Friday, October 30, 2009

Fresh shelled lima beans and lamb burgers

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the Shab Row/Everedy Square Farmer's market for their last day of the season. I got to chat with my friends from Whitmore Farm, Glade Link Farm, Persimmon Pond Plants, and Scenic View Orchards. The vendors were dressed up for Halloween; my favorites were Gwen from Glade Link dressed as a jack-o-lantern and Richard from Scenic View dressed as a hippie. I also got to chat a little with Yeon, who had a booth for kids with treats and crafts to decorate bat cut-outs. I hear pictures were taken, so hopefully some will get posted!

I picked up some fresh shelled lima beans and apples from Richard, cauliflower from Gwen, and ground lamb from Will at Whitmore Farm. Will told me that after the feature in the Washington Post last week on his eggs, he is sold out. Will's last week at the West Frederick Farmer's Market is this coming Saturday. He had lamb meatballs that sounded delicious, but I can't eat them because they have wheat in them. I also bought two dried lamb patties for my dog. Richard says he has lots of apples and potatoes right now, especially potatoes. He had a bumper crop this year. Fresh potatoes are a universe apart from store-bought potatoes. They are creamier, sweeter, and denser, and are one of the must-buy foods for me from the market. Gwen has a lot of gorgeous cauliflower for the market this Saturday; she also has cute flower displays in pumpkin vases. Wendy has pretty painted gourds and quince preserves.

I made a delicious dinner last night of lima beans and lamb burgers stuffed with chevre from Caprikorn Farms. I have the leftovers today for lunch. I was so hungry last night that I forgot to take a picture. I gave Lucy the Dog a dried lamb patty and she tore into it. When I gave her the second one, she already knew how good they were, and her eyes rolled back in her head as she grabbed it with her teeth and ran off to scarf her prize. I know how she felt. That's good lamb.



Cakes for Cause at the Farmer's Market

Farmer’s Market Update
Sob…this is the last week for the Shab Row Farmer’s Market! We know they’re planning lots of fun stuff for Halloween (there’s rumors of costumes) to celebrate the last market of the season for downtown Frederick. Also, for Cakes for Cause, after much reflection we have decided to stop attending the West Frederick Market for the remainder of the season. This Saturday will be our last Saturday for the year. It’s for a lot of reasons but mostly it’s because we will have youth starting in the program in a few short weeks and our café is their classroom. So, it’s in their best interest that we focus our efforts on the operations of the café and bakery. It isn’t you, it’s us and we’ll miss you. Please plan to stop by our booth this weekend so we can share our excitement about this new stage in our non-profit. Our farmer’s market customers are the earliest supporters of our program and we wouldn’t be in such a good place without their enthusiasm and support…thank you so much. We’ll see you next season!

What’s for Dinner?
We think it’s that people don’t realize that we offer savory items all day…or perhaps it’s the construction, or all the rain. Whatever it is, our evenings are sometimes slower than our lunchtime. Moxie Bakery & Café is open until 8:00 Tuesday-Thursday and until 9:00 on Friday and it’s a low key place to eat a light supper and dessert before heading out for the evening or before you head home. In the evenings, we offer soup and salads, small savory plates and the sweetest treats on the north end of Frederick. Why not stop in for a little Moxie in the evening.

What’s for Brunch?
This week at Moxie Bakery & Café we’ll have a breakfast strata for our brunch plate. It’s a kind of savory bread pudding and it’s absolutely delicious. As you know our focus on Sundays is to offer all our regular pastry and breakfast items and to craft a yummy brunch plate. We don’t like to forget our vegan and vegetarian friends either so we have a special brunch plate for you as well…perhaps some roasted vegetables with your own breakfast plate? We hope you can join us for breakfast, lunch, supper, coffee or brunch one of these days!

Moxie Bakery & Café
629 North Market Street
serving breakfast, lunch, light savories, and dessert
Tuesday – Thursday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Mondays

Cakes for Cause


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Going on a bear hunt?

Black bear season opened yesterday. I was curious to hear if any of my friends had ever tried bear, so I posted the question on facebook. Friends are great. Because they may or may not be able to help me, but they'll always have something to say. More likely than not, it will be funny, like how we should have the right to arm bears, and should never eat polar bear liver (deadly). Click the image to see it larger:

So what have I learned?

