Saturday, September 27, 2008


The first day of autumn is here and boy, are we ready for cool, crisp evenings, changing colors and dark mornings. Wait...rewind, it's harder to wake up when it's dark outside! Unless you have a cup of hot coffee and a scone to help you get going in the morning. Saturdays at the Frederick Farmer's Market (10:00-1:00 on Baughman's Lane behind the Quality Inn) and the Cakes for Cause booth can help. Fresh croissants, scones, and breads each week to get you energized for the coming cold months...shoot us an email if you're going to be late to the market and we'll hold your treats for you. If you haven't yet tried the soda bread, it's a winner for breakfast or for dinner. Our shortbread bites are a favorite as well-melt in your mouth deliciousness. They're also perfect for a holiday cookie tray and we take orders for your parties, office functions, and holiday dinners.

 Our holiday fundraiser started early and is going strong so far but we do still have boxes of cookies available to order. If you're of the cookie-decorating bent, we can help with that. Our holiday fundraiser is sales of pre-rolled and cut gingerbread and sugar cookie boys and girls. All you have to do is slide them in the oven and bake them off...decorating is up to you. These are mouthwatering gingerbread and sugar cookies, created in small batches, just like all our pastries. They make great gifts...just tie a ribbon around the box. Each box contains 2 ½ dozen raw, frozen cookies and will be delivered at several sites in the area in the first weeks of December. Just $ us to help you make the holidays less stressful this year.

There's lots of ways you can support Cakes for Cause. We are always looking for volunteers and we have several opportunities available. Click here if you're interested in volunteering. We'd like to remind you that all the proceeds from our retail sales, from donations, and from our fundraising events go to support the mission of our organization. Your financial contributions help us to provide job training, community development, and life skills training to youth who have been in the foster care system. We will teach these youth practical vocational skills and critical life skills that will help them obtain and maintain employment into adulthood. If you'd like to make a tax-deductible contribution, you may mail it to Cakes for Cause, PO Box 3452, Frederick, MD 21705 (please be patient with us, we're setting up our online donations site now). Thank you for your generous support to our organization.

Cakes for Cause


Pawpaw update

As I reported earlier, the pawpaws are ripe RIGHT NOW. I finally had a ripe one yesterday, and I can honestly say it was one of the best fruits I have ever eaten. Ripe, the pawpaws are green with black spots and they feel like an avocado from the outside. Inside, the flesh is white-yellow. But the taste...

The taste is like a combination of banana and papaya. The texture is firm but custardy, also like an avocado. The skin is really thin. I just cut the fruit in half and scooped the flesh out with my teeth. I have a thing for cherimoyas so it should be no surprise that I like their cousin, the pawpaw. How exciting that a native fruit is this delicious! This tropical!

My friend Jen, the doyenne of pawpaws, thinks they would be good in a pina colada. Yum!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Update from Farmer Rick at Summer Creek Farm

Here is a copy of Farmer Rick's most recent post to his CSA members...

Hi All, This is the last week of the summer 2008 CSA. Your box is very full this week to catch up from the light boxes early in the season. You have sweet potatoes and fingerling potatoes in this box. That along with the hard squash will let some of the stuff keep till next week to reduce your CSA withdrawl. Additionally you have green tomatoes. You can either use them for Fried Green Tomatoes or place them on your counter to ripen for red tomatoes next week. Additionally you received peppers and several other items.

For those of you joining us for the fall I need to clarify some fall details. Our pickups will be as follows:

Urbana, same place, 4:30 pm -6pm pick up time but the day will move to Wed.Frederick Wed pickup, will remain the same as the summer CSA.Creagerstown, TBD depending on sign ups.Frederick Saturday - will remain the same as summer CSA.I need all payments by September 29 so we know how many boxes to pack.

You all will receive an email pertaining to bonus produce you can pick up from us at the Farmers Market in Frederick on Saturday in October, once Broccoli and pumpkins are you we will have some for you. This is for all summer members to say thanks for a great season.

