Food And Drink

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It’s been an especially active summer in the Kansas City food scene.

KCUR’s Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Jill Silva and Jenny Vergara — have been keeping an eye on what’s new and noteworthy in local dining. They shared the highlights with guest host Brian Ellison on Friday’s Central Standard.

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“Farm-to-table” is a concept that's been embraced by restaurants. But what does that term really mean?

“People are very interested in ‘where does my food come from?’” said Jill Silva of The Kansas City Star.

As the locally-sourced movement has grown, so has the variety and quantity of food available in area restaurants.

And because farm-to-table depends on what chefs get from the farmers, some dishes won't stay on a menu for long.

From The Farm

Aug 5, 2016

"Farm-to-table" has become a trendy concept, but what does it really mean? A chat with the co-founders of a local group that's trying to change the way we look at food, then our Food Critics search out the best farm-to-table dishes in and around KC. Plus, a look at what's new and noteworthy in local dining.

Guests:

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Whether it’s thin and crispy or thick and juicy, the burger is a great blank slate for all sorts of toppings and flavors. And don’t forget veggie burgers; in this meat-friendly town, it’s entirely possible to find a hearty and satisfying meatless patty.

From the greasy to the gourmet, KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best burgers — and sides that aren’t fries — in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Jenny Vergara, Feast Magazine:

Food and Drug Administration

Tippin’s Gourmet Pies LLC has voluntarily recalled several lots of its key lime pies because they may contain flour with peanut residue, the Food and Drug Administration said.

Tippin’s said it conducted the recall of the popular product after its supplier, the Kellogg Company, recalled graham cracker crumbs used in the pies’ crusts because they may contain peanut residue.

No illnesses or allergic reactions to the pies have been reported, but Tippin’s said it was taking the action “out of an abundance of caution.”

Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

Chuck Magerl grew up surrounded by family history.

During Prohibition, his grandfather was sent to Leavenworth Penitentiary for distributing alcohol.

One great-great grandfather was the sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri --  in 1869, the governor of Missouri sent a letter, authorizing him to capture Frank and Jesse James, dead or alive.

Another ancestor ran a saloon in Kansas City; a ledger book shows he paid $7 per barrel of beer in 1909.

He was a pioneer in the local craft beer and artisanal food movement before those were really a thing. Meet Chuck Magerl, the man who worked to change the liquor laws in Kansas to open the Free State Brewing Company — the first legal brewery in the state after Prohibition.

Guest:

The native black chokeberry is touted for its health benefits, leaving some Midwest growers hoping to capitalize.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Peggy Fogle and her dog, Abe, walk among rows of aronia berry bushes on the family property outside Carlisle, Iowa. Plants on the ends of rows are smaller from years of being nibbled by deer and rabbits. But on nearly nine acres, filling four separate fields, the bushes are reaching maturity, eight years after Fogle and her husband decided to put in their first ones.

“We had looked for something organic, sustainable, native to the area, low-maintenance,” Fogle says, “that could be done here to provide a secondary income and be a healthy alternative.”

From high-end restaurants to drive-through eateries, fried chicken is a staple on local menus. And some places are putting a spin on that nostalgic comfort dish.

In this encore presentation of Central Standard, we invite the chef from Blvd Tavern to talk about his Korean fried chicken, then the Food Critics uncover the best fried chicken dishes in and around KC.

Guests:

In this encore presentation of Central Standard: We visit the kitchen of a local chef to learn how to make ice cream if you don't have an ice cream maker (hint: it involves bananas ... and some liqueur, if you're so inclined).

Guest:

RECIPE: Indonesian 'Gado Gado' Salad

Jun 17, 2016
Anna Sturla / KCUR 89.3

When chef Matt Chatfield got married, he gained a new cuisine. His wife is Indonesian, and he soon learned to appreciate this classic Indonesian take on a hearty salad. 

“It’s a little bit of a peasant salad,” Chatfield said. “It doesn’t have any ‘fancy’ ingredients in it.”

Indonesian gado gado typically includes boiled eggs, potatoes and a peanut dressing.

Courtesy Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

Do big things ever really come in small packages?

Good luck finding out this weekend, when the true enormity of things won’t be concealed – whether that means abundant celebrity power, beer-food-and-music ecstasy or unmitigated artistic genius.

So go ahead and go big. What choice do you have? (Waiting until next weekend doesn’t count.)

1. Big Slick Celebrity Softball Game

Keith McDuffee/Flickr -- CC

Poor salad. It’s often dismissed as an unnecessary stomach-filler, consisting of anemic lettuce, a cucumber slice, bits of tomato and cheese and topped with gloppy dressing.