  • Bear meat is like dark meat meets beef meets gamey meets greasy meets venison but you can't remember what it tastes like;
  • Bear meat is best eaten off of a roasting spit at a cookout in West Virginia and never in chili or with a lot of seasoning;
  • Bear meat weirds you out and/or troubles your conscience but you'll eat it so it won't go to waste unless you are a vegan or won't eat smart animals;
  • The way to kill a bear is naked, with your teeth, but only if you have first armed the bear (if you have more questions, you should ask your bear-killing Uncle);
  • You should never eat the liver of a polar bear, for you shall die of acute hypervitaminosis A.

Thanks guys. That helps.

Update: late-breaking comments:

Ewwww. Just ew.


I've just been told that that turning bear meat into breakfast sausage will counteract the greasiness of bear and that it is very nice seasoned with black pepper, oregano, rosemary and garlic. This was the fate of a trouble-making bear in town.
Now I have a hankering for bear sausage.


Help Save a local barn

This one is kinda different. Campbell's soup will donate $1 to Future Farmers of America if you vote on the "Just Wait and See" farm in Union Bridge for renovations. Go to their "Help Grow Your Soup" website and click on a link once per day. The project is in parnership with the national FFA. I wonder how many people we can get to do this.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Whitmore Farm eggs featured in Washington Post

I bought eggs recently from Farmer Will Morrow at the Whitmore Farm stand at the West Frederick Farmer's Market. I am a big fan of eggs and I can tell you beyond the shadow of a doubt that farm fresh eggs are hugely better than storebought eggs. Organic free-range included. But Whitmore Farm eggs are a class above even the farm eggs that I typically get. Whitmore Farm eggs taste...chickeny. And the yolk is a bright orange color, not yellow. The yolk is pert and dense. The white is viscous, not watery.

I was happy that my friend Amanda called my attention today about an article in Washington Post that featured eggs from Whitmore Farm. The article answered the questions that I have had about the eggs. According to Farmer Will:

"The rich yolk color is primarily due to the fact our chickens are moved daily to fresh clover and grasses high in the antioxidant vitamin beta carotene," Morrow said. "Butter made from milk from grass-fed cows also has a bright saturated color that would surprise most people. It's not that these foods are so unusually bright in color; it's that the bulk of our food nowadays is so unnaturally pale because it's coming from unhealthy animals."
The eggs from Whitmore Farm are also multicolored on the outside. I find this precious, but it doesn't affect me much. However I have friends that rave about multicolored eggs because they are so beautiful. I just wondered what made them different colors:
That the Whitmore Farm eggs are special is obvious at first glance; some are white, others tan, pale blue or varying shades of brown with speckles. The eggs come from Leghorns and four specialty breeds of chickens (Ameraucana, Marans, Delaware and Welsummer), which explains the color array.
You can get excellent farm fresh eggs from several of the vendors at the West Frederick Farmer's Market. I am aware of South Mountain Creamery, Summer Creek Farm, Rohrer's Meats, Chesapeake's Choice (earlier in the season) and Whitmore Farm having them.

As a side note, when you buy eggs, they should always be graded, cleaned, and kept cool. Maryland law prohibits the sale of eggs any other way.

The photo is from the Washington Post and the caption reads, "Eggs en Cocotte are baked in single-serving portions in a water bath. (Jonathan Ernst - For The Washington Post)"


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rounding up food supplies for the zombie apocalypse

If there is ever a zombie apocalypse, you should find me. I will know where all of the food is. Somebody else will have to be in charge of weapons, because that is not me. But I'll make sure we have something to eat.

Today you would have found me wandering around the farmer's market in the rain, ensuring that our food supply is still in good order. I can tell you that we are in good shape. I took this picture while hanging out at Rohrer's meats, making sure that we have an adequate supply of fresh bacon, Carolina barbecue, and raspberry-apricot jam. I am happy to say that we do. At the moment this picture was taken, however, I was just taking refuge from the rain and bothering Danny with idle chatter about chef's challenges, and how I cancelled today's due to inclement weather.

Luckily Glade Link Farm had plenty of cheddar cauliflower. And Summer Creek Farm had haricots verts and radishes. Scenic View Orchards had half pecks of Stayman apples. Catoctin Mountain Creamery had the blue goat and cottage cheeses I needed, along with teriyaki sticks. Caprikorn farms had a special on chevre and also had Italian goat cheddar. I was also relieved to see that Beth had a gluten-free pecan pie. Because that really builds the strength you need to fight off zombies. I didn't get to a lot of the other stands because I became preoccupied with running away from raindrops, taking shelter in random places. But this is good practice.

