Saturday, August 29, 2009

Flowers for the Market: August 22, 09

Photo by Dan
These are not exactly the flowers that I brought to Saturday Market on August 22. I made seven flower arrangements (1 big, 4 medium and 2 small) for Elin's birthday party on that day and this is one of them. Dan did a lovely job taking this photo - I don't know why but this photo makes me nostalgic. Captured are sun flowers, dahlia, tickseed Coreopsis and cut-leaf Rudbeckia. Dahlia and sunflower didn't last too long in the vase, but I am surprised to find out cut-leaf Rudbeckia going strong even a week later.

Yeon

Read More...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quick note

Hey pals! I am going to be off for a week at a little arts festival in the desert of Nevada and so Yeon will be holding down the fort. I am sad to miss out on a week of fresh produce in the prime lynchpin week between summer and fall, when just about EVERYTHING is in.

I put the new banner up early. Hope you like it.

Shannon

Read More...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dinner at Shannon's

Shannon already had prep going when I arrived at her kitchen. A mound of purslane from her sidewalk was covered by chopped tomatoes from her garden. She modified the recipe a little bit as she described, and I think roasted pepper really made the difference.

Leek and garlic scapes were sauteed, rice soaked in hot water was added, and all the other chopped vegetables went in.

It was really yummy! By the time the dish was ready, Jerica with baby Oliver and Jackie had joined us. I ate what remained after the first serving. I sort of asked, does anybody want seconds? but not really, and went ahead to finish what was left over.

With butternut squash from the farmer's market, Shannon also made a dessert. Quarter pint of Caramel Apple Butter from Rohrer's, 4 TBS of butter, coarsely chopped about 3/4 cup of walnut and sprinkle of light brown sugar were all she needed to create this gorgeous butternut squash dish.

Shannon cooked. Yeon ate and photographed. Jerica, Oliver and Jackie entertained. We had fun.

Yeon

Read More...

Wild Foods: Purslane


My yard is getting wild and wooly, and purslane (verdolaga) is dotting the cracks of my sidewalks. Lucky for me, purslane is a tasty weed. Image from the University of Illinois.

Purslane is a crunchy, mucilaginous succulent. It makes a nice addition to salads and goes especially well with cucumbers and pears. You can throw it in to a blender with other vegetables for gazpacho or scramble it with eggs. It is great in cooked soups. It has a crunch similar to green beans when raw and a texture like nopalitos (cactus) when cooked.

Pickled Purslane

  • 1 quart purslane stems and leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 quart apple cider vinegar (or old pickle, jalapeno juice,etc.)
  • 10 peppercorns
Clean the purslane stems and leaves by rinsing with fresh water. Cut into 1" pieces and place in clean jars with lids. Add the spices and pour the vinegar over the purslane. Keep this in the refrigerator and wait at least two weeks before using. Serve as a side dish with omelets and sandwiches.

Purslane with Tomato (Domatesli Semizotu)

  • 1 bunch or 1 lb purslane (verdolaga in Spanish), washed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
  • 2 tomatoes, grated or petite diced (or 1 can petite diced tomato)
  • 1/4 cup rice (soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup hot water

Heat olive oil on medium heat and saute onions. Add purslane, tomato, rice (that you soaked and rinsed), salt, sugar, pepper. Stir for a couple of minutes. Pour in water. Cook on low covered for 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked. Serve warm or cold.

Yeon and I made this dish tonight and it was awesome. We changed a few things- used leeks and garlic scapes instead of onions and garlic, and added roasted peppers. The purslane creates a gumbolike texture.

Shannon

Read More...

Fresh this Week from Summer Creek Farm

Fresh This Week

  • Hot peppers and green peppers
  • Basil
  • Raspberries
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Potatoes
  • Heirloom tomatoes

Peppers – Hot and Sweet

Summer Creek Farm grows a variety of both hot and sweet peppers, several of which will be featured in upcoming CSA boxes. Varieties include sweet bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, and on the hot side jalapeno (green), habañero (small and very hot, red or orange) and Thai (long and red).

Finely diced hot peppers are a great addition to many recipes. Add to soups, salsas, chili and sauces for added heat. To lessen the heat in prepared dishes, remove the center seeds of hot peppers before adding.

Store all types of peppers unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. If you cannot use them right away, try freezing the peppers (instructions).

Avoid touching your eyes when chopping hot peppers, and wash your hands carefully. If you find the burning sensation overwhelming when tasting the peppers, try drinking milk.

Sources: The Chile Pepper Institute and Recipezaar

Recipe Feature

Not Just Rice and Beans
by April Finnen

Leftover cooked chicken is also a good addition. Add with beans if using.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 hot pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • One avocado, chopped (optional)
  • Cooked rice, for serving
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Then add hot pepper, green pepper, onions and cumin, and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes over medium heat. When the vegetables are cooked, add the black beans, salt and pepper, and heat through. Serve over rice, topped with fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or avocado.

From Farmer Rick

Farmer Rick is too busy to write this week! He will have Fall CSA information available soon.

In the meantime, here are some more ideas for using your vegetables:

Kitchen tip

When freezing basil pesto, add a thin layer of olive oil over the top and it will retain its bright green color.