But when it’s good, it’s absolutely delicious. Salads showcase the best of summer produce. They can be breathtaking simple to make, especially the dressing (shake up an acid, an oil and flavoring in a jar).

Salads can be hearty and they can be made in bulk for a crowd during cookout season.

Our food critics go beyond iceberg lettuce to search out the best salads in and around Kansas City.

Anna Sturla / KCUR 89.3

Salads showcase the best produce that summer has to offer. A local chef shows us how to make gado gado, an Indonesian salad with potatoes and peanut sauce, and a food writer talks about the "mystery of flavor." Then, our food critics search out the best salads in Kansas City.

Guests:

A weekday work session on the Student Organic Farm at Iowa State University has members weeding a perennial bed.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

A weathered wooden shed that holds wheelbarrows, hoes and other basic tools is the beacon of the Student Organic Farm, a two-acre swath within the Iowa State University Horticulture Research Farm. On a warm spring evening, a half-dozen students gather here, put on work gloves and begin pulling up weeds from the perennial beds where chives, strawberries, rhubarb and sage are in various stages of growth.

Char Bar/Facebook

Because we’re Kansas City, we automatically associate ribs with barbecue. But other cultures have their own ways of serving those succulent bits of bone, fat and meat.

From hefty slabs (sauce optional) to lighter seasonal short rib dishes to a Mexican-Korean fusion sandwich, KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best ribs in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Ribs. In KC, we think barbecue when we hear the word, but there are so many other ways of fixing them. We visit a Mexican-Korean fusion restaurant that serves a short-rib sandwich, then a primer from a butcher on different cuts of meat (spare ribs vs. short ribs and more).

Then, our food critics search out the best ribs in and around KC.

Guests:

A new Missouri law (SB 919) has been a source of contention among craft brewers and beer lovers in the state. Craft brewers feel that it will give a big boost to companies like Anheuser-Busch in convenience stores by letting them lease out refrigerator space. Lawmakers say that stores could stock craft brews in those cases.

He's been a gravedigger, a roadie, a truck unloader and more; now, he runs two popular Lawrence restaurants. We hear the stories behind Matt Hyde's eclectic resume ... and why he sometimes breaks plates on purpose.

Guest:

Infrogmation of New Orleans / Wikimedia Commons

It’s the sweet spot of the year. The weather is generally perfect (not too hot; not too cold) and it's not too buggy or humid just yet.

It’s time to eat outside.

From restaurant patios to parks and summer festivals, we explore the world of alfresco dining. Our food critics search out the best spots in and around Kansas City — plus, their picks for the best KC food to bring on a picnic.

Here are their recommendations:

Jenny Vergara, Feast Magazine:

Getting Out

May 13, 2016

It's one of the best times of the year to eat outside. A visit into the kitchen of one of the cooks for this summer's Greek Festival, and how a food truck becomes a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Then, KCUR's Food Critics search out the best alfresco dining spots in and around KC, from parks to rooftop terraces and more.

Guests:

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From bagels to doughnuts to cookies, there’s a lot going on in KC’s baked-goods scene.

“A lot of people tend to forget that bakeries, in the olden days, were a once-a-week, once-a-day stop,” Food Critic Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

And with locally-baked goods, she said, some people are puzzled as to why things don’t last on the countertop at home.

Oven And Hearth

Apr 29, 2016

A chat about spring produce (including rhubarb jam) and a quick review of a new bagel shop. Then, KCUR's Food Critics search out the best bakeries in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Demand is growing for GMO-free labels on food products, according to the Non-GMO Project, one of the principle suppliers of the label.
File: Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

There’s a heated debate happening right now about GMOs and labels.

Big food companies like General Mills, Mars and Kellogg’s say they plan to put labels on their products that tell consumers whether or not the food contains ingredients derived from genetically engineered plants.

So what’s the big deal? What are GMO labels, and what do they tell you?

Watch the video below to get the full scoop on GMO labels.

This post was originally published in April 2016.

It’s been a mild winter, which means we’re getting a jump on ice cream season.

Whether it’s served in a cup or cone, ice cream (and its friends: custard, gelato, sorbet, soft serve and more) is the classic treat that feels like an indulgence.

On Friday’s Central Standard, KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best ice cream in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

We visit the kitchen of a local chef to learn how to make ice cream if you don't have an ice cream maker (hint: it involves bananas ... and some liqueur, if you're so inclined), then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best ice cream in and around KC.

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

If you have seen the show "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" — or, in other words, if you have infant children — you probably know about "banana swirl." Or, you should, according to Rachel Ciordas.

"Mothers who listen [to this segment] are either going to love me or hate me for mentioning this," Ciordas laughs as she launches into the tale that introduced her family to this beloved dessert.

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