Thursday, October 30, 2008

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet...

Well possibly sleet would deter us but we're like the Post Office at Cakes for Cause. We brought out our tent weights, our hot cocoa, and our good humor last week and it was great to see how many Farmer's Market addicts there really are in Frederick County (and beyond)! This week we'll have more hot cocoa, along with hot coffee but unless there is a huge outcry response via email, we probably won't do cider. Our cocoa is based on several old-fashioned recipes and it's creamy and chocolatey...perfect to partner with a scone or pain au chocolat as you wander the late fall market.

We'll be doing a tasting for a restaurant later this week so we may have some special items in limited quantities at the Saturday Market (on Baughman's Lane 10:00-1:00). We're also planning apple turnovers made with several varieties of local apples ...puff pastry and glazed with cider, they're a yummy addition to your Sunday breakfast or brunch. Cheddar biscuits return this week, along with vegan scones, a new crispy peppercorn cracker (we had it with cheddar over the weekend...yummy!), and a full complement of our breads and pastries.


We're unveiling our fall/winter t-shirt design this week. We have a couple of long-sleeved options for you to choose from-thermal, and men's and ladies sizes in a more traditional material. If you bring over your (now) vintage original shirt as proof of purchase, we'll knock $2 off the price for you as a thank you for buying multiples. Our tagline on the back of this shirt comes from a bartender in Brooklyn who heard about our project earlier in the year and calls us, "...a noble food project." Remember, we change our design every 100 shirts so once they're gone, you'll just have to wistfully view them on our website (

Also, we're planning an order for hoodies using the same design. We're going to pre-order/pre-pay for these so once we have at least 25 orders, we'll get them printed. Still trying to set up for online credit card purchases but we'll take checks or cash at this time.


We're gearing up and we'll have some special treats in the upcoming weeks. Look for a photo essay as the SugarCookie (they're a modern married couple with a combined name) family makes their way back to Frederick in time for our holiday cookie fundraiser. There's still time to order these and other special treats for the holidays. Ask us about special cakes, desserts, and savories to make your celebrations easier and special.

Cakes for Cause


Friday, October 24, 2008

New cuts from Rohrer's Meats this Saturday!

From Danny Rohrer, aka Meat Man:

Greetings from the farm. For those of you who have been waiting for varieties of meat that I don't often have, this will be your week. I will have goat at the market this week. Cuts will include loin chops, rib chops, rack, boneless cubes, and ground goat.

I will also have veal this week. This will be an older calf that has eaten solid food and the meat will be red rather than white. Cuts will include scallopini, cutlets, shanks, loin chops, rib chops, boneless shoulder roasts, bone-in arm roasts, cubes, and ground veal. Please remember that there is only a certain amount of the "premium cuts" and I do need to sell everything. When you order your cutlets, please consider ground veal, cubes, and the roasts as well. The faster the less popular cuts sell, the quicker I can process another calf.

I will also have my complete line of meats this week as well. Beef, pork, lamb, chickens, and eggs will be available.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching I am ready to start taking orders. I will be handling turkeys from Howard County's Maple Lawn Farm again this year. The turkeys are raised and processed right on their farm.This is an excellent bird which won a Washington Post taste test a few years back. I will also have hams and my sisters will be making pies and cakes for dessert.

Even though it is late, please order your veal and goat today to help me with filling orders. Hopefully tomorrow will only bring occasional showers during market hours rather than a downpour.

Eat fresh, be well, and I will see you at the market.

Rohrer's Meats


Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Letter from Farmer Rick to his CSA

Farmer Rick runs Summer Creek Farm. He sends emails out to his Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members every week. Here's his most recent one. Many farmers are taking signups for this coming spring's CSA now. You get a box or bag of farm-fresh goodies every week at a pickup location. You can learn more about CSAs in your region at Local Harvest and can learn more about Frederick County Farms at the Virtual Farmer's Market from the Frederick County Office of Economic Development.

