(June 5, 2015) Daily exploration expands the realm of gastronomic knowledge and opens the door to endless possibilities. Direct correlation of mind and action flavors the path of direction and emphasize a chef’s point of view. Imagination is imperative for success and singles out the importance of distinction.
Farmers’ markets highlight the farm to table theme and are more popular than ever. Fresh ingredients raise the bar of excellence and add to the overall experience of food. Gorgeous produce, homemade jams and fresh eggs are just a sampling of the bountiful offerings on display. Farmers’ markets are gaining popularity and changing consumer’s outlook on traditional grocery shopping. That being said, how much does one really know about the trendy market?
Technically speaking, the first farmers’ market originated in Egypt more than 5,000 years ago when farmers along the Nile brought their fresh produce to be sold. Today, there are farmers’ markets all over the world with the largest in Tokyo, Japan.
The Tokyo Central Wholesale Market stretches 54 acres and hosts 1,700 stalls. It is called “a kitchen for 12 million people.” The market is composed of two distinct sections. The “inner market” is the licensed wholesale market for fish that offers more than 400 different types of seafood. The “outer market” is a mixture of wholesale and retail shops that sell Japanese kitchen tools, restaurant supplies, groceries, seafood and encases many restaurants for the general public.
In America, farmers’ markets have been around since the early settlers in Jamestown. According to the “History of Farmers’ Markets,” the modern farmers’ markets which comprised of tents and common eating areas were started in the 19th century by the city owned High Street Market in Philadelphia. A major shift in the 20th century saw the municipal owned markets gradually transfer to private control.
Farmers’ markets can offer farmers increased profits by selling directly to consumers; there is less handling, transportation, refrigeration and less storage. This also means cheaper prices for the customers. Also, the outdoor market reduces or eliminates the cost of land, buildings, lighting and air-conditioning.
The neighborhood also benefits from farmers’ markets. Market traffic generates commerce for nearby businesses. It also helps maintain important social ties by way of linking fellow citizens in a mutually rewarding exchange. Most of the money gained at farmers’ markets stay in the community.
Consumers favor farmers’ markets for fresher, healthier foods and a place to enjoy the nice weather while browsing through the different vendors. Also, the overall social atmosphere is a pleasant change from the hustle and bustle of a typical work week.
Sweet corn is one of the most popular vegetables during the summer months. Boiled, steamed, or grilled always take top honors. The Chesapeake Bay is notorious for steamed crabs, buttered corn, and crisp hush puppies; consider hot crabs and corn fritters as another option.
Corn fritters have much more flavor than plain hush puppies and still retain the coveted crunchy exterior. Corn fritters are simple to make, cook quickly, and easy on one’s budget. If you want to spice up the recipe, simply add some chopped jalapeños. The crisp little balls of corn are indigenous of the Eastern Shore and sure to be a hit with everyone. Enjoy.
*Fresh corn has an abundance of natural juice in the kernels. When frying, place a splatter screen on top of the cooking vessel to prevent hot oil from popping and splattering.
1 cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg
3 cups fresh corn
4 scallions, chopped
1. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg and milk.
3. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir.
4. Fold in the corn and scallions and mix until thoroughly combined.
2 rounded tablespoons bacon drippings
canola oil for frying
4 cups plain panko bread crumbs
kosher salt to taste and fresh ground pepper to taste
1. In a large skillet, heat canola oil and bacon drippings to 360 degrees. Make sure there is enough oil to cover the fritters.
2. Mold the batter into the shape of golf balls using your hands. The mixture will be wet and difficult to handle, but that is the consistency you want.
3. Roll golf ball shape fritters into the panko. Make sure there is a generous coating of panko over the entire surface of the fritter.
4. Carefully lower the fritters into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on all sides. This process will only take a few minutes.
5. Place cooked fritters on a cooling rack; add salt and pepper.
6. Allow fritters to cool slightly and serve immediately.
Makes approximately 20 fritters
Secret Ingredient – Exploration. “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” –Freya Stark