When it was all over, I took refuge at Moxie on North Market Street. I had a homemade butternut squash soup with toasted squash seeds and a harvest salad with chevre, apple, pecans, and bacon. It's important to build your strength up because you never know when...aagh!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Information about Thanksgiving Farms

About Thanksgiving Farms

Thanksgiving Farms is a 56 acre family-owned farming operation where we specialize in growing a large selection of fruits from our orchards and vegetables of all varieties, lots of which are heirlooms.

About the CSA

Thanksgiving Farms CSA is a community-supported agriculture farm south of Frederick on Route 85 (Buckeystown Pike). Our emphasis will be on tasting and trying many different vegetables and fruits throughout the 20-week season beginning in mid-June and running through the end of October. We intend to have different vegetables and fruits each week.

The fee for the 2010 Season is $550.00 for a whole share, which should accommodate households of four (4) persons each week for the 20-week season. For those not needing as much, we offer a half share for $300.00, which is plenty to accommodate households of 1 or 2 persons for the season.

We offer weekly pick-ups at our farm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Each participant will receive 2 boxes, one that will be full to go home and one that will remain for the following week’s pick-up. In our farm market, we also offer additional fruits and vegetables, as well as a wide variety of annual and perennial plants and cut flower bouquets to complement your weekly selections.

If interested in the Thanksgiving Farms CSA, please commit by paying a deposit of ½ of the season fee or the full monetary amount by December 31, 2009 with the remainder due by May 31, 2010. We “grow our own” plants from seed and most are started in late January or early February for the spring and summer season.

We accept cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express for payment.

We would greatly appreciate your help in distributing this information so that you may pass it on to your friends, family, or coworkers who may be interested in our CSA and buying locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Questions, please call me, Darby Zimmermann, at 301.662.1291 or 240.409.9100, or stop by our Farm Market any day of the week; we’re open 9am to 5pm. We look forward to meeting your family and a prosperous 2010 Season!

Address: Thanksgiving Farms, 1619 Buckeystown Pike, Adamstown, MD 21710

List of What We Grow

Apples – 19 varieties
Greens, Collard
Greens, Mustard
Greens, Turnips
Beans, Butter
Beans, Green
Cherries, Sour
Beans, Italian (Roma)
Cherries, Sweet
Beans, Lima
Lettuce – 10 varieties
Beans, Pole
Beans, Wax
Beans, Jumbo
Onions, Spring
Beans, Purple Royal
Peas, Sugar Snap
Beans, October (Cranberry)
Peas, Green
Pears – 6 varieties
Beans, other varieties
Peas, Snow
Plums – 6 varieties
Peppers, Hot – 15 varieties
Raspberries, Black
Bok choi
Peppers, Sweet – 20 varieties
Raspberries, Red
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage, Red
Cabbage, green
Squash, Winter – 12 varieties
Cabbage, Savoy
Squash, Summer – 10 varieties
Swiss Chard
Cauliflower, White
Cauliflower, Cheddar
Tomatoes, Cherry – 14 varieties
Cauliflower, Purple
Tomatoes, Regular – 10 varieties
Tomatoes, Heirloom – 15 varieties
Cucumbers, Pickling
Cucumbers, Regular
Eggplant – 9 varieties


Cakes for Cause: Wow...

We'll say it again, wow…

What a two weeks it’s been for Cakes for Cause and we haven’t even kept you posted with an email! Hopefully you’ve kept up through Facebook, Twitter, or even by coming into the café during our grand opening week. We’re sorry we’ve been out of touch but we hope you’ve at least driven by the café and peeked in the windows. We’re still adjusting our hours and we’ll keep you posted here and with signs on the doors.

Moxie Bakery & Café is now open on North Market Street. We had a wonderful first day (standing room only) and a busy week following it and we’re starting to get into a groove. If we’ve missed your phone calls and emails, please forgive us…we’re going to try to catch up. It’s all part of the preparation as we gear up to welcome youth into the program and offer employment and life skills training over a six-month period.

