Ingredients

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chestnut Charlie's fires up for another season

Chestnut Charlie's fires up for another season.

Posted by on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 8:00 AM

NovoGradac is the Charlie in Chestnut Charlies.
  • NovoGradac is the 'Charlie' in Chestnut Charlie's.
You know what we eat here on the Plains: sauce-slathered barbecued ribs, mounds of mashed potatoes, breads of our golden wheat. Also: fire-roasted chestnuts. The Midwest turns out to be a darn good place to cultivate chestnut trees. And there's a surprise oasis for the food that's close to home: north Lawrence. That's what Charlie NovoGradac has discovered since he and his wife, Deborah Milks, began growing chestnuts at their sustainable, organic orchard.

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.)

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  • Chestnut Charlie's fires up for another season.

Friday, November 16, 2012

BadSeed's Thanksgiving market will help you set your table up right

Posted by on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 10:00 AM

This market is the very definition of cornucopia.
  • This market is the very definition of cornucopia.
You've got to get the turkey right for Thanksgiving to be a success. But if you have outstanding sides, you can sometimes save the holiday meal from going sideways. You'll be in good hands if you visit the BadSeed market (1909 McGee) tonight, which is open from 4 to 9 p.m. The downtown farmers market is holding its annual Thanksgiving market with more than a dozen local food producers selling every ingredient and product you need to set up your entire table.

"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."

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The secret to the perfect cinnamon roll

A sweet chat with I Love Cinnamon Rolls author Judith Fertig.

Posted by on Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Local author Judith Fertig is on a serious roll lately.
  • Local author Judith Fertig is on a serious roll lately.

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."

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  • A sweet chat with I Love Cinnamon Rolls author Judith Fertig.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Butter it up: Shatto unveils new line of flavored butters

Posted by on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 7:43 AM

Shatto unveiled a line of flavored butters this week.
With skim milk being the Shatto Milk Company's top seller, Shatto is left with a lot of cream. This means that the Osborn, Missouri, dairy has started to get pretty creative with its product line. The latest introduction? Flavored butters. Shatto rolled out two new flavors of butter — honey and garlic — earlier this week to join the salted and unsalted butters that currently sit on shelves. The packaging has also had a redesign, going from foil-wrapped bars to a plastic tub. Right now, the new flavors of butter are only available at their farm store in Osborn, but the milk company plans to sell all four kinds of butter in grocery stores that carry their milk, cheese and ice cream.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mashed potatoes need to be an accepted part of the condiment canon

Posted by on Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Mashed potatoes work surprisingly well in a pulled pork taco.
  • Mashed potatoes work surprisingly well in a pulled pork taco.
In an effort to discover the ultimate mashed-potato recipe for Thanksgiving, I've been whipping up batches the past few weeks. Right now, the leading contender is Ina Garten's parmesan smashed potatoes (a lot of butter, parmesan and sour cream), but there's no shortage of potential contenders for the spoon. An unexpected (but completely foreseeable consequence) is that I have a glut of mashed potatoes that rival the height of the harvest for home tomato and zucchini growers. The difference is that it's a lot easier to give your co-workers a tomato than a bowl of your mashed potatoes.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jalapeno peppers being bred to hold more cheese

Posted by on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM

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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. 

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Monday, November 22, 2010

How to eat local for the holidays

Posted by on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 11:15 AM

How about Farm to Market pretzel rolls instead of dinner rolls this year?
  • How about Farm to Market pretzel rolls instead of dinner rolls this year?

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.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Rose water: drink it, eat it, wear it

Posted by on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 1:15 PM

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It's good for desserts...and acne!
"Fragrance is very important in our culture," says Kashif Tufial, the co-owner of the Chai Shai bistro -- which serves Pakistani fare -- in Brookside. "We don't just celebrate the sensual qualities of flowers in wreaths and garlands, but in our cuisine as well."

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.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer Squash's short window closes soon

Posted by on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Get your summer squash on the grill, stat.
  • Get your summer squash on the grill, stat.

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.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Why you're paying more for pine nuts these days

Posted by on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Hold on to your pine nuts.
  • Hold on to your pine nuts.

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. 

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