Hi All, Today we delivered the last of the fall CSA. The boxes were so full we could not close them! We had a hard frost two nights ago. Today we spent the day picking for a hard freeze tonight. If we get it that will mean the end of the summer crops. As I picked tomatoes tonight I could not help but think about how these plants were started 10 months ago. We started in late January to get plants ready for summer. We plant, cultivate and care for these plants 10 months a year to get fresh tomatoes for 4 months. We no sooner finished with these and are thinking about changes to make next year even better. We are working on changes to the farm for next year already. We will be planting wheat tomorrow and garlic soon to be harvested next year. If you want peppers or tomatoes along with other summer crops we will have the end of the season at this Saturdays farmers market in Frederick and Sunday in Clarksburg.

Our fall crops are in, our famous broccoli is now in. All members of the fall CSA got the extra broccoli we had promised in this weeks box. We have a lb of broccoli for all other members of our summer CSA too. Just please let me know what farmers market and date you would like to pick it up at so I have enough.

We will soon be forwarding information on next years CSA. All current members will have an early notice to sign up before new members. Also this winter we will be working with Mt.St. Marys University on there environmental studies program, the green building institute on environmental matters and have workshops at the Common Market in Frederick. Stay tune for details.

Thanks so much for your support this year. Many things have gone on at the farm as well as personal issues. Our season was our best ever and we look forward to making it even better next year.

Farmer Rick


Fall is for THIS pie!

I love Saturdays. I look forward to getting up early and baking something for the weekend. Jubilee Organic Farm brings 4 or 5 different types of winter squash to the farmer's market. The very first week they had winter squash, I picked up a butternut squash and made lasagna, using my favorite recipe by Jamie Oliver (slightly altered since I cannot remember every measurement). Another week, I picked up a kabocha squash. This squash came with a rave review of Chris' daughter that when it is baked, it is so tender, sweet and downright delicious. Kabocha squashes seem to be small to medium sized and they have such a bright orange-red color. Once I peeled the skin off and scooped out the seeds, Dan roasted the seeds in the oven. The seeds were not meaty but they were very nutty and had good flavors.

Now the pie. I had this recipe by Dorie Greenspan that I wanted to try. It calls for a butternut squash but I thought kabocha will also do nicely. Roughly following the recipe, I combined cubed and cooked kabocha squash (2 cups), cubed pear (2 ripe pears), 1/3 cup of white rasin and cranberries, orange peel from a half orange and orange juice (2 Tbs), cinnamon (1 Tbs), freshly grated nutmeg (a pinch), coarsely chopped walnuts (1/3 cup), and bread crumbs (I used panko, 2 Tbs). It smelled so good just mixing these ingredients that I was jumping up and down with the joy talking to myself 'wow, this is going to make a great pie'!! Use your favorite pie crust recipe and place the filling. The recipe was for 9 inch pie, but instead I made two mini pies (4 inch) and one in an individual lasagna pan. Dan suggested that we do lattice top so I did.

This pie is really good. It reminds me of a mince pie, Dan said. Maybe so. The sweet flavor combination from the squash and pear on top of nice, cold-weather spice is just good. It is substantial enough to hold you over when you are hungry in a long afternoon. Even though the pie is best on the day is it made, I still enjoyed it two days later, kept at room temperature all the time.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cinderblocks to Walls... Construction Moves Forward

Last week we walked around the corner to look at the construction progress on the building that will ultimately house Cakes for Cause. There's enough of an outline to start to understand how the space will be laid out once it's complete (we're going to have to get smaller tables!). Here's a picture:

The Community Center is located on North Market Street, just before the fountain and our space is on the left side of the front of the building. It looks like we'll have large picture windows that look out onto the streetscape and there should be enough space between the building and the curb to have outdoor tables when the weather is nice. The most current prediction is that the construction will be completed on April 29th (which of course, means the middle or end of May but certainly late spring/early summer is pretty accurate) so certainly by the start of the Farmer's Market next season, you'll be able to visit us during the week to satisfy a scone craving between Saturdays.

