Market, it’s almost summer!


Schlafly Farmers Market
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
4pm-7pm
Schlafly Bottleworks
7260 Southwest Ave, Maplewood MO

 

It’s been so nice to hear some great feedback on last week’s blog that included all of the egg information. I am happy that some of you (maybe many of you) are not only reading, but enjoying the weekly blog and market report. And for those that don’t have time or don’t particularly have the interest; just skip to the bottom and read the vendor list and produce list each week. Hopefully there’s something for everyone.

I will continue with more details about eggs in the near future. My inspiration for the market blog this week is ZUCCHINI! What are we going to do with ALL that ZUCCHINI?? It’s still quite early in the season and there is already a bumper crop on this prolific summer squash. One vendor gave me a huge zucchini last week, I used it in 3 different recipes and still had some left!

For me, zucchini is one of those neutral vegetables. It tends to take on the taste and flavor profile of whatever is mixed with it or added to it. For that reason, it can be very versatile.

One of my first, most delicious and long standing zucchini memories is actually from my teenage years, dining out with my Great Uncle at a restaurant in the Glendale area called “Circa 1900”. My Great Uncle knew the owners and would “treat us” to some very memorable meals there. As it is many times when one knows the chef or owner of a dining establishment, sometimes food is unexpectedly brought to the table. Our meals at Circa 1900 always started with a “Kir” cocktail for my Great Uncle and a basket of paper thin sliced, deep fried zucchini chips topped with parmesan cheese for all of us to share. Oh, so delicious and evidently quite the food memory. Ordering a fried zucchini appetizer anywhere else, ever, from those days forward will never top those fried zucchini chips from Circa!

But onward and upward and moving forward with the zucchini inspiration as I got a little older and very aggressive with my own home gardening. As a young’ish 20 something year old with a beautiful opportunity to share garden space with my dear, surrogate mom Lil (as I get tears in my eyes now) I learned and began to enjoy local, seasonal, fresh cooking and preparation of EVERYTHING the garden grew. And I indeed tried to grow everything! At that time, I also learned a lot about canning and preserving. It was a MUST with all of the bountiful, garden produce and a tiny family of one little child and a family of three. That’s when all of the zucchini casseroles, zucchini skillet dinners, zucchini bread, stuffed zucchini, zucchini relish and pickles and my rendition of fried zucchini all came into practice and perfection! Or almost perfection!

As I moved to other cities and States, I was no longer able to have a home garden. My love for the fresh and local food NEVER diminished. And that will be another story. Because my lack of having a garden and the ability to grow my own food, I was eventually inspired to seek out local producers and to create the farmers market relationships and atmosphere that I have surrounded myself with today.

Zucchini Recipes and Recipe Ideas– please share yours on the market Facebook page or send them to me and I will post them.

Last week I made chocolate, zucchini cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting, grated zucchini and carrot savory fritters as well as grilled zucchini as a topping for pizza.

– Almost every season, I use giant zucchini with the seeds removed, grated in the food processor to make jars and jars of a “pickle relish”.

-Cubed zucchini with chopped celery, onion and carrots, steamed or blanched (to soften) added with cubes of seasoned, cubed, dried bread, sour cream and butter, baked in a 9×13 casserole dish make an amazing summer, almost Thanksgiving like stuffing, casserole, side dish.

– Zucchini makes a nice succotash. Lightly sautéed zucchini in a skillet with onions, sweet peppers chopped tomatoes and corn (baby lima beans too) make a great summer side.

-Stuffed zucchini “boats” are a great way to use one of those giant zucchini by scooping out the middle, adding a filling of your choice (meat or vegetarian) with rice or another grain, tomatoes, herbs, top with cheese and/or breadcrumbs and bake. If using the giant squash, just slice into sections to feed and army.

-Plain ole tomatoes and zucchini sautéed in a skillet or grilled with olive oil then topped with fresh basil is delicious.

