Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First tomatoes of the season

These are first three tomatoes that I harvested on July 20th. The pinkish brandywine weighed 13 oz. San Marzano plum tomato was 3 1/2 oz while green zebra weighted 2 1/4 oz. We made burgers that day and sliced up the brandywine tomato and stacked it up between the bun and the patty. It is exciting to have a slicing tomato from the back yard!
By Wednesday (July 23) I had another plum tomato. Using all the first tomatoes, I made a simple salad for the craft night gathering. The recipe is from The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook, which features beautiful photos of produce, stories of farmers, and awesome recipes. I simplified the recipe (the original involves frying up some of the shallot).

  • Red wine vinegar: olive oil = 1:3. Add sliced shallot to the mixture and season with salt and pepper. Set it aside.
  • Slice fresh tomatoes.
  • When you are ready to eat, mix the vinaigrette with the tomatoes, and scatter fresh basil leaves. Serve.
Couldn't be simpler. For mine, I adjusted the vinegar and oil ratio close to 1:2 after tasting the mixture. I had to add a little more salts after mixing the vinaigrette with the tomatoes too. Shannon was sitting in front of me tasting the food so it was easier to adjust (I love talented food tasters!) Always taste and season as needed.

Tomatoes are coming slowly and I like this pace - we can eat them as they come. We just had a first Belgian tomato which Dan added to a smoked trout chowder soup. I used a brandywine tomato to chiken tikka masala. When we feel like, we make this dish from scratch but we also have a favorite brand which makes pretty good frozen chicken tikka masala. We usually add extra ingredients if using the frozen one and this time I added fresh onions, fingerling potatoes (from the farmers market), yellow squash and the tomato (from my garden), and some pan-fried tofu. Yum.

A couple more weeks of the Summer will bring lots of ripe tomatoes and I will happily worry about what to do with them. Till then, I will continue to weigh each tomato and cherish one after another.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tofu veggie enchiladas with tomatillo sauce

Here at Grown in Frederick, we have a pretty wide palate for recipes made with local food. This tofu veggie enchilada recipe is divine. A trick with this enchilada recipe taught to me by my friend Tyra is to dip the corn tortillas in the enchilada sauce and quickly fry on a hot pan before rolling ingredients in them. Tyra has a number of enchilada tricks. She mixes salsa with sour cream to top the enchiladas (here, we mix part of the enchilada sauce with sour cream and part without, then marble the top) Tyra also sautes the vegetables and tofu in taco seasoning and I highly recommend this. This recipe is part Tyra's and part mine...hope you love it.

Tomatillos are a lot like tomatoes, though they are not in the same family, and can be used in salsas, sauces, and many other places you see tomatoes. Tomatillos grow in a papery husk that you will want to remove. If you don't have tomatillos, you can always substitute canned tomatillo or regular enchilada sauce but it won't be quite as good. I have not seen tomatillos at the farmer's market, but Yeon and I grew them from seed this year and have quite a crop!

My friend Emerson works for his family's local soy company and I will try to get the link for you soon. Perhaps you are not a fan of tofu? Then you have never eaten it right.

Tomatillo enchilada sauce
(borrowed from epicurious):

  • 1 1/4 lb Fresh tomatillos
  • 1 - 2 Jalapeno peppers (the local ones are in and they are salmonella-free)
  • 1 sm Onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 med Garlic clove peeled and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
Husk and wash the tomatillos. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the tomatillos and jalapeno peppers and time for 10 minutes. Drain and remove the stem ends of the peppers. Put the tomatillos, peppers, onion and garlic in a food processor and process to a coarse puree.

In a large pan heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the vegetable puree and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and salt; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Sauce keeps about a week in the refrigerator.

  • corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil (not olive oil due to heat)
  • cheddar or jack cheese, shredded (try Caprikorn farms cheddar goat cheeses or South Mountain Creamery's jack or cheddar cheeses)
  • fresh vegetables for the filling (whatever is in season. Right now, zucchini, squash, onions, and sweet peppers would be delicious)
  • taco seasoning
  • enchilada sauce from above
  • sour cream
Saute onions in oil, add tofu cut up into small chunks. Add taco seasoning and cook for a little while. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook some more. Take pan off the heat. Have a flat bowl of enchilada sauce ready. Heat a flat pan until it's sizzling hot. Add a little oil. Dip the tortilla in the enchilada sauce and quickly pan fry each tortilla on both sides. In a large rectangular baking dish, Fill up each tortilla down the middle with the filling and add some cheese. Roll up each side. Fill the pan with rows of the enchiladas and add cheese on top. Add 1/2 of the remaining enchilada sauce. Mix the rest with the sour cream and pour on top of the enchiladas in stripes. Marble the stripes by running a skewer or knife perpendicular to the sour cream rows. Or just bake it as-is because the enchiladas will taste the same either way. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Serve with fresh cilantro, slices of lime, and or crumbly queso fresca.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nanny's potato salad

In honor of the delicious potatoes that have been coming to the West Frederick Farmer's Market, I share with you my great grandmother's potato salad. She was Pennsylvania Dutch, in other words, German, and this recipe was lovingly passed from my mother to me.

  • 5 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
  • 3-4 large celery stalks
  • 1 large onion or one bunch spring onions
  • 6 eggs
  • yellow mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cider vinegar
  • sugar
  • parsley
  • paprika
Boil eggs and potatoes in boiling water about 20 minutes. Drain in colander. Remove eggs and set aside to cool. In big bowl (I mean big) while potatoes are still hot, layer potatoes with salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar. How much? Good question. Altogether you will use about 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/3 c vinegar. Do not toss. Let cool. Vinegar will absorb into potatoes. Cut celery, onions, and fresh parsley. After eggs cool, peel and slice 4 of the eggs. Save two for the top. When potatoes are cool enough not to much, stir in celery, onions, parsley, mayo, and mustard. Use more mayo than mustard. To taste. (I know this is maddening. Use about 1/4 c yellow mustard and 3/4 cup mayo and go from there). Stir gently. Blend in sliced eggs towards the end. Decorate the top with remaining two sliced eggs . Sprinkle with paprika and hide from Dad until serving.


Calling all artists (cupcake artists that is!)

