Saturday, August 30, 2008

An Ode to McCutcheon's Blueberry Preserves

Two weekends ago, my family had a reunion at Doub's park in Hagerstown. It was a reunion for the Moore family, which includes all of the descendants of my Dad's parents, Kathleen and Urban Wendric Moore. Though my grandparents are deceased, their kids still get together several times a year to eat. The food is outrageous: fried chicken, jello salad, macaroni and cheese, slippery pot pie, pulled pork, green beans, baked beans, rice krispie treats, pasta salad; these are just some of the many foods there. In fact, in a long picnic pavilion, the food alone takes up the entire length: four picnic tables.

Every year at the reunion, we have an auction, where people bid on gift-wrapped mystery items brought by members of the family. This year I won a four-pack of McCutcheon's preserves. There was, of course, a strawberry. And a cherry. But the last two are my favorites:

"Triple Crown," is made with red raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. It is sweet and chunky and as delicious as it sounds. But my favorite of all time is the blueberry. The sweet, unctuous preserves are brimming with little blueberries. I imagine this would be the world's greatest accompaniment to cheese blintzes or pancakes. It would be great in muffins or in the layer of a cake. My old pal Gary Free used to work at the factory and his favorite preserve is the Damson Plum. So there are many favorites to be had. But for me, blueberry rules.

These are extraordinary preserves, but they are affordable, and that is the holy grail for food.

McCutcheon's has its factory in Frederick. They give tours. Sometimes a coupon for a free product is in one of the coupon mailers. Look for it and check out the place:, 1-800-888-7537


Friday, August 29, 2008

Cucumber Kimchi

While talking to Erland and Rieko at New Hope farm stand, I learned that Erland used to make and sell Kimchi in New York. He told me that he interviewed many old Korean ladies for a Kimchi recipe and they all told him different ones. I wholeheartedly agree that a Kimchi recipe isn't easy to obtain. There are probably millions of variations in making Kimchi. Even my mom couldn't tell me a "recipe" per se. The thing is that she doesn't really measure anything. She just knows how much to throw in and what to look for, from making Kimchi thousand times. And yes, Kimchi-making is an art.

Erland gave me 4 nice looking cucumbers and asked if I could make and bring some Oee Kimchi (오이 김치, Cucumber Kimchi) for him. It's been a while since I made Kimchi last time, but cucumber Kimchi is relatively easy, and I had garlic chives going wild in my garden, so I took the offer.

Cutting and salting the cucumbers
First, cut cucumbers 1.5 - 1.75 inches long log. Then you cut them lengthwise twice in a criss-cross pattern close to the bottom of the log, leaving about 1/8 - 1/4" inches of the bottom uncut. This style of cucumber Kimchi is called oee sobakee (오이 소박이) and takes more time and effort to make, but looks nicer. If you don't want to bother, just cut the log all the way into quarters so that you have wedge-looking cucumber pieces.
For four of ~11 inch long cucumbers, I used 1/4 cup of coarse sea salt and 1/2 cup of water and mixed them in a bowl. Let them rest for about 1 ~ 1.5 hour, till cucumber pieces are nicely salted and bendable. You might think that is a lot of salt, but once the cucumber pieces are salted, you throughly rinse them in cold water and drain.

Ingredients in the top row from the left:

  • cucumber pieces salted, rinsed, and drained.
  • sugar
  • salted shrimp: these are tiny tiny shrimps that are preserved in salt.
  • anchovy fish sauce: I am using a Korean brand fish sauce, but I was told Thai or Vietnamese brand works well too.
  • salt, which I didn't use other than salting the cucumbers.
  • cayenne pepper flakes: very important. If you are buying a bag of dried cayenne pepper from Asian grocery stores, make sure it is made within a year and has nice deep red color. It can be mild hot to very hot, but since you cannot taste it before you buy, and it would be more of a trial and error. I use one that my mom sends me and it has nice heat to it.
Ingredients on the cutting board
  • garlic chives: related to chives, but have flat leaves and a nice garlicky flavor. Essential ingredient in making oee sobakee.
  • scallions, garlic, ginger: three ingredients that show in almost all Korean recipes.
chopping and mixing the ingredients
  • garlic chives: cut into 0.75 inches. 1 cup.
  • scallions: chop them small. 1/2 cup.
  • ginger: very finely minced. 1/2 Tbsp.
  • garlic: very finely minced. 1 1/2 Tbsp.
  • cayenne pepper flakes: 5 Tbsp
  • sugar: 1 Tbsp
  • salted shrimp: 1 Tbsp
  • anchovy fish sauce: 1 Tbsp

Mix all up and now you are almost ready

Take the cucumber pieces and gently stuff into the filling you made. The filling is pretty hot and salty and thus you don't need much.

Unlike cabbage kimchi, cucumber kimchi doesn't last long. As it ferments, cucumber pieces become mushy and acidic too quickly. Keep it refrigerated and eat within a few days of making. This one is hot, spicy and cool at the same time. Definitely worth the effort.


Starting to Love Those Fall Mornings at the Farmer's Market!

