Friday Food Critics 8/21

August 20, 2009 at 8:15 am Leave a comment

Tune in on Friday to hear the Food Critics, on KCUR’s Walt Bodine Show at 10:00 AM. That’s  89.3 FM, or you can listen on your computer at http://www.kcur.org/waltbodine.html.IMG_0290

The second half discussion will be about fresh fruit–where to find the best local fruit as well as what menus around town are using summer fruit to maximum effect. Though I am not one of the panelists this week,  fresh fruit is one of my favorite foods, so I want to add my own list here.

Several restaurants have  great fruit dishes on the menu, and not just for dessert! Not surprisingly, these are the same restaurants that buy much of their produce from local farmers and purveyors. 1924 Main serves a wonderful watermelon salad, often side by side with tomatoes (an unexpectedly delicious combination), as well as peaches with pork. Room 39 is currently featuring peaches in their salads, and I recently had tasty grilled shrimp on chunks of watermelon and feta at Zest in Mission Farms. If watemelon gazpacho is one of the featured soups when you’re dining at Trezo Mare in Briarcliff Village, give it a try. It’s refreshing and has a touch of very appealing sweetness.

For a tasty dessert using fresh fruit, don’t miss the pies at The Farmhouse in River Market. They are exceptional.

Favorite Farmer’s Markets:

  • Downtown Overland Park–2 blocks West of Metcalf between 79th and 80th, Wednesday  and Saturday mornings.
  • Brookside Market–63rd and Wornall, Saturday mornings, featuring organic produce and hormone/antibiotic-free, humanely-raised meats and free-range eggs.
  • Lee’s Summit–2nd and Douglas, Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

A tip to help decide which vendors to buy from–look behind the tables to the truck. If there are stacks of cardboard boxes with “homegrown tomatoes” or peaches stamped on them, move on. You want to find a farmer that picked his produce the day before and brought it in baskets. And seek out misshapen, ugly tomatoes,  not pretty and perfect ones. They are the most flavorful and probably haven’t been treated with pesticides.

It’s always better to buy local. It’s better for our economy, the environment and, if it’s organic, our  health. But if I can’t get to a farmer’s market on a Wednesday or Saturday, I go to Cosentino’s Brookside Market. They are very particular about where the fruit comes from and how it’s packaged to ensure proper ripeness and quality.003

By the way, though typically thought of as a vegetable, the tomato is botanically a member of the fruit family. However, in 1893, as vegetables and fruits were subject to different import duties, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on the tomato’s classification. Because the tomato was commonly eaten as a vegetable, the Court unanimously decided to give it that designation. This was undoubtedly one of the juiciest decisions in the Court’s history!

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