We hope you’ll visit us in the café, perhaps on Sunday during our “creative” brunch. This week, in addition to our regular offerings of breakfast options, our brunch plate will be a baked sourdough french toast with a blend of fresh local orchard apples from Scenic View Orchard and yummy maple syrup. We’ll pair it with kofte, a delicious spiced lamb sausage from Whitmore Farms or with a pork sausage. Brunch is served until 3:00 pm or until the food runs out!

Moxie Bakery & Café
629 North Market Street
serving breakfast, lunch, desserts and small plates (and don’t forget the pastry case!)
Tuesday-Thursday 6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday 6:00 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Closed Mondays

We will also continue to be at the farmers’ markets until they close at the end of this month and next month. We’ll provide our usual offerings but we’re still getting used to a new production schedule that includes three meals a day so be patient with us if we’ve missed something.

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

Cakes for Cause


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chef's Challenge this Saturday!!!

Hey everybody! I have a treat for you! We are going to have another Chef's Challenge this coming Saturday at the West Frederick Farmers Market at 10:30AM. Chef Christine Van Bloem from the Kitchen Studio is going to do a cooking demonstration using fall products from the farmers market, and you will be able to sample what she makes. Chris teaches cooking classes at her studio, so this is a fun opportunity to see her in action. Plus after chatting with her she has some great ideas for a recipe that you can make for your friends and family at home. Hope to see you there!


Top Chef Spoiler Alert

Last night's chef's challenge was all about TEAMS. The remaining 8 cheftestants drew knives. Jen [correction- I originally had this as Kevin...oops!] drew "first choice" and Michael V drew "second choice". The chefs had to break up into two teams for the quickfire challenge. Jen picked Kevin, Mike Isabella, and Laurine for her team. Mike picked Bryan, Eli, and Robin (who was picked last- this reminded me of gym in middle school and I really felt for Robin. But she had a great attitude about it, saying it was a chance for everyone to get along. She showed real class.).

The quickfire was awesome. Teams had to decide who would go first, second, third and fourth. Nobody was allowed to talk about food, and everyone wore a blindfold except for when they were cooking. Each round lasted ten minutes, and during that ten minutes, the only person without the blindfold was the one prepping and cooking the team's dish. When the round was over, that person would leave and the next would take their place. The first chef had to pick the ingredients and start the prep. It was interesting to see what people picked- Eli went first for his team and threw in some steaks and a bunch of greens. Jen went first for her team and picked black cod. The dishes were finished by Michael V and Kevin. Jen's team won the challenge and 10K. They were offered the chance to keep the 10K or try to win 40K in the next challenge, which was RESTAURANT WARS! Well of course they went for it.

Restaurant wars was fascinating. Each team had to open a restaurant in three hours, serve customers, and serve the judges. Kevin's team called its restaurant "Mission," which was a perfect name by all estimates. Michael's team called itself R3VOLT, which was cool in a way but kind of puerile, and the judges compared it to the word "revolting".

You would think that a team with Kevin and Jen in it would rock, but their timing was off, the rack of lamb was overly rare, the fish was bland, sauces were broken, mussels were undercooked, and their tartare was bland. Laurine was sticken as the front of the house manager. By contrast, R3VOLT had the best restaurant opening in the six seasons of the show. Apart from Michael V's tantrums, the team ran really well. Robin even did well- I think her strength is really in baked fruit desserts, judging by past competitions. It's obvious which team won and which one lost.

Either Laurine or Jen could have gone home. Nothing worked on Jen's dishes. It was as if a curse had fallen upon the kitchen, but her in particular. Laurine prepped the rack of lamb, and Kevin undercooked it. She tried to argue with him, but in the end gave up. She also forgot to introduce dishes and hid from the judges once the kitchen got too far behind schedule. It's sad to see a chef go home under those kinds of circumstances. It's one thing to be out-competed or to make clear errors the belong to yourself alone. But it's harder to suffer personally from a series of group errors, and she really took the fall for the team. That said, Jen is the better chef.

Michael V won for his exquisite dishes, including a chicken and squid preparation that one judge called genius. He generously shared the 10K that he won with the rest of his team. But his behavior during the show spoke for itself. Once again our local heroes did us proud with their cooking.


