When NovoGradac founded Chestnut Charlie's, in 1995, he wasn't sure that the orchard would make it. But his trees survived a few dicey years and a couple of damaging freezes, and the farm has become successful. Harvest now involves NovoGradac, Milks, and a small army of local paid pickers collecting fallen chestnuts from September through mid - October. Even after this summer's drought, NovoGradac says, this year's crop turned out "fair." At press time, Chestnut Charlie's had sold through its shipments to BadSeed Market. (See chestnutcharlie.com for availability at area KC and Lawrence stores.)
"The Badseed market will have local chestnuts, pecans, and black walnuts as well as freshly milled flour, free-range eggs, and raw honey," says market founder Brooke Salvaggio via e-mail. "An outrageous abundance of heirloom produce will complement grass-fed meats, gourmet mushrooms, and French Farmstead Cheeses."
Anyone can make a good cinnamon roll. A box of Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix makes the task so easy, you could almost make a serviceable roll in an Easy Bake Oven (not the kind that uses a light bulb, however; I tried!).
The art comes from making the perfect cinnamon roll, and that requires knowing a few essential secrets. Lenexa-based author Judith Fertig shares quite a few of those in her new hardback book, I Love Cinnamon Rolls ($19.99 Andrews McMeel Publishing), which was released last month.
"You can't overwork the dough or it will leave the finished rolls tough and chewy," says Fertig, who cringes when she watches a neophyte roll maker "knead" the dough by aggressively punching and folding it. "You knead it lightly so the dough is light and fluffy even before it rises."
The trickle of molten cheese inside a jalapeno pepper just became a raging river. Popular Science reports that New Mexico State University's chili breeding program has created a new "extra large, medium hot jalapeno pepper precisely optimized for jalapeno poppers." The NuMex Jalmundo will change the menus at bowling alleys forever.
You might not feed as many people as a Kansas farmer this year -- although preparing Thanksgiving dinner may feel like you're cooking for 129 people -- but you can feature some of what they grow on your dinner table.
The Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition has launched a campaign and corresponding Web site, Eat Local for the Holidays, which has a list of farmer's markets, local vendors and a guide to what's in season.
|It's good for desserts...and acne!|
The essence of rose, for example, in the form of rose water, is used in beverages and desserts at Chai Shai. And rose water, a culinary staple in Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern dishes, is beginning to waft into American kitchens, as in this light, summery rose-water sorbet.
Winter squash is hardy, needing to be scrubbed, peeled and subdued on the grill after months of storage. Summer squash is more delicate. The skin is soft and edible, and it needs to be used within two to three days after you buy it at market. It's squash, just with half the work.
Zucchini, yellow crookneck squash (similar in taste to winter squash) and pattypan squash are all readily available right now. Each is capable of starring on your dinner plate or making a fine side dish.
I would not want to be in charge of procurement at the Costco in Johnson County. The store currently doesn't have large bags of pine nuts in stock and after hearing a Costco employee receive a few choice words about that decision, it would seem that hell hath no fury scorned like a woman denied an oversized sack of the key pesto ingredient.
But it is not just in Johnson County that a pine nuts craze is raging. Fickle temperatures and a poor crop in China have led to a dramatic increase in price. The Chicago Tribune looked at the situation domestically and what's going on in China, the main supplier of pine nuts to America.
I'm freaking excited!
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