 Cakes for Cause is holding a postcard design contest this summer. If you've been to the Farmer's Market, you may have picked up one of our marketing postcards. This is the first in a series of original "cupcake art" and we're inviting you to submit a design for our next postcard run in the early fall. The criteria for submissions is as follows:
  • Submit original artwork (click here for the submission form) on 8.5 x 11 inch paper
  • You must include the phrase "Cakes for Cause" and "Stirring the Spirit of Community" in your design
  • Submissions due by Friday August 22nd by mail or by email
Our panel of 3-5 judges will review all the pieces and make a final decision on a winner by September 10th. Our designers will contact you to prepare your art for printing and we will run 500 postcards with your design on it to hand out to the public. You will receive 25 postcards to distribute as you wish and we will acknowledge the winning artist by name on the back of all the postcards and on our website. This contest is appropriate for all ages and the submission form includes an age range. Get your crayons out and start drawing!

At the Farmer's Market for the remainder of the season, by popular request, we will have two constant scone flavors: Cheddar Chive and Lemon Ginger along with a rotating scone flavor each week. Thanks for liking them so much. Several people have taken our suggestion of wrapping and freezing our scones each week and then refreshing them in a 350 oven for 10 minutes so they taste freshly baked. You can do the same with croissants. Many people came last week and purchased scones to take to their beach vacation with them. If you'd like to guarantee that you'll have them in time for your vacation, you can pre-order our breakfast pastries in any quantity. We also take pre-orders for any of our breads or other items...they're perfect for meetings, picnics, and parties. Email for a menu and pricing.



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Paradise found: my missing cookbook

I knew it would turn up eventually! I have found my missing cookbook, the one where I painstakingly hand write all of my favorite recipes from friends, family, and the whole wide world. Mom's Devilled Eggs are on page 80. This recipe is for Yeon, who proclaimed that she ate six of them at the Fourth of July Picnic. Use local cage-free eggs but use older ones; fresh eggs are impossible to peel. I know that both Rohrer's Meats and Chesapeake's Choice sell eggs at the Farmer's Market- I am not sure who else.

Get an egg tray. You can get them cheaply just about anywhere and devilled eggs are impossible without one.

Mom's Devilled Eggs

  • 1 dozen eggs (or however many halved will fit your tray)
  • yellow mustard (about 1/8 cup)
  • mayonnaise (about 1/2 cup)
  • juice from sweet pickles or relish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry onion (the kind that comes in a spice container- look, you can use seeded mustard and fresh onion if you want but then it's not Mom's Devilled Eggs.)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
Bring eggs in water to a boil and boil gently for 20 minutes. Remove from hot water and put in a container of cold water in the sink. Let cool, about 10 minutes. This is an important step because your eggs need to set and you don't want to play with hot eggs. Peel eggs and cut and half. Put halves in egg tray. Remove yolks and put in a bowl. Mash yolks. Add mustard, mayo and pickle juice. Mustard proportions to mayo are about 1/4 to 3/4 but amounts are to taste. I know I hate this too but this is how the older generation does recipes. You will only need a few 3-4 tablespoons pickle juice- enough to make the mix fluffy like chocolate mousse but not runny. Add parsley and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into egg whites. If you want to put into a piping bag, you can do that, but these are not the smoothest yolks. Sprinkle with paprika and chill. Serve in a tray of ice if you are going to serve outside due to the mayonnaise.


Farmer Rick has apples and potatoes

From Rick Hood's email to his Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members this week at Summer Creek Farm. Maybe he'll bring some to the farmer's market...

Just a quick note. This week you will be getting fingerling potatoes in your box. They are great roasted, just rinse, slice in wedges, put on a cookie sheet, coat with Olive oil and broil till crisp. You can mince garlic in the oil for extra flavor.

Some will also receive apples. They are yellow transparent apples.They are the earliest apples of the season. These apples are very tart and make very good applesauce. The apples came from another farm we have. This farm is in the certification program but not fully certified yet so the apples are not technically organic. They have no spray on them.


Farmer Rick


Things to do with fresh peaches involving cobbler

My friend Bonnie makes a very simple biscuit cobbler with a cream biscuit on top and peaches and berries on the bottom. I have been making it for several years now, and it is quite possibly the best-tasting thing on earth. It's not a complicated recipe- you could use any drop biscuit recipe (but for crying out loud, don't use a biscuit mix. You're cooking with the season's best produce here). Toss 3 c fruit with a little sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit) and a little flour (a few tablespoons), put in a square baking dish, and spread a thin layer of biscuit on top. Bake at 350 until the biscuit is deep brown (or you will have uncooked biscuit- also don't spread the biscuit too thick). You can use any fruit, but of course the best cobbler will be made with fresh peaches (blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds, peel the skins and cut up the peaches) with fresh blackberries and/or other berries and homemade whipped cream. Just sayin'. The recipe is so good that my ex boyfriend comes out of the woodwork this time of year and asks for it. Here is an actual conversation from the first time Shelton and I had the cobbler at Bonnie and Chris's house:

Shelton: "Would it be rude of me to ask for a third helping?"
Bonnie: "Yes, but go ahead."

There are squillions of cobbler recipes out there. And most are good. My friend Kristie just sent her favorite recipes out to a bunch of our friends and gave me permission to post it here. Enjoy!

I bought a bunch of fresh peaches last week, and I made a great fresh peach cobbler with them. It turned out so good, I thought I might pass it along, in case one of y'all need to use up some peaches (or maybe you're just in the mood to have something yummy...) I hope you enjoy!

Kristie's Fresh Peach Cobbler(derived from a Cooking Light recipe, so nearly guilt-free!) [editor's note: this is a lie. There is a whole stick of butter in there. Kristie is a PhD chemist so I know she is lying.]

4 c. fresh sliced, peeled peaches (with juices)

1/4 c. light brown sugar

1/4 c. sugar

Slice up the peaches, and mix 'em with the sugars in a bowl. Set aside at room temp till nice and juicy, about 30 minutes, so have a glass of wine or something to pass the time.

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. light brown sugar

1/4 c. sugar

1 c. milk (I used Silk soy milk, yum!)

1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon (amount depending upon your preference)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 stick butter (use real butter, it really does make a difference!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the butter in a 9x13-inch Pyrex baking dish and put the dish in the preheating oven. While the butter is melting,mix up the batter by combining the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar,milk, cinnamon and vanilla. When the butter is completely melted, remove the dish from the oven and pour the batter into the melted butter. DO NOT STIR. Then,carefully spoon the peaches and juice evenly over the batter. AGAIN,NO STIRRING. Return dish to the oven and bake for ~45 minutes, or until all nice and bubbly in the center and brown around the edges. As the cobbler cooks, the batter will rise up and around the peaches.Makes 10 to 12 servings (-ish). LOVE this with Edy's Slow-Churned Butter Pecan ice cream.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Flowers for the market: June 21

Week of June 21: Hydrangea is blooming everywhere.
Jen brought me five stems of pale blue hydrangea flowers from her sister's garden. I also got two stems of purple hydrangea and four stems of astilbe from Lynda's garden. I added snapdragon flowers and hosta leaves from my garden. The green vase takes big volume of flowers to fill up and thus I get to use it rarely. I was happy to have abundance of flowers that hugged the vase nicely.