Well, it doesn't look like fall yet but the mornings are feeling like it and that means only one more week until soda bread season! Chock full of apricots and currants with a hint of caraway, these loaves are perfect with morning coffee on the verandah (perfect if we have verandahs that is!). In the meantime, just to remind you of the summer that we're still in from the calendar's perspective, we'll have blackberry muffins this week at the Frederick Market. Fresh blackberries from our fair state in a moist, delicious muffin with a crunchy crumb topping that makes mornings that much sweeter. Don't forget to pick up some scones or croissants either. Chef Mark at L'Academie de Cuisine would be pleased to know that his recipe for hand-rolled croissants is so popular here in Frederick. As the holidays approach (let's not be in denial people), please consider having Cakes for Cause provide you with baked goods for your events, meetings or holiday dinners. We can custom-design desserts and pastries that work for you and we appreciate the opportunity.

If you didn't notice them hanging last week, check out the t-shirts that some of our volunteers are sporting this Saturday. We unveiled them officially at our volunteer appreciation picnic last Sunday but you can wear them too! The shirts are 100% cotton, retro designed and with one of our signature taglines on the back, "Everyone Deserves Dessert." These shirts are a great way you can support Cakes for Cause in the community. Hopefully people will ask you about us and you can share your experience with them. Only $20 and they're going fast so pick one up this week in Frederick.

You can get Cakes for Cause t-shirt swag and sweet treats at the Frederick Farmer's Market (Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Baughman's Lane behind the Holiday Inn) in addition to the best selection of artisan fruits/veggies, breads, and other specialties.

We need volunteers for both the Frederick Market and the Thursday Middletown Market. If the prospect of lemonade and baked goods doesn't interest you, we also have volunteer opportunities in several areas of organizational development. Click here if you're interested in volunteering with Cakes for Cause.

Cakes for Cause


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spaghetti Sauce Recipe from Gwen

Gwen brings blueberries, blackberries as well as beautiful flower bouquets to the farmer's market. I took this photo just before the market was open, and all the blackberries were gone when I stopped by later that day. We talked about summer bounties, which brought a topic of my failed (or unfinished) tomato sauce the day before. I told Gwen that I didn't remove the seeds from the tomatoes before I boiled them down, and that Dan got home and found the sauce with seeds and told me that no respectable Italian woman would put tomato seeds in her tomato sauce! Well, first I am not an Italian, and I did remove the skins - I just didn't want to lose yummy tomato water and stuff around the seeds. She laughed at my story and said, Yeon, you got it all wrong. Here is what you do.

Basic tomato sauce

  • Remove the core of tomatoes (you don't have to, she added) and cut tomatoes into quarters.
  • Boil and simmer the tomatoes till they still have some liquid.
  • Take your food mill out and run the sauce through to get the skins and seeds out.
Once you have this base, you can make spaghetti sauce.
  • 5 cups of home-made basic tomato sauce
  • 2 cans of tomato paste (each 8 oz, so you could use 1 16 oz can)
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce (each 8 oz)
  • garlic and onion (either fresh or dried)
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp of dried oregano
Mix them, bring to boil then simmer till it reduces to a desired consistency. Gwen says that she doesn't bother with canning and just freezes this sauce. When you thaw, the sauce becomes a little watery and you can pour off the extra water that collects on top of the sauce.
Gwen's mom adds browned meat or pepper or other vegetable to the sauce before freezing it. Gwen says she likes to freeze just the sauce because she uses it for many other dishes in addition to making spaghetti. She also adds that this sauce is great over cooked spaghetti squash.

The same afternoon Dan and I went out and bought a food mill. I know. This extra harvest from our backyard garden is costing us extra money to come up with all the gadgets, such as mandoline and now food mill. But we love kitchen gadgets and they are investments for cold and hard winter time! Dan removed the seeds from the tomato sauce with the food mill. The sauce tasted surprisingly complex. It had the condensed flavor of tomatoes but it had more than that. Home-made tomato sauce captures the flavors and essence of summer garden. We will rejoice the glory of summer in wintertime, eating a bowl of spaghetti with home-made tomato sauce.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mini tomato entrepreneurs, goodwill, and pride

When I was a kid, I'd load up my family's excess produce into a little red wagon with removable sides and sell it on the street. I remember someone stopped their car to buy tomatoes once and wanted to buy them by the pound. I said "this one is a quarter and that one is fifty cents." When they got disgusted and flustered because I didn't have a scale, let alone know how to use one, I said, "I don't know. I'm just a kid." They left. I remember thinking that the person was mean.

I used to take the same wagon (which I also used as a go-cart in death-defying rides down my neighbor's driveway into the street) to an older lady's house and give her vegetables *just to be nice*. I would pick out samples of the prettiest strawberries or tomatoes or zucchini and squash to share with her and drag that wheelie cart to her place across the street. I had my mother's approval, of course. Looking back at my mother's enslavement to canning she was probably sparing herself some agony. I felt like a million bucks. And the nice old lady across the street was happy.

I still give vegetables to old ladies; they appreciate them and the exchange still makes me feel awesome. Now I also am proud because I grew the darn things and they are tasty. My neighbor Edna loves my pineapple tomatoes and asks for them by name.