Link of the week

Supercook.com – add ingredients you have, and find free recipe ideas.

Contact Summer Creek Farm at farmer@summercreekfarm.com.

Read More...

Top Chef Spoiler Alert: Episode 2


I know, I know. My little bingo square is juvenile. But I go where the spirit takes me. On last night's Top Chef, locally raised brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio respectively won the Quick-Fire and Elimination Challenges. Brother Michael won his challenge with a lovely gazpacho. Local favorite Bryan won his challenge with a lime macaroon stuffed with guacamole and dusted with corn nuts. A fun take on a chips and dip classic. I have had Bryan's beet macaroons with duck liver mousse and they are amazing. Top Chef has a video up on how to make Bryan's macaroons, if you are brave.

Top Chef is definitely setting up a clash of the titans between the two bros and it's fun to watch.

Also notable: Hector's Tofu Ceviche looked rad and I want to try it.

On another note, Michigan's Eve went home after making a second bad dish with shrimp.

Shannon

Read More...

Sunday Evening

Photo by Dan
It was another beautiful evening. While Dan was grilling food for our dinner, I made very chunky salsa with ever-bearing strawberries that Dave brings to the downtown farmer's market and a pineapple tomato that I just picked from our garden. The salsa was lovely.
  • Very coarsely chopped strawberries, about one cup
  • One medium sized pineapple tomato, coarsely chopped
  • about 1/2 TBS finely chopped onions
  • 1 ts of fresh cilantro
  • 1 ts of fresh marjoram
  • Left over vinaigrette from the night before (1 part balsamic vinegar, 3 part olive oil, finely chopped garlic, fresh oregano, fresh basil)
Photo by Yeon
With another cup of fresh strawberries, I made strawberry muffins. I used a blueberry muffin recipe from Cooks Illustrated. I substituted diced fresh strawberries for fresh blueberries. The recipe also calls for cooking a cup of fresh blueberries into a syrupy mixture. I used left-over strawberry-rhubarb from making Chef's Christine's strawberry-rhubarb crumble. Dan and I loved these muffins - we have been eating one a day for breakfast. I love the touch of lemon sugar on top of the muffin.

Photo by Yeon
Our simple dinner was ready. Dan marinated the lamb kebabs we got from the Whitmore Farm stand at the farmer's market. I don't know what he did but it was just fabulous. He mixed his own spices and it involved grinding black cardamom and coriander seeds. It had red wine in the marinade. I will have to ask him to write down the recipe for me. Corn was from Jim at the Saturday farmer's market. It was so sweet. Last minute cucumber salad included plain yogurt, minced mint, scallion, salt and pepper.

Compared to last year, I have not put much harvest away yet. I am getting ready to pickle cucumbers, squashes; and preserve peaches and raspberries; and make tomato sauces. Next two weekends are going to be "preserving" weekends.

Yeon

Read More...

Cakes for Cause: Coming Soon…Moxie Bakery & Cafe

Do us a favor and walk up North Market Street to the fountain at 7th Street…they’re installing awnings today on what we hope is your new favorite uptown gathering spot. Moxie is the social enterprise operated by Cakes for Cause and it’s the classroom space where we will provide six months of paid employment and experience in the restaurant industry to youth in our program. We’re so excited! Thanks to the many of you who responded to our email last week with offers to help…we’ll keep you posted on when we’re going to need work crews.

Calling All Pastry Lovers!
The response to our products at the Shab Row market has been fabulous…thanks to all who come out to that market on Thursdays to support us. And to those of you who make it to both our farmers’ markets (because you just can’t resist we suppose!), we’ll have some unique treats this week. Have you ever had a madeleine? It’s a little butter cake, shaped like a shell and dusted with powdered sugar and it’s absolutely delicious with your morning coffee or afternoon tea. We’ll also be experimenting with a gluten free product this week…try and see if you can guess which one it is. We hope to see you there!

Downtown Frederick (Shab Row)
Thursdays 3-6 on East Street at Church Street

West Frederick
Saturdays 10-1 on Baughman’s Lane behind the Quality Inn on Route 40 in Frederick

Our Volunteers Are the Bestest!
We hope that we appreciate you all throughout the year but we do try to make sure to do a public shout out regularly to our volunteers. Cakes for Cause would not be the organization that it is without our loyal group of volunteers. Some of you help us out at the farmers’ markets, some of you help us with one-time projects, others serve on the board of directors for up to two years, and all your time and efforts are appreciated. We do need to give a special shout out to our good friend Yeon. For those of you who visit us at the market, you know that our Saturday booth always has fresh flowers and some of you have even tried to buy them from us. One of our volunteers has committed for the past two years to provide those every week from her garden and they’re just beautiful. So to Yeon and to all of our volunteers, we honor your efforts this week and every week at Cakes for Cause.

Cookie Tourist Deadline is this Sunday…
If you have pictures you took of your cookie tourist on vacation, we’ll give you until August 31st to get them to us to be judged by an impartial panel and chosen as our winner (fabulous prizes people!). You can email your photos (no bribes please) to info@cakesforcause.org, and you may enter more than one photograph from your cookie’s travels.

Cakes for Cause

Read More...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hello Gorgeous Squash Blossoms

This post is dedicated to Hilda Staples' last post at her blog entitled "Hello Gorgeous". I love pretty food.