Fresh this week from Summer Creek Farm

Fresh This Week

  • Radishes
  • Carnival squash
  • Sweet potato
  • Tomato
  • Green peppers
  • Italian peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Summer squash
  • Broccoli

From the Farmer

It is the time of year for us to worry about frost. Frost will end the production of many vegetables that we all have been enjoying. Frost also leads to sleepless nights on the farm. We spend the day before spreading out covers for our sensitive plants. We use a polyester fiber blanket. It is lightweight, lets in light but traps heat. It also blows around in the wind easily so we must stake it down. Covering 700 ft. long rows of squash, 400' rows of beans and peppers takes some time. It also means picking will be slow here after since we must move and replace the covers each time we pick.

With covers in place we head inside to check the weather reports and weather station here at the farm. Next we go back out around 11 p.m. to check to see if covers are still in place. We look at wind speed and cloud cover. Back inside to bed. Up again about 4 a.m. I get up then to check the wind and temp.

If the wind is up and temperature is low I realize I may have to fix the covers soon. Back to bed, up at 5:30 to check temperature. If below 37 I go out to check the covers and repair them. Then I prepare our backup plan. Some crops I may turn irrigation on, because spraying water helps raise temps. We also may prepare bond fires that we place straw bales to blanket the field in smoke. Usually this is not the case but I must be ready. I must watch the temperatures as the sun rises. The temperature is the lowest the 1/2 hour after sunrise. I baby sit the plants until the sun is higher in the sky and temps start to rise for good.

One more night we have made it through. It would be nice for a rest, but it is morning and time for work to be done. Hopefully tonight will be warmer, so I can sleep! This goes on until temperatures rise or till I lose to Jack Frost. Just a little insight into this time of year on the farm.

-Farmer Rick

Roasted Peppers

Any pepper can be roasted, although red peppers are sweeter than green ones. You can roast them in the oven, on a grill, under the broiler, or even over a gas range.

To roast or broil peppers, heat the oven to 450° or turn on the oven and position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler flame. Line a roasting pan with foil and place the whole peppers in the pan. Roast or broil, turning the peppers as each side browns, until they have darkened and collapsed. This takes about 15-20 minutes under the broiler, or up to 1 hour in the oven.

To roast peppers on the grill, preheat to medium-high and put the rack 4 inches from the flame. Put peppers directly over the heat, turning as each side blackens, about 15 minutes total.

Wrap the cooked peppers in foil, and cool until you can safely touch them. Then remove the skin, seeds and stems. (You can run them under water during this process to make it a little easier.) The peppers may fall apart.

Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for a few days. Serve at room temperature, with a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt.

Roasted peppers are also great additions to dips, pizzas, sandwiches, bruschetta or meatballs.

Source: How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman

Link of the week

Easy Roasted Pepper Hummus – recipe from

Contact us


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chef Rochelle Myers shares a few words on apples

Chef Rochelle Myers of the Lots of Everything blog adds her apple challenge entry to the fray with this blog post. Rochelle interviewed me about the challenge for her column in the Frederick News Post and told the world that I wanted everyone to show me their apples. I found this hilarious. She also posted a separate column about the different varieties and local sources of apples, which is worth a read. Finally, she shares a picture of the massive quantity of applesauce (10 gallons!!!) she made when a friend give her a bunch of apple seconds that had fallen off of an apple truck. You know what they say- when life gives you That's too many apples.

Picture from Lots of Everything.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower with Apple et al.

It was going to be my Apple challenge, but it turned out to be more of a Cauliflower challenge. I picked up this huge, perfect cauliflower head from Gwen and I wanted do something special. I had this roasted cauliflower with apple idea, and I ended up modifying a recipe from Herbal Kitchen cookbook. I took

  • 2/3 of Cauliflower (about 1.5 lbs), cut into florets
  • 1 Ginger gold apple, chopped into big chunks
  • 1 Asian pear, chopped into big chunks
  • 1/2 Onion, cut into strips
  • 1 TBS dried currant
  • olive oil, salt and nutmeg
Mix cauliflower, apple, pear and onion with olive oil. Season wit salt. Bake in an oven at 425 for about 25 minutes, until cauliflower starts to brown a bit. Add in currant (I want to use golden raisin next time) and bake it for another 10 - 15 minutes till they brown nicely. Stir in freshly ground nutmeg just a bit.