The mayor of some town closed down a kid's vegetable stand because it was operating without permits. It strikes me that we should be more afraid of food coming from factory farms next to porcine confined animal feeding operations; these places spread disease and lack a human element. But what do I know? I'm just a kid with a tomato stand who plays in the street.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Photos from the Farmer's Market

The Farmer's market is overflowing with the season's best vegetables, fruits and flowers. It is such a feast of colors, and the beautiful fresh bounty makes your heart beat fast with excitement. The photos below show only the vendors in the south row. I volunteered for Cakes for Cause on August 9 and 23 and thus had a limited time window to take photos. I will take more photos from the middle and north rows in coming weeks. Dan also has some photos from the previous markets and we will set up an album or a slide show once they are all compiled.

If you park next to the holiday cinemas and walk into the market, one of the first vendors you see is Shuck Pottery.
I bought a little green tea cup from Michael the other week. Do you have another one just like this one? I asked. No, I am sorry. I don't have one exactly like that one. In fact, I work very hard to make everything look different and unique, and believe it or not, it is pretty tough. He replied in smile.

Elin is wearing a new Cakes For Cause t-shirt. Behind her, you can see the freshly-baked croissants, scones, breads and others. Mike and Kate are working near a lemonade station.
I love the summery dresses and skirts that people wear to farmer's market. When this little girl ordered a strawberry lemonade, I had to take a picture. See her dress, her mom's dress and the lemonade all match!

Erland and Rieko of New Hope Farms sell oriental cucumbers which I love very much. This is the type of cucumber that I grew up with, and is crispy, its skin is never bitter, and extremely versatile. This week they surprised me with bags of microgreen! The only time I ate them was at Morimoto restaurant. If you are into salad green, definitely check this out.

I am always amazed at how many plants come out of the M & W Nursery van. They always bring beautiful trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.
Sarah and Lisa are very knowledgeable about plants and let you know where the plants like to be placed and what kind of care they require.

Jubilee Organic Farm offers the most variety of organic produce in the farmer's market and they are now at the full height of summer produce. Everything looks gorgeous. Did I mention that they bring excellent melons?
Look at the crates of melon stacked up. You can see Ruth is setting up a station where she will cup up melons so that we can sample them before we buy.

Nothing beats the corn crowd at Scenic View Orchards. And their sweet juicy peaches are so good that I have been eating and cooking two quarts to half peck of peaches every week! I am not even going to start the overwhelmingly long list of awesome produce they bring to the market. Just come and see it for yourself.

You face Chesapeake's Choice at the end of south row. Dave and Nancy's farm must be exploding with produce - I noticed that their stand has almost tripled in the size. The table got so long I had to take photos from the other angle.
These two photos don't even cover the dog biscuits and the huge tub of melons that they brought this week.

You know how a kid responds when you lift her and spin her around? She laughs high and shouts, "Let's do it again!" I feel the same way. Let's do it again! - I can hardly wait till this Saturday for another farmer's market.


Fun with houseguests

I've had houseguests for the past few days and I have really enjoyed them. One of the things we have spent a lot of time doing is cooking and hanging out in the kitchen.

I lucked out when I got the place that I live in; the people before me lived in the kitchen and they consumed the dining room to expand the kitchen. Though I sort of miss having a dining room, the kitchen is a great place to cook, socialize and eat. It's perfect for guests.

I cooked tofu enchiladas on their first night (made with tofu and cabbage but no cheese, because the son is lactose intolerant; I was wary but they were excellent with homemade tomatillo sauce). This morning I made tomato sauce with tomatoes from the garden for a future pasta dish. Tonight I am making vegetable soup with chicken stock and fresh vegetables from the farmer's market. We've eaten our weights in fresh tomatoes the past few days.

I love that my friends can walk by the vegetable garden and pick things to eat on the spot or for the evening meal. I also enjoyed going to the farmer's market with one of them yesterday, where we ran into other friends, stood in line for each other, and picked out choice veggies.

I got a beautiful fennel bulb from Chesapeake's Choice at the market yesterday. I almost put it in tonight's soup but my friend can't tolerate fennel. It doesn't taste like food to her. I understand because I feel the same way about other foods. Like most store-bought cakes, the frosting especially. My body just does not recognize that as food.

We've eaten outside in the backyard at the table under the dogwood tree and we've eaten in the kitchen around the island. Next up: a picnic and grilling of eggplants. I am really enjoying my houseguests.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Cakes for Cause Cupcake Postcard Contest Deadline This Friday!

Cakes for Cause Cupcake Postcard Contest Deadline... this FRIDAY, August 22nd!! We hope you've been working on your cupcake design for our next run of postcards. If you're an aspiring artist (or just like to draw cupcakes), consider submitting a drawing. If your design is chosen, you will receive credit on the back of the postcard and your design will be part of a limited edition run of our marketing postcards that we hand out to the public. The rules are simple: art submissions must include a cupcake and the words "Stirring the Spirit of Community". Submit your drawing on a standard sheet of paper and, if chosen, our graphics illustrators will work with you to shrink it down to postcard size. This contest is appropriate for all ages. Click here for a submission form (which must be included with your artwork). Have fun!