We missed you last week and even though we didn't go to the market, it was an extremely busy two weeks for us. Because of some speaking engagements (our Baker is also our Director) and attendance at an out-of-town conference at the end of this week, we'll have less bread than normal at the Market. We're still planning scones and croissants and will also have a special Halloween treat for sale in limited quantities. This week we'll also be offering hot cider, hot coffee, and homemade hot chocolate (none of those powdered envelopes for us!) for you to sip as you walk the Saturday Farmer's Market (Baughman's Lane 10:00-1:00). It's squash season and several of the farmers have a great selection to choose from...roasted squash with cheddar biscuits is a PERFECT combination for a chilly autumn evening.

COOKIE UPDATE: We have arranged to deliver our frozen gingerbread and sugar cookie kits at several locations starting on December 11th. We'll be in at least one local downtown location during the week and at the Dutch Plant Garden Center (on Baughman's Lane) on at least the two successive Saturdays. If you haven't ordered your cookies yet, there's still time. These make perfect gifts for the busy people in your life (it's okay if that's you) and it's a delicious way to welcome the holidays. 2 1/2 dozen frozen gingerbread or sugar cookie boys and girls are only $ slide them in the oven and in 15 minutes, you're ready to start decorating. Even better, the proceeds go to support the Cakes for Cause program that provides paid vocational training for vulnerable children and youth in Frederick.

You can sign up for cookie kits at the Farmer's Market, by emailing us or by calling (240)344-0295. We're working on our online payment system so you can pay by check or by credit card at the beginning of December. No money now, just let us know how many boxes you need...and shhhhhh, we won't tell anyone you didn't mix them up yourself!

If you'd like more information about our program, click here. Although the Farmer's Market slows down, we can still use volunteers on Saturdays until we close in late November. It's a fun way to get some free cider!


Friday, October 10, 2008

My favorite pizzas, with Broccolis and with onions

Cool weather vegetables are showing up more at the market and among the warm orange and yellow hue of fall vegetables, broccolis are standing up green. When Gwen of Glade-Link Farm brought broccolis to the farmer's market, I had to make my favorite pizza with broccolis. I think broccolis are best when it is sautéed in a little bit of olive oil and garlic, and this pizza showcases broccoli at its best flavor with backdrop of melting cheese and crispy crust. Yum - it can't get any better!
My another favorite is a pizza with onions. These are not the ordinary onions. They are cooked in butter and soaked and simmered in red wine till they become caramelized with complex flavors from wine. Yellow, white and red onions from Chris of Jubilee Organic Farm are delicious and I had enough red onions to make my onion pizza.

I have made pizzas with different dough recipes and liked them all, from thin crispy kind to thick soft kind. However for the past year or two, I have been making this very simple dough, which turns out extra crispy thin pizzas. The recipe came with a pizza pan (a non-stick metal round pan with holes in it), courtesy of Cook's Illustrated. I modified it to use whole wheat flour and do without a food processor.

Dough for extra crispy thin pizzas

  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast or active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water (~100 F)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. If using instant (or rapid) yeast, combine flours, yeast, honey and salt and mix well. Add water, stir with a wooden spoon a few times, then add olive oil and stir a few more time. If using active dry yeast, stir in yeast in warm water first and let it dissolve. Wait a few minutes till it makes bubbles. Add honey, salt, flour, olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon to mix well.
  2. Turn out the dough on a floured surface and knead for five minutes. I usually use a big mixing bowl and just knead the dough inside the bowl to minimize the clean up. When you are done kneading, the dough will look very smooth.
  3. If you are going to make pizzas the next day, place the dough in a ziplock back and put it in a refrigerator. The dough will rise very slowly. If you are making pizzas the same day, put it in a mixing bowl, covered with plastic wrap and a towel, and let it rise at a warm place for about two hours.
Once the dough is made, the following steps are quite simple. Go through your refrigerator and find all the cheeses and food-leftovers that you like to use.
For broccoli pizza, saute broccolis in olive oil and sliced garlic for a brief time, until they just turn bright green. Since they are going to be baked in a very hot oven, you don't want to cook them too long. We used mozzarella, manchego and fresh mozzarella cheese this time. Dan sprinkled fresh ground black pepper and very thinly sliced dried Thai pepper (from Wendy of Persimmon Pond Plants). This Thai pepper was a nice touch. Those tiny specs of pepper strip gave a nice surprising kick to the pizza.

