Category Archives: Farmers Market

Weed or Ingredient?

One person’s weed is another person’s treasured ingredient…purslaneMerriam-webster.com defines a ‘weed’ as a “plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth”. By that definition, the purslane that Farmer Steven brought to a customer on Market Day was indeed a weed.

His customer was of Indian descent and her mother uses purslane in many of their native dishes. But she was finding it difficult to find in stores. When Steven asked around among his neighbors, he found a farmer who was more than happy to get rid of some of the purslane that he pulled from his garden rows. It was growing independently and taking over his crop area. So Steven brought a box of it to his new friend.

Purslane is a succulent annual plant that grows even in poor soil, The crisp leaves, which have a slightly sour, salty taste and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a variety of vitamins, can be cooked and served as a side with fish and poultry, stir-fried with other greens, or chopped and served on salads, soups and other dishes. Its yellow flower buds can be a colorful addition to a salad too.  In Indian cuisine, it’s often used in soup or curry or rice or ragi mudde cakes.

Porulaca oleracea, its official botanical name, is also known as little hogweed, pigweed, red root and pursley. It looks a bit like a plant called ‘hairy-stemmed spurge’ with its pinkish stem and small rounded leaves like a jade plant, but hair-stemmed spurge is poisonous, so make sure you’ve got fresh, organic purslane before you try it!

Pattypan, Pattypan, Bake Your Squash…

Farmer Steven’s CSA boxes from Just Natural Farms include Pattypan Squash this week. These distinctive summer squash are known for their round and shallow shape with scalloped edges. Also known as Sunburst Squash, it doesn’t have a strong flavor and tends to take on the flavor of the food with which it is prepared. They come in yellow, green and white varieties.

Pattypan Squash

So, how should you cook your pattypan?  Here’s a recipe we like…

Stuffed Pattypan Squash with Bacon

  • 6 pattypan squash, stems removed
  • 6 slices bacon
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1½ cups bread crumbs, soft
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put 1-inch of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Drain. Slice off top stem from squash. Scoop out the centers of the squash and set aside. Reserve squash shells for later use.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble and set aside. Using the same skillet, sauté the onions in bacon drippings. Chop the reserved squash pieces and sauté with onions for 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the bread crumbs; then stir in crumbled bacon and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuff each pattypan squash shell to heaping with the squash mixture and place in glass baking dish. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 stuffed squash.
 

Daylily Delight

daylilies - edible?Beautiful daylilies are in bloom in the Kansas City area now…  did you know you can eat them?!

Farmer Steven brought a lesson in edible flowers along with his fresh produce this week.  (Disclaimer: we’re talking about organically-grown daylilies, of course – not ones that have been sprayed with any pesticides, etc.)

There’s so much to enjoy with these perennial flowers. The tender, velvety petals of the blossoms make a nutritious, colorful addition to a salad. The buds offer protein, vitamin C and vitamin A – Steven suggests slicing them on an angle and sautéing them. Dried daylily petals are known in China as ‘golden needles’ and used as an ingredient in many recipes.

But eating daylilies is not without controversy. There are some who contend that daylilies help prevent blindness. Others warn that daylilies can be toxic to eat (or are at least easily confused with tiger lilies, which are not advisable to eat.)  Steven recommends that you try just a small bit of the daylilies the first time you eat them. The flowers can have a diuretic effect to some people; “nature’s laxative,” as Steven calls it.  And the daylily can be toxic to cats, so keep Kitty out of your daylily flowerbed.

Bottomline, enjoy your daylilies in a whole new way – sauté them, boil them, stirfry or serve them raw. Oh, and they’re just beautiful in a vase on your table too!

Farmer Steven & daylilies

Corn and Tomato Bruschetta

There were beautiful big tomatoes in Farmer Steven’s CSA boxes this past week (CSA = Community Supported Agriculture) from Just Natural Farms.  Here’s a great way to use tomato. It’s a delicious bruschetta that will make a colorful appetizer for your happy hour this week… Enjoy!

tomatoes

Corn and Tomato Bruschetta

  • 1 large ear yellow corn, husked
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, halved through root end
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 1 small loaf country bread

Prepare barbecue grill for medium heat.

Using a pastry brush, brush corn and onion with part of the oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Place corn, onion halves, and tomatoes on grill and cook until corn is golden brown, onion is just tender, and tomato skins are blistered and loose, turning often, about 12 minutes for tomatoes and 15 minutes for corn and onion.  Transfer to foil-lined baking sheet and cool.

Scrape kernels from fresh corn. Cut tomatoes in half and remove as many seeds as possible.  Dice tomatoes and onions into ½-inch cubes and combine all vegetables together.