With the rest of cauliflower, I made cauliflower puree. Cook cauliflower with milk and cream till it is tender. Puree the cooked cauliflower in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Again, I added a little bit of nutmeg. Very subtle but significant enough to make you wonder what's in it.

I shall follow up with more apples!


Top Chef Spoiler Alert

I am not the most faithful Top Chef blogger. But I do this for free and sometimes things like camping and getting sick and doing apple challenges get in the way of my duties. Even though this is late, I still want to blog about the past two Top Chef episodes because 1) I care and 2) laser eyes.

For the Dinner Party episode: This was my favorite quickfire to date because each chef had to pull a lever on a slot machine to see what combination of "key words" they would have to match their food prep to. And the words were quaint: "umami", "Vietnamese", and "tired", are examples. Local pal Bryan V had the words "adventurous", "crispy" and "Asian". Bryan and bro Michael did well, but did not impress chef Tyler Florence enough to win. Kevin took the quickfire with his grilled pork and Vietnamese-style salad. This challenge inspires me. When I go to Volt, I say "three courses, gluten free." And that is what I get. Maybe I should just give them key words. It would be fun for me. For the chefs at Volt, not so much.

I also liked the challenge for this episode. Cheftestants drew knives to see which famous chef's grocery bag they would have to cook with, and they ended up in teams. Ash got paired with Michael V. Michael had an unfortunate break because he was not watching his fish when the circuits went out. As a conseqence, his fish was overcooked without getting a crisp on his pancetta.

Where Michael's halibut crashed, Bryan's soared. Bryan and Laurine made a halibut with polenta cake and chorizo vinaigrette that wowed Tyler Florence and the other judges. Am I surprised that Bryan's fish was excellent? No. Nobody, in my experience, cooks fish better than Bryan. The winning dish, however, was prepared by Jen and Kevin, and was a kobe beef in tomato broth. Jen won the challenge overall for the tomato broth. This, I was glad to see for Jen's sake. Jen is obviously an outstanding chef and it's good to see her get a win under her belt.

Ash so abdicated his own tastes that when he and Michael ended up in the bottom four, he defended Michael as the executor of the dish and compared himself to washing paintbrushes for Picasso. I believe the only reason Ash did not go home after those comments is because the judges send home the main executor of a bad dish, and Michael's dish was not necessarily flawed in concept (Though Judge Tom suggested Michael chose the wrong fish). But I think Ash established himself as second-rate amongst the chefs there with those comments, and set the stage for what happened in the next episode. Ashley went home for the undercooked spot prawns and tough, oversalted gnocchi she prepared with Eli. Michael's dish might have been good in concept, where it was clear that Ashley's dish was never going to be good.

The best part of this episode, though, was seeing Bryan stand up for his brother in the waiting room. He said he was tired of hearing everyone second-guess each other because they had not tried each others' dishes. Then he made laser eyes and turned the people in the room into smoke while making prehistoric bird noises:
That's how we roll in Fredrock.

On to the next episode! In the Pigs and Pinot episode, both Bryan and Michael faced their former employer, Charlie Palmer, as a judge. Neither one won. The end. Well not entirely.

Eli won the snack food product placement quickfire with a chive and fennel-influenced clam chowder. Eli also got into a tiff with Robin in the home kitchen where he told her that she's not his mom, basically showing his age (or lack thereof). At this point in the house it was "Everyone Hates Robin" because she kept outlasting their friends.

Michael, Bryan, Kevin and Jennifer ended up in the winner's circle, for matching pinot noir to their excellent pork dishes. Kevin won for his pork pate with mushrooms and pickled cherries, matched with an Oregon pinot. He stated early on that he had to win this competition due to his experience with pork, and it did come across that he knew exactly what he was doing with both the pork and the wine (whose vineyard he had visited many times, noticing the hazelnut trees on the grounds. Geez). There is no substitute for experience.

In the bottom three, we had Laurine, Robin and Ash. Laurine's dish was an abomination, where she tried to make a pork rillette using broth instead of fat. One of the judges compared it to cat food. Robin's dish with chick peas fought the wine...and itself. Ash's dish was "clammy" and did not speak to the wine. From watching the show, it was difficult to see why Ash went home. I figure his dish was worse than the editing made it sound, or the Judges had made their decision about him in the previous challenge, where he made himself out to be an also-ran. Certainly, it adds to the drama in the house to keep Robin in the competition. But honestly, there can be only one Highlander (to make an old reference) and she won't be it.

