Conroe Saturday AM market

  (Conroe, Texas)
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Tart Cherries and Golden Honey Melons

I have spent an hour learning how inhumanely we treat certain animals before they arrive on our dinner plates. These articles were being read before I decided what dish to create for bible study tonight.  For our meal at family group tonight I have decided to bring the healthiest food I have in the house. I have diced half of a Golden Honey melon mixed in honey an Tart Cherries. I have included an article that speaks volumes to me. With an Olympic hopeful son and my personal physical soreness that I feel upon awakening each morning. Learning to live with less pain at our house is important.


Science backs benefits of tart cherries for treating pain

Research supports tart cherries for controlling pain.

Researchers are again touting the benefits of tart cherries that they say can be a treatment for millions of pain sufferers with arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions, without side effects of medications that often lead to complications and more prescriptions.

Tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food

In findings presented by Oregon Health & Science University at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference (ACSM) in San Francisco, California, Scientists even went as far to say that tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food.

Even the researchers are intrigued by the notion that food can control pain to the same degree as pharmaceutical medications, but without the side effects.

Previous research has suggested tart cherries inhibit enzymes in the body that are linked to pain in inflammation.

Kerry Kuehl, M.D, Dr.PH., M.S., Oregon Health & Science University, principal study investigator said in a press release, "I'm intrigued by the potential for a real food to offer such a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit – especially for active adults."

The study found just how good tart cherry is for controlling arthritis pain when researchers enrolled 20 women with osteoarthritis in a study, age 40 to 70.

The women drank tart cherry juice twice a day for three weeks. At the end of the study they reported a significant reduction in pain.

Drinking the juice, or eating cherries also has health benefits because the fruit is rich in antioxidants and can help you get a good night's sleep because they contain melatonin.

Osteoarthritis is common especially among athletes because it develops from wear and tear on the joints. Pain and inflammation associated with the condition is the result of cartilage breakdown.

Studies also show tart cherry juice could help athletes recover from pain after strenuous events. If you suffer from joint pain, check out this recovery routine from sports dietician Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D. LDN, CSSD, called the “red recovery routine”. It’s possible to control pain and inflammation with a simple dietary intervention, which is good news for millions of pain sufferers who need to avoid medications that can interact with other prescriptions and cause side effects.


Moussaka or Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant was the talk of the Market today. Elvis from Peas Farm had his Eggplant front and center. And Chef Michael Fleshner was ready to answer any and all questions. Highlites from Chef Michael's answer included maximum flavor ideas and his explanation of Moussaka. 

Many asked,"What does it taste like ?" Chef Michael's answer was simply," It depends on what you use to enhance the flavor." He spoke of citrus flavors that the vegetable will absorb. Oils used and pepper flavors. He spoke of salting the slices of eggplant to excite the vegetable before adding any flavor enhancers. Eggplant peeled and marinated in SamM Salsa before heating is one excellent way to prepare. Peeled Eggplant drizzled with Olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese. Eggplant peeled and soaked over night in Balsamic vinegar then high heat sauteed. It was all said to help the customers realize that Eggplant has little flavor until you add the flavors that will soak in.

Now, Moussaka or Eggplant Parmesan sounded like the best use of Eggplant. After slicing the eggplant one quarter inch you salt and let sit. In the meantime you make your favorite Meat sauce. Use Sausage if its available. Saute Onions, Peppers, Carrots and Garlic into the Tomato sauce. Add agave nectar if available. With the Meat sauce created. Set aside and concentrate on the salted Eggplant slices.

Each slice needs to be battered with egg wash and breadcrumbs (Parmesan Cheese in the bread crumbs). Next each slice is pan fried and placed in a casserole dish side by side. With first layer covering the bottom, of the casserole you cover with the meat sauce standing by. This step is repeated as you build layers until you are just below the side of the casserole dish. The next step is to cover over the top layer with a white Greek cheese.

If you go to a cheese shop in Athens, you will find a section full with discs of graviera for instance - each one with the name of the area or island they are from, everybody has their favourite, either because they are from that island or prefer the taste of a particular one.

You will sometimes find one type of Greek cheese known by a totally different name in the rest of Greece.Once this decision is made it is time to place the casserole in a preheated 400 F oven and bake till cheese is golden brown , around 20 minutes. You must allow this casserole to cool before slicing and portioning. Serve with bread sticks or toasted bread and wipe the tears from your eyes as you savor each bite.