2009, we are working on the 2009 plans right now. We have received a lot of requests already and some things will change from 2008. We will be taking sign ups sooner this year. All members of 2008 will get first notice for 2009. I also am planning a web site overhaul this winter so check that over the winter to see what is going on at the farm.

Finally some thoughts, first let me thank you for helping make our farm successful in 2008. Me and my family (plus 150 chickens, 240 peeps, 120,000 bees and one lazy dog too) thank you. As I am sure you all know we work very hard to bring you fresh produce. Our farm employed 7 people this year, providing them some income but more importantly an education of real life issues. For young people used to video games this is a very different experience.

Farming is something you do because you love it, not because it makes a lot of money. From June to the end of September I call it the gauntlet. Once you enter that season your time is consumed but many items, some more important than others. All items need to be done to keep the crops growing and a steady stream of produce for our CSA and farmers markets. Most of our income is made during this season so while winter is a time to plan, rest, repair all our broken equipment it is also a time of little income. This adds pressure to make the summer even more successful. The CSA is an important way for us to get our season started. We need about $10,000 each year to start the farm. This buys seed, fertilizer, parts and equipment. It also helps to pay for spring labor before we get income from sales. We thank you for that support.

The gauntlet is also tough on friends and relatives. It is hard for people not in farming to understand why no time is available for much else during this time. Many items seem like they could wait but experience teaches me that not performing them would lead to serious financial issues later. With one eye on the weather and one on the calendar we try to fit to many items in a day. These stresses may be why farming as an occupation is listed in the top 10 on both divorce and suicide. Each year I try to plan more ways to grow more in less time for time is the most precious resource I have. Some day I hope to find that magic solution.

Farming does have many benefits that you will not see in a normal job however. The wonder of harvesting boxes of tomatoes from one seed. The feeling of watching grain pour out of the augers as a roaring combine cuts a swath through a field of grain. Nothing is more beautiful than the sparkle of clear water rushing from an irrigation port on a bright sunny day. The sparkle of that water on a hot day quenching a drought is better than diamonds. Of course working on the farm we learn to appreciate the little things in a complicated world. The value of a gentle breeze, the sight of bees pollinating a crop and feel of healthy soil sifting through your hands. All of these won't make the evening news but all help put food on the table at night.

Our world is currently changing. With energy no longer cheap and growing economies around the world demanding more food the farmer is more important ever. We hope that you all stay abreast of the issues in the world for they will effect your food supply and costs. Food is the most basic of needs and it is
often taken for granted. Something so valuable should not be taking so lightly.

Thanks again and we hope to see many of you back next season.

Farmer Rick


Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's pawpaw season!

Today I visited a friend who happened to have a bag of pawpaws that she recently picked in a wild area along a local stream. I had never tasted one before, so she sent me home with a few. I wasted no time cutting one open and tasting it for myself.

The fruit was partly ripe and partly rotten. I cut the rotten, brown part off and dug into the yellow-orange flesh, which had a tropical sweetness and a banana-like texture. It was delicious. The huge seeds were easy to eat around. The fruit looked something like a cherimoya (which is in the same family), which I loved when I lived in California. The pawpaw fruit was about 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. It was green on one side and black on the other (the black side was rotten). I found the picture above at slow food international. The fruit looked very similar except the flesh was pencil-colored. For more information about the pawpaw, check out wikipedia and Virginia Tech websites.

Now is the time to harvest these local, native fruits. You can pick them and eat them yourself, or you can give them to Growing Native. Growing Native is a local project that collects native tree seeds and sends them to state tree nurseries to grow for environmental restoration.

Here's a recipe for pawpaw and black walnut cookies from the University of Kentucky website. Black walnut is also a native tree; it is dropping its delicious, edible nuts now. They are similar to English walnuts, but have a strong, distinctive flavor that is a little bitter.

