Summer is for red, ripe, juicy tomatoes. It is also for PEPPERS: hot, mild, red, green, yellow, round, long, thin and fat.
Most commonly found at the Farmers’ Market are bell peppers and jalapeño peppers with an occasional poblano and pimiento.
Vendors cater to the tastes of their customers which tends to run from mild to no heat at all. However, for the fearless there are breads, jams, jellies, salsas and cookies are available with hotter peppers such as habañeros (also called Scotch bonnets).
My friend Martin Simon, an expert on peppers, makes his own chipotle powder by smoking and then drying red jalapeños He uses these peppers to make chipotle en adobo, chipotle salsa and chipotle jam. He asked our vendors why they didn’t have red jalapeños. He found out that there is some confusion about color, appearance and ripeness.
First, all peppers will turn red as they ripen. Bell peppers, however, will be all dried out and/or rotten by the time this happens. So they are ripe when green, firm, and fragrant. The lovely red, orange and yellow bell peppers we see have been bred to become these bright colors. When buying these colored peppers, again choose firm fleshed peppers.
Jalapeños do turn red when ripe. Both the green and red phases of ripeness tend to develop brown vertical lines along the pepper. These are NOT indicators of insect damage, chemicals, or rot. The lines are indicators of ripeness.
Jalapeños are sometimes deceiving in how hot they can be; they can be nearly as mild as a bell or “blow your socks off” hot. There is no foolproof way for us to determine heat except taste. Chemically there is a rating system called the Scoville Scale which measures the amount of capsaicin in a pepper. Having said that, the pointy tip of the jalapeño is the mildest part of the pepper. Taste near the stem for more accurate heat information.
To reduce some of the heat in peppers, strip the seeds out along with the membrane that connects them to the inside of the pepper. The seeds themselves have no heat but the membrane is the source of the heat. Wear gloves to take seed/membranes out of peppers. FYI, if you choose NOT to wear gloves, do NOT touch your eyes, nose, or privates.
Martin needs about 50 lbs of red jalapeños for drying. Respond to this website if you are able to let the green jalapeños ripen to red. I will let Martin know so he can buy them from you.
Original recipe by Greg Collier: Sweet Potato Pikliz (New York Times)
First, whisk together dressing ingredients:
1/4 C cider vinegar, 1/4 C fresh lime juice, 3 Tb honey, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tb chopped fresh oregano, and (if you want heat) 1 seeded chopped jalapeño ( I did NOT add jalapeño for tasting but did add it for personal eating. With heat it makes a great side for barbecue!).
Slaw ingredients: place immediately in dressing to preserve color
1/2 pound (8 oz) raw, peeled, grated sweet potato, 1/2 medium sweet onion thinly sliced, 1/2 C thinly sliced radishes, and 1/2 C thinly sliced young turnips (I did NOT put these in because mine were bitter.).
Cover and place in fridge overnight to serve either cold or at room temp. Crunchy and lots of flavor!
It is Friday at 8AM. You get an email from AFM listing vendors and their products that will be available at Saturday’s Market.
Vendor A will have lettuce, spinach, peas. His contact is to text: 877-456-7890 to place an order for curbside.
2. Vendor B will have fruit pies, cinnamon rolls, and jams. Her contact is email: email@example.com to place an order.
3. Vendor C will have coffee and donuts. This vendor is not participating in Curbside.
You decide to pre-order spinach and peas from Vendor A. You want 2 bunches of spinach and 1 pint of peas. So you text him your order (be specific) at 10 AM. (Remember you must notify the vendor BEFORE noon of the day you get the email).
Vendor A gets your text at 10:05AM with your order. He know he will have these items for you tomorrow between 10-11AM. He texts you back by 8PM that evening telling you that he has what you want in the amounts you requested. He also tells you what you will need to pay.
It is 10AM on Saturday at the Market. You arrive at Vendor A’s location, park along Main Street, just in front of his vehicle. You know you are in the right place because you used the vendor map provided in the email. You text him to let him know you are ready for your Curbside Pick-up. He finishes with a customer then gets your order and brings it to you. Because you are a good customer, you have exactly the right combination of vouchers, tokens, money needed. Some vendors have their own card readers for credit/debit cards.
You have your product, the vendor has been paid and has gone back to help other customers.
So what can go wrong?
You don’t pre-order before noon.
You don’t arrive to pick-up your order in the SPECIFIC TIME indicated.
You don’t have proper payment.
What if you want to pre-order from 2 vendors?
Just repeat the process with Vendor B. Two pre-orders before noon, two vendor return emails by 8PM, two pick-ups at the designated time.
Good luck! Remember you can shop like always, too.
The weather has been great, the vendors are planting, baking, and (hopefully) getting ready to harvest some spring vegetables and flowers for opening day.
What is new for all of us is COVID-19, a virus that can cause no symptoms or kill. Such a range of outcomes for each of us with differing degrees of health. The Officers and Board of Atchison Farmers’ Market reviewed many sources for how to keep vendors and patrons safe at an open air market. Please abide by their list of precautions…
STAY HOME IF YOU ARE ILL !
MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING OF SIX (6) FEET
WASH YOUR HANDS FOR 20 SECS. WITH SOAP & WATER FREQUENTLY & USE HAND SANITIZER WITH AT LEAST 60% ALCOHOL
AVOID TOUCHING YOUR MOUTH, NOSE & EYES
DISINFECT FREQUENTLY TOUCHED SURFACES OFTEN
BRING A LIST OF ITEMS YOU NEED AT THE FARMER’S MARKET – SEE CURRENT LISTINGS ON OUR AFM EMAIL
DO NOT USE THE FARMER’S MARKET TO SOCIALIZE
SHOP WITH YOUR EYES AND ASK THE VENDOR TO BAG YOUR SELECTIONS
AVOID REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS
THOROUGHLY WASH YOUR PRODUCE UNDER RUNNING WATER PRIOR TO USE
Curried Greens with Garbanzo Beans (instead of creamed spinach)
2 T neutral oil
4 T ground cumin
1 T curry powder
1 T garam masala (sources at the end of the article)
2 t turmeric powder
2 large yellow onions,
1 4 inch ginger piece, peeled and chopped
20 cloves garlic,
2 pounds greens- mustard,
kale, spinach, etc
1 cup water
can coconut milk
cups cooked chickpeas, drained
Instant Pot Method
Sauté- Heat oil,
then add spices until lightly toasted. Add onions and saute 1-2 minutes. Press
Add remaining main
ingredients and cook on Manual- High Pressure. 2 minutes for spinach and 4-5
for tougher greens. Manually release pressure.
Add coconut milk and puree with immersion blender until smooth (tougher greens may require a regular blender). Sauté- Low for a few minutes for spices to blend, then salt to taste and stir in chickpeas.
Slow cooker method
Combine all main ingredients (no water needed) and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6 hours. Add coconut milk and puree. Cook on low 1 hour. Add salt and chickpeas.
2. Potato Curry (instead of mashed potatoes)
2 T neutral oil
1 T cumin seeds or
1 T garam masala
1 T curry powder
1 t ajwein seeds (sources at the end of the article)
1 t turmeric
1 t grated fresh
ginger or ½ t ginger powder
1 mint tea bag (if
using fresh mint or cilantro, add at end)
3 tomatoes, blanched and chopped (Can substitute 1 can Ro-tel)
2 lbs new
potatoes, washed (cubed if large)
2/3 cup water
Salt and lemon
Instant Pot method
Heat oil and saute cumin seeds until they pop. Add turmeric, garam masala and
onion and cook until onion is tender. Add remaining ingredients (except salt
and lemon juice) stir to combine.
Manual-High Pressure-5 minutes. Manually release pressure. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.
Slow Cooker Method
Combine all ingredients (no water needed) and cook on high for 4 hours in a slow cooker, and season to taste at the end.
3. Cranberry Rice Pilaf (instead of cranberry sauce)
2 cups basmati rice
1 teaspoon saffron threads or turmeric
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons very hot milk (can use coconut)
About 1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, peeled and halved lengthwise, then sliced into fine half rings
1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
5 cardamom pods
1 t fennel seeds
2 1/2-inch cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
1 can coconut milk
Wash the rice in several changes of water. Put in a bowl,
cover generously with water, then set aside to soak for 3 hours.
Meanwhile, combine the turmeric and 1 tablespoon of the
sugar in a small bowl, then stir in the hot milk. Set aside for 3 hours.
Toward the end of the 3 hours, soak cranberries in water for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a medium skillet over medium-high, heat 3 T oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until they start to brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until they are reddish brown. Add the drained berries and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir once or twice, then remove from the heat.
Cover tightly with foil and a lid and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. Toss the rice gently to mix before serving.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Bring about 10 cups of water to a boil. Add the salt, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cloves. Stir once, then add the rice. Let it cook in the boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until it is three-quarters cooked but still has a thin, hard core. Drain in a colander.
Grease medium baking dish with remaining oil. Spread half the rice over it. Spread another tablespoon of the butter, plus half the saffron mixture and half the onion-berry mixture and some of its oil on top of the rice. Spread the remaining rice on top of the first layer. Pour ½ can coconut milk over it, followed by the remaining saffron mixture and onion-berry mixture. Pour remainder of coconut milk on top.
Sources for Asian bulk spices
Closest: Swagat store in Zona Rosa. Try Our Place or Pan Asia in Overland Park.
Other ideas to enhance your meal
Try Indian chutney instead of cranberry sauce
Check out The New Sugar and Spice by Samantha Seneviratne (available at the library) for traditional American desserts made with Indian flavors
Serve chai with your pie!
Indian Cookbooks at the library
Made in India and Fresh India by Meera
Vegetarian India and Madhur Jaffrey’s
Instantly Indian by Madhur Jaffrey
Indian for Everyone and Vegan Indian Slow Cooker
by Anupy Singla