My old pal Brent from college came to visit on Saturday and we went to the farmer's market. Then we went back to my place and made pizza. I hadn't seen Brent since he got married three years ago- how does this happen? Time flies!

We made a decent farmer's market pizza this week, with a crust made from gluten-free bread mix. The crust was okay- I know I can do better in time by experimenting with flours. The toppings were amazing, natch, because we used fresh veggies in season from my garden and the farmer's market. Pizza topping:

  • zucchini and pepper slices from Summer Creek Farm and Chesapeake's Choice marinated in raspberry vinaigrette and grilled
  • eggplant slices from Chesapeake's Choice that were oiled and salted and grilled [I marinate eggplant separately because it doesn't like extra water]
  • Fresh slices of pineapple and speckled Roma tomatoes from my garden
  • Fresh mozzarella from South Mountain Creamery
  • Fresh Italian goat cheddar from Caprikorn farms
  • Oregano from my herb garden [which needs a trim in the worst way]

We also made stuffed squash blossoms. The blossoms came from Jim at Tomatoes Etc. Last time I made them, I just stuffed them with Caprikorn Farms chevre, dipped them in egg and bread crumbs, and fried them. This time we shaved corn kernels from an ear of corn that we got from Scenic View Orchards and added a diced pepper to the chevre and used gluten-free baking mix instead of bread crumbs. This is now my favorite way to eat stuffed squash blossoms, which are amazing anyway. The season for them is almost over so get them while you can. Brent had never eaten squash blossoms before and he was amazed by them. It's always cool to introduce a friend to something new that they end up loving.

At the end of our meal, my friend Jackie came over and tried some of the pizza and squash blossoms. She liked it the pizza, and loved the squash blossoms, of course.

Read More...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flowers for the Market

It has been an exciting summer as far as growing flowers go. The sunflower seed packets that Shannon and I bought this spring brought me lots of Sunflowers. This red sunflower being most productive and also attractive to goldfinch. I think I picked up Coreopsis from Thistle Rock Nursery stand this spring. Those dainty blossoms really contrasts well with sun flowers in size and color. [July 11, 09]

First blooms of Lisianthus, Celosia, Liatris, Irish bell, obedient flowers accompanied by zinnia and white yarrow flowers. The flowers are greeting shoppers at Cakes for Cause booth at the farmer's market. [July 25, 09]

Yellow to orange flowers: perennial sunflower, cosmos, yellow yarrow, zinnia and dahlia. [August 1, 09]

Irish bells really going strong this week. Garlic chives are blooming and society garlic is blooming again (I love this one. Got it from Wendy this spring). Purple salvia, obedient flowers, white snapdragon, geranium leaf and of course zinnia flowers accompanied by yummy baked good neighbors at the farmer's market stand. [August 15, 2009]

I am not sure what I would do once fall arrives and summer flowers in my garden start to fade away. I wonder if I could start some quick annual flowers that like cool weather. As far as perennial goes, I have a few mums that I could temporarily pot up and bring it on some Saturdays. I could gather some nice fall color branches or berries too. I can't believe I am already thinking about fall. Time flies.

Yeon

Read More...

In Praise of Tomatoes

The tomatoes are coming fast and furious, but luckily I have lots of friends. I just gave a bag of Amish paste tomatoes to my neighbor Robin yesterday and have been supplying the birds all summer.

My favorite tomatoes have changed! Now my favorites are pineapple and speckled Roma. The pineapple is an old favorite, but the speckled Roma has definitely run up on my other old favorites. The tomato is fleshy without being grainy, turns a deep crimson red on the inside, and is the most gorgeous red with squiggled yellow and green stripes on the outside. It's a favorite for slicing as well as sauce. And in my garden this year it has been one of the most prolific.

Yeon gave me a beautiful book this year called "The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook" and I am going to share a recipe with you that I can't wait to try. It also takes advantage of tomatillos, which I happened to grow again this year (actually I stole a neighbor's plants when he moved, but he said it was OK):

Aunt Ruby's Green German Tomato Relish and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and blanched [thrown in boiling water] for 2 to 3 minutes
  • 3 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 pounds Aunt Ruby's Green German heirloom tomatoes (green zebras would also be nice). peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice.
  • 2 tbsp Champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 c torn or julienned fresh basil leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6-8 thin diagonal baguette slices, toasted (anybody know a recipe for a gluten-free baguette?)
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese (such as Caprikorn farms chevre)
In a blender or food processor, process the tomatillos to a smooth puree. In a large nonreactive pan, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over high heat, add the tomatoes, and saute for one minute, then add the vinegar and tomatillo puree. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Reserve the tomatoes in another bowl and return the juice to the saute pan. Cook the juice over high heat to reduce to a syrup, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir the reduced juice, basil, and remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil onto the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon the relish onto the toasted baguette slices and garnish with slices of goat cheese. Serves 6-8.
On a related note, I have been wondering what to make with the papalo plant that Nancy from Chesapeake's Choice gave me earlier this year. The smell is lovely, with strong cilantro notes mixed with a more subtle curry smell. I found this recipe for salsa that I think I am going to try. I love to try new things. You probably know that already.