Pawpaw Cookies with Black Walnuts

  • ¾ c. pureed pawpaw pulp
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ c. butter
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c. black walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350o F and grease one large cookie sheet. Peel and seed fresh pawpaws and process in a food processor until fine. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg. Add the flour mixture and then add the pawpaw pulp. Chop half the nuts (reserve 16 pieces) and blend them in. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet and press a piece of black walnut onto the top of each cookie. Bake 12 minutes or until brown across the top. Makes about 16 cookies.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Recipes from Organic Valley

I received an email letter from organic valley and saw this article. It is time to cook fall vegetables!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Coffee buzz anyone?

Ok, so last week wasn't the best coffee weather but it's coming! Cakes for Cause has started carrying hot and cold coffee provided by Café Nola. This is a dark and rich roast that's perfect as you walk around to the vendors at the Farmer's Market. Come to think of it, it's perfect with one of our fresh, traditional croissants or pain au chocolate too! For the afternoon part of the market, when it gets warmer, we also have our hand-shaken lemonade. Our lemonade-istas are standing by!

Cakes for Cause has a couple of events coming up that you may want to be aware of. We'll be attending the Middletown Heritage Festival on September 27th with yummy cookies and lemonade. We'll also have a booth at In the Street in Frederick on October 4th. We won't have food there (have you seen how many people show up for that?!) but we will have special drawings, information about our program, and pre-order sheets for our holiday cookies. And, don't forget, we're available to help with the holiday baking. Whether it's an elegant cake for your dinner party, spiced nuts for your holiday soiree, or a breakfast basket filled with scones and croissants for your office meeting, Cakes for Cause can help you craft something that is special and different. Give us a call or shoot us an email.

Speaking of holiday cookies, if you're of the cookie-decorating bent, we can help with that too. Our holiday fundraiser is sales of pre-rolled and cut gingerbread and sugar cookie boys and girls. All you have to do is slide them in the oven and bake them off...decorating is up to you. These are mouthwatering gingerbread and sugar cookies, created in small batches, just like all our pastries. Take some of the pressure off this holiday season and let us help you! Pre-Order forms are available at both markets and you can email us if you can't make the market.

This week at the Frederick Market (Saturdays on Baughman's Lane 10:00-1:00), we'll have several scones for any taste category: Lemon Ginger butter scones, Whole-Wheat Wild Blueberry butter scones, Vegan Sour Cherry scones, and Cheddar Chive cream scones. We missed croissants and pain au chocolate last week but we'll have them again this week. Our soda bread sells out quickly so if you really want a loaf, contact us in advance and we'll put one aside for you. Also, to the gentleman with the more than 10-year old memory of a Swedish Rye with orange peel, I'm going to try to get to it this week but no promises. Those of you who picked up freshly milled whole wheat flour, we owe you a recipe and they will be available at the market this week. We sell whole-wheat pastry flour (perfect for cookies and quick breads) that is milled in small batches and then sifted to remove the bran. If you're short on ideas, we'll give you a recipe as well, to get you started.

There's lots of ways you can support Cakes for Cause. We are always looking for volunteers and we have several opportunities available. Click here if you're interested in volunteering. You may also make a tax-deductible contribution to our organization. Your support helps us to provide paid employment, supplies, and equipment to the youth in our program. If you'd like to make a donation, click here. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Cakes for Cause


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Coffee AND Gingerbread!

Ok friends, here it is. Our big cookie fundraiser for the holidays. Ever wish you had enough time to make those beautiful decorated cookies that show up in all the holiday magazines? Ever decorate a gingerbread cookie with a frosting bikini? This year is your opportunity. Cakes for Cause will sell boxes of pre-cut gingerbread and sugar cookie boys and girls and all you have to do is slide them out of the freezer and into the oven and then get out your red hots and sugar sprinkles. It's that easy! What's more, it's a delicious, fresh, no additives, small-batch cookie like all our other products, and...we won't tell ANYONE! We will have pre-order sheets for the last two weeks of the Middletown Market and at the Frederick Market until November. You don't even have to pay now. How easy is this?!