Last week at the market was super busy. Thanks to everyone who stopped by...sorry we didn't have time to chat for very long. This week we'll bring back our rosemary butter biscuits. These are slightly sweet biscuits infused with fresh rosemary. If you haven't tried them, you should...they're sublime. We'll also have our boule loaf with semolina and fresh rosemary and our herb dipping bread that is sprinkled with herbes de Provence (containing rosemary). Are you starting to sense a theme?

We have SWAG!

Something to look forward to for next week, we'll be unveiling our Cakes for Cause t-shirts on Sunday August 24th at one of our events. We've put together a funky shirt to reflect our fun and funky attitude. T-shirts will be available in men's and women's cuts and will cost $20. We think they'll sell fast so reserve your size at the market on Saturday.

Cakes for Cause


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Welcome Frederick News-Post readers!

Thanks to the Frederick News-Post for today's article about Community Supported Agriculture and recipes using local food! See this link for all of our recipes. Feel free to submit your own to or in the comment section. If you are a farmer, feel free to send us an email and we'll publish what you have fresh each week. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sweetest Watermelon Ever!

After running around chasing a tennis ball in the heat of late afternoon, I came home exhausted. My body was so hot it kept sweating even when I sat still on the chair by kitchen island. Dan offered me a glass of water. When he opened the door of the fridge to get more lime, I saw the round green guy with stripes and shouted! Let's eat the watermelon!!

Dan took it out and started slicing the melon. This watermelon is so ripe it cuts itself, he said. I bit into the slice and it was so full of water and so sweet. By the time I finished my share of slices, I cooled down and felt great.

This yellow/orange watermelon is from Jubilee Organic Farm. They grow excellent produce and I highly recommend their melons. I also recommend running around in the heat of summer (properly hydrate yourself) and then having a bite of the watermelon. You will be in heaven.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Creek Farm this week

Here's some snippets from Farmer Rick at Summer Creek Farm this week:

July is hectic since many of vegetable crops are coming in, especially tomatoes which are a major crop for us. Additionally we are harvesting our wheat. We plant about 20 ac of wheat at three separate locations. During wheat harvest this year my combine, which is the machine that harvests the wheat and separates the grain from the straw blew a tire. The cost of a tire for the combine was $1000.00 and $300.00 to have it installed. Since the machine was located in the field I have to call in a special truck that can lift the tire on the machine, as well as lift a 8 ton machine in the air. To say the least this was not a expense we had planned on. Once repaired wheat harvest proceeded and our crop is now in storage. It did get me thinking though with all the equipment on the farm we have over $10,000.00 invested in just tires!

We have also been very dry, our rainfall in May was perfect, over 4". In June and July our rainfall was 1.5" each month, well below needed. We have been working with irrigation to keep crops growing well.

Recent cold weather has slowed tomato ripening but is excellent for beans. You should see beans, tomatoes and peppers [this week].


Saturday, August 16, 2008

What 40$ will get you at the farmer's market

Thank goodness I made it to the Farmer's Market today; I was suffering from withdrawal. I got there around 11 and made a beeline for Cakes for Cause. Sadly, they were already out of lemon ginger scones. Here's what 40$ got me at the farmer's market today:

  • 2 cheddar chive scones, 2 chocolate croissants and a rye ciabatta from Cakes For Cause
  • 3 doggie biscuits and a nice big eggplant from Chesapeake's choice
  • a package of Canadian bacon and a ham salad sandwich from Rohrer's meats
  • a round of goat's milk baby Swiss from Caprikorn farms (new product!)
  • two containers of yogurt and a big ball of fresh mozzarella from South Mountain Creamery
  • a quart of peaches from Scenic View Orchards
I just could not bring myself to buy any more produce due to the tomato and tomatillo harvest that is overflowing in my yard. But the market was loaded. I noticed blackberries, corn, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and all sorts of gorgeous fresh produce. It's worth going to the market right now just to feast the eyes. The heirloom tomatoes are especially beautiful; I saw brandywines, pineapples, green zebras, multicolored cherries...but the coolest tomato I saw today by far was the multicolored Roma that was at Summer Creek Farm. It was marbled yellow, red, and green with a metallic marble thrown in. I don't know how nature managed to make a metallic color on a tomato but it was truly the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen.

Right now I am roasting San Marzano paste tomatoes in the oven with oregano and basil to make fresh pizza sauce. They will be wonderful with the fresh mozzarella. And I think I am going to make a peach berry cobbler for the family reunion tomorrow...


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Christmas Lima Beans

I was out of town for a week and when I came back home, my backyard garden looked colorful. Tomatoes have been ripening adding warm yellow, orange and red colors to the garden. Some of them didn't wait for me and just fell to the ground. Two of my squash plants died while I was away. I meant to catch all the squash bugs and clear out the eggs from those plants, but I just didn't have time to get to it. Things are a little out of control these days.

I have been catching and killing lots and lots of harlequin bugs and their eggs. They love my kale plants. Striped cucumber beetles and flea beetles are almost impossible to catch. Bean plants have been pretty much care-free, but now I see holes here and there and some leaves are turning yellow. While doing the health check-up of the bean plants, I noticed some of the pods were turning yellow. When I opened them up, there were beans inside!