When I was on a ferry to Vancouver Island many summers ago, I bought a book called "Gardening for the faint of heart" by Robin Wheeler. She was such a big fan of astilbes and I never understood. It's funny that your taste for plants changes as time goes. Now whenever I filp though a perennial plants catalog, I ponder on what color of astilebe I should get. I know. So many plants you want for the little space you have.



Flowers for the market: June 14

Another flowerless week in my backyard. All the flowers are from friends' gardens except the golden oregano.
Jeanine was busy pulling out weeds in her garden When I visited her. Her garden went through such a transformation. When she bought her house, her yard was completely covered with weeds. Now, she has nice flower beds on both sides of the yard. A rock garden toward the back raises the view and big rhododendrons provide dependable green backdrop near the gate. She also spent last summer laying red-brick path in her yard. Her patio got extended with the same bricks, and a curvy red-brick path leads you into the long rectangular garden. I love her garden. Did I say I love visiting other gardener's garden? I really do.
From Jeanine's garden I got yellow flowers

  • gerbera daisy
  • coreopsis
I also visited Lynda's front yard. Her shasta daisy was blooming so I got a couple of stems. On my way back, I picked up a stem of queen Anne's lace which was blooming on the sidewalk.

Jen's white lily was the heart of the arrangement. In the photo you can see that there are 4 open lily blossoms and 3 still budding. All these flowers are from one stem. Amazing.

I was never crazy about yellow flowers. I always had limited space to grow flowers, and most of the vegetable flowers are yellow anyway and thus the preference was given to pink or blue or violet flowers. This year yellow is growing on me. I even have an area planned for yellow flowers next year. For me, yellow is in.



Fresh Wheat at Summer Creek Farm!

I was talking to Rick Hood this week at the market, and asked how his wheat threshing went. He took me to the back of his truck and showed me the contents of a 50-pound bag. It was gorgeous, golden, and flecked with stray vetch and rye grains. He told me his equipment can't separate out the vetch, but it's tasteless. The equipment does clean the grain. Just then, Yeon came over and saw the grain, and was very excited. She made her husband come over too, with his camera, and take pictures. We talked some more to Rick.

Rick has his own combine, which is good for him because combines have to be cleaned before they can be used on organic food after being used on conventionally grown food, and cleaning a combine is a pain. Rick said just as they started harvesting, one of the combine tires blew and it cost him $1000 to get another one that had to be lifted on by crane.

Rick has one customer who bought 200 pounds of grain (at $1 per pound) and mills his own flour as he needs it, for optimum freshness. It's a soft wheat flour, which means that it does not have the ability to make bread without the addition of hard wheat or gluten; rather, it makes good pastry flour. I decided that my friends and I should get a grain mill for our Kitchenaid mixers and buy that grain. I went back to the Cakes for Cause booth and talked to Elin the baker about getting one. She called her people at Sur La Table and ordered it. Then she bought Rick's 50 pound bag of grain. All we have to do now is wait 5-7 days for the mill to arrive so we will be able to make Elin will bring the pastries to market not this week but next. HOW EXCITING IS THAT?

And that, my friends, is a local economy.


Sunday dinner with my parents, especially my Dad

My story is about my Dad, and his love of summer food.

My father visited me at the farmer's market this Saturday on his way back from the dump. He was sweaty and tired, so we got him a lemonade at the Cakes for Cause booth where I was volunteering. He stayed and chatted a few minutes, and we decided that we would have Sunday dinner at my parents' house. I gave him the 4-pound sirloin that I had just purchased from Rohrer's meats, and he asked me to buy some zucchini and squash. After dad left, I picked up the veggies from Jubilee Organic Farm, and also got apricots and peaches from Scenic View.

Dinner yesterday was a feast. I took pictures, which I'll add to my post when I get them. First, there were kebabs. Dad had marinated the meat overnight in Soy Vay Teriyaki, which is hands down my favorite teriyaki. The veggies were marinated in oil and vinegar. Dad had also gotten ahold of some peppers and onions. We had corn on the cob, and a waldorf cole slaw that I made from a recipe on a bag of cabbage. Then there was multigrain bread. And fresh peaches that I blanched (to remove the skins) and sliced.

After all of the grilled food was on the table, Dad piled a bunch of it on his plate, and then just stood and looked at it and said. "Oh my God." I looked over from my station in the kitchen where I was still prepping food, a little worried, and he said "Dinner looks so good. You know I've been starving myself all day for this." My mom replied, "except for the pancakes and sausage and eggs you had for breakfast." I should note that my Dad is not a heavy man. He grew up on a dairy farm in Frederick and has kept himself active all of these years by doing things like managing the forest on my parents' "gentleman's farm" and taking his recycling to the dump. Dad LOVES summer food, made simple and fresh, with lots of veggies. Where my mother would grow flowers, Dad would grow food, buckets and buckets of it every summer. We always had fresh veggies in the summer, and always too much of them, and that's what summer is for me. Too much of a good thing. And then you can it to make it go away and it keeps coming back long after you're sick of it. But in July, the food is just starting to pour in, and that is the best time.

Dad sat down at the table and started eating as I was still cutting peaches in the kitchen and mom was broiling toast. "I blessed the food already," he said. "Yeah, I can tell," I told him.

Can I just say that was the tenderest sirloin I have ever eaten? And the veggies the height of freshness? I asked Dad, "want me to tell Danny Rohrer how good the meat was?" And he said, "no, don't tell him. It will go to his head."

At one point Dad said, "I'm sorry Shannon, but I just can't do justice to this cole slaw," and he put his back in the serving bowl. There were too many extra helpings of veggies standing in its way and just kept getting pushed back in the queue. It was a good slaw though-make a regular cole slaw and add apples, craisins, walnuts, and celery. Awesome.

The peaches were sweet and tart and very "peachy". Dad teased me, "did you spray these with peachiness?" In fact, everything was sprayed with peachiness.