Quantities are limited so order early. Each box will contain 2 ½ dozen cookies with instructions for baking, decorating ideas, and a bonus cookie recipe if you do have time to do some of your own holiday baking...but let us take the pressure off you for the decorated cookies this year.

This week at the Frederick Market (10:00-1:00 on Saturdays on Baughman's Lane behind the Holiday Inn) we will sell pear and almond tarts. Made with Sikle pears from the orchard of one of our supporters, this is an elegant tart with a baked almond cream crust and sprinkled with toasted pistachios. We'll also have whole wheat scone and vegan scones again (those of you who purchased the whole wheat cranberry scones last week, stop by and let us know what you thought). Remember, you can get freshly milled whole wheat pastry flour (with or without bran and sold in 1 lb quantities) from us at the market. You'll also get a recipe in case you need some inspiration. This week we'll also be selling hot COFFEE so now no one has an excuse not to come visit us at the market!

A quick Cakes for Cause shout-out for the rainy hurricane volunteers from last week. Almost everyone stayed for the entire time and we thank you for your enthusiasm and your sense of humor. It's one of those stories we can tell our grandkids! We have only two weeks left for the Middletown Market but we're also planning to attend the Middletown Heritage Festival on the 27th of September and Frederick's In the Street on October 4th so if you can't make either market, we hope to see you somewhere. The Frederick market will be open (through November if the weather holds) and we hope you'll also remember us at the holidays when you need baked treats. We're available and would be happy to help you make your dinner or holiday party special. Just let us know.

Cakes For Cause


Frederick County Farmer's Market Survey

I found out today that there was a series of surveys on farmer's markets in Frederick County this summer! How did I miss that? Sandy, who works for office of economic development, says that it is not too late and that we can still visit and fill out the survey. They would like to assess the impact of farmer's markets on local economy and want to find out what encourages people come to farmer's market, and are equally interested in knowing what causes people not to come back for the market. It is a great opportunity to voice your enthusiasm and share your ideas and concerns about farmer's market.

Ready to participate in the survey?


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Farmer Rick's CSA Email

I like to attach parts of Farmer Rick's emails to his Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members. First, you get to see what's fresh. Second, you get to see if you would like to try a CSA for yourself. And third, you get to learn more about the life of a local organic farmer.

The CSA has gone well this year, while things have not gone as planned we realize they generally never do in farming. For all that have been with us for a couple of years I think you would agree this year was better than last. We did not have the extended drought as in 07 but we did have a long dry spell at the farm in July and Aug. Our upgrades to the irrigation system helped us get through the dry weather. We didn't even take the time to email you weather updates this year, we spent that time working the irrigation system to keep crops growing. Last year we talked about the dry weather a lot. We have already begun to increase irrigation capacity for next year. We have had three major issues this year, two of which we are addressing for next year.

First the cold spring caused many crops not to germinate. Since organic farms do not use seeds treated with fungicides this cool weather caused many crops to rot before germination. This issue can not be easily addressed. The other two issues were dry weather late and our increases to the irrigation system will give us more capacity to address these. We plan to spend close to $2000.00 in the coming year addressing this. The second issue that got us this year was damage from wild life. Ground hog and deer damage were tremendous this year. We had a doe move into the farm this year with three yearling's. They consumed a lot of produce! Our irrigation system kept the sweet corn growing through the dry times this year. The deer really enjoyed it. Both our melon and sweet corn crops had tremendous deer damage. We realize these are two areas that the CSA customers look forward too. While we had more melons this year than last but we wanted to give you more. We are planning to spend several thousand dollars this winter on fencing to help protect the crops next year. I hope the winter weather allows us to install them before the spring weather makes us busy again. We hope that by upgrading these two areas our next year will be even better than this year.

