Brookside Farmers' Market

I visited the Brookside Farmers' Market in Kansas City, MO for the first time in June of 2016.  I had been shopping at farmers' markets during the growing season for most of my adult life...but there was just something very special about this market...I was completely drawn in.   The market is all local (everything comes from within 100 miles), all organic, and vendor run.  You are not allowed to set up a stall if you are not the grower....  I love this.  It is a pleasure and privilege to be able to talk to the people who actually grow the food.  If you live in the Kansas City Metropolitan area and you have never visited Brookside Farmers' Market, you should make it a point to do so.  I predict you will return again and again.  

I am excited to say that I am now the official market chef for this amazing market.  During the growing season I will be developing recipes using produce from the market.  I will post these recipes here on my blog.  Additionally, all of the recipes I develop for the Brookside Farmers' Market will be cataloged here on this separate page.  Along with the links to the recipes, I will include a short note about the vendor who grew the featured ingredients so that local market shoppers will be able to use the same ingredients should they wish.   

Mid July 2017--Summer Roots and Squash....and Chicken...

I have wanted to write a chicken post all summer so I could feature the delicious pastured chickens from David's Pasture.  If you have read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (I highly recommend it, if you have not), you are familiar with the name Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm.  David's Pasture has adopted many of Salatin's techniques...and is raising chicken, turkey, beef, pork and lamb in a "sustainable, and pasture-based" manner.  The result is nutritious and delicious food...and healthy animals.  If you eat meat...what could be better than that?  

For my post I chose to make a braise.  It is one of my favorite techniques and I would love it if more people were comfortable with this slow, moist heat technique that uses some of the tougher, more neglected cuts...and produces tender, juicy, flavorful results.  It is a technique that I most often use during the fall and winter months...but I chose to use it for a Moroccan Chicken Couscous with a spice and heat that is a perfect match for the summer weather. 

Also featured in my couscous recipe are the fantastic golden ball turnips, beautiful bi-colored yellow and pale green summer squash and sweet carrots from Urbavore.  I'm certain the carrots and squash will continue to be available...but the golden turnips may be done.  If they are, rest assured that regular purple top--or all white--turnips will be fine in this dish.  Furthermore, almost all of the growers are selling carrots and summer squash right now.  Any carrot...and any kind of summer squash...would be delicious in this dish.

Golden Couscous with Chicken, Carrots, Turnips & Summer Squash


Early July 2017--Summer Abundance...

I have been enjoying the cabbage from Brookside growers so much that I wanted to share at least one more recipe that featured it....this time in a coleslaw.  But what a coleslaw!  This is not your tired fast food or BBQ shack coleslaw....  Chock full of summer corn, sweet juicy carrots, crisp kohlrabi and fresh will turn the most devoted cabbage hater into an admirer.  You will be able to find most of the ingredients for this slaw...cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, and red almost every stall at the market.  Fresh herbs are in abundance right now, so look for the dill, parsley and mint at the market too.   (And do seek them out so you can make your own dressing.  I know it would be tempting to purchase the ranch dressing for this salad, but it is so easy to make from scratch... and so good that you will never want to purchase it again!)

Unfortunately, I haven't seen any sweet corn at Brookside yet this year....but Green Gate Family Farms has told me that they hope to have some in a couple of weeks.  In the mean time, it is widely available.  (Make sure you purchase corn that hasn't been sprayed.  A worm or two is a good indication of this.)  

Two of the Brassicas...Broccolini and Kohlrabi...
Because the cole crops (cabbage, kale, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi...)--also called Brassicas...or cruciferous vegetables--are abundant right now and will soon be drawing to a close (they tend to be cool season crops), I wanted to include in my collection of Brookside Market recipes a dish that features a relatively new--and increasingly popular--member of the Brassica family:  Broccolini.  Broccolini is a broccoli hybrid, with long slender (and more tender) stems and smaller florets.  If you have never tried broccolini, this simple and delicious pasta would be great first taste.  I purchased my broccolini from Ki Koko Farms, but I have also seen it at Mama Tus and Garden of Peace.

Late June 2017--Cabbage (and kohlrabi...and the end of the English shelling peas...)

