Thursday, July 16, 2015

Webb City Sentinel column - 7-17-15

There are certain seasons at the market that I love – especially when it comes to fruit – strawberry, peach, and now melon. I hated to say goodbye to blueberries for another year. Seems like that season just flew by. And, of course, strawberries are a sweet memory now. But as the saying goes, when one door shuts, another opens, and the melon door is opening wide. Cantaloupes are coming in by the truckload and the watermelon harvest is starting. I have to admit, watermelon is probably my very favorite market fruit. And unlike many of the other fruits, we usually have plenty so even at the end of market when I do my shopping there are still plenty of melons. It’s not unusual for me to cart home two. Luckily for me, my husband Phil is not a watermelon fan or I’d have to haul even more home. (Sharing is greatly over-rated.)

One of the fun things about the Free Kids Supper is serving seasonal food. We started out hiding zucchini in sauces and serving cucumbers on the side. Now we’ve moved on to fresh sweet corn, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and sweet peppers. Next week I hope we’ll add melon. Our nutrition guidelines require two items of for fruit and/or veggie totaling 3/4 cup for each plate. Now that we’re in high season, that is really easy. The plate Tuesday was beautiful and it was fun to see the kids digging in. The corn was especially popular. And, of course, it was also nice to have the kids come up and say thank you.

The Free Kids Supper is served every Tuesday from 5 to 6:30. Anyone 18 or younger can eat and we are pleased that we’ve been averaging over 90 kids each week. We’ve also been pleased that we’ve had lots of volunteers to help. You’d think that feeding that many kids would be overwhelming, but with all the good help it has gone smoothly. If you would like to volunteer, just stop by the information table at the market.
Today we’ll have a full pavilion with 16 farmers expected, plus kettle corn, baked goods, pork, beef, chicken and goat meat. There’ll be jams and jellies, iced tea and coffee and raw food bars as well.
Lunch today is Granny Shaffer’s ever popular catfish and fried potatoes for $3. Lumpy’s Express will have brisket, ribs, smoked chicken and pulled pork.

Cliff Walker will perform.

Tomorrow will be much the same, but we’ll be missing the pork and goat meat, and adding lamb. Edith Bayless will be there with her sewn goods and Rebecca Bristow with her glass and metal art and jewelry.

The Carl Junction Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star will serve breakfast from 9 to 11. All profits will go to the American Cancer Society.

The Granny Chicks will grace the market stage.

M & M Bistro will serve from 9 to noon – lasagna, moussaka, chicken pita wrap, gyro, hummus and tabouleh plates and baklava for eat in or take out.

On Tuesday, Carmine’s Wood Fire serves artisan pizzas from 4 to sell-out. Supper with Trish is Chicken Spaghetti, salad, roll, chocolate cake and drink for $5. As mentioned earlier, the Free Kids Supper is served from 5 to 6:30. The Pommerts will perform. Extension is demonstrating a hummus and veggie recipe.

Sweet corn and tomatoes seem to get all the glory this time of year, but there are many other veggies to choose from at the market, including eggplant. In fact, there are many kinds of eggplants to choose from at the market, small, big, long, round, purple, green. Here’s a recipe using the large egg-shaped Italian eggplant shared by the Crescent City Farmers Market in New Orleans. New Orleans was home to a large Sicilian immigrant population in the late 1800s. Chef Duke LoCicero remembers his Sicilian grandpa with this dish:

Grandpa’s Sicilian Eggplant

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Italian eggplants (medium to large), peeled, and then cut into small cubes
2 medium red onions, diced small
2 large bulbs garlic, roasted
2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups sliced black ripe olives
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh basil
1 cup green olives
1 cup diced pimientos
1 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup capers
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon anchovies, pureed
Scant teaspoon crushed dried red pepper

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add eggplant, onions and garlic; sauté over low to medium heat until eggplant is tender. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Continue to sauté until 80 percent of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 6 hours.

Serve hot or cold, with grilled seafood or meat. This dish can be used in many ways, including with pasta. Serves 8 to 10.

Just as we have many kinds of eggplant at the market, there are many ways of preparing it. Sautee, bake, grill…  Enjoy!

See you at the market.