That is not to say this year was not a good one! The farm has had many successes this year. The CSA boxes have been very full later in the season. Our sales to wholesale and farmers markets customers have been great this year, especially our tomato and potato sales. Our eggs have become a very popular item this year. We are currently working on expanding the flock. We are also looking to increase our infrastructure, including a Solar powered DC lighting system to give us greater portability in moving the flock around the farm. This should be installed late Nov. We have also begun selling wheat this year for home flour grinders. Their has been more fruit in the CSA this year. Strawberries, Apples, Asian pears many things have gone right this year and we are very thank full of this.

We want to finish up the CSA season, to give you full value and we will do that this year without the extra box we had to use last year. Additionally we will be giving each CSA customer a pumpkin and pound of our famous broccoli in late October if the weather permits. You will be able to pick that up from us at the Frederick Farmers Market or the farm. We'll send out an email later when it is available. This is just gift to thank you for participating this year. We also are looking to have our open farm day on a Sunday afternoon in October, more info on that later too.

In the fall CSA you should see sweet potatoes, greens, tomatoes, squash, beans, peppers, broccoli and more. Please let us know as soon as possible if interested.

We are also seeing a great deal of interest in next years CSA. As we plan for next years CSA we know some of our format will be changing.

First - we will not be participating in our cooperative CSA in Creagerstown next year. This has done well over the years but as we grow it has become too difficult for us to fit in the schedule. We wish the Williams farm the best and we hope some of you continue with them next year.

Second - Our CSA options will be formated as follows next year - Our Monday CSA will be at the farm , Wed we will deliver to Frederick and/or Urbana and we will also offer our Saturday CSA pickup at the Farmers Market. We will not however be offering egg shares with next years CSA however. Our costs for egg production has risen over the years due to feed and box costs. Since we can not predict where these are going we can not afford to lock in a seasonal price. We are looking into a way to do this next year that is fair to both of us. Just for reference our egg prices have risen about a dollar a dozen over the last year but we did not pass that on to CSA customers since you paid in advance.

Part of our planning for next year is whether we offer CSA pickups in Urbana or offer two pick up locations in Frederick on Wed. We have been requested to do a second location in Frederick. We do not want to leave Urbana unserved if the interest is strong. Please let me know if you are in the Urbana pickup location and are interested. It would help us make a decision based on current interest.

We would like good and bad feedback from our customers so we can plan next year to make it better.

I hope you have enjoyed our season and will enjoy the remaining boxes. We are already looking forward to next years growing season.

Farmer Rick


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bacon wrapped Scallops, Mashed Red Potatoes and Micro green Salad

We went to a wholesale market to get a couple of things and Dan asked if scallops would be good for dinner. I love scallops (yeah, by now you probably figured out that I love pretty much any edible thing), and we should cook them more often, I replied. So we had scallops wrapped in Rohrer's bacon for dinner. We cooked and mashed red potatoes that I got from Rick (Summer Creek Farm). These potatoes have red skin and red flesh! They look gorgeous and tasted great with a little butter, milk, chopped garlic and tarragon. We washed the micro green from Erland and Rieko (New Hope Farm) and I made a lemon-chive-honey salad dressing.
It was fun to pick a central ingredient (scallop) and have most of the supporting ingredients from the farmer's market (bacon, red potatoes, micro green) and our own back yard garden (tarragon and chive). The dinner was delicious and the prep was simple.