Papalo Salsa
  • 2 roasted and deseeded chopped chili peppers
  • 2 roasted and deseeded green peppers, chopped
  • 3 small green tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 roasted garlic cloves
  • 6 papalo leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • salt
  • 2 spoonfuls of minced onion
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and let sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Read More...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cakes for Cause: It's Really Hot This Week!

Wow, that’s not really a subject line but it’s really hot isn’t it? How about some ice cold lemonade to cool you down? Cakes for Cause shakes your lemonades by hand and they’re perfect with one of our yummy cookies or scones. This week, we’ll also have whole wheat and sourdough small loaves, focaccia, our ever-popular jalousie, and many more variations on deliciousness. Pull up one of our chairs at our farmer’s market lounge and sit for a moment. Enjoy yourself!

Downtown Frederick (Shab Row)
Thursdays 3-6 on East Street at Church Street

West Frederick
Saturdays 10-1 on Baughman’s Lane behind the Motel 6 on Route 40 in Frederick

As If You Need Coffee…
Did we mention that it’s hot this week? Anyhow, we do carry Dublin Roasters Coffee at both farmers’ markets and we can attest to the fact that these locally roasted beans are delicious as an iced coffee or a coffee smoothie if you’re so inclined.

Calling All Tourists…
You thought we forgot about our own contest didn’t you? It wouldn’t be entirely surprising what with our minds filled up with ovens, refrigerators and mixers in our new bakery/café but we actually didn’t forget our little traveling cookie tourists. So, if you have pictures you took on vacation, we’ll give you until August 31st to get them to us to be judged by an impartial panel and chosen as our winner (fabulous prizes people!). You can email your photos (no bribes please) to info@cakesforcause.org, and you may enter more than one photograph from your cookie’s travels.

Speaking of the Café…
Many of you ask when we’ll open and we think it’s pretty close at this point. Once the building is finished and ready for occupancy, we hope to be open for business approximately 4-5 weeks after that. We’ll be needing helpers with a variety of things during those weeks (assembling chairs and tables, painting, unpacking dishes very carefully) and continuing at the farmers markets so if you’re up for it, let us know. Once we’re open, we’ll still want to see you so make sure you make time in your day to join us for breakfast, lunch or dessert!

Cakes for Cause

Read More...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fresh this Week from Summer Creek Farm

Fresh this Week

  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Regular tomatoes
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Green peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Basil
  • Squash
  • Beans
Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are plants that were commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but are not used in modern large-scale agriculture. These plants can be reproduced from their seeds, and only varieties in existence before World War II qualify as heirlooms. Heirlooms have outstanding flavor, come in a variety of colors (pink, yellow, orange, maroon, purple), may be marbled or striped and have unusual shapes.

Heirloom tomatoes often have fun names, like Casady's Folly or Mullens' Mortgage Lifter. Store tomatoes in a cool place, but for the best flavor, do not refrigerate whole tomatoes.

Sources: Wikipedia, Washington Post and Pasadena Star-News.

From Farmer Rick

We are at the time of year when our college help is returning to school. This month we will lose 3 of our workers and one more will go to part time. I am glad that our farm, with your CSA participation, has provided jobs for this many people in this economy. We have been working very hard this month since it will be our busiest month of the year. By this time of year we are certainly tired. Our week goes like this:
  • Monday - Pack Monday Farm CSA, call and get our orders for wholesale and restaurant sales. We then start picking for our wholesale accounts.
  • Tuesday - Start by picking and then we go on delivery. I leave the farm for two deliveries in Frederick, one in Clarksville and then to Annapolis and back to the farm.
  • Wednesday - We pick for Frederick CSA, Urbana CSA and restaurant deliveries. Once the CSA boxes are picked I leave the farm for Frederick CSA delivery, four restaurants and one store delivery, then to Urbana CSA.
  • Thursday - On our only true farm day, we weed, plant and fix all the issues (well as many as we can get to!).
  • Friday - We pick for one wholesale customer and our weekend markets. We ship Friday evening to one customer and pack our trailer for Frederick Farmers Market.
  • Saturday - We are off to Frederick for Farmers market. We set up, sell and then pack it all back up to be home by 3:00 p.m. Saturday evening I pick more for Sunday market and Sunday morning we are off to Clarksburg for Farmers market.
  • Sunday - When I get home around 3:00 p.m., I rest. I do some farm work, but not much. I need the rest to start on Monday all over. I do this schedule from May to November. It is no wonder why I love December!

I hope you are enjoying your produce, as you can see a lot goes into keeping a farm running to get it to you. Thanks for your support.

We still have tomato seconds for sale. For CSA members they are $20.00 for 20lb, non members you know that may be interested are at $26,00. We also have green peppers, hot peppers, basil and garlic if you want to purchase some for cooking in with the tomatoes. They also are good for drying, if you have a dryer. The peppers freeze well for winter use. Just let me know and I can have them ready for you at your CSA day or on a weekend at a farmers market.

Those that have gotten the tomatoes will tell you they don't look much like seconds. Most are just grading out small. I have had many comments on how well they cook up.
-Farmer Rick

p.s. Our last CSA day is the week of September 23. More information on the fall CSA in future newsletters.