Chef Michael Fleshner's Son Blogs about his dinner at BAMA

Aaron’s Lazy Saturday Alfredo Tuna Casserole Dinner


Hello readers, today since I have done absolutely nothing but play games on my tablet and lay around the house. I'm going to write a post about the dinner I created for myself out of the food that was in my pantry. As you can see by the picture it was a tuna and noodles dish and It was a delicious dish. If you don't like tuna or noodles I'm sorry you can make it with chicken(because tuna is the chicken of the sea so it's the same thing just on land, I guess). Anyways I'm going to teach you how I made this dish in a few simple steps, all you need is Pasta Roni Alfredo noodles box ( more so for the contents inside ), two cans on tuna, garlic powder, onion powder, water and butter. If you don't have any of this at your home you can buy it at Wal-Mart!! or your local grocery store ( I bought mine at Bruno's )

Now remember measuring is essential. so grab a glass ( any size will do ), a pan ( bigger the better ) and a spoon ( one you could use for your cereal in the morning).

0.Look at box.( don't read it just look at the pictures )
1.Fill up the glass to where ever you think is the correct amount and pour it into the pan.
2.Turn the stove on to the hottest it will go put the pan with the water in it on the stove and watch it( don't lose eye contact with the water in the pan continue to watch it the whole time)
3.Whilst watching the water in the pan reach for the garlic and onion powder and put both in and stir.
4.Next grab the butter and the spoon put the butter and take a random amount out of the container and stir it into the water.
5.Now that you have a wonderful smelling boiling broth pour the noodles into the water and stir.
6.Continue stirring
7.Not pour both cans of tuna ( or chicken ) into the concoction of carefully measured ingredients.
8.Now completely forget that you have Alfredo sauce right next to you and continue stirring your food until it looks edible.
9.Look to the right(....or left depending on where all the wrappers are. )
10.See the Alfredo ( curse under your breath ) grab it and put it in your food and stir once again. to yourself or give yourself a pat on the back for not burning body( because you decided to make food shirtless )
12.Turn off the stove take the pan off of the stove and place it on a cooler eye*. out the food and put some shredded cheese you find in the fridge on top of your food for a cheesy factor.

*eye on the stove.

Some Nutrition Facts.
Lots of
31 Grams Protein.
44 Grams Carbohydrates.
A&C&D&E vitamins.
*other healthy stuff.

From the picture about you will notice this meal must be served with a coke ( off brand ) and a Fruit-Roll-up ( so that you can feel like a kid when you finish eating all of your food ) to get the official recipe name of "Aaron's Lazy Saturday Alfredo Tuna(or Chicken) Casserole Dinner". Otherwise you are not allowed to use the awesome name I came up with.


Potatoes, potatoes a drawer full of Potatoes

While at market I observed Chef Michael Fleshner and Elvis from Peas Farms making lunch for 6 children / grand kids. Elvis had a microwave plugged in to the city provided electricity. And the two of them were trying to out do each other with what they had available.

They had 3 varieties of Potatoes

1) Baby reds 2) Red skins and 3) Jumbo Russets

One child started with a  plain Russet. It was soon determined that what this child needed was more flavor. Margarine and Bacon crumbles were added. Most of the rest of the group wanted the works on 4 min. microwaved Baby Reds. The Works included a) Margarine, b) Shredded sharp cheddar c) Bacon crumbles d) Tony Chachere's Cajun seasoning. Out of 6 recipients there were some slight deviations.

Elvis declared his version of Red Skins Potatoes that included sour cream the Best. Now with the contest over I headed home with a great dinner idea. And The Wife and I were declared the winners. Our version:

Baked in a 400 F oven for one hour ; 1 large Russet potato and 8 Baby Reds rubbed with Canola oil. After baking; The Russet potato was split open and the Baby Reds were smashed in a bowl. Margarine was added first, then Enchilada soup seasoning was sprinkled on. Real bacon sliced from a frozen slab was pan fried and added. And finally cubes of Monterey Cheddar were placed on top and returned to the oven for 5 min. till melted. I have a bottom fridge drawer filled with several varieties of Potato. What glorious meals I will continue to share with The Wife this week.



