Thursday, August 7, 2014

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8-8-14

With rain in the forecast and already a nice rain this week, I’m expecting the fields to explode with produce during August.   That means two things – times to start canning and freezing for the winter and time to up your veggie portions at dinner and lunch time.

To help you with the former, we have small batch mixes for making bread and butter pickles and for salsa, as well as for freezer jam.   They’re part of our grant from Ball Jar and you can pick up one of each every time you come to the market until we run out, which shouldn’t be for a few weeks.   A week from tomorrow is International Canning Day and Market Lady Trish Reed will be demonstrating pressure canning.   So, to quote the Ball Jar motto, “you CAN do it!” at the market.

You may have noticed that I’m doing rather a lot of television this summer.   I’m lucky to have a monthly spot on KSN with the effervescent Carol Parker and a bi-monthly spot on KOAM on the early show (well, given my proclivity for sleeping in maybe the early show is not so lucky).   Television is a great way to get the word out about what’s in season though I have to admit it can be something of a challenge on KOAM.   There I tape three shows at a time so the last one airs over a month later.   Forgive me if I wax rhapsodic about a particular veggie and you find little or none at the market the next day.   It can be tricky knowing just what will be in abundance a month early.   So far, so good though.   I’ve been doing this for several years and haven’t made a gross error in prediction yet.   And since “pride goeth before the fall” I am probably doomed with the next airing now that I’ve made that claim.  

This weekend we will be loaded with produce.   Granny Shaffers at the Market is serving their new Thai Chicken Lettuce Wrap and their chicken salad sandwiches for lunch today.   I had the wrap last week and it was delicious.   And it’s a wonderful value too.   The wrap, which includes a very generous serving of the Thai chicken salad, and a wedge of watermelon cost only $3
The Sours will play traditional music today.   King’s Kettle Corn is adding funnel cakes and fried stuffed local peppers to their selections today.   Agee’s will have their flavored vinegars and we’ll have all the usual vendors except Terrell Creek.   They are at the state fair, hopefully wining lots of blue ribbons for their goat cheese.   Last year their feta cheese won best dairy product in the state.   

Tomorrow’s breakfast benefits the Friends of the Webb City Library.   Brown Moss performs.   Oakwood Farm will have their pepper roaster at the market.

The next couple of weeks will tell us whether moving the Tuesday market to evening was a wise choice.   We’re selling about the same amount in two hours as we did in three hours last year, but I’m not sure that has anything to do with the time change.   We really need to increase the amount sold because we are just buried in produce on Tuesdays.   When school starts next week, we’ll see if we experience the drop in attendance that has always come in the past.   Hopefully with the market open from 4 to 6 pm, folks will come after school or work.   August, especially when we get rain and moderate temperatures, is our most productive time, that means we need more customers, not less!

Come for supper, enjoy the music, and load up on “fresh and local” every Tuesday.

Here are two tasty ways of using all that produce you’re going to buy.   

As seen on KOAM – Herb Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Feta

1 3/4 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large plum tomatoes, cored, quartered lengthwise
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Sherry or Champagne wine vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.   Place eggplant, onion and tomatoes in a shallow oven proof casserole dish or roasting pan and toss with oil and vinegar.   Sprinkle 2 tablespoons oregano, salt and pepper to taste.   Roast until eggplant is tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally about 40 minutes.   Transfer eggplant and tomatoes to platter.   Sprinkle with feta and the remaining 2 teaspoons of oregano.   Serve hot.

As seen on KSN – Rustic Tomato and Onion Pie

4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus some for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some to drizzle on right before serving


1 1/2 cups flour
Just under 1/2 cup butter, chopped*
Just under 1/2 cup of cold cream cheese, chopped*

Caramelized onions

2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

To make onions, cook onions and thyme in olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat for 10 minutes.   Add sugar and vinegar.   Season.   Cook for 10 more minutes or until onions are caramelized.   Stir periodically throughout.   Chill until cold.

To make pastry, process flour, butter and cheese in a food processor until crumbly.   Add 2 tablespoons of cold water, process to form a ball.   Shape into a disk, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll out pastry between two sheets of baking paper into a 12-inch circle.   Discard top paper and place remaining paper and pastry onto a pizza tray or cookie sheet with a rim.   Spread onions on pastry leaving a 2-inch border.

Toss tomatoes and thyme in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.   Slightly overlap onto top of onions.   Fold pastry over edge, crimping to hold.   Brush pastry edge with remaining oil.

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until browned.

Drizzle with remaining olive oil and garnish with thyme.

*what’s with “just under”??  This is a recipe I learned in Australia where they use the metric system.   100 grams of butter or cream cheese is .88 of 1/2 cup.   I’m sure you CAN do it!  Because you’re going to love this crust.