Bacon wrapped Scallops

  • Partially cook bacon strips.
  • Wrap scallops with the bacon strips. Use toothpicks or skewers to hold the strips in place.
  • Butter a baking pan and place the scallops. I brushed some of the lemon dressing that I made and sprinkled brown sugar on top of the scallops, which you can skip.
  • Under the broiler cook 2 -3 minutes each side. (We cooked about 7 minutes in total since the scallops were big).
Mashed Red Potatoes (6 small potatoes for 3 servings)
  • Wash and quarter red potatoes. Fill a pot with the potatoes and water. Potatoes should be fully submerged.
  • Bring the water to boil and continue cooking the potatoes for 15-20 minutes till potatoes are soft.
  • Drain and bring the potatoes back to the still hot pot. Mash the potatoes and add butter (2 TBS), milk (2 TBS), chopped tarragon (1 tsp), chopped garlic (2 cloves) and salt and pepper to season
Micro green with Lemon Chive Honey dressing
  • Wash micro green and either spin dry or pat dry.
  • Mix lemon juice (1 TBS), olive oil (3 TBS), honey (1/2 TBS) and pinch of salt and pepper.
We had two bacon-wrapped scallops as leftover, with which Dan made omelet this morning. He used jumbo eggs, added sliced leftover scallops and bacons, and baby swiss goat cheese from CapriKorn Farms. You spoil me with these great breakfasts, I complained, now I cannot eat out for breakfast any more. I think the farmer's market spoils us too. Fresh dug potatoes, fresh eggs, delicious bacons and baby swiss goat cheese? These ingredients make our meals wholesome and delicious.


Rainy Day Farmer's Market, Sep 6

We had a very wet Saturday morning yesterday because of hurricane Hanna, and it started to really rain around 8:30 am. This week I helped setting up Cakes For Cause stand and when we arrived, we saw Scenic View Orchards, Jubilee Organic Farm and Tomatoes et al. had their tents up already. Roher's meats, Glade Link Farm, Ed's Country Bakery, Summer Creek Farm, BB's Bagles and Bread, South Mountain Cremery and New Hope Farm also came. Kudos for people who came out to the market even with the rain! I adored kids who wore cute raincoats and rain boots (I want them for myself now). I really wish we had today's beautiful weather yesterday, but it was nice to see dedicated vendors and loyal customers who embraced the bad weather. I left the market early after shopping so I didn't witness the entire market. The crowd was continuous in the early part of the market. To keep the tradition that Shannon started, here is the list of what I got with roughly $60.

  • cantaloupe, a bag of micro green from New Hope Farm
  • yellow watermelon, butternut squash and red onions from Jubilee Organic Farm
  • 1/2 peck of second nectarine, a quart of Gala apples, a quart of giant white peaches from Scenic View Orchards
  • a dozen large eggs from Rohrer's meats
  • a pint of blackberries from Glade-Link Farm
  • a quart of red potatoes, a dozen jumbo eggs, and a giant sunflower head full with seeds from Summer Creek Farm
  • a pound of fresh butter in a tub and turkey sausages from South Mountain Creamery
  • a half dozen white corns from Tomatoes et al.
Jubilee Organic Farm also had acorn squashes and spaghetti squashes. I think they were the first appearance of winter squashes this year.We still have plenty of late summer/early fall produce. Come on out to the farmer's market and hang on to the flavors of the season. Once they go, we will have to wait till next summer to enjoy the dense, satisfying flavor of in-season produce. Gwen thinks that the coming week might be the last week that she can bring blackberries for this year. If you are a blackberry fan like me, don't miss the market this Saturday.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Are We Hurricane Hardy?

Well we do have weights for the tent and hopefully the residuals of the hurricane won't affect your fun at the Frederick Farmer's Market this week (Saturdays 10:00 am-1:00 pm on Baughman's Lane, behind the Holiday Inn). Our lemonade professionals will be standing by with sweet/tart (but not too much of either) classic or strawberry lemonade, shaken to order as always. This week we'll also have another great, vegan scone for you to try. They were a hit last weekend and we think you won't be able to tell the difference between this and our traditional butter scone. We'll also have a cranberry orange scone made with our own home-ground wheat. We obtained 50 lbs of soft wheat and have been grinding it into whole wheat pastry flour. If you'd like to purchase some of the flour and borrow a recipe to get you started, let our volunteers at the market know. And, even though the weather went warmer for us this week, we promised soda bread and we'll deliver it. Whole loaves are available for your breakfast or dinner. It's great with some sweet, creamery butter that has just a hint of salt. Whichever of our products are your favorites, we'll be glad to see you.