Recipe Feature

CSA “French Fries”
Idea from Flour Girl, creator of Cooking Away My CSA
I call these CSA “French Fries” because with a little salt, they are just as irresistible. -- April

Ingredients:
1 bunch green beans
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Wash green beans, and trim ends. Snap them in half for bite-size pieces.
Drizzle green beans with olive oil and mix to coat evenly, spread on nonstick cookie sheet (or a regular one covered in foil), and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast until they just begin to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

To contact farmer Rick, email him at farmer@summercreekfarm.com

Read More...

Top Chef remaining contestants

The judges have spoken and the angry chile relleno maker Jennifer Zavala has gone home. Friend of Frederick farmers, Bryan Voltaggio, is still in the running, along with his brother Michael.

Since my sister was in town from Boston, we met a few friends at Volt last night and watched Top Chef in their new patio area. It was so much fun! Lots of people, and we all cheered whenever our homeboy was on camera.

So what did you think about the show? The contestants?

Shannon

Read More...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Next Top Chef

Who will be the next Top Chef? Let's hope it's local food lover and friend of the blog and of the West Frederick Farmer's Market Bryan Voltaggio. Yeon and I did an interview with Bryan back in April and he shared with us his inspiration for cooking with local, sustainable and organic ingredients. (Picture is from Bravo). I love to visit Volt and try the seasonal dishes. Bryan likes to credit the farmers when the ingredients in his dishes are particularly awesome (Nancy's young eggplant, for example) and he makes a concerted effort to support local agriculture in his offerings. Bryan is also the chef who has done all of the Chef's Challenges at the Farmer's Market- they have been a big hit.


The season opener for Top Chef plays tonight at 9PM on Bravo (Channel 273 on DirectTV or Channel 41 on cable in Frederick). Good luck to Bryan and congrats to our friends at Volt.
Bryan will also be competing against his brother Michael. Both chefs are from Walkersville and went to TJ High School.

Read More...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Everyone wants to be in the kitchen






















This morning, I went to the farmer's market and got a ton of stuff, because my family was having a special get-together. My sister and her boyfriend flew in from Boston for Mom and Dad's birthday/anniversary week. Mom and Dad have their birthdays and anniversary three days in a row. The picture is in my parents' kitchen.

Today, I bought eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, squash blossoms, watermelon pickle, potatoes, mozzarella, chevre, corn, gluten-free brownies, gf bread, and gf mini artichoke/three cheese crab cakes.

Tonight's dinner rocked. First, for hors d'oeuvres, we had caprese salad (tomatoes from my garden with fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a little salt) and the mini crab cakes. For dinner, we ate:

  • grilled eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, and onions.
  • corn on the cob
  • stuffed squash blossoms with chevre
  • chicken satay with peanut sauce
  • fresh fruit salad
Mom had made devilled eggs but somehow they never made it to the table. And not because we ate them all.
Me (earlier in the day, before dinner, after eating three devilled eggs): I should stop eating these.
Mom: Yes you should. Save some for dinner.
Mom (later, at the end of dinner): ...and Francisco helped peel the eggs.
Me: What eggs? (smirk)
Mom: I can't believe we forgot to put out the eggs! Anyone want an egg?
Me: Not me. I helped with them earlier.
Mom: Francisco loves eggs. You should have seen him the first time he ate them. Francisco, you want an egg?
Francisco: No. I'm too full. I'm pregnant.
Bridget (sticks out her belly): Me too. (But not really. I am not breaking a news story).
Dad: That was the best dinner ever.
Shannon

Read More...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Following Chef Christine's Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

I so wanted to make this strawberry-rhubarb crumble that chef Christine posted, but when I was ready to make this, we just got out of strawberry season. I don't remember why but I had to make cupcakes and used up last batch of fresh local strawberries. I thought I was out of luck till next year. Then last thursday, I was given a second chance.

Dave of Blue Mountain Farms brought ever-bearing strawberries at downtown farmer's market. They looked a little firm but still smelled wonderful. My rhubarb plant is still going strong, we always have lemon at hands, so with strawberries, rhubarb and lemon, I was ready to make this fabulous cake.
Please follow chef Christine's recipe word by word. I made this cake on Monday night after work, after dinner, while fighting my allergies. Hopefully that explains why I used 9 by 9 pan instead of 9 by 13 and the cake looks much thick rather than nice thin as chef Christine had.
Yeon pointing at her 9 by 13 pan: "Dan, is this pan 9 by 13? It looks awfully big." (Please remember I grew up with meters and centimeters and sometimes I still get confused).
Dan: That's not 9 by 13. It is bigger than that. (He has no excuse. He was probably not paying attention).
Yeon: "Okay. I guess I will use a smaller pan then."

I had minor modification as far as ingredients go:

  • I had only 1 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries, and my rhubarb stalks are mostly green with red hue, which meant strawberry-rhubarb mixture was going to lack strawberry flavor and color. I added 3 tablespoon of home-made strawberry-balsamic jam to enhance color and flavor.
  • When I combined wet ingredients together for cake batter, I added fresh lemon peels from one lemon. I cut down sugar to 3/4 cup in dry ingredient for the cake.
I placed a parchment paper and buttered it so that I can take the cake pieces out easily. I am not sure if it was necessary step or not, but they do come out very easily.