After reading the inspirational "Animal, Vegetables and Miracle: A Year of Food Life" by Barbara Kingsolver, I decided to grow christmas lima beans. Since this is my first time growing any kind of lima beans, I wasn't sure when to harvest these. So I took yellowish green to dry yellow pods and opened them up. You can see from the photo that the maroon colors get deeper as the pods turn yellower and the beans get drier. If they dry too much in the pods, the beans got split in the middle. I need to remember to harvest them before they get too dry.

The fresh ones in the upper row would be perfect for sauteing, or throwing in a risotto. Maybe I will have enough beans left for winter time. Let's hope that all the bugs don't eat up my bean plants.


Frederick Farmer's Market...THE place to be!

They told us that corn season would be crazy and they were right! Cakes for Cause has had a phenomenal season so far at the Frederick Farmer's Market (on Baughman's Lane behind the Holiday Inn) on Saturday mornings. Thank you so much for all your support for our products, our mission, and our cause. We're looking forward to the remainder of the season and it's never too early to talk about some special products for when the weather starts to turn to fall. Our toasted bread crumbs are a perfect topping for casserole season. Made from a combination of several types of bread, these dried crumbs go great with salads, as a coating for crabcakes or fried veggies, and can be frozen for use later in the fall. We have recipes to give you ideas and are happy to share them with you.

Our almond granola sold out last week in Middletown and Frederick. Many of you ask us why we don't put dried fruit into the bags and it's because it dries out the fruit and makes the granola soggy. Put your dried cherries, blueberries, or raisins into the granola right before serving. And remember, our granola can be purchased in quantity and we can adjust the spices or add flavor to your specifications (candied ginger is a great addition!). If you purchase 2 or more pounds, we offer a volume discount.

This week we will have coconut scones in addition to our lemon ginger butter scones and if our baker gets her large orders in order, we may also have cranberry orange cream scones to add to the ever-popular cheddar chive scones in our jars. We will also have rosemary sage crackers. These are perfect spread with the chevre sold at the market or perhaps a tomato salsa, made with some heirlooms. A customer told us that our focaccia was great in a panzanella bread salad with fresh tomatoes, basil and a fruity olive oil...let it stand all day for the flavors to really soak into the bread.

It certainly feels like it this week and we all know that fall is coming. One of our upcoming products will be loaves of soda bread. Now we know there are traditionalists out there who don't want to mess with their favorite recipe and we also know that some people have been traumatized by soda bread in the past but our loaves are moist and filled with dried apricots, currants, and caraway seeds. They keep for up to a week and are perfect with your coffee or tea on a crisp, early fall morning and are great slathered with butter and served with dinner. They will be available starting in September at the Market and are available now by special order.

See you on Saturday!

Cakes for Cause


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Flavors of August

Tim makes awesome chocolate truffles and he changes the flavors every month. On August 2nd farmer's market, I was excited to find his August Flavors:

  • Milk/Blueberry (40.5 %)
  • Dark (58.5 %)
  • Dark/Peach (58.5 %)
  • Dark/Bacon (58.5%)
Can you believe that he made dark chocolate truffle with bacon??!! I got dark/peach the first week, which I cut into quarters and shared with Dan and next-door neighbors. This one is really , really good. Last week I got milk/blueberry which we plan to taste tonight. You can tell I have been saving the dark/bacon. I am going to get one this Saturday. Feeling adventurous? Get one for yourself and let me know what you think!



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stuffed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato juice...

Tomatoes are hee-eeere. The great thing about tomatoes is that they are useful in bazillions of preparations. Here's the top ten ways to go through the tons of tomatoes in your garden:

10. Salsa. My friends Dij and Henry Malin let me can salsa with them when I was in high school and it was the best salsa I ever ate. I asked for the recipe but Henry wouldn't give it up. When he passed away, I asked Dij and she gave it to me. No, I am not going to share their salsa recipe. You'll have to get your own. Bonus: Get rid of jalapenos and onions too!

9. "Sundried" tomatoes. Anything that takes 50 huge tomatoes and turns them into something that will fit in a ziploc bag is a miracle. Want to know why "sundried" is in quotes? Because the climate around here is normally too humid to dry tomatoes. Halve romas, remove stems, seeds and liquid. Put wet side up on a baking dish sprayed with oil and dry in the oven at 140 degrees F for 6-12 hours until the squishy parts have dried up- tomatoes should not look burnt. Or put the trays in your car in a hot sun- supposedly this works but I bet your car smells like tomatoes forever.

8. Tomato juice. Because nothing says Bloody Mary like fresh tomato juice. Here's a recipe for tomato juice.

7. Tomato water. Because you are too fancy for tomato juice and want to make tomato water martinis. You yuppie.

6. Tomato sauce: Paste tomatoes are best for this because they cook up better but you can use any kind of tomato. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 2 minutes. Squeeze tomatoes out of their skins into a saucepan and simmer for an hour. Simmer long enough and you'll make tomato paste. Of course normal people add seasoning or sauteed onions and peppers. But plain tomato sauce is the primordial ooze from which a lot of other foods evolve.

