Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

August 16, 2013

Luscious produce elevates summer suppers

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Under overcast skies last Saturday, there seemed to be more vendors than ever at the Batesville Farmers’ Market. Instead of early risers pulling up at the crack of dawn, shoppers slept in, crowding the area around 10:30 a.m.

One who did arrive earlier was Chi Aune, Batesville, who makes this a stop after a YMCA Zumba class every week. “I buy all of my produce here,” she reports, giving multiple reasons. “It tastes better than the store. It’s fresher here. I like to support the local farmers. Prices are cheaper.” She beams, “I just love it. I know every farmer!”

Aune already had purchased cucumbers, Swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, eggplant and corn. The only disappointment: Nobody was selling tiny cukes for pickling.

When asked what she likes to make with the produce, Aune recommended a smoothie (please see box) that is high in calcium and vitamin K.

Others don’t follow recipes at all, leaving the fruits and vegetables raw or simply cooked. That’s how Marty Tekulve, Batesville, was going to prepare tomatoes, green beans and corn. Rodger Meyers, Batesville, had just watched a PBS program about cancer-fighting foods. It recommended eating onions, fruits, olives and mushrooms, so there Meyers was, holding a bag of onions, peaches and radishes.

What has been his most unusual purchase at the market? A wooden hall tree created by Paul Borchelt, Batesville.

Because “we’re having a cookout with friends,” Rebecca Bolchalk, Batesville, was hunting for broccoli, watermelon, cantaloupe and tomatoes.

Others use the produce for such casual recipes they have memorized them. After Margie Walke, Batesville, bought corn to freeze, yellow squash, apples, tomatoes and cucumbers, she grabbed some brightly-colored gladioluses. “I had to buy flowers to feed the soul.”

She was looking forward to making a classic BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich) and also a cucumber salad that her late mother, Margaret Walke, taught her to whip up. The ingredients have no fixed amounts: sliced cucumbers and onions, Miracle Whip, sugar, vinegar and celery seed. Walke laughs, “Sometimes it turns out better than other times.”

Mrala Edoc, Batesville, was particularly pleased with one purchase, white corn. “I have not found any all year!”

The King’s Daughters’ Hospital, Madison, nurse makes one crockpot favorite out of potatoes and green beans to take there. “It’s awesome. Everybody goes nuts over it at work.” She caramelizes onions and browns turkey kielbasa or Polish sausage, then adds those ingredients to the pot along with the trimmed green beans, cut-up potatoes and a little water. Let it cook overnight on low and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Even some gardeners go to the market to find produce they aren’t growing themselves. Joan Stephens, Batesville, who raises crops with husband Joe Stephens and sister-in-law Mary Stephens south of the city and has a market stand, barters their greens and vegetables for other items, such as goat cheese and beef.

Anna Moeller, 11, Batesville, was at the market searching for tomatillos for not one but two salsas she enjoys making (please see box) and liked the size of the ones the Stephenses grew. The student says her garden contains tomatoes, peas, carrots, lettuce, lima beans, radishes and peppers. According to mom Paulla Moeller, “It’s not big enough for her. She needs it bigger next year.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde 1½ pounds tomatillos ½ cup chopped white onion ½ cup cilantro leaves 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice ¼ teaspoon sugar 2 jalapeño peppers Salt to taste Boil the tomatillos for about 5 minutes to soften. Drain. Place tomatillos, onions, cilantro, juice, sugar and peppers in a blender. Blend until all ingredients are chopped and mixed. Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator. Serve with tortilla chips or as an accompaniment to Mexican dishes. - Anna Moeller Garden Salsa 4 large chopped tomatoes 1 chopped onion ½ cup chopped cilantro 3 cloves minced garlic 1 tablespoon lime juice 1 minced jalapeño pepper 1 diced tomatillo (optional) Salt to taste Chop and combine all ingredients. - Anna Moeller Green Smoothie This is a really tasty, healthy morning drink that makes you feel full. It helps your body absorb vitamins and minerals better throughout the day, and helps eliminate sodium from the body. 2-3 cups kale 1½ cups almond milk (40 calories per cup) 1 medium orange 1 banana 1 medium apple Chop the kale into 1-inch pieces. Put kale and almond milk into blender and blend on low speed for one minute until kale is finely chopped. Peel the orange and banana and chop into 1-inch pieces. Core the unpeeled apple and chop into 1-inch pieces. Add the fruit to the blender and mix on low speed for one minute, then on high speed for an additional minute or until smooth. Serves 2-3. If too thick, about a half cup of water can be added. A half tablespoon of flaxseed oil is optional. It's good for your heart and gives the smoothie a richer taste. Water or milk can be substituted for almond milk. Excess bananas can be peeled, cut into pieces and frozen in plastic bags, then added to smoothies as needed. - Chi Aune Blender Tomatillo Pizza Sauce 2 pounds tomatillos 2 serrano chiles or jalapeño peppers with seeds removed 1 small chopped red onion 2 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons cilantro 1 tablespoon oil Salt Bring water to a boil in pan, then add tomatillos and peppers and simmer for 5 minutes until softened. Remove with a slotted spoon. Place those vegetables in a blender with onion, garlic, cilantro and salt and whir until somewhat smooth. Cook in oil over medium heat until reduced. Spread on a pizza crust, top with Monterey Jack cheese and bake at 425 degrees until golden and cheese has melted. - Joan Stephens