It is a wonderful recipe. Since it requires cooking strawberries and rhubarb briefly, I could try making it with frozen strawberries. And yes, I have a good amount strawberries that I froze this spring. Did I mention my rhubarb plant is still going strong?

Yeon

Read More...

Cakes for Cause: Did You Miss Us?

We’re tired of paperwork and want to spend some quality time with some cookies so hit us at the Farmer’s markets for some treats this week. We’ve got some yummy looking whole-wheat sandwich bread and sourdough, as well as delicious sweet stuff for you to nibble on.

West Frederick Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 10-1 on Baughman’s Lane behind the Motel 6 on Route 40 in Frederick

It’s Not You…It’s Us
If you went to the Middletown Market yesterday, you know that it was our last week there and if you went to Shab Row, you were probably surprised to see us. We’ve had to make a very tough decision and give up our market booth in Middletown. Our customers there are amazing and very supportive, but there just aren’t enough of them. As you know, all proceeds from the sales of our baked goods go to support our non-profit mission to provide vocational training for at-risk youth. It’s taken a tremendous amount of time and resources to support this market on a weekly basis so after a lot of thought, we decided that we needed to focus our efforts in other directions. Strangely, right after we made that decision, we were invited to participate in the Thursday market at Shab Row so we’ll be there until the end of the season. Thank you to everyone in Middletown for making Thursdays such an awesome market venue…we’ll miss you.

Volunteer Opportunities
We still need volunteers to help us finish the season in Frederick. If you’d like to help, you can link to our volunteer calendar. Our Saturday volunteers generously give up their mornings to sell lemonade and scones with us. It’s a great excuse for you to go to the farmer’s market and get the best of local produce and products.

Shout Out to Senior
This week is senior citizen appreciation week at the West Frederick Market so we are offering half price cookies (while they last) to senior citizens. Now, just so we don’t get slapped upside the head for being sassy, we’re going to count on you to let us know if you qualify for this discount…to us, you all look like you’re twenty years old!

Pull Up a Chair
If you’ve put your noseprints on our windows at 629 North Market Street, you can see the progress we’re making. Once we have keys in our hot little hands, we move in and assemble furniture and then not long after that, you can get Cakes for Cause every day except Mondays. Why not enjoy our social enterprise, Moxie Bakery & Café, knowing that you have a little piece of history? By sponsoring a chair or table in the café, you help us support at-risk youth in the Frederick community and ensure that everyone has a seat at the table. They’re going fast so let us know if we can reserve one for you…each chair includes a plaque with your name or your organization’s name and a quote about what it means to have moxie…and we know you’ve got it!

Cakes for Cause

Read More...

Frederick Farm Fresh: Senior Appreciation Day this Saturday, August 15th

It is the peak of summer and the produce is in full swing! The market is filled with fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, peppers, potatoes, okra, garlic, onions, water melon, cantaloupes and peaches just to name a few. While shopping for your veggies, grab a vibrant summer flower bouquet to decorate your home or bring to a friend! Add flavor and zest to any meal with a juicy steak, artisan goat cheese, fresh milk or off-the-oven baked goods! Come on out to the West Frederick Farmer's Market and join the summer feast.

** Senior Appreciation Day **

This Saturday (August 15th) we are honoring our senior citizens who support and shop at the local farmer's market. Participating vendors will have special deals for senior citizen: most of vendors will choose an item or a group of items and offer a special discount. Some of the vendors will even offer a discount on an entire purchase! At the entrances of the market, our volunteers will ask if you are a senior citizen and if so, will give you a stamp on your hand. Walk around the market, find the special deals and indulge yourself.

We thank you for your support and patronage for the farmer's market. Eat local, eat well, and see you soon.

Frederick Farm Fresh

Read More...

The End of Wheat

When I was 15, I was deeply in love with someone who didn't really care that I existed, and it made me change the way I ate. I didn't go on a diet to lose weight. I became a vegetarian. And then when I was seventeen, this same boy became my boyfriend. And he was a pretty crappy boyfriend. But I was a vegetarian for three years, until I finally went to college, we broke up, and eating sausage looked like a Declaration of Independence. I never ate meat once in the three years I was a vegetarian, though everyone advised me I would fail, or die of malnutrition, or whatever. It's a surprising accomplishment considering that I generally eat whatever sounds delicious and seem to have no willpower whatsoever.

Well here I go again. This time, however, I am giving up wheat. My first thought on this is "NO FARMER'S MARKET PIZZA ?!?!?!!!?!?!," because truly, that has been one of the great joys of my summer. But I am giving up wheat because it contains gluten.

I am not one to jump on dietary bandwagons (except for the cabbage soup diet, which I did with my friend Jackie as a cleanse and a demonstration of willpower for two weeks) and the South Beach Diet (which helped me lose 20 pounds once). Oh and vegetarianism. Still, compared to most women I know, I am relatively diet-free. And I enjoy this, because I enjoy food. But I am giving up gluten as an experiment for medical reasons.

I have narcolepsy. Let me explain.