Our Farmer's Market booths are staffed entirely with volunteers in Frederick and Middletown (on Thursdays). The middle of September is looking a little sparse for volunteers though so we need your help. Our booth is a fun way to enjoy the weather (rain or shine), meet some interesting Frederick people (as well as some out-of-towners) and don't forget that you get to sample one of our baked goods and a lemonade "on us" as a way of saying thank you for helping us out. If you'd like to volunteer with us in Frederick, click here.

Don't forget us when the Farmer's Markets close later this fall. Cakes for Cause can help with cakes, dessert trays, cookie baskets and other delicious stuff to make your holiday events special. We'll have menus at the Middletown and Frederick markets this week.

Also, if you want to be wearing the hippest, hottest new t-shirt in town, we can hook you up. Only $20, they're a chocolate brown (somehow appropriate) fitted T with our signature blue lettering. Our logo is on the front and one of our taglines, "Everyone Deserves Dessert." is on the back. As with everything we sell, all the proceeds from the t-shirt sales go to support the mission of the organization and we appreciate your ongoing support.


Cucumber Pickle with Soy Sauce

I have tried several cucumber pickle recipes from the web including "bread and butter" pickle, "kosher dills pickle" and "sweet pickle". I also made Korean salted pickle which you let them ferment a bit. Even though I yet to taste a couple of pickles that I made, so far my favorite is a fresh pickle made with soy sauce.

Below is the list of ingredients. You could omit garlic or ginger or even red onion but I like them all in the pickle. Onion slices will be edible after 3-4 days while garlic and ginger will stay pungent for a longer time.

  • 4 Asian variety cucumbers, each 11-12 inch long
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced

Here are the steps:
  1. Cut the cucumbers to 1/8 inch thickness. I peeled the skins because the cucumbers were old, but if you are using fresh ones, leave the skin on.
  2. Slice the onion and mix with cucumber slices then put them in a jar.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients (soy sauce, vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, ginger) in a pot and bring to boil. Pour the hot liquid into the jar.
  4. Keep the pickles refrigerated and eat after one or two days. Will keep easily for two weeks if kept refrigerated.

Just like my cucumber Kimchi, I sort of made up the recipe based on what I ate before, and I think it tastes pretty good. I don't think it would appeal to everyone, but if you like Asian style food, you will love it.

I wanted to borrow bread-and-butter pickle method of canning so that I can properly can this soy sauce pickle and keep it for the winter time. When I tried, the pickles turned out too soft. I will keep experimenting and let you know if I find a way to make this pickle for canning.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A perfect weekend with Nectarines

We had such a beautiful holiday weekend. The weather was so gorgeous it made me sigh. Dan and I did a lot of little things around the house, did shopping together, and most of all, had wonderful dinners with lovely neighbors.
I had bought a half peck of second nectarines a week ago, and they reached full ripeness by Saturday. I made nectarine ice cream and nectarine tart and both were well received by our dinner guests. I had so much fun making the tarts and would like to share some photos.

Cutting nectarines to 1/8 inch thickness and arranging them in a rose shape.

Three tarts done and one more to go. The original recipe is from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. It calls for 9-inch tart pan which I didn't have, so I decided to make four mini (4-inch) tarts and it worked out great.

After the nectarine roses were arranged on pre-baked tart shells, the filling was gently poured in. The filling contained egg, sugar, lemon juice, flour, browned butter and framboise (raspberry wine). The original recipe calls for chambord (French black raspberry liquor) or brandy.
It is funny that the night before I made tarts, I served nectarine ice cream with fresh raspberries because I thought they would go pretty well. I guess I am not the only one who thinks that way! In the tart, raspberry filling tasted great with nectarines.

For a 9-inch tart, the recommended bake time is 40 minutes. I baked about 33 minutes with the mini tarts.

I am in love with tarts. I made peach tarts twice this summer where the supporting flavor was almond. Lovely. I need to make more tarts while peaches and nectarines are here.