in measuring cup after oil. The oiled cup will all the honey to drip out more easily) and vanilla. Stir in zucchini.

In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Along with nuts, stir into zucchini mixture. Pour into prepared loaf pans.

Bake about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes before turning out.

We were spoiled by last week’s cool weather. Don’t let the heat keep you away from the bounty of summer. Blink and it is gone, just like July. See you at the market!