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Mar 20, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Tower Grove Farmers’ Market’

Eat This: The Classic Breakfast Sandwich

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017



Do not be deceived by the menu of add-ons at Kitchen Kulture’s THE KART stand at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. There is only one way to order The Classic Breakfast Sandwich: with everything. Thick, soft slices of sourdough bread are sprinkled with sea salt and topped with sharp cheddar, a fried farm egg, crisp strips of applewood-smoked bacon and a drizzle of local honey. The whole salty-sweet-rich extravagance is drenched in butter and griddled. Ignore the $12 price tag – no basic breakfast would get us up this early on a Saturday morning.

Kitchen Kulture’s The Kart, Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, Tower Grove Park, kounterkulturestl.com

Photo by Carmen Troesser 

Just Five: French Onion Grilled Cheese

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

When I graduated college, I fantasized about owning a restaurant that was only open for lunch and only served specialty grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade soups. There is a really cool couple, Susana and Dave Lowell, who must have felt the same way I did, at least about grilled cheese sandwiches. Through their grilled cheese stand, The Big Cheese, they are living my dream, making amazing combinations with excellent ingredients and serving them at the Tower Grove Farmers Market and Webster Groves Farmers Market. Perhaps you remember when I wrote about their strawberry grilled cheese?

Now the Lowell’s have done it again, hitting on one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever eaten by incorporating the flavors of French onion soup. One bite of this sandwich left me giggling like a child. There was no doubt that I needed to make it into a Just Five dish. The process to mixing the salty beef stock flavor in with the caramelized onion seemed to be the obstacle. I could’ve cooked the onions and then cooked them again in beef stock, but honestly, preparing a grilled cheese sandwich really doesn’t need to be a major life event; I mean, for the love, it’s not a turducken! Instead, I used a classic restaurant cheat – beef base. Chicken and beef base are in my fridge at all times (don’t judge); it’s pretty common for restaurant mashed potatoes to have a bit of chicken base in them – that’s why they’re better than the ones you make at home. Beef base is a great flavor booster as well, but this stuff is a salt bomb, so use it sparingly. Along with the beef base, thyme and yes, a whole onion, this sandwich is “slap your mama” good. Thanks for constant inspiration, Susana and Dave. Keep those sammies coming, and see you next season!

French Onion Grilled Cheese
1 Serving

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus a bit more for buttering the bread
1 medium yellow onion
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. beef base (available in the soup aisle near the stock)
¾ cup fontina cheese, grated
2 slices sourdough bread
Dash salt

• Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a nonstick skillet.
• Slice the onion very thinly, and add the onion slices and thyme to the skillet. Cook over medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes.
• Add the beef base and about 2 tablespoons of water, sauteeing until the onions are completely soft.
• While the onions cook, lightly butter 1 side of each slice of bread.
• Remove the onions from the skillet and set aside, but leave the heat on, under the skillet.
• Place 1 slice of bread, buttered side down, in the skillet and top with the shredded cheese and onions. Place the other slice of bread (buttered side out) on top, and press down gently with a spatula. After 1 to 2 minutes, check to see if the sandwich is browned on the bottom. When it is, carefully flip the sandwich and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the sandwich is browned on both sides.
• Sprinkle a bit of salt over the top of the sandwich and serve.

Baked: Salty Honey Pie

Monday, October 8th, 2012

I’ve had my eye on this pie for a long time, but when it comes to honey, I never know what to buy; the options in the honey aisle are seemingly endless. Luckily, my Tower Grove Farmers Market stall is directly opposite Robins Apiaries. Week after week, I watched people buy bottles of Robins’ honey immediately after sampling it. So after 22 weeks, I finally bought a bottle. Upon tasting the delicious local honey, I knew immediately how I wanted to use it. Enter: the most glorious salty honey pie.

The piecrust is flaky while the sweet honey filling, with a crackly, crunchy top, is met with a healthy dose of sea salt. I shared it with friends who said it reminded them of a pecan pie.

You can make your own pie crust or purchase a frozen version. I highly recommend making your own since it’s so easy to store in the freezer for future use. You also have the option of either making a flaky all-butter crust or an oil crust, which yields a crunchier texture. I chose the all-butter crust for this particular pie. I also recommend experimenting with some walnuts or pistachios. I can’t help but wonder how this would taste with a nutty crust or nuts tossed into the filling. But as is, this salty honey pie is soon to be a classic on many Thanksgiving tables.

