Thursday, August 14, 2014

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8-15-14

Rainbows  in Webb City – At Least Three Times a Week
by guest columnist and loyal market customer Carolyn Foat

Three times a week, at the Webb City Farmer’s market you can indulge your senses in a rainbow of sights, smells, tastes, sounds and people. 

The Sights – Red, peach, orange,yellow, pink, purple, green, white, brown- a beautiful array of healthy foods, flowers, and handmade crafts (on Saturday),

The Sounds – Happy voices, beautiful live musical performances, excited children, and thousands of “Thank you’s.”

The Smells – Just-baked bread, pastries, garlic, herbs, flowers, fresh-picked vegetables, coffee, roasted peppers, caramel corn, ripe melons, and sweet peaches.

The People – Babies in strollers, energetic toddlers, spry adults, not-so spry adults – all eager shoppers thrilled with the choices and happy to see faithful vendors, volunteers, friends and family. 

It’s a multicultural, multi-sensory celebration.  Hundreds of eager customers visit this fabulous market every week.  Have you realized that you can purchase everything you need for a complete, healthy diet at the market?  Meat, vegetables, cheese, milk, coffee, bread, snacks, honey, desserts, fruit, and seasonings.   Do your weekly food shopping here.

Right now, there is an abundance of almost everything.    If you are a canner, there are plenty of green beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers.    Melons and peaches are also plentiful. 

I can’t resist purchasing a rainbow of produce.   Ratatouille is my favorite dish to enjoy eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, garlic and thyme – all of which are available at the market right now.    Here’s the recipe:

8 servings

2 medium eggplants
1 tbsp salt
¼ c vegetable oil
2 large onions, cut into rings
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 green or yellow peppers, cut into strips
4 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut into small chunks
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
¼ tsp salt
Black pepper
½ tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
Chopped parsley (for garnish)

Cut eggplant into thick slices and then into small wedges.  Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 30 minutes.  Rinse and pat the eggplant dry with paper towels.
Heat oil in large skillet. Saute onions and garlic for two minutes.  Add green pepper and cook for another two minutes.  Add eggplant and cook for three minutes on high heat stirring constantly.  Add zucchini and continue stirring for 3 minutes.   Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf.   Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes on low heat until all vegetables are tender.   Remove bay leaf.
Serve hot.  Excellent reheated and also served cold as an appetizer.

Last week on PBS’s Cooks Country, I learned of this delicious potato dish.  This is perfect for those small yellow, red, and/or purple potatoes at the market.  The large amount of salt in the cooking water makes the potato skins extra crispy and gives the potato the perfect texture.  Amazingly, the potatoes don’t absorb much of the salt!  

Salt-and-Vinegar Potatoes
Serves: 4

6 Tbsp  olive oil
2 lbs small red (yellow and/or purple) potatoes (1 to 2 inches in diameter)
1  1/4 c  salt  (yes this is cups)
3 Tb malt (or cider) vinegar
 Ground black pepper

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500°F.  Brush a rimmed baking sheet evenly with oil. Bring 2 quarts water to boil over med-high heat. Stir in potatoes and salt, and cook until just tender and paring knife slips easily in and out of potatoes, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and let dry for 10 minutes on a rack or a kitchen towel.
Transfer potatoes to oiled baking sheet. Flatten each potato with underside of measuring cup until ½-inch thick. Brush potatoes with half of vinegar and season with pepper. Roast until potatoes are well browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Brush with remaining vinegar. Transfer potatoes to platter, smashed side up. Serve.

Today we welcome M & M Bistro as our Friday market restaurant.  They’ll serve a choice of chicken or beef/lamb pitas full of lovely fresh market produce.  They’ll also have hummus and tabbouleh, as well as baklava.  Marshall Mitchell provides the entertainment.  John Skinner, the urban forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation, will be at the market today to answer all your tree questions.  If you have a sickly or damaged tree, bring a sample for him to examine.

Tomorrow is “International Can It Forward Day” and we'll be celebrating with a drawing for a full-size canning kit and with a cooking demonstration by Market Lady Trish Reed.  Trish will show how to pickle cucumbers, zucchini and okra.  Jim Graham brings his wonderful repertoire of songs ranging from children’s music, bluegrass, hymns to train songs.  He even has some songs about canning vegetables.

Cooking for a Cause tomorrow benefits the American Cancer Society.  Volunteers from General Mills will dish up biscuits and gravy, sausage, and farm fresh eggs cooked to order until 11.

On Tuesday, Market Lady Carolyn Smith will show folks how to make healthy packed lunches.  The Pommerts will play and we’ll have wood-fired pizzas, a variety of hot dog dishes, plus Frito pie and pulled pork sandwiches.  Remember, we’re open from 4 to 6 on Tuesdays.