Taco - Botano Night coming soon

Awesome Salsa is marinating. It will be used to flavor multiple dishes as the week progresses. Tomorrow night will be Taco or Botano night. Ground beef seasoned with chili spices and vinegar on top of Doritos. Avocado, onion, tomatoes, peppers will all find their way into the dish. Melted cheese, creamed sauces, the options are endless. Burritos, pepper'd Rice & Beans will be a side dishes and we will all be speaking Espanol by evening end. 

I have heard about a Herb called  epazote to help reduce the gasous effects of beans. I have read this article and will ask Elvis and Chef Michael about it soon.


How do you make beans less gassy?

I'm cooking a pot of pinto beans but would like to do without the gas, any secrets?

Beans can cause gas because of complex sugars, called oligosaccharides, which are difficult for humans to digest. Some simple steps can minimize the gas-producing effects of beans:
----Purchase the most recent crop of dry beans. The fresher the bean, the fewer gastrointestinal problems you are likely to experience.
----When soaking the beans, change the water 2 to 3 times. The complex sugars are released into the soaking water. Always discard the soaking water before cooking your beans.
----In Mexico, they use an herb called epazote to reduce gas. This herb is cooked with the beans & is often found in health food stores.
----Commercial natural enzyme products, such as Beano, break down the complex sugars in beans making them easier to digest. This product is added to beans right before they are eaten & is available in many drug stores.



Strawberries ! Strawberries !! Strawberries !!! We Have'M in South Texas

 Here is chef Michael Fleshner's post to Facebook this afternoon:

 Strawberries ! Strawberries !! Strawberries !!! for those of you who came to Market today. Everybody was excited about the early berries. Especially our visitors from Missouri. It will be a month or so before they will see the wonderful fruit. Next week though; Will we have enough to go around ? Come out and see.  



And though I saw the wonderful berries, I did not pick any up. I was visiting with Marli the Baker from Creekside Creations and bought a dozen of her Cinnamon Rolls. I also received an education about Gluten free items. Gluten I have learned is in all Wheat Grain. Some folks are allergic to gluten. You can create flour out of many dried nuts and seeds. Marli uses Almond Flour for her purposes. You get the best results from a mix of 3-4 different flours. There are special grinders you can buy for in your home that will pulverize dry foods to a flour. Vitamixers are too powerful. It turns out Marli's Mom is allergic to Gluten, hence Marli has become an expert on the subject.

Chef Michael added that many of Marli's Gluten free items have a better flavor than those made with Wheat flour. Chef Michael wants everyone to know that the greens at market are some of the best he has recently cooked with. And he was excited to also show me the Yellow squash and Zucchini. I can attest to the wonderful Spinach as you have read in some of my recent blogs.


Safety when Cutting and Storing Cantaloupe


 Chef Michael Fleshner asked if I would share this on my blog. It is interesting reading. Demonstrating that because melons are grown on the ground. And due to the porous nature of the Cantaloupe's outer rind we should use caution when we cut and store this fruit.



Potentially Hazardous Food: Cut Melons

cut melonsIt’s not new information that cut melons are on the FDA’s list of potentially hazardous food  (PHF). What might be new information is the reason why melons are considered a PHF. Since melons grow on the ground, their rinds are more likely to come in contact with pathogenic bacteria from the soil, water, or manure. Melons also have an external texture that is favorable to bacteria. The porous rind of cantaloupes, watermelon, and honeydew allows bacteria to pass through the surface when cutting. In the case of cantaloupes, the unique texture of the rind enables bacteria to stick easily and remain alive even after harvesting.

Once they reach a food facility, melons can pose a serious risk of foodborne illness if not properly washed and refrigerated. The FDA recommends the following steps to keep fresh melon safe for customers:

  • Inspect melon rinds for cracks or other damage prior to preparation; avoid use if damage is found.
  • Wash melons under cool running water, removing surface dirt. Scrub rind with a clean produce brush.
  •  Wash hands properly before cutting melons.
  •  Ensure food contact surfaces are sanitized before use.
  • Most importantly, ensure cut melons are refrigerated at 40F or below once cut.

Follow these guidelines to ensure that cut melons never become a source of foodborne illness for your customers.


Tex Mex Chicken Tenders,

Slow Baking Chicken tenders at 225 F , now we're talking. I started by marinating the tenders over night in my Fresh Adobo sauce and Honey.

