By Sara Conyers
Special to the Homer Tribune
Homer sure is a great place to be a kid. Where else can you find a zone just for kids at a farmer’s market?
Kayla, the market’s kids’ activities coordinator, always has a fun and sustainably sourced craft or activity for kids to work on. The Kids Zone is also home to one of our community People’s Gardens. It was planted and is maintained by Kayla and the market kids.
Saturday’s Kids Zone activity was part of the second installment of the “Chef at the Market” series, featuring Maura Brenin’s Kachemak Bay Seafood Chowder. Brenin was awarded the grant through the Division of Agriculture program which promotes Alaska Grown produce at farmers markets.
From start to finish, the kids prepared fresh, delicious and aromatic Kachemak Bay Seafood Chowder featuring fresh Homer-grown veggies, local rockfish, salmon and razor clams.
With Brenin’s culinary expertise, she guided the children through the process of washing the veggies, trimming up fresh herbs and chopping carrots, celery, onions and potatoes. Each child took a turn stirring and adding all the yummy ingredients to the bubbling cauldron.
After the chowder finished cooking, the kids paraded through the market passing out cups of chowder. They shouted, “We made chowder for all the farmers!” This was their gift back to the farmers and vendors who grew most of the produce used in the chowder.
More than 16 kids, ranging in age from 1-13, helped create the soup masterpiece. They were all excited to be cooking. Several kids mentioned that they help make soup with their parents all the time, but Dauus Geysbeck, age 5, said, “This is my first time learning to cook, and it is fun.”
Six-year-old chef Soli Jackinsky proclaimed, “We all are chefs,” while experienced cook, farmer and aspiring baker, Theo Castellani, age 11, reminded us, “Butter is the secret to making a good everything.”
This Saturday, Brenin will be back from 1:30-3 p.m. for another “Chef at the Market” presentation. This time, however, it will be in the main activity tent.
According to Brenin, this week she will make pickled shrimp, kale Caesar salad, and market potato pancakes.
While you’re there, be sure to let your kids participate in “Kids Vending Day.” This takes place in the Kids Zone, starting at 11 a.m. This is a great opportunity for kids to be creative, make money and learn about marketing.
Maura’s Seafood Chowder
A bright and sumptuous seafood chowder utilizing the freshest local produce and herbs from our farmers and freshest seafood of the season. Make a large pot and enjoy with your friends, or can it and savor in the heart of winter.
1/2 pound of butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch celery, finely diced (including tops)
2 bunches super sweet carrots
2 bulbs fennel finely diced, reserve the fronds
3 pounds new potatoes, quartered
2 tsp fennel seed
2 tsp pink peppercorn
fresh ground black pepper
3 Tbsp smoked paprika
3 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
zest of 2 oranges
zest of 2 lemons
2 bunches of fresh dill
2 bunches Italian parsley, rough chop
1 bunch thyme
2 cups dry white wine (optional),
fish stock, clam juice, or organic chicken stock
2 lbs. razor clams, rough chopped (juices reserved)
2 lbs rockfish (whole fillet)
3 lbs sockeye, large dice (pin bones removed)
3 cups heavy cream
1. Melt butter in the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed pot (6-qt) on medium heat. Add onions, fennel, celery, carrots and garlic, and cook until softened. (About 5 min.) Add dry spices: fennel, paprika, Old Bay and pink peppercorns (crushed.) Allow spices to wake up in the warm butter, slowly adding the wine (if using any.) Turn up the heat, cook uncovered until wine reduces by half.
2. Add potatoes and your stock. (Potatoes should be just barely covered with the liquid in the pot. If not, add water so that they are.) Bring to a simmer, and then lower the heat to medium and cook, covered, until the potatoes are almost done. (About 10-15 min.)
3. Gently add your seafood to the simmering stock; Begin with salmon, add clams, and lay the rockfish fillets in the pot. (They will break up as you poach the fish.) Cook 5-10 minutes.
(You can stop here if you’re choosing to can for later.)
4. Finish with heavy cream, citrus zest and fresh herbs. (Including rough-chopped reserved fennel fronds.)
Enjoy with a crusty sourdough baguette.
Comments are closed