Salty Honey Pie
Adapted from Melissa and Emily Elsen of Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Makes 1 9-inch pie

½ cup sugar
¾ stick butter
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup honey
½ cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ Tbsp. sea salt
Salty Honey Pie Crust (recipe follows)

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Melt the sugar, butter and salt in a saucepan. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the next five ingredients (through vanilla).
• Pour the filling into the pie crust (recipe follows), and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the center is just slightly jiggly. Let cool at least 1 hour.
• Sprinkle the sea salt over the top of the pie just before serving.
• Serve chilled with an outline of whipped cream rimming the edges.

Salty Honey Pie Crust
Makes enough for 2 9-inch pie crusts, or 1 double-crusted pie

2½ cups flour
½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks cold butter, cubed
¾ cup ice water

• Whisk all of the ingredients together except the ice water. Use a pastry blender to mix the butter cubes into the mixture until they are the size of small peas.
• Add in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. You should still be able to see little pieces of butter in the dough (That’s what makes it flaky.). Once the dough is cohesive, knead it together and then divide it in half, forming each half into a ball and then flattening them into discs, about ½-inch thick. Wrap both discs in plastic wrap and store 1 in the fridge until hard, at least 1 hour, and the other in the freezer for up to 1 month. (If you are making the crusts far in advance, you can store both halves in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.)
• Once chilled, remove the disc from the refrigerator and roll out into a circle about 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Arrange it in a 9-inch pie plate and trim any overhang. Place the pie plate in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until the crust hardens.
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• Press aluminum foil tightly to the surface of the crust, and bake (without pie weights) for 20 minutes.
• Remove the crust from the oven, and use the back of a spoon to push down any parts that may have risen during baking.
• Let the crust cool completely before filling.

Covered, this pie can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

The Scoop: What’s baking? News on Whisk and Free Range Cookies

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

In May, The Scoop reported that Kaylen Wissinger, owner of the Farm Fresh Cupcakes stand, was planning to open a brick-and-mortar bakery. Her artisan bakery, to be called Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop, will make its home at 2201 Cherokee St., formerly occupied by Shangri La Diner. While doors are not expected to open until later this month, The Scoop has learned that Wissinger’s from-scratch cupcakes, pies, cakes, popsicles and doughnuts won’t be the only sweet treats on the counter. Whisk will also offer sugary delights by baker Amrita Rawat, blogger of The Sweet Art and writer of Sauce’s online column Baked. Rawat’s macarons (pictured in bourbon-pecan) – sold under the brand Mila and available at Local Harvest Grocery, Tower Grove Farmers Market and occasionally Pint Size Bakery – will be available at Whisk, along with Rawat’s ice cream and ice cream sandwiches.

As one bakery prepares to open, another is soon to close. October 6 will be the final day of business for Free Range Cookies. The gluten-free bakery located at 425 S. Florissant Road, in Ferguson, holds retail hours only on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. News of the imminent closure was first reported by Feast.

Photo by Amrita Rawat

By the Book: Melissa d’Arabian’s Kielbasa and Black-Eyed Peas

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In her debut cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners, Melissa d’Arabian claims to have created 140 nutritious recipes that cost only $10 to make, taste delicious and feed a family of four. I was intrigued by (and a bit skeptical of) her assertions, and her recipe for a dolled up version of franks and beans sounded cute (and the weather finally cooled off), so I figured now was the time to investigate what sounded too good to be true.

My grocery store was out of kielbasa. Without it, my ingredient list still ran a bit over $10, but I also had to buy a full bottle of vinegar, which wouldn’t usually be the case. After hitting up The Farmers’ Larder for kielbasa at the Tower Grove Farmers Market, my ingredient list was complete. My total bill (minus extra costs for the vinegar) for the meal was about $20 (killer kielbasa included). Not bad, but not $10.

As far as time, I made the mistake of buying dried black-eyed peas instead of canned or frozen, as d’Arabian recommended. So for me, the 15 minutes of prep time along with the 25 minutes of cooking time didn’t quite happen. I do prefer using dried beans, though, so if that’s your case, just build in some time (like an episode of 30 Rock) and then start the rest of the meal. 

The dish turned out delicious, and the promise to feed four was actually true. So often it seems that recipes that claim to make “four servings” are counting on at least two of the people to be children who push their dollops of food around their plates. But this time, my husband and I were able to gorge ourselves and still have enough leftovers to serve another two adults (if we wanted to share).

Kielbasa and Black-Eyed Peas
Make approximately 4 servings

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ lb. kielbasa, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ tsp. dried thyme plus a squeeze of lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 dried bay leaf
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (about 1½ 15.5-ounce cans)
1½ cups fresh or frozen chopped spinach (optional)
Corn bread or steamed white rice, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)*

• Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
• Add the onion, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in the tomato paste, cooking until it starts browning on the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
• Pour in 1 cup of water and the vinegar, stirring them into the onion, then add the sugar, mustard, bay leaf and black-eyed peas. Return the kielbasa to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the sauce is rich-colored and slightly thick, about 10 minutes.
• Stir in the spinach (if using), until wilted. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve in big bowls with corn bread or over rice, with hot sauce on the side (if using).