Here it is copied from a previous blog:

I had  Chef Michael on the phone and he suggested I turn on my gas stove top burner. And roast 3 peppers at a time over the open flame. This sped up the process and in no time I was ready with 12 Guajillo Peppers to finish 1 cup of Adobo sauce. 

Already pureed in my food processor were:

2 Garlic cloves

1 1/2 tsp. Apple Cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. sea salt

3/4 tsp. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. Cumin

I added in the 12 roasted peppers and 2 Chipolte peppers. Minced these peppers and refrigerated the resulting sauce.

And now the rest of the story

This afternoon I baked 6 tenders in a ceramic pan for 45 min.Checked in on them. And finished them at 350 F for 15 min. Currently they are cooling down in the fridge with a puree of dried Ancho peppers and Chipolte spread over them and additional Honey drizzled on top. Out of the freezer I have pulled tomato tortillas  and a 6-inch sub bun. I also finished cooking the Black Beans from last night. I have the SamM salsa standing by. When the wife and I are ready for dinner we shall what direction we go.

Waiting ,still waiting.........

Ok, Fred just made me the tex mex chicken meal, it was great.  The way he presented the meal was the chicken was on the bottom, then the black beans, salsa, and finally melted mozzarella cheese on top.  Everything was so tender didn't need any knife to cut into the chicken...It was wonderful.  For dessert we finished the peach apple cobbler with strawberry ice cream and bananas. 


Sauerkraut in 15 minutes

I was settling in on the fact, I would not be writing a blog entry tonight. Earlier this evening the wife and I went to a visit a co-worker who works at another restaurant at night. The unique product at Ramil's restaurant is Pretzel buns.

And we found a Retro Candy Store next door. The days eating was over until.....

I started to watch a cable program that Chef Michael told me about called Diners, Drive-in and Dives The host visited a restaurant in Spokane , Washington where the owner made sauerkraut in 1 hour. Sliced Cabbage, 2 kinds of vinegar {Apple,Malt} , salt , pepper. He then made a Ruben. with homemade 1000 island dressing. Earlier this week I learned from Pat with Peas Farm that my second attempt at making sauerkraut had failed.The wife had said you will not be stinking up my house no more. When I realized I could make sauerkraut in less than an hour , I had to go for it. I took:

 1/2 a cabbage head

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

tsp. salt

tsp black pepper

Boiled for 15 min. And add in 1 diced Orange

I combined with sliced corn beef, Baked a hoagie bun. sliced it open.

I placed Sauerkraut, meat, Swiss cheese on the bun and melted the cheese in the oven. Upon taking the sandwich out, I topped it with homemade 1000 Island dressing

1/2 cup Ketchup

1/2 cup sweet relish

1 cup salad dressing.

I was finally able to enjoy a Ruben with my own sauerkraut. And we did not have to live with the stink for several weeks.



Pink Lemonade an Old Fashioned Southern Beverage Favorite


Dinner was a given tonight. I sauteed the leftover baked potato quarters. Added quartered mushrooms , mixed in the baked Zucchini casserole. topped it off with the current SamM Salsa. And washed it down with Pink Lemonade. I have learned the difference between pink and yellow Lemonade. And as I recall Elvis from Peas Farm said "It is sweeter and has a food coloring agent added to it" Chef Michael offered this web answer:


An Easy to Prepare Old Fashioned Southern Beverage Favorite

Refreshing homemade pink lemonadeHomemade pink lemonade is wonderfully refreshing. This thirst quenching drink is also a southern favorite, running close second to homemade lemonade.

This recipe calls for grenadine syrup which is made from pomegranate juice and sugar. This ingredient is used in a variety of products including cocktails, carbonated drinks, desserts, liquors and marinades.

Pink Lemonade Recipe

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 6 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons grenadine syrup
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup crushed ice

Recipe Instructions:

  1. This is a very easy recipe to make. Rinse lemons thoroughly. Prepare lemons for squeezing by rolling them between the palm of your hand and the kitchen counter top, to break up the pulp and produce more juice.
  2. Next cut lemons in half and squeezed out the juice. If you have a juicer use it, if not just squeeze your juice into a bowl. Remove the seed from the squeezed lemon juice.
  3. Pour lemon juice into a pitcher and add grenadine syrup, sugar and water. Stir vigorously until sugar is completely dissolved. Next add crushed ice and serve immediately.

