These last few weeks I have been writing a lot about local, fresh, seasonal food from a few different angles; informative and educational, philosophical, whimsical and factual to name a few.
This week it’s all about creativity and practicality. How to use the food. I recently watched a movie called “Food Stamped”. It was created a few years ago by a food educator in the New York City area. It brought out a lot of emotion on many levels. But one thing that rang so true and something that I have been thinking about and advocating for quite a long time is the same thought that she brought home by the end of the movie. We can give away all the free food possible. We can give free food to everyone. But how many people will know how to prepare it? Have time to prepare it? Have the utensils? The means? The energy? The knowledge? The passion? Getting healthy food into people’s homes is one thing, but actually making sure that food gets into bellies and bodies is the real challenge. And one does not have to be a low income and economically challenged person to have this dilemma. How many times do we all take food home and never prepare it? We think we might, we would like to , it looks so good at the market or grocery store, but we don’t get to it and it ends up in the trash or compost. Or how many times do we NOT purchase a food item because we don’t know how to prepare it or think we might not like it?
Although I do not have all of the answers to all of these issues, I am passionate and prepared to at least give things a shot. Why not? I like surrounding myself with people and ideas that are positive, creative and passionate. Meanwhile, may I start with a few easy recipes?
Keep in mind these are meant as guidelines, meant to inspire. They are not formulas. Everyone has different likes, dislikes and different food items on hand. These recipe ideas can be modified over and over.
Fresh Sweet Corn Salad
About 6 ears of cleaned sweet corn (remove kernels and blanch)
Small diced onion
small diced cucumber (optional leaving on peel and seeding)
a handful of fresh chopped cilantro
fresh squeezed juice from at least one lime
a drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper
Good Options- a dash of smoked paprika, fresh diced avocado, crumbled dry cheese, small chopped sweet pepper
Cut kernels from cob, quickly blanch in boiling water, remove and cover with ice cold water, drain. Put drained kernels in bowl and add other ingredients to taste. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Adjust seasonings and ingredients if needed. This salad holds up for a few days in fridge.
Cucumber Salads- skins on or off, seeds in or out, your choice. If you have time, when making salads with cucumbers, slice them and sprinkle with salt. Leave for a few hours to leach out some of the moisture. I rarely think about doing this step.
Cucumber and Onions
(Options-Add Tomato, Add Green Pepper)
2 lg cucumbers and 1 medium onion, sliced
Make the dressing with 1/4 cup vinegar (white and/or cider), 1/4 cup sugar (try honey), salt and pepper and I enjoy lots of fresh dill.
Stir together the dressing ingredients and pour over veggies. Cover and refrigerate for a least a couple of hours (or overnight). As you add more veggies, increase the amount of dressing. Trade fresh basil for dill if you’d like.
Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad ( a good way to get your fruits and veggies all at once)
Equal amounts cubed melon and diced cucumber (about 1 and 1/2 cups of each)
Thin sliced sweet onion or scallions
Salt and Pepper (I like sea salt and fresh ground pepper)
Vinegar- a tablespoon of your favorite or whatever you have on hand
Good Options- a clove of garlic rubbed onto the bowl, chile pepper, smoked paprika, lemon or lime zest and/or juice, crumbled dry cheese
Tomato and Watermelon Salad (another fruit and veggie treat)
3-4 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 small cucumber, cubed
1 cup of watermelon, cubed
3 TBLS olive oil
3 TBLS balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
I TBLS mixed fresh herbs (basil, tarragon, chives cilantro) are good choices to play with
Good Options- fresh ground coriander, fresh avocado
Panzanella (Tuscan Bread Salad)- a great way to use dry, leftover bread and the best summer produce. This recipe has many variations on the amount of veggies and dressing to use.
Sturdy bread like a baguette, miche, etc – 3 to 6 cups
Olive oil and salt to barely cover the cubed bread (1-3 TBLS oil)
Cut or tear the bread into large pieces. Sprinkle olive oil and salt on the cubes. Either cook in a skillet on top of the stove or on a cookie sheet in the oven. The bread cubes should be just golden and a little crisp.
Put crisped cubed bread into a large bowl then Add
Fresh tomato and cucumber (start with 2-3 tomatoes and 1 cucumber)
Onion, one small, sliced
2 cloves of garlic smashed into a paste
Cubed Mozzarella (good option)
Make the dressing (depending on how much bread and veggies you have -3-6 cups)
2-4 TBLS vinegar (red wine or cider)
red pepper flakes (if available)
1/2-1 tsp mustard (Dijon if available)
4-6 TBLS olive oil
Whisk the dressing ingredients together, pour over bread and veggies
Add fresh chopped parsley and basil (if available)
Toss all ingredients together and let sit at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Before serving, add more dressing if needed.
We will continue to host the University of Missouri Extension Nutrition department. They will be visiting with us throughout the market season sharing information about local, seasonal, food, healthy and nutritious food options, recipes and more. Visit the site Family Nutrition Education Program
Join us at the Market, 4pm-7pm. Enjoy live music, complimentary Schlafly beer samples and a great line-up of vendors.
We will try to keep you updated and posted on who will be at the market from week to week. Visit the website or Facebook page for updates.
Alpacas of Troy– alpaca meat, yarn and alpaca fiber items
Baetje Cheese- Award Winning, Artisan Goat Cheese
Bee Simple– a unique variety of locally grown sprouts and microgreens
Biver Farms- a variety of local, seasonal, certified organic produce
Buila Family Farm– a variety of local, seasonal produce
Ivan– a variety of local, seasonal produce
Eckenfels Family Farm– locally raised, pastured beef and pork cuts, farm fresh eggs
El Chico Bakery- fruit filled emapanadas and cookies
Farrar Out Farm– locally raised, pastured beef, pork and lamb cuts and organically raised produce
Flower Hill and Rosy Buck Farms– salad mix, sprouts, pea shoots, radishes, eggs, bedding plants, edible flowers, bouquets
iScream– a unique variety of locally made ice cream treats
Ludwig Farms Creamery– a variety of cows milk cheeses
Maplewood Richmond Heights School– locally grown seasonal produce as well as seeds
Ozark Forest Mushrooms– a variety of unique locally cultivated mushrooms, dried mushrooms and other related delicies
Red Guitar– a variety of locally crafted artisan breads
Riverbend Roots Farm-a variety of local, seasonal produce; we’ve seen a variety of beautiful salad mix, baby chard, spinach and radishes
Seed Geeks– a large variety of non GMO seeds, handmade soaps and a unique variety of local, raw honey “goodness”
Sucrose-a variety of locally made, artisan baked goods
Three Girls and a Tractor– a variety of local, seasonal produce and locally grown, sweet Missouri pecans
Three Rivers Community Farm– a variety of local, seasonal produce; she’s had beautiful lettuces, salad mix, radishes, a variety of greens and berries
Don’t forget to thank Schlafly Bottleworks for sharing the space and supporting the market, local small businesses and family farms. Enjoy a complimentary Schlafly beer sample and live music each week.
Please visit the website, check out the Facebook, Twitter andInstagram market pages. Please “Like”, “Share”, “Retweet” and whatever else you do to make the market shine on social media
Thank you for your support.
See you at the Market,
René Sackett, Market Manager