5. If you have a lot of tomatoes, you can try canning. Mwah hahhahahaa. Canned tomatoes are great in stewed tomatoes. To make stewed tomatoes: Empty a jar of canned tomatoes into a pan. Add a few tablespoons sugar and stir. Push a few slices of bread into the liquid. Don't stir. Heat. Eat. It's old-timey and kind of gross but delicious with mac 'n' cheese.

4. Potluck! A nice tray of fresh-sliced tomatoes, especially pretty heirlooms, is totally gorgeous and a great way to dump a load of tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. I keep seeing "heirloom tomatoes" as a first course at the restaurants around here and let me tell you, that's not a lot of tomatoes for 8 bucks. Go fancy and add fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar to make Caprese salad.

3. Stuffed tomatoes. Get extra points if you stuff them with tomato product. Example: rice mixed with tomato sauce and peppers.

2. Hey neighbors! Who left that basket full of tomatoes on your porch? I'll never tell.

1. Throw them at bad performers. This is a classic use of tomatoes that unfortunately involves "wasting food," which is a cardinal sin in my family punishable by being forced to eat more tomatoes. So wait until they rot and then throw them.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grilled peppers and pimento cheese

People from up North think Maryland is part of the South, but it's not. If it were, we'd have Piggly Wiggly stores and pimento cheese.

I grew pimentos this summer and was trying to figure out what to do with them. It seemed like no matter what I typed into Google, "fresh pimentos" or "whole pimentos" or "pimento recipe," I always got a recipe for pimento cheese. Turns out, Pimento cheese is beyond huge in the South but we haven't even heard of it up here.

Pimento cheese is a spread made with, at its most basic, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and canned pimentos; its most classic presentation is on white bread, cold, with the crusts cut off. I know it sounds gross but keep reading. You can put it on anything: grilled cheese, baked potatoes, cauliflower, grits, celery, crackers... I can understand the Southern obsession with this concoction because I got hooked on horseradish cheddar cream cheese from South Mountain Creamery and now can not live without it. It's in the same fine family of foodstuff.

The recipe below is modified from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Use fresh grilled red peppers or pimentos instead of canned because it's summer! (to grill peppers: grill peppers until skins have black spots. Put in paper bag and close bag to allow peppers to sweat. Rub skins off. Cut off stems and slice open to remove seeds. Grilled peppers are great in lots of things, so you might want to make extra).

Pimento Cheese

  • 1 lb grated cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 4 grilled pimentos or 2 large grilled red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
  • i Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared mustard

Blend cheddar cheese and 3/4 of peppers together in a food processor (some recipes leave everything chunky). Add mayo and remaining ingredients. Blend. Add in rest of pimento by hand to make it pretty and don't process.

Makes enough for a family reunion.


Mom's Apple Dumplings- plus a story!

I could not mention apple dumplings in my last post and not give the recipe. That would be rude. But first a story.

I was on my way to visit my parents for apple dumplings yesterday and stopped at my Aunt Irene and Uncle Buddy's house. Irene told me to tease my mom for not inviting them and Uncle Buddy told me this story:

Back when they lived on the farm on 7th street (which is now Safeway) and Buddy was less than two years old, his mother made apple dumplings. Buddy was excited. He put cinnamon and sugar on his dumpling, poured milk on it, and bit into it. That's when he discovered it was a potato. For years afterwards, when he least expected it, his mother would give him a potato dumpling instead of an apple one. A few years ago, he and some of his siblings were sitting around my grandmother in the hospital. She had gone into a semi-comatose state. Uncle Buddy was telling the story. Suddenly, Grandmother piped up and said, "It was your father's idea! He made me do it!"

Grandmother made a boiled dumpling, which the old timers swear is delicious. I'll take their word for it. This dumpling recipe from my mother is baked. The apple has a crispy covering of pie dough and sits in a cinnamon caramel sauce. I think the recipe might be from her grandmother. When we eat apple dumplings, we have them for dinner. That's just how it is.

Mom's Apple Dumplings


  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (for a vegan dumpling use margarine)
Combine sugar, water and spices together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the butter. Set aside.

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening or butter
  • 1/2 c milk (for a vegan dumpling use another kind of milk)
  • 6 apples, pared and cored
  • extra butter, sugar and nutmeg
Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Add milk all at once and stir until the flour is just moist. Roll dough to 1/8" or 1/4". Cut into 6" squares. Put whole apple in center of each dough square. Put chunk of butter in core hole, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold dough around apple. Pinch edges together. Pour 1/4 syrup in pan to wet bottom. Add wrapped apples. Pour rest of syrup over apples, sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45-50 minutes. Tops will be dark brown.


Harbaugh's farm stand

I could not make it to the farmer's market yesterday because I was trying to get my glasses fixed. This was too bad because I was hoping to get some jalapeño cheddar from Caprikorn farms to take back to my friend Gill at Market on Market for her to try. Market on Market is a little fancy food store on Market Street in Frederick. It's a great place for gifts, but more than that, the food there is outstanding. They carry fresh bread (the baguette is opalescent inside, it's so good) and delicious cheeses. They also make fresh Italian coffee. This place strikes me as a little known secret and is worth a splurge for something special.

