Elayne Gordon’s kitchen was alive with the aroma of some her favorite recipes recently while planning for her cooking demonstration for the opening of the Sedalia Area Farmers’ Market on Friday.
“They’ll have a cabana for me and I’ll set up under the cabana,” she said. “I’m going to try and go around and collect what I need (from the market).”
Her first demonstration of the season will be a salad with hot bacon dressing. Gordon, a clinical laboratory scientist at Bothwell Regional Health Center, has enjoyed giving cooking demonstrations since childhood.
Her father, Walter Manky, fled to America after World War II from Germany, she said.
“My dad was an avid gardener, mostly because there were five kids.”
He bought a farm near Golden City and enjoyed growing unconventional fare such as peanuts and celery, but also loved growing blackberries, raspberries and tomatoes.
“As a kid I would cook in the kitchen and give demonstrations to the walls, I would do it to the cabinets or anyone or anything that would listen,” she said.
Once Gordon grew up, she said that she was disappointed to find produce in grocery stores didn’t taste as good as farm-grown.
She was prompted to start looking for local farmers’ markets because she was craving juicy, farm-grown tomatoes.
“So when I heard there was going to be a farmers’ market, I was ecstatic,” she said. “Because I knew the food would be fresh and seasonal. It would be like what I grew up with.”
She became acquainted with the local market because she helped carry musical equipment for her husband, Bill Gordon, who plays guitar there often.
So from her market beginning as a “roadie” she soon became known for her tomato salsa demonstrations, a recipe adapted from her mother, Ruth Manky.
“It was such a hit at work,” she said. “I’d take it to work and we’d start eating it at 6 o’clock (a.m., and) by noon or 2 o’clock it would all be gone.”
Last fall she made green tomato salsa and it too became a success.
“My family was truly grateful,” said Beverly Rollings, president of the board for the market. “You know if an 8-year-old boy loves it, it’s amazing.”
“Every month I’ll be demonstrating one dish. It’ll be what’s in season and will show the customer what’s available at the market.”
Gordon describes many of her recipes as “kitchen recipes from the farm.”
“Most of them are not measured, they are dump and pour,” Gordon said. “And most of the recipes can be adapted to what the customer likes.”
Gordon doesn’t hold herself to a recipe and believes it’s easy to interchange ingredients if you know the technique.
“And it does not hurt to have a wonderful sense of taste,” said Bill Gordon. “She really has a keen talent for taste and flavors and it’s intuitive.”
His favorite recipe is a beef dish.
“Lanie, at my request, made beef bourguignon,” he said. “It was fantastic, in my opinion. It was out of this world.”
“That’s what I do, I love people with food,” Elayne Gordon added.
Rollings said that this season many of the regular growers and farmers will return to sell their produce at the market.
Walter and Sarah Brubacker from Harmony Hill Farms, the Knox family from Shady Lane Farm, mushroom growers Rick and Anita Hanks and family from Beau Solais Farm and the Larms Farms from Pilot Grove will all return.
New to the lineup is Show-Me Produce, of Cole Camp, with hydroponic lettuce, and the Common Sense Bakery, from Warsaw, which will be selling gluten-free and artisan breads.
“We are really looking forward to what they have this year,” Rollings said.
“The main thing about our market is it’s a grower-only market, so you get to meet the farmers and know exactly where your dollars are going. When people talk about keeping your dollars local it doesn’t get any better than that.”
This year Gordon will be demonstrating each month. May is salad with hot bacon dressing, in June green beans are on the menu, in July tomato salsa, August will feature a watermelon-feta salad, September will be cucumbers and October green tomato salsa or apple dumplings.
“I like it, it’s an adventure,” Gordon added.
Rollings said that the market is introducing new food demonstrations this year by Nina Freed, Bev Hayes, Vickie Weaver and Rob Russell.
Mike Todd will provide Saturday entertainment.
His CDs, “Goat Farm Gothic” and “Goat Farm Gospel,” feature mellow guitar music.
This dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and is a great last- minute meal.
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti with 1/2-cup pasta cooking water reserved
1 cup asparagus, cut on the bias into one-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large lemon processed into zest and juice
1 tablespoon anchovy paste (adds flavor, not fishy)
1 pound medium, raw shrimp, shelled
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered and lightly salted
2 tablespoons cilantro to garnish
Cook pasta according to package directions, selecting the shortest listed cooking time. Use a generous handful of salt. Add asparagus to the boiling water in the pasta pan for the last five minutes of total cooking time.
While asparagus cooks with the pasta, in a cold skillet put olive oil, butter, garlic, pepper flakes and lemon zest; turn on heat to medium high, stirring occasionally as butter melts.
When garlic begins to sizzle, add shrimp to skillet and cook until just pink. Add drained spaghetti and asparagus to the shrimp in the skillet. Then add reserved 1/2-cup pasta water, 2-tablespoons chicken bouillon granules and the juice from the lemon. Heat to a boil for one minute and then add Parmesan cheese and toss.
Lastly, carefully add the cherry tomatoes; stirring as little as possible to avoid breaking them apart.
When tomatoes have heated through (about 30 seconds) pour onto serving platter and garnish with cilantro and more Parmesan cheese as desired.
1. Trade out the asparagus for broccoli
2. Red bell pepper, cut into match sticks, may be traded out for the tomato. But should be added at the same time as the shrimp, so it can cook until tender.
3. Parsley may be used for the garnish instead of cilantro.
Spinach salad with strawberries
1 pound baby spinach, washed very well
4 large strawberries, sliced
1/8 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/8 of a large red onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
2 ounces pecan halves, (I heat slightly in skillet to enhance flavor)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon grated onion (use sparingly, grated onion is strong)
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
For best presentation, assemble and toss in a clear glass serving bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in glass measuring cup, using a small whisk. Dressing can be made ahead of time or just prior to serving. Dress salad to taste.
Serves: Four to six.
Strawberry cheesecake parfaits
Make ahead at least four hours or overnight.
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 8-ounce carton sour cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (like Knox)
2 lemons, processed into lemon juice and zest
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons strawberry jam
20 vanilla wafers, crushed
Fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
4 vanilla wafers
In a pourable mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese and sour cream; can use a mixer.
In a small bowl, put juice from lemons and sprinkle unflavored gelatin over the top. Allow to sit five to 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan, heat whole milk, lemon zest, salt and sugar until the mixture reaches a simmer and bubbles form around edges. Mix in the unflavored gelatin and lemon juice and stir until completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
Pour heated liquid into the pourable bowl with cream cheese and sour cream and mix thoroughly.
Put 2-tablespoons strawberry jam into the bottom of four parfait glasses. Slowly pour cheesecake mixture onto the top of the jam, being careful not to mix the two.
Spoon crushed vanilla wafers onto the top of the cream cheese mixture. Wafers should be about 1/2-inch deep. Divide the remaining cream cheese mixture between the four glasses. Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.
In a small bowl slice strawberries, add 1/4-cup sugar and mix well. Allow to set in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Complete assembly of the parfaits by adding a dollop of whipped topping to each glass and decorating with the strawberries and a whole vanilla wafer. Makes four parfaits depending on size of glass.
May be made into a pie by using graham cracker crust instead of vanilla wafers and leaving out the strawberry jam.
Lanie’s Farmers’ Market tomato salsa
8 red ripe tomatoes (or three cans of petite diced tomatoes)
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Core and quarter tomatoes and process four of the tomatoes in a food processor, to a chunky consistency. Empty processor into a large bowl.
Cut onion into large chunks and process with another two tomatoes; empty processor into the large bowl.
Rough chop cilantro, garlic and jalapeño pepper and process to a fine consistency with the last two tomatoes in the food processor.
Empty processor into a large bowl with the other two batches. Add salt and black pepper to taste; mix well.
Enjoy with tortilla chips or fresh celery and carrot sticks.