Chef Michael Lives for the next glass of this sweet/citrus concoction.


A Celebratory Olympic meal

Tonight was a special meal; Chef Michael could not come over yesterday because his son was competing in Shanghai , China as a USA springboard diver in the 14th Fina World Championships. His son achieved 9th in the World. So in honor of his accomplishment the wife and I started with Top sirloin steak. From Peas Farm this past weekend I bought 1 pkg of whole mushrooms and tomatoes. I sauteed 1/2 red Onion , fresh Garlic and placed in the steaks. When they were flipped I added 6 quartered Mushrooms. And to finish this entree off I added the juice from my current SamM Salsa {tomato/honeydew melon/balsamic vinegar/ sweet and sour sauce}

Next Item was sauteed sliced Peas Farm Zucchini,red Onion and my SamM salsa. And then I baked it at 425 * F with Pizza / Parmasean Cheese on top for 15 min. Also in the oven for 45 min. were quartered Baking potatoes from Peas Farm rubbed with fresh Garlic. To top off this celebratory meal I diced up 1/4 of a sourdough loaf. Baked it in the oven for 20 min with butter and garlic on it. I was excited to celebrate Michael's son's accomplishment. And the wife said the potatoes and baked vegetables were fantastic. The steaks cost a total of $2.37 so it was tough. On the flipside the Peas Farm accompaniments were awesome. Go Team USA


Fresh Adobo sauce

Chef Michael was not able to come over but we did converse on the phone.I was trying to roast the Guajillo Peppers in a wok. It wasn't roasting fast enough. So I had Michael on the phone and he suggested I turn on my gas stove top burner. And roast 3 peppers at a time over the open flame. This sped up the process and in no time I was ready with 12 Guajillo Peppers to finish 1 cup of Adobo sauce. 

Already pureed in my food processor were:

2 Garlic cloves

1 1/2 tsp. Apple Cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. sea salt

3/4 tsp. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. Cumin

I added in the 12 roasted peppers and 2 Chipolte peppers. Minced these peppers and refrigerated the resulting sauce




Chef Michael Fleshner ideas well received

Chef Michael's advice to leave out the onions and replace them with diced Honeydew melons in my SamM salsa was well received  at family group bible study tonight. My wife called to me while I was socializing to tell me I was receiving several compliments. Pastor Dan confirmed it .When I mentioned I replaced Honeydew melon for onion pastor said," It helped to sweeten the end result" I brought the salsa as a condiment for an Egg Cheese casserole.Other ingredient added to the salsa were half of a fresh Guajillo pepper, minced , and chopped Cilantro. I may add a few more dried Guajillo peppers I am leaning towards more Tex Mex dishes later this week. Let me mentioned one other nuance from Pastor Dan's comments. He referred to my salsa as Pico de Gallo. I do not know if I should continue to call it chunky salsa or Pico de Gallo. It may not matter , but I will do more research on it's proper name.


Let me introduce Chef Michael Fleshner

Today at Conroe's Farmer Market I started to share my oil / zucchini catastrophe with Elvis from Peas Farm. Chef Michael Fleshner another vendor at the market overheard our discussion. So he offered his insight to my plight over  the oil Zucchini catastrophe. Had I used a small amount of oil and made it smoking hot before adding the vegetables I would not have had the stomach ache issue. Elvis added bringing the oil to 400 F, the Zucchini would have sealed when incorporated into the pan. Chef Michael and I talked shop. We discussed my Zucchini / Blueberry cake and bread. I told him about my SamM salsa {Tomato-onion-Balsamic vinegar} and ideas started pouring from his Culinary mind. Chef Michael saw that I had Tomatoes , Guajillo peppers, and Honeydew melons, so here is what he suggested for this week. Dice the tomatoes and melon and mix in the Balsamic vinegar. Leave out the onion. Dice part of a Guajillo pepper and add a little at a time, . And use your SamM Salsa to season food this week in place of salt/sodium. I am excited about trying this. I have already made the SamM salsa and I will try this new flavor enhancer on the wife. And Chef Michael and I are going to try to hook up one night this week and make my Adobo sauce. We will roast and dry the fresh Guajillo peppers and then make something TexMex.Cooking for my beloved is such a great adventure.
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