For onion pizza, we layered a leftover meat (roasted eye-round beef) and olives underneath onions. The sauteed onions in wine is the recipe from Baking with Julia (my baking bible). The original recipe calls for a long long time to gently cook the onions in the lowest heat setting once wine is introduced. Since I make pizzas on a whim, I don't have that long long time to cook down the onions. So here is what I do.
  • Slice thin two medium sized onions.
  • Melt two tablespoon of butter in your skillet. Sautee onions in medium high heat. Sprinkle a pinch of fresh or dry thyme.
  • When onions turn transparent, pour in red wine enough to cover the onions (~3 Tbs). Let them cook in medium heat for a few minutes till the wine is reduced to a half.
  • Continue cooking in low-medium heat until wine is all reduced and absorbed into onions.
You want to use a good drinking red wine for this. I have a bottle of red that was gifted and when we opened it up, it was sadly passed the prime. So I use it for cooking and when I use this wine, I add a really good balsamic vinegar toward the end of reduction.

Preheat the oven at 475 F and bake the pizza for 10 minutes. Once it comes out of oven, let it rest for a few minutes before you cut and dig in.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cider and Pumpkins...Oh My!

Last week was a perfect week for hot cider and it was delicious. In the coming weeks (as the weather permits), we'll be adding real hot chocolate to the mix along with the cider and coffee. Stop by the Cakes for Cause booth for your scone and beverage as you check out the squash, kale, and root vegetable selection at the Frederick Farmer's Market (on Baughman's Lane on Saturday mornings). One small announcement: the Cakes for Cause booth is taking a week off on Saturday October 18th. We anticipate closing our café each year in August and in January for one week so that our staff and apprentices can schedule vacation time. We missed August because it was so busy so we will be closed the week of October 12-18. We will not be taking orders during that time either. We'll miss you but it's important that our staff have some quality time with their advance of the holiday frenzy. We'll be back at the market on the 25th.

Speaking of the holidays, Cakes for Cause has a bunch of ways to make your holiday special. How about pre-ordering a dozen scones or croissants for Thanksgiving morning so you don't have to worry about breakfast? Just pop them in the oven for 10 minutes and they'll taste just like they did when we pulled them out of the oven. Are you having a holiday soiree? Think about our rosemary sage crackers served with your favorite dip or spread...we sell these crackers by the pound. And, don't forget the cookie decorating. We still have boxes of rolled and cut gingerbread and sugar cookies available to pre-order. All you have to do is slide the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and in 15 minutes, you're ready to have a decorating party. Whatever your need, the Cakes for Cause commitment to small-batch baking, interesting flavors, and custom cakes and pastries is a way for you to be able to enjoy the holidays.

This week at the Market, we'll offer our usual great selection of scones (possibly pumpkin???) and croissants. Our baker thinks there will be an ooey, gooey coconut chocolate bar in there somewhere, along with our yummy toffee mini cakes. Our breads will include the newly popular Pane Siciliano with equal parts semolina and white flours and our herbed dipping bread (even though the tomatoes are going, this bread is still delicious as a sandwich bread with fresh meats and cheeses...try chicken or egg salad too!). Although our cheddar biscuits weren't a big draw when we first brought them to Frederick, the weather might have turned just enough to tempt you this month. These are a fluffy, aged cheddar biscuit with a sprinkling of sea salt on the top before they bake and are delicious with your autumn stews and soups. Whatever your preference, we enjoy seeing you at the market and talking about our products and our mission. If you'd like more information about our program, click here.