Anyway, I missed the Farmer's Market yesterday and that was sad. Especially since my glasses are worse than when I took them to the shop. To make up for missing the market, I stopped by Harbaugh's (on my way to have apple dumplings with my parents) and picked up some fresh produce. Here is what I got for $5:

  • 1 round yellow seedless watermelon
  • 1 small French cantaloupe
  • 1 sweet long italian pepper
  • 1 long japanese-style eggplant
How to get to Harbaugh's: take 15 N to Thurmont from Frederick. Take the 550 Exit (N or West- left at the exit) Go up 550 for a long ways through the mountains. It's a pretty drive along Owens creek with a number of good fishing spots. (You'll see the shop for Scenic View on the right too) When you get into Sabillasville you will see a church on the right and the road will take an abrupt left. Just before the turn there is an entrance to Harbaugh Road just past the cemetery on the right. Take Harbaugh Road. Go a little over a mile and you'll see Harbaugh's on the right. They are open 10-6 on weekdays and 10-5 on weekends. You can also call them at 301.241.3032 for more info.

Harbaugh's also has cheap perennials, trees, and greenhouse plants. The prices are good and the quality is good. Enjoy!


Friday, August 8, 2008

Rohrer's Meats Email of the Week

Greetings from the farm. What a difference a year makes. Last year it never rained. This year we can't get enough sunny days to get hay dry enough to bale. Last year it was so dry nothing would grow. This year everything is growing like crazy. Last year we harvested a good wheat crop, high quality hay but very little of it, a pathetic corn crop, and it was too dry to even plant my soy beans. The quality of this year's wheat crop is too poor to be sold for flour so it will be ground for animal feed, there is a lot of hay but not much of it is high quality, but the corn and soy beans look better than they have in several years. Such is life on the farm. No two years are ever alike. And such is life for the farmer, he is never satisfied with how things turn out.

This is national farm market week. The foods we get at the grocery store have traveled an average of 1500 miles before we buy them. Many of the fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe so they can withstand the rigors of travel and handling. Most of the meats and eggs were produced in assembly line fashion. While at your local farmers market the fruits and vegetables are picked at peak flavor and grown on farms in the immediate area. My meats and eggs come from humanely grown animals and are the freshest you will find. And when purchasing from your local grower, the money stays in the community and is spent several times before it eventually reaches the multinational corporations who could less about your local neighborhood. Also, when purchasing from the grower, the farmer gets to keep a larger percentage of the food dollar by cutting out the middleman and not having to pay shipping cross country. The farm is the only business I am aware of where we buy retail, sell wholesale, and pay the freight both ways. By helping to keep local farms profitable, it is more likely that the farmer will remain on the land. That will cut down on development and help maintain our scenic beauty. With all of these benefits coming from shopping at your local farmers market or farm stand, how can you resist?

This week at the market I will have veal, not the kind you find in the grocery store, but red veal from a calf that had a quality life. It was allowed to travel with and nurse it's mother as well as having access to green grass and a creep feeder full of all the grain the calf cared to eat. Veal cuts will include scallopini, cutlets, cubes, boneless shoulder roasts, short ribs, brisket, and ground veal. Lamb cuts will include buttrerflied leg, boneless shoulder, shanks, sausage, ground lamb, racks, loin chops, rib chops, and arm chops. Pork will include boneless butts, boneless loin roasts, pork chops, ribs, bacon, smoked ham steaks, and country ham slices. Sausage flavors are country, hot Italian, sage, mild Italian, applewurst, maple, and bratwurst. There will also be all three flavors of pulled pork barbecue. Beef will include strip, ribeye, porterhouse, T-bone, skirt, flank, and sirloin steaks; sirloin tip, eye round, and boneless chuck roasts; short ribs, ground round, kabob cubes, and beef patties. I will also have jellies and eggs. Have a good week and I will see you at the market.

Rohrer's Meats


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer Creek Farm has tomatoes and plums

Summer Creek Farm's letter to its community supported agriculture (CSA) members this week mentions roma tomatoes and plums. 20 lb boxes of organic tomato seconds are $25; contact farmer Rick at if you are interested.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cakes for Cause weekly email

Welcome to August!

Cakes for Cause has lots of news this week. We're going to be adding the Middletown Farmer's Market to our repertoire on Thursday afternoons. This Market operates from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Route 17 (just off Alt Route 40) in downtown Middletown. We'll have slightly different products (same high quality) on Thursdays so if you find yourself in Middletown, stop by and see us. This week in Frederick (Saturdays 10:00-1:00, on Baughman's Lane behind the Holiday Inn), we'll have our newly popular crumb yums and cinnamon sure to let us know if you need them in quantity...lemon ginger and cheddar chive scones, butter croissants, pain au chocolate, and assorted artisanal breads and crackers. If there's something that you'd like to purchase from us that we don't regularly carry, please ask us and we can probably arrange a special order for you. We also do celebration cakes, special events, box lunches, and breakfast baskets so if your workplace has a meeting or you have an event, we can help.