Saturday, July 19, 2008

Flowers for the market: June 7

I love flowers. When Elin said that she would like to have flowers or a small pot of plant to decorate Cakes for Cause stand at the farmer's market, I volunteered right away. It was and is my mission to find fresh flowers for every Saturday. And no, I don't buy flowers from a grocery store or a flower shop. I figured it would be nice to have a small arrangement of flowers from our own gardens. This way we could track what kind of flowers bloom when. It is also more fun, more meaningful and more challenging.
I have a modest selection of flowers growing in my backyard, but it is not enough to fill a vase of flowers, not for every week. I asked my gardener friends and they have generously donated flowers from week to week. I have been taking pictures and now have some catching-up to do. So let's start from the very beginning, June 7.
Note to myself -I don't have anything blooming at the beginning of June. I just had gorgeous globemaster Allium blooming, 9 of them towering over my raised bed and they were all done by June. Roses at Ricardo and Doug's garden were fading too. Luckily, Jen asked her mom and she sent us two huge bouquet of flowers which I combined to one.
From the garden of Jen's mom

  • beardtongue (Penstemon cobaea)
  • false indigo (Baptista)
  • salvia
  • holies
From Jen's garden
  • silver leaf sage (Salvia officinalis x S. fruticosa)
  • coral bells (Heuchera)
  • catmint (Nepeta)
Jen's mom must have a huge garden. I noticed that whenever she gives out her flowers, she cuts them really tall, which is hard to do if you have only a few flowering plants. I would love to visit her garden some time and see all the beautiful perennial plants she grows.



Friday, July 18, 2008

Cupcake Extravaganza from Cakes for Cause

Back from Denver, slightly under the weather but no worse for the wear. Here's a little taste of what we did for the wedding. You can also view a cupcake travelogue on our myspace page.

This week at the Market we'll have our usual selection of croissants, scones, breads and cinnamon rolls...I understand several of you missed them last week. We're also going to be testing a crunchy crumb yum, a little like a Drake's Coffee Cake (if you're a Seinfeld fan) but basically a traditional East Coast crumb cake in a small package. Stop by and give it a try and let us know what you think.

We still need volunteers for the market. We have sporadic slots through July and really need folks to help out for August 2nd and 16th. It's a great way to meet other people who are involved in Cakes for Cause from the Frederick area and an excuse to see what's for sale at the Farmer's Market from local farms and gardens. The Market is located at Baughman's Lane (off Route 40, behind the Holiday Inn) and runs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm every Saturday until November. Click here if you're available to help us one Saturday this summer.

Several people have asked us why we don't have lids for our lemonade at the market. At the moment, we feel like we're contributing far too much to the landfills with our plastic cups and straws and don't want to add lids to the mix. We're researching some more biodegradable options and as soon as we find something that works for us, we'll offer lids. In the meantime, thanks for your patience and understanding.



Thursday, July 17, 2008

Garden bounty

Sigh. My gorgeous tomatoes have blossom end rot. Is there hope? I'll have to go to Dutch Plant Farm this Saturday for the antidote (calcium/magnesium?). They also have a great product there that repels rabbits. It works- the stuff saved my greens. On a related note, it smells like barf (main ingredient: "putrescent egg solids") and you don't want to get it on your shoes. It's also expensive. Other than that, it's great.

Today I harvested three jalapeños, three cayenne peppers, two black bell peppers (small) and a pint of cherry tomatoes. The tomatillos are coming along and I hope to start harvesting them in a week or two.

I am volunteering at the Cakes for Cause booth again this weekend at the Farmer's Market. I plan to make crackers again for the market. They didn't sell a whole lot last week but they are really good and I believe in them. This week I'll put more seeds and things on them. My ulterior motive is that I will take home what I do not sell. They are made with semolina and wheat flours, plus good olive oil. I am really into them and they are fun to roll out in my pasta maker. If we decide after this week not to sell them again, maybe I'll post the recipe...



I have an idea for a cool Farmer's Market thing...

Check this link:



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Harvest on July 13

I love summer mornings. The day is just getting brighter, the air is still cool, and the dew on the grass tickles my feet.
My mints were growing tall and ready to flower. I cut them close to the base and they smelled, well, very minty. One bunch of spear mint and another bunch of pepper mint. If they dry well, I might have enough mints to fill up many tea bags and give them out as Christmas gifts to my friends.
The crazy squash jumble is making more squashes. I try to collect them when the fruits are still young, but they have rare talents of hiding behind big squash leaves. I also have green tigress zucchini and yellow crooked squash (my dear friend Amanda gave me seeds last year) starting to make more summer squashes.
More cucumbers and more tomatillos. I also started to harvest three different kinds of green beans. French variety, Haricots Verts, has slender and tender pods and great for fresh eating. The other two kinds freeze well and I plan to either freeze and/or pickle them.

What to do with them
After collecting the bounty, Dan and I went out the same day and bought a dozen of glass jars. I haven't really done canning before and I am very excited about the idea. I know I will be tired of jarring/caning by the end of summer, but at the moment I am excited.
We also picked up a mandoline slicer. Let me tell you, it is so much fun to slice the giant squash using mandoline and see them coming out as perfect slices. I tried sun-drying them but then realized that flies liked our sliced squashes too. I used an oven at the lowest temperature and dried the squash slices.
Mint bunches are just sitting in the kitchen, slowly drying. We grilled younger squashes and froze them for the winter time. We will be able to use them in soups, stir-fries and even vegetable lasagna.
I am looking for a recipe to make yummy cucumber pickles that keep well. Please let me know if you know one!



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cool me, soothe me, cucumber soup

When I came back home from the farmer's market this past Saturday, I was hot, hungry, and tired. I was so tired that anything around me was irritating. It was too bad that I was extremely hungry too and had to feed myself and my companion. It is our rule that if we are too sick (physically and/or emotionally) then we don't cook food because the state of our body and mind gets reflected in the food. We were too tired to even consider going out for lunch, so I was stuck with cooking late lunch.
Dan suggested NaengMyun (냉면, literally a cold soup), but we were out of the dry noodles for making NaengMyun. Instead I made this variation of cold cucumber soup (오이냉국, Oee NangGuk) which my mom always made in the hot summer days when I was young.

Oee NaengGuk that my mom made always had cucumber, onion, and seaweeds. Add vinegar, sugar and salt to make it pleasantly sweet and sour. Being a Korean dish, my mom probably adds chopped fresh garlic too, but I don't use garlic here. I like using red onions for its pretty color and mild flavor. They add a nice layer of flavor and it is not too loud as garlic.
To make it a substantial dish, I added buckwheat noodle. It is the same kind that you use to make Japanese cold noodle soup with dashi and grated daikon. To finish up my variation of Oee NaengGuk with buckwheat noodle, I added a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and a drop of dark sesame oil.