Cakes for Cause


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Persimmons and hickory nuts in the Catoctins

I visited my parents today. They live out in the woods near Sabillasville, in the Catoctin Mountains. Dad and I took a walk.

"Are there persimmons on the tree this year?," I asked. "Can't you see them?," said Dad, "the little yellow globes everywhere?" At first I couldn't- the sun was in my eyes. But then we got a little closer and he was right. The tree had more persimmons on it than I had ever seen before. "Why don't you eat one?," he asked, with an evil twinkle in his eye.

"I'm not falling for that again," I told him.

Some years back Dad and I went to the persimmon tree and he convinced me to eat one because they are delicious. So of course I ate one. Then my mouth turned inside out and I salivated uncontrollably and he laughed like a nut and said, "my Father did that to me too!"

Back to today...Dad walked to the tree and said, "no, really, they're delicious. I've been eating them every time I go to the mailbox."

"Yeah right. You eat one," I said. "I'll watch you." After watching him eat half of a persimmon I made him give me the other half. It was delicious. So what gives?

Native persimmons are usually inedible until after the first good freeze. But if they fall off the tree before that and are translucent then you can eat them. So be really careful about eating them right now. You might end up drooling for about an hour. It's miserable and interminable.

I have a few friends who love the native persimmons and they have their favorite trees. Local foraging knowledge is a very special thing that people share with each other as a sign of affection and trust. If you want to try persimmons, there is a big one next to a parking lot at Utica Park. I can't give away any of the other locations or I will lose a very good friend.

I also made Dad take me to the shellbark hickory trees, where I collected a small bag. He couldn't understand why I would bother with them because the nuts are so small and hard to get out of the walnut-like shells. But that makes them all the more precious. Hickory nuts are kind of like walnuts in taste but have their own flavor. I really love to eat native foods. There's something wholesome and essential to the experience of gathering. There's food in the woods and it is good.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Customer Appreciation Week at Cakes for Cause

Hi! Stop by the Cakes for Cause booth at the Farmer's Market this week and ask us for your special treat. It's our opportunity to thank you for supporting us all summer in Frederick and Middletown.

Also, if you're a collector, we're unveiling our winning cupcake postcard design this week in Frederick. This is a limited edition postcard designed by Joanna Wong who heard about us from the brother of a friend. She designed a fresh, colorful, cupcake card (think Jack and the Cupcakestalk) that we hope you'll add to your collection. We'll be displaying Joanna and other artist's cupcake art in our retail space and at the farmer's markets and festivals we attend.

If you're coming out to the Market this week (Saturdays on Baughman's Lane from 10:00 to 1:00), we'll have cheddar chive and lemon ginger scones, soda bread, our new Pane Siciliano bread, herb dipping bread, our rosemary crackers and loads of other fresh, small-batch baked goods. If you're a vegan or vegetarian, we also have some options for you and we promise, they are delicious. We'll also have a booth and our new banner at In the Street on the Kid's Block. We won't be selling any food but you know we like to have a good time so come out and say hi.

T-shirts are a premium right now. Moving fast and the next one will be different so if you've even been considering one, you should act soon. They're high-quality cotton (we've tried to shrink them and it doesn't work) in chocolate brown. Our logo is on the front and the tagline on the back is so appropriate, "Everyone Deserves Dessert". We think it conveys not only our attitude but how we approach our serve youth who age out of foster care or who live in public housing...everyone DOES deserve dessert. T-shirts are only $20 and as you know, all of the proceeds from our retail sales go to support the mission of Cakes for Cause.

If you're attending the Friends of Frederick event this weekend, Cakes for Cause is donating a tray of petit fours. We haven't decided what they will be but it's an opportunity for you to try some of our dessert products. Friends of Frederick is holding their annual gala on Saturday night. For tickets or more information on this great organization, hit their website.

Cakes For Cause