As market chef one of my goals is to stay slightly ahead of the curve when it comes to the incoming harvest.  It doesn't do you (the buyer, cook and eater) much good to know how to make something fantastic with asparagus if I happened to grab the last of the asparagus for a recipe I then post and share.  I have asked the growers to help me out a bit by letting me know when they are anticipating that a crop will come in...and if it will have a short or a long run.  Happily, a few weeks ago, Laura of Blue Door Farm mentioned that cabbage was going to be hitting the market in a couple of weeks. The early Napas are, I believe, finished at this point, but the large green/white cabbages are in full swing and the Savoys and Red cabbages will follow.   Since these all store well, you should grab them while they are available and ask the growers about the best way to keep what you are unable to use right away.  The cabbages I used for this post came from the aforementioned Blue Door Farm (Laura has also had fantastic beets, carrots, chard and kale...hopefully these will continue for a while) and Ki Koko Farms (mentioned in previous market posts).

I am sharing a recipe for cooked cabbage...because I think cooked cabbage is a harder sell than raw.  Americans tend to like coleslaw and salads that resemble coleslaw.  But cooked cabbage suffers from childhood aversions.  This is too bad.  Cooked cabbage--when prepared properly--is delicious.  If you are dubious, you should give it a try anyway.  The investment for a small head is not great...and you can make your favorite coleslaw with whatever portion of the head that you don't cook.  (Cabbage goes a long way...seeming to explode in volume once cut).  If you don't have a favorite cabbage slaw or salad recipe, I am including a different and delicious recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi (one of my favorite chefs) in this post.  His salad also included kohlrabi, dill (which are both abundant at the market right now) and alfalfa shoots (which you can pick up at Be Love Too Farm).  Kohlrabi too seems to be a hard sell--people just don't know what to do with it--so this recipe will get you started in that department too.

Unfortunately the peas that I used in my Buttered Cabbage recipe have probably made their last appearance at the market for the year.  But hopefully you purchased enough while they were abundant that you were able to freeze some.  (And, if you don't have access to nice fresh or frozen peas...and you want to try your hand at cooking might check out my post from a few years ago for Cabbage with Sweet Corn and Bacon.)  

In any case, since the cabbage will continue for awhile...and I have been enjoying the cabbages that I have purchased so much....I anticipate that in the coming month I will be posting at least one more recipe that uses it.

Buttered Cabbage with Peas, Prosciutto & Herbs (and a bonus recipe for Cabbage & Kohlrabi Salad from Yotam Ottolenghi)


Mid June 2017--Sugar Snap and Snow Peas, Fresh Fennel, Radishes, Young Carrots, Salad Turnips, Iceberg & Romaine a Late Spring Salad with Feta, Olives, & Mint

As with last week's market recipe, this week's recipe is for a medley of vegetables.  But whereas my last recipe was for a quiet and muted dish of gently stewed vegetables, this week's is the polar opposite—a vibrant and zesty combination of raw and lightly cooked late spring vegetables.  You can use peas of all kinds, radishes, salad turnips, young carrots, fresh fennel and romaine or iceberg lettuce..I'm sure you will find something to enjoy that I missed.  

You can also use the beautiful "shoots" (like "sprouts," but grown in soil) from Be Love Too Farm in this salad.  I had never experienced anything other than a pea shoot before I stopped at Andrea's stall a few weeks ago.  I was intrigued and impressed by the flavor and texture of their shoots (not to mention their nutritional value). I especially liked the sunflower shoots (they have a subtle crunch and taste like sunflower seeds!).  I enjoyed them in several different variations of this week's salad.   

As for the rest of the ingredients, every grower at the market has at least one of these items.  So, instead of mentioning them all, I will simply encourage you to go to the market and explore.  Buy an unfamiliar ingredient from a grower you frequent regularly...and buy something familiar from a stall you might not have stopped at before.  In so doing, you will expand your circle of friends and your palate at the same time. 


Early June 2017--Spinach, Asparagus, Peas, Green Garlic & Spring a Simple Medley to Serve with Ricotta & Baked Polenta

As we move through the growing season I have a more difficult time each week limiting my purchases to what I can reasonably consume.  Instead of limiting the variety of things I buy, I start buying small quantities of lots of I can have just a taste of all the beautiful things on offer.  As a consequence of this I frequently find myself making mixed vegetable preparations...pastas, pizzas, grain pilafs or frittatas (just to name a few of my "go to" options).  This spring I have rediscovered firm polenta.  It is the perfect backdrop for mixed vegetable preparations of all kinds. 