It is a simple dish, and cucumber takes the center stage in this dish. I picked up a Japanese variety of cucumber (Tasty Jade) from Rieko at the New Hope Farm stand. Jim at the Tomates etc. stand gave me a few small Japanese cucumbers too. Those cucumbers were perfect for this dish.

As I ate and drank the noodle soup, I felt better. It was refreshing and tasty. A little bit of the dish came from my past, and a little bit came from who I was now. After the lunch, I took a long deep nap which I really needed. And everything was good again.



Fresh this week at Summer Creek Farm

I am paraphrasing from Rick Hood's email for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at Summer Creek Farm.

This week, Summer Creek Farm is harvesting wheat. Rick has figured out how to mill his soft wheat to make pastry flour and is hoping to have some for the farmer's market starting next week. (I can not wait to try it).

Cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes are coming in. All of Rick's tomatoes are "grown under 100% organic conditions, picked when fresh and ripe, then handled with care to give you a tasty healthy product."

Have you considered signing up for a CSA for next year? Rick's CSA customers are getting the following in their boxes this week:

  • potatoes
  • beans
  • garlic
  • cherry tomatoes
  • yellow squash
  • zucchini
  • carrots

What are the "fruits and vegetables that are most important to eat organic? Which typically have the most pesticide residue when grown under conventional methods? Here are the ones most often considered to have the highest pesticide residue when not organically grown:"

  • apples
  • cherries
  • grapes
  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • pears
  • raspberries
  • bell peppers
  • celery
  • potatoes
  • spinach

Summer Creek Farm is also baling straw this week. "Straw is the stem from a harvested grain while hay is a grass cut for feed." They are also "getting ready for our next flock of baby chicks, 250 will be arriving on Wednesday."

"Fall crops like broccoli and winter squash are being planted."


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Red-veined sorrel recipes

Nancy from Chesapeake's Choice gave me some gorgeous red-veined sorrel this week at the farmer's market. Nancy carries some very gourmet greens and I am always very impressed with them. I think a lot of people who go to the market don't know what to do with some of these greens and pass them by, but this is a mistake!

I was curious about what to do with this green. I tried eating a little of it raw and was surprised by its tartness; I shouldn't have been- wood sorrel, the clover with the heart-shaped leaves and little yellow flowers that you see everywhere, also has this same tartness, similar to a lemon. Both plants are edible. The red-veined sorrel is supposed to be good for salads, but the larger leaves I have impart a slightly bitter taste that puts me off of eating it raw (some people love bitter greens- they are good for you and it is a matter of taste). So I went on a little journey through my cookbook collection. After doing a little research, I am excited to share some recipes with you from people who consider this a highly prized green.

Sorrel disintegrates when cooked, which makes it awesome for soups and sauces. It pairs with the flavors of onion, leek, potato, egg, cream, sour cream, lard, peas, chicken, and butter. To make a simple sorrel puree, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone recommends the following:

Using 4 cups or about 5 ounces of sorrel leaves, if the leaves are large of coarse, pull the stems down the entire length of the leaves and discard them [definitely do this- the one stem I didn't pull off never cooked up]. Coarsely chop the leaves. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the leaves with a few tablespoons water and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, pushing them about with a fork to break them up. Add more water, as needed, so that they don't fry. Season with a pinch of salt and store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Makes about 1/4 cup. Use over a period of several weeks.
I love anything that can last a few weeks in the fridge. I have tried to get many things to last a couple of weeks there and have been sorely disappointed. With sorrel's companionship to eggs and fats, it would be delicious on eggs Benedict. I also imagine it would be yummy baked into a pastry, or marbling the top of a cream-based soup. Green sorrel would also be great mixed into split pea soup. The red sorrel would turn your soup a poopy color when mixed with green peas. But I bet it would be gorgeous in red lentil soup.

I just made the puree and it is a pinky red color, and mildly tart. The bitterness has mellowed into a complex taste with the butter and I have to give it an A plus. I am imagining all of the good things you could make with it.

Here is a recipe for Polish Sorrel Soup (Zupa Szczafu) from an excellent cookbook, Greene on Greens. He calls it "one of the best soups I have ever consumed" and this gourmand has eaten a lot. Bonus: it takes about 45 minutes to make. You can make this with some fingerling potatoes from Summer Creek Farm, sour cream from South Mountain Creamery, and bacon from the Rohrer's (they may even have salt pork, I don't know):
1 pound fresh sorrel
1/4 pound salt pork, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley
  1. Trim the sorrel, discarding the stems. Chop the leaves and set aside.
  2. Saute the salt pork in a medium saucepan over medium heat until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onion, cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, chicken broth, water, and sorrel. Heat to boiling; reduce the heat. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the soup from the heat and slowly stir in the sour cream. Return it to low heat and cook (do not allow to boil) until warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 4 to 6.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Back from the market and feeling good

I had a great time volunteering at the Cakes for Cause booth today at the farmer's market. As always, the scones were a huge hit. We had coconut (new), ginger lemon (my fave), cheddar chive, and sour cherry. The volunteers were Jeanine, Yeon, Klu, Dan and myself. Yeon and I also made artisanal flatbread (aka crackers) and sold 10 of the 12 packages we had made. Since Elin the baker mastermind was out of town, we didn't have the croissants, cinnamon rolls, or oatmeal bread they normally have at the booth. This was the subject of great consternation by the booth's regular patrons. Have no fear, Elin will be back next week! She will appreciate hearing the rabid following she has gotten, especially for the cinnamon rolls, which she always makes the morning of the farmer's market.

I did not keep good track of my money, but here is what I got today:

  • Cup of lemonade, coconut scone, bread crumbs, and a pack of flatbread from Cakes for Cause. (the bread crumbs are great for breaded fish fillets, stuffed tomatoes, crab cake filler, and zucchini au gratin casserole);
  • Bunches of red sorrel and red celery, plus three dog biscuits and two jalapeño peppers from Chesapeake's Choice;
  • A pound of bacon and a baked ham sandwich from Rohrer's (I started eating it before I even finished paying for it);
  • Jalapeño cheddar cheese from Caprikorn farms (I made mini pizzas with this on the flatbread this evening);
  • A quart of fingerling potatoes from Summer Creek Farm (I also got on Rick's mailing list for his CSA so I can share what he has fresh each week);
  • A pint of apricots (if you read this blog, you know I am addicted) and a pint of red raspberries from Scenic View.
  • I ate some Glade Link Farm blueberries from Jeanine's bag because I didn't get enough of them picking last weekend.
I saw some people carrying peaches from Scenic View. YUM! They are my next obsession after I finish the run of apricots. No jokes about my digestive system, please. It is fine. It loves fruit.