Cakes for Cause still needs volunteers through the remainder of the Market season and beyond. Volunteers help us staff our booth at both markets, they help us with baking and preparation, and they help us with putting together a strong and viable non-profit organization. If you have a skill you'd like to share or if you'd like to learn a new skill, please contact us about volunteer opportunities with Cakes for Cause. Fill out our information form and receive more information.

Don't forget the Cakes for Cause cupcake art contest. We're looking for a new postcard for our marketing materials and you could design it! The deadline is Friday August 22nd by mail or email and we'll announce the winner by September 10th. The winning artist will have their name printed on the back of our limited edition run of 500 postcards and will receive 25 postcards for their own distribution. Once our retail space opens in the spring, the winning postcard will become part of an art installation in our café. This contest is appropriate for all ages. Click here for a registration form.

Finally, we hope you enjoy the Cakes for Cause products at the market(s) and at our events in the community and we appreciate your repeat business every week but it's also important for us to remember why we started this venture in the first place. Children in our community age out of foster care every year with limited family support and limited options. Cakes for Cause is a program that is designed to teach these youth job skills, life skills, and how to internalize change so they have a future...whether it's in culinary arts or in another field.


New online farmer's market for Maryland

Maryland has a new online farmer's market! Those of you who read this blog already know about the West Frederick Farmer's Market but perhaps you want to check out some more markets. Or you are travelling in-state and want to see if there is one near your staycation destination (Sykesville Farmer's Market: Every Thursday 3pm-7pm. South Branch Park, located off Rt 32 on W. Friendship Road at the end of Main Street Sykesville, near Baldwins Restaurant). Looking to buy honey or goat sausage or okra? Then what are you waiting for?

The website also allows producers to advertise their products and find farmer's markets where they can sell. The Restaurant Association of Maryland is one of the site's members. Does your favorite restaurant use local produce when in season? Let them know about this site!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Letter from Nancy, Chesapeake's Choice

Photo by Dave and Nancy Weiss
This chick and hen are the breed that lay green eggs. The hen shared a stall with 2 goats while incubating her egg. Once the chick hatched, the duo share a watering trough with a 2000 lb draft horse.

This week at the market I will have Heirloom tomatoes: Brandywine, Oxheart, Green Zebra, and Moscovich.

See you Saturday!




You Make a Difference

Hello and thank you for your continued support of Cakes for Cause. You, as volunteers, customers, friends, and new friends have been instrumental in getting us to where we are after only 7 short months. However, we have a long way to go though and so this week our email is an appeal for your support.

The Mission of Cakes for Cause is to provide real work experience and skills to youth who are being served in public housing or who are in foster care or have aged out of foster care in Maryland. Cakes for Cause will operate a commercial bakery/café, which provides jobs and training to these youth and empowers them to pursue a career in the hospitality and restaurant industry.

Clearly you have gotten to know us and the quality of our products and the professionalism of our volunteers at the Frederick Farmer's Market in the past couple of months. Many of you have contracted with us for private events and it is our retail sales that make us unique as a non-profit organization. But commercial revenue is only a part of our overall revenue each year. We have been generously funded for half of our $500,000 budget for the first year by the Housing Authority and the City of Frederick. The remainder of our operating funds...the funds necessary to support our curriculum and our students in raised through retail sales, foundation grants, state and federal funds, fees for service and individual and corporate donations.

Our volunteers are working hard to implement a curriculum that will ensure our ability to provide services to the youth in our program for many years beyond our first year. Our planned outcomes for these youth are simple but significant:

  • Increased ability to earn wages and income: 60% of Cakes for Cause participants will experience hourly wage and earning increases.
  • Increased ability to access and retain employment: 50% of our participants will experience higher rates of employment after 8 months of experience in the Cakes for Cause program; 75% of participants will experience an increase in hours worked per week. Our curriculum includes a significant portion of time devoted to areas such as interview appearance and strategies, development of "soft" skills (time management, teamwork, and self-motivation), and conflict resolution in a workplace setting.
  • Improvement in "quality of life" areas: 25% of Cakes for Cause apprentices will experience improvements in access to employer-provided benefits programs; 25% of participants will experience higher ownership rates for assets such as automobiles and access to better standards of living, including ability to pay more for rent or to obtain housing; and 60% of participants will report higher job satisfaction than they previously experienced.
Your financial support helps us realize these goals. Please take this opportunity to make a tax-deductible contribution to Cakes for Cause. It's as easy as clicking here to donate online where you will be directed to our fund at the Community Foundation of Frederick (write "The Cakes for Cause Fund" on the memo/notes line) or you may mail a contribution directly to us at P.O. Box 3452, Frederick Maryland, 21705. Thank you.

If you've enjoyed our food, we're at the Frederick Farmer's Market on Saturdays every week (10:00 am to 1:00 pm, off Route 40 at Baughman's Lane, behind the Holiday Inn). We accept pre-orders and special orders for all of our baked goods at the market but if you can't make it, email us and let us know how we can make your event special. All of the proceeds from our retail sales go back into the non-profit organization.

Thank you so much for all your support.