* I used Sriracha.

Reprinted from Ten Dollars Dinner by Melissa d’Arabian. Copyright (c) 2012. Photos copyright. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

What is your favorite, inexpensive cold weather stew to make? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Ten Dollar Dinners by Melissa d’Arabian. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Falishia, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Martha’s American Food. Falishia, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

Just Five: Farmers Market Strawberry Grilled Cheese

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Years ago, my husband and I would get up on Saturday mornings and go to Soulard Farmers Market. We’d load up on produce, watch the doughnut guy do his thing, check out the live chickens and kittens, do some people watching, and then head home. Once we had kids, Saturday mornings became a bit busier and our trips to Soulard became more sporadic and eventually ceased.

In 2006, our brother-in-law, Patrick Horine, founded Tower Grove Farmers Market, and our Saturday mornings – when not taken up by soccer or softball games – were once again filled with fresh produce, crafts and family time. Two years ago, Webster Groves started a farmers market and thoughtfully located it two blocks from my home. Now I have two markets I go to each week. The point of all this? Hooray for the arrival of market season!

One of my favorite vendors at both markets is The Big Cheese. I look forward to a produce-inspired sandwich for breakfast at Tower Grove every Saturday morning, and my girls clamor for grilled cheeses for dinner on Thursday nights at the Webster Groves market. One of my favorite specials is the strawberry and mint grilled cheese, made with Marcoot Jersey Creamery’s Quark Cheese. So, in honor of all things local and seasonal, I present to you the Farmer’s Market Strawberry Mint Grilled Cheese sandwich.

All of the ingredients can be purchased at a local farmers market. Starting with the bread: I like to use Companion’s brioche for this sandwich; it’s wonderfully flaky when grilled. Local strawberries are abundant right now and so juicy and sweet, buying less than two quarts at a time is just downright foolish. Marcoot’s Quark Cheese spread is a fresh cow’s milk cheese – not quite as sweet as cream cheese, not quite as tart as chevre – that works nicely with the sweetness of the berries. Mint and honey battled basil and balsamic vinegar on this sandwich, but honey is local and balsamic is not.

So get out and support your local farmers this market season. We’re fortunate to have so many available, and food just tastes better when you buy it outside!

Farmers Market Strawberry and Mint Grilled Cheese
Adapted by Dee Ryan from a recipe by The Big Cheese’s Susana and Dave Lowell
1 Serving

Unsalted butter (softened)
2 slices Companion Brioche bread* (or other white bread)
2 to 3 Tbsp. Marcoot Quark cheese* (or spreadable mild goat cheese or cream cheese)
¼ cup strawberries, thinly sliced
5 mint leaves, thinly sliced
Drizzle local honey

• Lightly butter 1 side of each slice of bread.
• Spread the cheese on the unbuttered side of 1 of the slices of bread.
• Top the cheese with sliced strawberries and mint, and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of honey over the fruit. Top with the other piece of bread, buttered side facing out.
• Place a skillet over medium heat until hot. Place the sandwich in the skillet and lightly press down with a spatula. After 1 to 2 minutes, check to see if it is browned on the bottom. Once it is, carefully flip the sandwich and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the sandwich is browned on both sides.
• Remove from heat and sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt on top of the sandwich. Slice and serve.

* Available at Tower Grove Farmers Market

The Scoop: Farm Fresh Cupcakes owner whisking plan to open bakery on Cherokee Street

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

A year after Farm Fresh Cupcakes owner Kaylen Wissinger debuted her sweet treats at the Tower Grove Farmers Market, business has grown so much that she’s ready to open her own brick-and-mortar bakery.

Whisk: a Sustainable Bakeshop will be located on Cherokee Street in South City. Wissinger is in the final stages of signing the lease and expects to be able to disclose the exact address within the next two weeks. When the shop does open, patrons looking for a sugar rush will encounter much more than Wissingers’s from-scratch, farm-to-cupcake desserts.

“I’m adding lots of fun, new products to the cupcakes and cake balls lineup,” said Wissinger. Her expanded line will include: pies, cakes, popsicles, even artisanal doughnuts with unique flavors such as chocolate hazelnut, maple-bacon and red velvet cake, along with vegan and gluten-free options. The bakery will continue to use as much farm-fresh, local and organic ingredients as possible.