Using a pastry brush, brush bread with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until crisp. Remove from grill.  Using a sharp knife, cut bread into ½-inch slices and arrange in a single layer on a large serving platter.  Top each slice with vegetable mixture, equally dividing.  Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

Farmer Steven market stand

 

Green Tomato and Vidalia Onion Gratin

Farmer Steven with Just Natural Farms has green tomatoes in the CSA boxes (CSA = Community Supported Agriculture) this week!  What shall we do with them?  Hmmm… here’s one of our favorite recipes that uses green tomato. It’s from the recipe files of Culinary Center of Kansas City Chef/Instructor Sandy DiGiovanni.  Serve up this colorful, unique dish to friends and family, and ENJOY!

green tomatoGreen Tomato and Vidalia Onion Gratin

Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound bacon or pancetta
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 large Vidalia onions, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 4 large green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Render bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the breadcrumbs to a small bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet and stir into the bread crumbs. Add the onion rounds to the skillet in batches and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes per side, without breaking the round slices apart, until there is some golden color.

To assemble the gratin, overlap the green tomato slices in one row in a 9- x 11-inch baking dish.  Next, make a row slightly overlapping of the partially cooked onion rounds, being careful to keep the slices intact. Repeat steps until all tomatoes and onions are used. Season tomatoes and onions lightly with salt and heavily with pepper.

Crumble the bacon over the vegetables; sprinkle the grated cheddar over the top, followed by the bread crumbs. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. If the top is getting too brown, loosely cover with foil. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

How To Use Your Onion Bulb

We had a few phone calls to The Culinary Center of Kansas City after Farmer Steven brought bulb onions in the CSA boxes from Just Natural Farms.  “What do we do with them?!”, some subscribers asked.  Steven reports that while the bulbs are a bit sweeter than a normal green onion, you can use them just like you do green onions in a recipe. 

And here’s another tip: Many people just use the white or reddish bulb end of the onion, but you’re missing out on a lot of great food if you don’t chop up and use the greens also!

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Here’s a recipe we like that calls for green onions – try out your bulbs here!

Traditional Curry Soup with Sweet Potato

BROTH

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 2 kaffir leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Thai yellow curry paste (or red curry paste)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
  • 2 (13.5 to 14 ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk, divided
  • 5 cups low-salt chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups red-skinned sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups jasmine rice, cooked according to package
  • 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • 3 red Thai bird chiles, thinly sliced with seeds, for garnish (or 2 red jalapeño chiles)
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges, for garnish

For the broth, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic. Add the kaffir leaves and ginger and cook for 1 minutes or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in curry paste, curry powder, and chili paste. Add 1/2 cup coconut milk (scooped from thick liquid at top of can). Stir for 2 minutes or until thick and fragrant. Add the remaining 1 ½ cups coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, and sugar; bring broth to boil. Keep warm.  (The broth can be made 1 day ahead; refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep chilled.)

Bring water to a boil. Add sweet potato cubes; stir to heat, about 1 minute. Using strainer, remove sweet potato from pot and rinse under cold water to cool. Place in small bowl. (The sweet potatoes can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

To complete/assemble, bring broth to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and stir to heat through, about 1 minute. Divide rice among bowls and add soup. Top with green onions, cilantro, Thai chilies, and a wedge of lime, for garnish.  Serve.  Makes 10 servings.

 

To Us, New Red Potatoes = Nicoise

Farmer Steven with Just Natural Farms has new red potatoes in his CSA boxes (CSA = Community Supported Agriculture) this week.  Because the collective of Just Natural farms are south of the metro area, they tend to have just enough warmer weather that their crops are ripe before many of the KC-area farms. Steven was excited to offer up local new red potatoes before they’re readily available in the area.

Here’s a recipe we think of when we get those first new potatoes of the season… Chopped Nicoise Salad. It’s an elegant-looking salad that makes a colorful spotlight piece for a summer luncheon. In our photo, we added boiled, sliced eggs to the salad, but be creative in using what you have available.

Chopped Nicoise SaladChopped Nicoise Salad

DRESSING

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper taste

DRESSING

  • 4 small red potatoes, washed (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1/3 pound green beans, fresh, washed, trimmed
  • 2 ounces light tuna, packed in water, drained
  • ½ cup Greek olives, pitted, chopped (or Spanish)
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
  • 5 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

For the dressing, in a small bowl add oil, juice, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Whisk until combined.  Set aside.

In a large pot fitted with a steamer basket add water and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add potatoes.  Cover and steam for 15 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender when pierced with a fork.   Add beans and steam both for 6 minutes more.  Transfer the potatoes and beans to a serving dish and place in refrigerator to cool (or plunge into a bowl of ice water to cool more quickly).

In another large bowl, add tuna, olives, red onion, tomatoes, and lettuce.  Add cooled potatoes and beans and toss mixture to combine.  Pour prepared dressing over salad and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4 servings.