Saturday morning I roused two sleepy grandchildren out of bed to head to a local farmers market. My goal was twofold: To buy fresh locally grown produce for a cooking class and to share the farmers market experience with my grandchildren.
We arrived early in the cool of the morning and wandered amid fresh produce, fresh-cut flowers and various handcrafted items. After scouting the area, we bought several pounds of gorgeous Jet Star tomatoes and a few plump yellow tomatoes called Sweet Tangerine grown on a farm near Parsons.
From other vendors we bought green beans, zucchini, fresh corn and new potatoes. With our bounty carefully loaded, we headed for breakfast at the Old Mill Tasty Shop. The children's eyes grew wide at the sight of the restaurant's old-time cooler, twirling bar stools and old-fashioned fountain drinks.
I'm not sure which event the children enjoyed most — the sights and sounds of the farmers market or the hefty breakfast we enjoyed. But I do have another project in mind: I am ready to teach them to string green beans and husk fresh corn. They will have an abundance of Kansas memories to take back home to Florida.
From the questions I am getting, I know many of you are enjoying summer produce, too.
I hear some people refer to new potatoes, but most of my recipes call for baby potatoes, which I can often find at the grocery store. Are baby potatoes the same as new potatoes?
Technically, they are different but can be used interchangeably. New potatoes are freshly dug and perishable. They have a very tender skin and a delightfully moist, sweet flavor, as they have not had time to convert their sugar into starch. The skin is so thin they cannot easily be peeled. They can be any variety of potato although we often think of them as red-skinned. Baby potatoes are slightly older and have been cured a few days but still have that sweet flavor and moist texture and can be purchased in most large supermarkets.
Do you have any tips for removing the silk from fresh corn?
Corn silk is one of those pesky things to remove, but the flavor of fresh corn is so delightful it is well worth the effort. I have tried lots of techniques, but lately, I find using a paper towel and rubbing the opposite direction of the silk works well. Then I use a small vegetable brush to remove any remaining silk.
I have noticed most recipes call for adding eggs one at a time to creamed butter and sugar. Does it really make any difference or can they all be added at once?
Eggs and butter do not mix together naturally. Butter is about 90 percent fat and eggs contain large amounts of water. As a matter of chemistry, fat and water do not combine easily. The process of adding one egg at a time allows the butter mixture to incorporate the egg gradually, allowing it to emulsify and thicken.