Friday, July 11, 2008

From Danny Rohrer, aka "Meat Man:

I did not get a mailing to Frederick this week. Here is a section of what went to Shepherdstown.

I realize that I haven't been writing much lately but here is something I have been wanting to tell you for some time. It falls under the category of sad, but true. The Farm bill expired last September and Congress kept passing extensions while their tried to write new legislation. Both houses finally agreed on new legislation on May 15, the day the last extension expired. The bill was something like 940 pages that was to have been sent to the White House. The President vetoed the bill and the House of Representatives quickly overrode the veto. About this time someone discovered that only about 900 pages of the bill was sent to the President, one entire title was missing! No one knew what to do. Do they have to start over? They finally decided that the Senate should override the portion that was sent to the President and that would become law. They would start over with the missing title and address it as supplemental legislation.

It has been some time since I have studied parliamentary procedure. But it seems to me that since the bill that was vetoed and then overridden was never voted on by Congress that it can not become law. But then, I'm just a poor, dumb farmer. Our highly paid elected officials and their hundreds of aids surely know better than me.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Saturday from Denver!

Our baker is working a wedding this week in Denver...lots and lots of cupcakes...but Cakes for Cause will still be at the Farmer's Market on Saturday with a limited selection. We will offer 4 types of scones, granola, our peanut butter crispy bars and toasted dry bread crumbs for those of you who missed out last week. Of course the weather forecast is hot and steamy so we'll have classic and strawberry lemonade. And who knows? Our volunteers may become inspired and have some special treats.

The Frederick Farmer's Market is located on Baughman's Lane (off Route 40, behind the Holiday Inn) and runs every Saturday between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Hope you can make it sometime this summer!



Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Granola with berries and yogurt

This is what I have been eating this week for breakfast.

  • Granola from CakesForCause (whole oats, rye flakes, almonds, honey, maple syrup and spices)
  • Blueberries picked from Glade-Link Farm
  • Raspberries from Scenic View Orchard
  • Blackberries from Jubilee Organic Farm
  • Plain yogurt
The berries are exceptional this year. They are big and delicious! We are having a good year for gardening/farming so far. No lack of rain for sure. All the items above can be purchased at the West Frederick Farmer's Market. I heard that Randy at South Mountain Creamery carries awesome yogurt. I will have to try his yogurt (I have been eating yogurt from Seven Stars Farm, PA). Come on out and join me in the line at the farmer's market!



Harvesting giant squashes

We all heard about the stories of squashes showing up at a door step, a gift from your friendly gardener neighbor. Well, if you are one of my friends who live close to me, you might have giant squashes show up at your door. I know, this shouldn't happen till late summer and it's only July and I am promoting squash recipes now in the blog. And I could make squash bread, squash frittata, miso soup with squash, etc. and fill this blog with more recipes on squashes. But wouldn't it be fun to have a squash show up at your door?

I forgot about them only for a few days. I have been making beer-batter fried squashes/stuffed blossoms so I thought things were under control. I had no clue these giants were growing under the squash jungle. Well, the orange one is an exception. That one is my first squash and I intentionally let it go so that I can

  1. figure out what kind of squash I have (these squash plants are volunteers from my previous compost file)
  2. collect the seeds if I liked the squash.
I still don't know what kind of squash it is, but it is quite tasty. I am going to collect the seeds, grow them again next year, and give the seeds out to friends who might be interested.

Let me see if anybody at craft night wants to take them home tonight. Otherwise, a few chosen neighbors might receive an unsolicited gift of organically home-grown goodies. You know, just for fun.



Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stuffed Squash Blossom

Dan came home after work on a weekday. We each started a bottle of beer and chatted a little. He went upstairs to change his clothes and didn't come back down. I went upstairs and found him asleep. I laid down next to him and fell asleep too. We were very tired. We both needed to empty out some of our thoughts and residues from the day. After about an hour, we woke up hungry.
What are we eating for dinner?
I don't know.
We didn't even finish our beers.
...! We can pick some squash blossoms, stuff them with goat cheese, make beer batter with the beer we didn't finish, and fry them up!

Now I was all excited about the idea of a squash blossom, that is a "stuffed and beer-batter fried" squash blossom. I went out to the garden and picked some young squashes and blossoms. Some squashes were so young they still had flowers attached to them. I also harvested first-of-the-season poblano peppers and a couple of basil leaves.

Preparation was simple. I cut the young squashes lengthwise. Cut the cap off the peppers and cut them lengthwise and removed seeds. For squash blossoms, I stuffed in about a teaspoon of creamy goat cheese from the Caprikorn farms. For poblano peppers, I put in small pieces of basil leaves and then placed a little bit of goat cheese too.

For the beer batter, I used

  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of stone-ground corn flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • two pinches of baking powder (about 1/2 tsp?)
  • 3/4 cup ~ 1 cup of beer to make the batter smooth and fluid
Dipped the prepped veggies into the batter and pan-fried them up! They were delicious! So tasty that Dan made it again this past Sunday.

This time, fingerling potatoes from Summer Creek joined the plate. The choice of cheese was Monterey Jack and we also used some breadcrumbs from CakesForCause for stuffing. Also for a couple of squash blossoms, I threw in a couple of blueberries that I just picked from Glade-Link Farm. Dan didn't cut his poblano peppers lengthwise before cooking. He cut it just before serving.

I told him that I don't want any fried food for a while. But looking at the photos while writing this post, I feel an urge that I should make this dish again, soon. I mean real soon!



Monday, July 7, 2008

Blueberry Picking at Glade-Link Farms: Legendary!