The vegetable medley I made this week for my polenta features spinach and green garlic from Ki Koko Farms, spring onions from Stony Crest Urban Farm, Asparagus from Urbavore Urban Farm...and English Peas (one of the best things to buy at the farmers' market) from Ami of Red Ridge Farms.  Ami's stall at the market reminds me of the way I shop this time of year...incredible variety.  Not only is there a beautiful array of different things...Ami and her family grow unusual things.  Last year she had Fava beans (I have never met anyone else growing them in our area) and in the fall figs (my favorite!).  The peas I purchased last week were so tender and sweet I wanted to sit down and just shell them and eat them on the spot.  I am looking forward to more!  

Baked Polenta with Ricotta & a Medley of Spring Vegetables


Late May 2017--Kale, Young Carrots, Green Garlic & Spring a Savory Grain Pilaf

Last spring I posted a recipe for a spring freekeh pilaf featuring kale and peas. (If you've never cooked with freekeh, check out my intro post from a few years ago.)  When I posted the recipe I emphasized that it was really just a template for making a pilaf with whatever you had on hand or or had brought home from the market.  Recipes like this are foundational for cooking locally and seasonally.  I reemphasized this point when I posted the same recipe again in the fall with a whole other palate of flavors and ingredients--the constant between the two versions being the style of the pilaf  and the Red Russian kale. 

One of my favorite items to get from the local markets is Red Russian Kale.  (It is easier to clean than curly kale...and I find it to be a bit more tender than Tuscan kale--although I use Red Russian and Tuscan interchangeably in most recipes.)  When I think of Stony Crest Urban Farm's stall at the Brookside market, one of the things I think of is a beautiful display of greens--lettuces, spinach, chard, collards...and kale of all kinds.  I have to stand and think carefully about what to buy because I would like to buy them all...but I know we would never be able to eat so much in a week.  I usually get at least one bunch of chard or kale.  Both are excellent in pilafs and grain bowls.

Besides greens, Stony Crest has had beautiful young carrots for several weeks now.  I posted a recipe using their carrots (along with the tops!) a couple of weeks ago.  I thought their carrots would be pretty fine in my spring freekeh pilaf in place of the peas...and they were.  I have posted the details of my early spring variation at the bottom of last year's post.

A Freekeh Pilaf for Early Spring


May 2017--Asparagus, Green Garlic & Spring a Pizza

I have not been officially introduced to many of the growers at the market yet (I've only interacted with them up to this point as an avid shopper!), so I don't have a lot of background information on many of them to share.  But I can tell you that they all produce beautiful and amazing food.  And as the season progresses and I get to know each of the growers better, I will, I hope, be able to tell a little bit more about each of them when I post recipes that use their produce. 

The asparagus in this pizza was purchased from Brooke & Dan of Urbavore Urban Farm (located in the urban core of Kansas City, MO).  I have been purchasing local asparagus during asparagus season for more years than I can account for...but I have never found any asparagus quite like theirs.  I have always preferred medium (1/2-inch thick or so) spears of asparagus (and they grow varieties of this size—it's what I used in the pizza)—but they also grow big, fat, beefy spears of not only green, but also purple asparagus.  I am in love.  They grow green garlic too...but the green garlic (and the spring onions) that I used in the pizza recipe came from Ki Koko Farms in Kansas City, Kansas.  In addition to a gorgeous array of spring onions (in a wide variety of sizes) and garlic, you will also find beautifully pristine and perky herbs and greens at their stall right now.  

Pizza with Green Garlic Cream, Asparagus & Mushrooms


June 2016--My first visit to the Brookside Market.   

I visited the Brookside Market the first time so I could purchase some of the beautiful things I had been able to get from Brooke & Dan of Urbavore Urban Farm when they still had a stall at my old market.  I was unprepared for the beauty and bounty that I would find every single stall.  As I wrote in this first post about Brookside, I was captivated.  The stalls were overflowing with greens (braising and salad), onions, new potatoes, peas of all kinds, broccoli, baby root vegetables and the tail end of the strawberries.  I have been a regular customer ever since.

Market Ragoût of New Fingerling Potatoes, Young Carrots & English Peas

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