If you know me and I did not happen to mention it to you, you won't know. But I have narcolepsy, I was diagnosed in 98 with a multiple sleep latency test, and I take prescription amphetamines to stay awake. Still, it stinks. I am always tired, the amphetamines make me grouchy at times, and my boss suggested to me recently that maybe I don't really have a problem and that I party too much. I told him, "if I partied too much, it would be easy to stop." And then he answered, "not if you didn't want to." And then I resisted the urges. You know. The bad ones.

I read an article in Scientific American a few days ago that convinced me that I have to cut gluten out of my diet (The picture, by the way, is from Scientific American). I had discovered the article on a narcolepsy list serve, where people were getting pretty excited about it. The article basically states that autoimmune disorders of a particular genetically linked spectrum may be created by three factors that feed off of each other: a permeable intestine that allows for proteins to enter the bloodstream not fully digested (known as leaky gut), an overactive immune system linked to specific genetic markers, and the consumption of an offending protein that the body mistakes as an antigen (disease-causing agent). This article is particularly relevant to celiac disease (gluten sensitivity- gluten is a wheat protein), as it basically identifies the mechanism that causes damage to the small intestines of people who have it. But it also provides food for thought on a number of disorders that are genetically linked to this disease, including MS, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, type I diabetes, and narcolepsy.

Recent studies have shown narcolepsy to be an autoimmune disease, where t-cells kill cells required for alertness. The t-cell response is created by the same set of genes that are responsible for celiac. Celiac is also produced by t-cell hyperactivity. Neurological forms of celiac suppress neurotransmitter activity in the brain, causing symptoms like fatigue and depression. It is not difficult to imagine that something similar is happening with narcolepsy, except that brain cells are destroyed. The practical difference is whether the autoimmune disorder kills the villi in your intestines, or the hypocretin-producing cells needed for alertness your brain.

I figure if I am wrong, no big deal. I can eat regular pizza again after a few months. But if this theory of disease works for narcolepsy, then removing one leg of the stool will knock the whole disease process over. I have always suspected that the root of my problem with narcolepsy is actually intestinal, one of those weird hunches you have about what is going on inside of yourself that you can't explain with physical evidence.

One of the great things about eating local food is that it is minimally, if at all, processed. Over the past few days, I have discovered that wheat gluten is in a vast spectrum of food as hydrolizers, emulsifiers, coating agents, and all sorts of things you wouldn't imagine. So cutting out gluten is not as simple as cutting out wheat and wheat products. Unless you don't eat processed foods. Enter the farmer's market! Where stuff doesn't have wheat in it unless it is made out of wheat! And where we have our very own gluten-free baker, A Better Choice Baked Goods. Beth, who runs the stand, discovered gluten-free baking as a way to help with her son's autism (interestingly, autism is also correlated to the condition of leaky gut).

I am going to give this thing 100% the way I did vegetarianism as a teenager. I feel wildly optimistic. The thought of not struggling every day just to stay awake sounds profoundly good. Being tired all of the time is a form of torture, made worse by people who don't understand that it is not an issue of laziness- not a lack of integrity- but a disability- that will some day, hopefully, be cured through a better understanding of autoimmune function.

So I am going off gluten. I am going to have a great wheat give-away. It means I won't be eating Rick's soft wheat made into a delicious scone by Cakes for Cause, or the delicious veggie focaccia at Stone Hearth Bakery, or pies from Ed's Bakery, or bagels... But it also means I have hope. I'll let you know how it goes.

Oh, and let me know if you have a good gluten-free recipe for pizza crust.

Shannon

Read More...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yummy recipes up at our friends' blogs

I know you are perfectly capable of checking out the blog links on this page and clicking on them. But I get enthusiastic and want to share things that stick out for me. Like the gorgeous photos up by our friend Chelsea at figs and twigs right now, along with the recipe for grill-roasted late summer vegetables with fresh oregano.

I also could not help but notice the squash and zucchini fritters over at Dianne's Dishes. The cute little guy below is a fritter just before he gets thrown into some hot oil.

I really need to eat. These pictures are making me hungry.

Shannon

Read More...

Fresh this Week from Summer Creek Farm

Fresh This Week

  • Tomatoes
  • Edamame
  • Italian beans
  • Garlic
  • Hot peppers
  • Potatoes
Edamame
Edamame (pronounced eh-dah-MAH-meh) are fresh young soybeans. Japanese cuisine has long included these tasty tidbits as snacks, but only recently have Americans began to catch on, even though soybeans are the most widely grown bean in the world. Edamame are high in protein, with 8 grams per half-cup serving, and only 3 grams of fat. They have a buttery flavor and firm texture. To enjoy raw, wash the beans and use a brush to scrub some of the fuzz off the pods (optional). Squeeze the beans out of the pod and serve raw with a little salt.

If you choose to cook them, edamame can substitute for lima or fava beans in any recipe. They are younger beans, so lessen cooking time accordingly. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week in a plastic bag. Edamame also last in the freezer for a few months if wrapped well.

Sources: Cooking Light and How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman, 2008

Recipe Feature
Edamame Succotash w/Shrimp
Recipe: adapted from Cooking Light
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups blanched shelled edamame
3 bacon slices
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 hot peppers, finely chopped
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
3 tablespoons white wine
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

To blanch, boil water, add beans, cook 1-2 minutes, drain and set aside. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; crumble bacon. Reduce heat to medium; add celery, onion, garlic, and hot pepper to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in edamame, corn, and wine; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add shrimp; cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink, stirring
frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle with crumbled bacon and parsley. Serve immediately.