Yeon and I went to Glade-Link Farms this weekend to pick blueberries. The picture below shows row upon row of blueberry bushes. The weather was overcast and a little dreary (it rained as we were leaving) but somehow this seemed like perfect berry picking weather. We weighed our containers and then went into the fields to pick. The ecological restoration and monarch butterfly people in the crowd will be happy to learn that the blueberry fields are chock-full of milkweed. I meant to ask why, but I forgot. Some other pickers told me it was for pollenation of the blueberry plants.The blueberries this year are amazing- prolific, huge, and delicious. Some of the blueberries we picked were an inch in diameter. It's amazing how many blueberries were on each branch. They were stuffed with them. And speaking of being stuffed, I looked over at Yeon several times and saw her munching away. Yeon has conveniently eliminated all of the pictures of herself so you can't see it. but you can imagine it. We probably picked for 15 minutes and filled up most of our containers. I filled up a quart container and paid $5.03. All of my berries came from a single bush. It was awesome. The nice ladies below gave us permission to take their pictures at the weigh-in. I told them we were going to post them on our blog. Pay attention to the lady on the right because you are about to see the back of her car.This is what $106 worth of blueberries looks like. Enough to fill up the trunk of a car. Notice the banana. This woman and her family love fruit. I asked them what they were going to do with all the blueberries and they said, "Freeze them." Blueberries do freeze well. They are also great in smoothies- put frozen berries into a blender with yogurt, a banana and a little soy milk. Blend. Sweeten to taste. Moving on from the Blueberrymobile, we have some more happy customers. Glade-Link also sells sunflowers at the register. The three rectangular bins are Yeon's, and there is a round one behind it that is mine. Yeon's afraid she did not get enough blueberries. Me too! I gave some of mine to my friend Amy, used some to make a blueberry sauce (1/2 c water, 4 c blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp orange zest cooked at medium heat until berries are cooked into a chunky sauce) and hardly have any left for eating!Why not head on over to the blueberry fields for some fun picking? And remember not to wear anything that you will mind staining blue. Like my tan pants.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July and Farmer's Market

This weekend is a big one for local produce!

First, I had the 4th of July party yesterday at my new place. The crowd was a good mix; old friends, family, and new neighbor friends. A lot of the food was standard holiday favorites like devilled eggs and potato salad, hamburgers and hot dogs. There were also a few new standouts:

  • Caprese salad: Fresh-sliced tomatoes with fresh mozzarella (the kind that comes packed in water) and basil leaves, with balsamic vinegar glaze and olive oil drizzled on top with a little salt. This dish highlights the tomatoes, so it's best to make when the local ones are really fresh. I had one brandywine from my garden and a few hothouse ones from Scenic View. The basil was from a little stand at the Thursday farmer's market in Everedy Square on East Street. I picked up the mozzarella (homemade by my friend Juliet), balsamic glaze, and olive oil at Juliet's (also known as Vignola's Italian Market, on Church Street). You could just as easily use regular balsamic vinegar, but the glaze keeps its shape nicely. You can also make a glaze by reducing balsamic vinegar over medium low heat until it's syrupy.
  • Grilled vegetables: This is also super-easy. Slice your vegetables (I used squash and zucchini from Chesapeake's Choice, garlic scapes from the West Frederick Farmer's market, plus some eggplant and multicolor peppers from the store.) Toss with a dressing of your choice and make sure there is enough oil that your veggies will not stick to the grill. I tossed in a little canola oil with salt and then threw in some ginger and sesame teriyaki marinade. People kept asking me about the marinade, and look, I got it from a bottle. It's easy to make it though if you have some soy/tamari sauce and pineapple juice with fresh grated ginger and a little sesame seed oil. Note that grilled veggies are also great rolled up around a little wad of lemon-flavored ricotta.
  • Lime & peanut coleslaw: I used this recipe from 101 Cookbooks but modified it to include roasted almond slivers instead of peanuts. I also threw in a few of Yeon's tomatillos. Big hit. I made a huge bowl (double recipe) and there was nothing left. I also used cilantro from our gardens. Isn't that nice? I was planning to use my cherry tomatoes but the rain the night before split them. (Yeon reminds me that this salad has a strong lime and cilantro flavor that not everyone likes. The people who do like it are rabid about it.)
Yeon also brought over some gorgeous lettuce leaves for the burgers; three different varieties of perfect looking leaves.

And a note about the devilled eggs: I made them once for a picnic using my mother's recipe and my friends scarfed them. Both Elin and Yeon requested them again. My mother made four dozen for the Fourth. FOUR DOZEN. There were none left. I'll post a recipe here soon. Use local eggs but use older ones- they are easier to peel.

At the farmer's market today, I was in kind of a haze. I have so much leftover food and beer in my refrigerator that I did not spend my normal $40. I spent about $15 and got:
  • Cranberry-orange scone, chocolate croissant, and apricot cookie from Cakes for Cause
  • 1 cup of yogurt and a container of cheddar-horseradish cream cheese from South Mountain Creamery (ate some of the cream cheese on ciabatta toasts this afternoon- delicious).
  • Three dog cookies from Chesapeake's choice
  • a pint of apricots from Scenic View. I am obsessively in love with apricots.
I was very tempted to buy other things, like FRESH LOCAL CORN from Scenic View, blackberries, and snow peas from Summer Creek Farm, but I just couldn't do it. My fridge is too full!

The market is bursting with produce now. Don't miss it! And when you buy stuff, think of the poor people like myself whose refrigerators are full to bursting and can't enjoy any more goodness.



Thursday, July 3, 2008

JapChae: stir-fried vermicelli noodle with vegetables

I got three different kinds of summer squash from Nancy at the Chesapeake's choice farm stand, and am also harvesting my volunteer squash. I would like to share some of the recipes for these yummy, young squashes. The first in the summer squash series is a stir-fried noodle. It is a variation of JapChae, one of the most popular and well-known Korean dishes. There are some ingredients that might be new to you:

  • DangMyun: Vermicelli noodle. This one is made of 100% sweet potato starch, so it belongs to the cellophane noodle family. Cook the noodle in boiling water till tender about 10 min. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Dried Tree Ear Mushroom: This mushroom has a chewy texture with a rather bland flavor. They do look like ears once reconstituted in water.
  • Dried Shitake Mushroom: Very unique taste. Sometimes you can find them even fresh in a grocery-store. Any Asian grocery store will carry dried shitake mushroom. Two to three mushroom caps in water for 15 minutes.
You could use any noodle of your choice, and any combination of mushroom. In traditional JapChae, we use cooked beef (marinated in Bulgogi style, I am sure I will post about Bulgogi at some point) but I skipped it this time. For me, standard JapChae also has to have cooked spinach but I skipped this ingredient too. Instead, here are my line-ups:
  • Yellow Squash: from Nancy's farm stand. Julienned, sauteed with Shallot.
  • Cucumber: from Chris' Jubilee Organic farm. Julienned, sauteed just to take some water out.
  • Carrot:from Common Market. Julienned, sauteed with spring onion from Catoctin Mountain Orchard.
  • Eggs: made in crepe style then cut.
  • Poblano pepper: from my garden. Also julienned and sauteed.
Modern JapChae often features sweet peppers such as green pepper and/or red peppers. Basically if you are not worried about making "traditional" JapChae, pretty much any vegetable that can be stir-fried will do. You julienned them, saute them, and make sure season with salt and pepper for each item.