Savory Zucchini Fritters (inspiration and recipe idea) – Wash and grate zucchini (no need to peel). I have also added grated carrot. Lightly salt the grated veggies and put in a sieve or strainer to drain off as much liquid as possible. If you don’t have time to strain and drain, just wrap the veggies in a clean tea towel, twist and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. In a bowl, add the grated veggies, finely chopped spring onions, clove of finely chopped garlic, beaten egg and a few spoons of flour to bind the veggies. Add salt and pepper and any fresh herb you have on hand. Ideas would be fresh dill or oregano, basil, thyme or parsley. Form small patties from the veggie mix. Get oil nice and hot in a large skillet, fry fritters on both sides until golden. These can also be started in the skillet and finished in a hot oven. I have not tried baking them, but I think that might also work. Maybe finish with the broiler on low to get the crispy texture.

Zucchini “Stuffing” Casserole

Makes a 9×13 casserole

Preheat oven to 350

-Cubed zucchini (about 2 lbs/3 to 4 cups), ½ cup, chopped onion, 1 rib of chopped celery. Boil, blanch, steam zucchini, onions and celery (whatever your preference) until crisp tender. Drain.

– add 1 cup of grated carrots.

-In a separate bowl to the side, you will also want to have about 2 cups of dried, herbed bread cubes or your favorite, premade stuffing mix blended with ¼ cup of melted butter ready.

**The original recipe from 20+ years ago calls for a can of cream of something soup. You may add the can of soup (10oz) and 8oz of sour cream if you wish. If you have a preferred substitute for the soup then please use. I play around with this part of the recipe and have come up with some great options. Making some sort of béchamel sauce works nicely.  BUT adding the can of soup and the 8oz of sour cream is quick and easy!!

-Béchamel sauce is equal parts flour to fat, add milk, a little nutmeg, white pepper and salt. My béchamel for a can of soup substitution usually starts with 2 TBLS melted butter, 2 TBLS flour, in a small pan over medium heat. Stir until mixed thoroughly and mixture becomes paste like. Gently stir in one cup of milk, turn down the heat and gently whisk or stir. The more patient you are, the smoother and silkier your sauce will be. The sauce will gradually thicken. Add a little more milk at a time until you have the desired consistency. It usually takes about 1 ¼ cups total. Grate a little fresh nutmeg or use pre ground. I prefer white pepper for the flavor and color. But regular black pepper and a pinch of salt will do.

-To the bowl of veggies, add 8oz of sour cream and either the can of cream soup or your own béchamel or other preferred substitute.

-The veggies, sour cream and soup or sauce should all be mixed together. Now stir in ½ of the stuffing mixture.

-Spoon all of the mixture into a greased 9×13 casserole dish. Top with the remaining stuffing mix

-Bake at 350 until heated through and desired tenderness is reached. I have cooked it up to 45-60 minutes. If you want the veggies a little more firm, then cook 30-45 minutes, Test with a fork. If top is getting too brown, cover with foil as needed.

I hope you enjoy these recipe ideas and inspirations. I have a feeling that next week it might be carrots. I am seeing a lot more carrots this market season than I have in seasons past. Beautiful, sweet, tasty carrots.

Please come to the market, support the vendors and enjoy the selection of local, seasonal produce, honey, baked goods, plants, herbs, condiments, cut flowers, cheese, meat, eggs, artisan wares and more.

Wednesday Market Vendors May Include-

Gabe Keeven of Side Lot Farm is a first time vendor at Schlafly Farmers Market this week. Gabe sells to local chefs and we are lucky enough that his harvest has a surplus this week. Gabe will have thyme, oregano, beets, carrots, lettuce, garlic chive plants, strawberry plants, hot sauce, salsa, tomato sauce, tomato juice, dried habeneros, radish seed pods and radish flowers
Stuckmeyer Plants and Produce
Farrar Out Farm
Eckenfels Family Farm
-Grand Army Farm

Rosy Buck Farm
Flower Hill Farm
Ivan’s Fig Farm
Three Rivers Community Farm
Buila Family Farm
Biver Farm (certified organic)
Baetje Artisan Goat Cheese
Seed Geeks
Alpacas of Troy
Grandma’s Nuts
The Tamale Man
El Chico Bakery
del Carmen Black Beans
Cham Bakery
Maplewood Richmond Heights School Garden
One Eye Blind Woodworks
Rocky Top Crafts, LLC- Donna creates chimes, planters, feeders and other handmade items from upcycled bottles

I expect to hear from other vendors as time rolls along.

Join us for live music, complimentary Schlafly beer samples and a good time.

See you at the market.
René
 

 

 

 

 

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