From Farmer Rick
We are finally seeing the heat at the farm. We now are working faster to pick the produce while it is still young. Irrigation becomes more important to maintain good quality. Finally we are seeing peppers to harvest. They are about 3 weeks late due to all the rain and cool weather. I hope you are all enjoying the produce. Things are very busy trying to stay ahead of the produce.
-Farmer Rick

Link of the week
WSU Vegetable Research and Extension - more edamame recipes!

Contact us: farmer@summercreekfarm.com

Read More...

Monday, August 10, 2009

More 60s recipe cards

Our friend April, who writes 1000 pizza doughs, has a nice post up about a local food day that involved visiting the Urbana farmer's market and making a gorgeous galette, among other things. She has continued with the 60s recipe card theme. I could really eat this galette.

Shannon

Read More...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grown in Frederick in the Gazette

Yeon and I were in the Gazette this week! David Koontz wrote an article about buying local, entitled, "Buying Local is Important to Some Residents". They interviewed me and took pictures of Yeon and me in my garden. Here's the nut:

"We try to get the word out about local foods and connect the producers with the consumers," Moore said.
They also interviewed our pals Farmer Rick of Summer Creek Farm and Colby Ferguson of the Frederick County Office of Economic Development. The article discusses ways to get local food, including direct farm sales, joining a CSA, visiting a farm on the 2009 Farm Guide, and shopping at a local farmer's market. The article also lists the 11 farmer's markets in Frederick County. Thanks Gazette!

Shannon

Read More...

I missed you!

Hey pals! I missed you while I was on vacation in Seattle. I did manage to make it to a couple of farm outlets while I was out there. First, I went to the farmer's market in Ballard (a Seattle neighborhood) and it was pretty amazing. They had their own versions of local breads, cheeses, and produce. My friend Kathy and I stocked up on fresh goodness for our trip to the Cascades. I got a seeded multigrain rye bread that was the nuttiest, most delicious bread- totally dense and loafy. We also got greens, tomatoes, peppers, onions- lots of things we could chop up before a camping trip and throw in a cooler mise en place style so that prep in the woods was kept to a minimum. There was a portable wood fired pizza oven at the farmer's market; I was totally impressed. I bought a local bottle of kombucha, which is fermented tea, and this was quite a treat. They also had local ice cream makers, prepared food stands, and so many things I can't remember. And I forgot my camera.

During our very scenic trip in the Cascades, we stopped at the Cascadian Farm food stand. If Marie Antoinette and Disney got together and had a farm stand, it would look like this. More alpine and cute than a real cute alpine stand would look. Kathy got blueberries and we scarfed them instantly. They had a very pretty show farmette on the property with a demonstration "three sisters" garden, an herb garden, and a "u pick em" blueberry patch. Talk about good marketing. I know, I am jaded. But hey- it was local!

I am happy to be home. But I miss views like this:


Shannon

Read More...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More showings for Food Inc.

This is a follow-up posting to "Shall we watch Food Inc?"

Will and Rose of Whitmore Farm let me know today that Majestic will play Food Inc. at 7 pm on Friday August 7, and also 4 pm and 7 pm on Saturday August 8. They are going to show the movie till Thursady August 13. Dan and I were originally going to see the movie on Friday but now that we have choices, we might opt for Saturday option. If the weather is nice, maybe we could explore attractions around Gettysburg and then see the movie.

I was also told that Cinemarts in downtown Frederick might be considering to show Food Inc, but never received a confirmation. You can send email to their request line and let them know that you are interested in seeing the movie in downtown Frederick.

If you already saw the movie and want to share your thoughts, please leave comments.

Yeon

Read More...

breakfast, lunch and left-over dinner

My new year's resolution was to do less and have a simple(r) life. I am miserably failing. It is time to remind myself that it is okay to do less. In my attempt to catch up with blogging (and make a simple posting), I present you with three photos of the meals that we recently had. For a Sunday breakfast, I made chestnut scones. It pretty much follows a basic scone recipe but has a bit of chestnut flour which gives a subtle nutty flavor. The texture becomes very crumbly though. Blueberries from Glade Link Farm and peaches, plums from Scenic view orchards accompanied the warm scones right off the oven.
Dan and I never made BLT at home, so we asked ourselves why not? Pineapple tomatoes from our garden, lettuce from Chesapeake's choice, bacon from Rohrer's Meats etc, and gluten-free bread from A Better Choice Baked Goods.
We had friends over for a gathering on Thursday night and these are left-overs that we ate the following day. Potatoes were from my garden (yukon gold) and Whitmore Farm (red bliss? I will ask Rose today at the market Will and Rose told me they were red thumbs potatoes). I followed Chelsea's recipe and it was fabulous! Speckled roma and basil from our garden. Cucumbers, sungold tomatoes, onions, garlic, peach to make a nice relish. What didn't make it to this photo are grilled veggies - grilled sweet corn and yellow squash were just phenomenal.

What are you cooking with the abundant summer veggies and fruits? Send us your photos, stories and recipes to share!

Yeon

Read More...