Now in a big stock pot or your paella pan or anything that is big enough to hold all the ingredients, put a little bit of veg oil, a little bit of sesame oil (Chinese/Korean/Japanese brand will do. Dark sesame oil, not the refined type), garlic, soy sauce and sugar. I don't know why but we make this noodle a little bit sweet. I tend to use a lot less sugar than other people, but it is really up to your preference. I add a bit of fish sauce, probably not very traditional but I do it anyway.
Cook the sauce and garlic a little bit, then on the low heat, introduce the cooked noodle to the pot, coat the noodle with the sauce. I don't measure when I cook Korean food because I adjust till I get what I am looking for. Just to give you a rough idea, I think I used about
  • 4 cups of cooked vermicelli
  • 2 TBS of soy sauce
  • 1 TBS of fish sauce
  • 1 TBS of dark sesame oil
  • 1 TBS of vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 TBS of sugar
Start with this measurements, and taste the noodle, add more stuff as needed. Season with salt and/or pepper. When noodle tastes good, add all the cooked vegetables and mix.

Decorated with egg and poblano pepper strips, this one is ready for me to eat! Sweet and tender yellow squash, crispy cucumber, yummy shitake with all the fixings built-in, this is a perfect one-pot meal for summer night.



Early harvests

Living in the city, with its heat island effect, has its advantage: early produce. I have harvested two brandywine tomatoes, a handful of sungold cherry tomatoes, and three romas so far this year. Yeon has already brought in half a pint of tomatillos. I have one brandywine tomato sitting on the counter that is begging to be in tomorrow's Fourth of July spectacular. Will it be tossed into a peanut-lime slaw? A caprese salad, with some luscious buffalo mozzarella and balsamic reduction? Sliced as the perfect accompaniment to burgers? I am spending way too much time waxing on a single tomato! I'm going to hit the farmer's market on East Street on my way home tonight and hopefully find it some friends. I'm going to get as much fresh stuff at the market today that I can; zucchini and squash will be grilled and tossed in a vinaigrette for a fresh summer treat. What else will I make? I don't know yet. I'll take pictures and share with you after the holiday.



Gardener's log 070308

This week I am planning to host a 4th of July event at my new place. I invited all of my friends and family, figuring that I am suffering from a slump in popularity due to a recent hiatus from hanging out with anyone (due to a horrible bout with asthma); however, almost everyone that I invited is planning to come. This is great news! It also means that I have to clean everything inside and outside of my house. If you have read any of my previous posts, you have already noted that this is not my forte.

Yesterday was weedpullingpalooza. The pigweed had to go, as its spines bit at me every day I walked by them on the path. My wheelbarrow is now heaping full of those evil vermicious things. But my garden is not. I also tore out massive clumps of bindweed yesterday. It was only semi-satisfying, as the stuff broke off at the ground surface and its roots gave me the raspberry. Just wait until it rains, and I'll get you. According to this source, bindweed's "cosmopolitan presence in many temperate climates has earned it 84 names in 29 different languages—most of those names are not kind." I was thinking of one yesterday- strangleweed. Can you come up with a better name? Leave me a comment. Needless to say, my old place had other weeds, but not these weeds, and I miss them. Wild strawberries are cake compared to this. If only I had known how lucky I was then...



Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Goat Cheese with Smoked Salmon on Oatmeal Bread

Last Saturday, I picked up a tub of creamy Goat Cheese (chèvre) from Alice at the Caprikorn Farms stand. After finishing blueberries from Glade-link Farm in one sitting, Dan and I made quick and simple sandwich for lunch.

  • A slice of rye bread or wholewheat oatmeal bread from CakesForCause
  • Good smear of creamy goat cheese (chèvre)
  • A snippet of fresh dill
  • One or two slices of smoked salmon
That's it! As Shannon noted in her simple but oh-so-delicious strawberry-chèvre-ciabatta sandwich, these take no time to make and they taste so wonderful. I also made goat cheese stuffed squash blossom following Alice's recipe card. Stay tuned for the recipe and photos!

* Note: I used dill from my herb garden. If you don't have your own herb pots or garden, Jubilee Organic Farm usually brings fresh cut dill to the market. Also, many vendors sell herb plants and you can start your own herb/kitchen garden using their seedlings. In many dishes, you just need a little bit of fresh herb, and it is so handy to have fresh herb plants sitting in your window sill/porch/backyard garden.

*Note 2: I am going to add some cucumber next time I make this sandwich. Mmm... is somebody drooling?



Fire up the's another week at the Frederick Farmer's Market with Cakes for Cause

If you haven't yet come out, the Farmer's Market is on Saturdays from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm. It's located on Baughman's Lane (off Route 40) behind the Holiday Inn in Frederick. I heard a rumor that there might be corn this week but no promises!

This week we'll be featuring our (now standard) cheddar chive cream scone as well as a cranberry orange butter scone. Both are great heated up in the oven for Sunday morning as are our chocolate and plain croissants. 350 degrees for 10 minutes crisps them back up to how they tasted fresh out of the oven. We'll also be experimenting with a whole wheat burger bun for your weekend celebrations. We'll have our oatmeal bread back this week...because of the increased humidity, it just wasn't up to our standards last week. And have you tried our strawberry lemonade? We now have a core group of lemonade professionals just waiting to shake it up for you!

We'll also be selling bags of dry bread crumbs. What to use them for you ask? Slather a little dijon mustard on a salmon fillet, press dried bread crumbs on top, saute crumb-side down, flip and you have crusted salmon to die for. You can also use them to bread the zucchini squash I saw at the market last week and either bake or fry a yummy side dish...when the tomatoes come out (or if you already have green tomatoes), you can do the same.

Don't forget, our baker is going to be in Denver doing a wedding cake next week. We will have a limited selection as a result--scones, granola, peanut butter crunch bars, and lemonade. She'll be back the following week though with your croissants and breads.

Your support has been great, we have sold out of our products every week and we have met so many interesting people that are willing to help us reach our goal. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

Cakes for Cause