Another aspect of the new bakeshop will be a Whisk CSD, aka community-supported desserts. Subscribers to the CSD will receive baked goods on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Wissinger hopes that individuals as “obsessed with sweets” as she is will be interested in this new-to-St. Louis dessert-only version of a CSA (community supported agriculture).

Among Wissinger’s current tasks is to raise funds that would enable the bakeshop to be as sustainable as possible. Items on her list include energy-star appliances, rain barrels, composting systems and eco-friendly servingware. Wissinger’s goal is to raise $15,000 (Click here to find out how to contribute.), although she noted that “the bakeshop will definitely still open if the funds aren’t raised,” adding that “even if don’t meet our kickstarter goal, [sustainability] is something we will be constantly working toward.

Wissinger anticipates opening doors at Whisk in late July or early August. For now, you can find Farm Fresh Cupcakes at the Tower Grove Farmers Market as well as Local Harest Grocery. Wissinger’s sweets are also sold at Green Bean, Joe Fassi’s on The Hill and periodically at Local Harvest Cafe.

Stocking Up on the key to quick winter chili

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

110211_chiliI recently read a blog that listed products of convenience no self-respecting foodie should have in his repertoire. Such items – which the author dubbed as “cheats” – included jarred pasta sauce, frozen dinners and, of all things, dried bean medleys. Clearly, the writer is unfamiliar with the products from Kimker Hill Farm.

The folks from Kimker Hill in St. Clair, Mo., are fixtures at Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, where they routinely offer beautiful seasonal produce. During the off-season they sell dried bean medleys, including an especially tasty one made specifically for chili: Denise’s Chili Bean Medley.

After a good overnight soak, all this mixture of kidney, pinto, black and other beans needs is a nice, slow simmer on the stove before being added into your favorite recipe. In my chili I use beer, ground turkey and plenty of spice, but this bean medley is especially delightful if you’ve got a vegetarian at your table; it provides so much color and texture, no one will miss the meat.

The indoor market season doesn’t officially kick off until later this month. Until then, you can find Denise’s medley at Local Harvest Grocery in Tower Grove for $6.59 for a one-pound bag. If having an easy, locally produced and nutritionally sound dinner on the table makes me a cheat, I think I’m in good company.

Stocking Up on mushrooms

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

102611_mushroomHere in Missouri, we’re pretty much in mycological Mecca. We’re accustomed to seeing morels on many a menu around town in the spring. You might, however, want to mix it up a little and move mushrooms onto your mid-fall market list.

If you’re lucky, you’ll still be able to find some mushroom farmers at local markets. Nicola Macpherson routinely sets up shop at the Maplewood Farmers’ Market and offers a wide range of fungi. Sautéed criminis make a hearty topping for creamy polenta and give a chewy texture to lasagna. Roast some bite-sized mushrooms, toss with a little olive oil and lemon juice and skewer with a chunk of Parmesan for an easy appetizer. Continue on with the cheese pairing by folding Gruyère and sautéed shiitakes into a fluffy omelet. A quick mixed mushroom fricassee should provide enough umami to satisfy even the most dedicated carnivore.

Cooler weather may signal a good time for mushrooms, but it also brings an end to the outdoor farmers’ market season. Several area markets have already shuttered for the season, Maplewood and Ferguson wind up at the end of October, and Clayton and Tower Grove hang on until November 5. But worry not: A few area markets offer monthly indoor shopping opportunities, with plenty of local artisan products on hand to sustain you through the long winter ahead.

Stocking Up on damson plums

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

091311_damsonplumsIf little Jack Horner was lucky, the plum that he pulled from his Christmas pie was a damson from Lori Murray’s Orchard. Murray had some of the small amethyst-colored fruit on sale last weekend at Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. They’re smaller and darker colored than the more widely known Santa Rosa variety – slighter more sour too – making them an ideal candidate for baking.

They’re best put to use in preserves or jams. You can follow the recipe for regular plum jam, but since damsons have a high natural pectin level, you’ll probably be okay with just plums and sugar (unless you want a really stiff texture). Most recipes that feature the Santa Rosa variety can easily be adapted to use damsons as well, though you may have to add in a wee bit more sugar. Be sure to taste the damsons first to assess their sweetness, then have fun baking plum tarts, cakes and clafoutis. Damsons have a number of savory applications as well, serving as a fine base for salsas and conserves. Grilled plums are great served over ice cream and can even serve as the base for a sauce to accompany full-flavored proteins.

Murray was fairly certain she’d have damsons on hand at the Maplewood Farmers’ Market this week, but you’ll have to get up early if you wait until the weekend.

Due to the seasonal nature of our area markets, supplies may vary from week to week.

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