The competition gets more and more exciting every week. Good luck chefs!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Moxie is open!

Those of you that read the blog are familiar with Cakes for Cause, the organization at the West Frederick and Everedy Square Farmers Markets that makes delicious baked goods AND helps kids who are aging out of foster care or live in public housing to develop job skills. Today Elin Ross and friends opened up Moxie Bakery and Cafe in downtown Frederick.

Many of us remember when this was a passionate idea in Elin's brain. Something she was going to do some day. She had the experience- she's a trained pastry chef with nonprofit management experience in the area of helping foster kids. But not everyone can take a not-for-profit idea; create a culture around it and enlist all of their friends; work tirelessly, and I mean tirelessly, for over a year pulling together resources; and then really make it manifest. People like this are treasures. Elin Ross is a treasure, and I believe in her vision. I can't wait to see the first class of young people as they go through the program and learn what it really takes to not only make amazing food, but to develop good work habits and learn how to succeed in a work environment, and hopefully, in life.

So far at Moxie, I have tried the decaf chai, chocolate pots de creme, strawberry chevre parfait, and the chai mousse. Since I am not eating gluten, I haven't been able to try the biscuits with sausage gravy, but I hear from my friend Jeff, pictured here with a pumpkin scone (which he loved also), that they are incredible. The biscuits and gravy are offered for Sunday brunch tomorrow, if you want to check them out. They also have a vegetarian gravy with roasted vegetables. The bakery serves croissants and other amazing baked goods (including some vegan items, which have been making my friend Steve very happy). I hear that you should try the soups and salads that they have for lunch (the salad today was a Thai Caesar with shrimp). Dinner is "small plates" similar in size to the tapas at Isabellas or the dishes at Volt. The great thing about this is that you can mix and match, and try a bunch of things. Or if you are on a budget, you can get one thing and savor it.

Moxie is open Tuesday through Saturday from 6AM-9PM and Sundays 9AM-2PM. You can get items from the case any time. You can seat yourself at breakfast time. The brunch, lunch, and dinner times have wait staff.

Moxie Bakery and Cafe


629 North Market Street
Frederick Maryland 21701


Apple Compote with the Stovers

My friend Jackie submitted this apple challenge entry. It's an apple compote, prepared by her mom, Becky. It's a simple preparation- peel, core, and chop apples, and cook them on the stove with a little sugar and spice. The compote is chunky and soft. It went really well with the dinner we had at their house of baked salmon and potatoes au gratin. It also went well with the apple walnut caramel pie Jackie got at Catoctin Mountain Orchard. Cheers!


Apfelmus chevre mousse

So here's the broken-down tale of what I did for the apple challenge: I made a take on Zwilling Apfelmus (a Swiss German dish). It's supposed to be two mousses swirled together: a mousse made with applesauce and whipped cream, swirled with a mousse made with apple butter and whipped cream. I decided to make my own apple sauce and apple butter. My large, flat bottomed pan cooked the apples down quickly. I made the applesauce and refrigerated half of it. But I realized it was too watery for a mousse, so I cooked the other half down halfway between sauce and butter and decided I would make only one mousse. The sauce/butter hybrid had a great taste and texture. Then I realized I had half and half, not heavy whipping cream. Not wanting to go to the store because I was sick, I mixed the sauce/butter with a mousse whipped out of 1/3 c chevre, 1/2 c half and half, 2 TBSP calvados (apple liqueur), and 2 tsp sugar. The end result: okay, but I should have left the chevre out because it fought with the spices and calvados. But my house smelled delicious. By the way, I took pictures of the finished mousse, but it looks like baby food. Anyway, I tried. Not my best effort ever.

The applesauce and other half of the apple sauce/butter are in my refrigerator waiting to be made into something fabulous. When I am feeling better.



Apples at Catoctin Mountain Orchard

Got apples? Catoctin Mountain Orchard does. My friend Jackie and I went there and checked out their apple products. Jackie got an apple walnut pie and I picked up some cider. Catoctin had lots of delicious apple varieties, including cortland, empire, and gala. They also had flavored ciders- apple grape looked particularly good.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Show off your apples: cider doughnuts from figs and twigs

My dear friend Chelsea. The picture of the "Cider and Spice Doughnut Holes" you have posted at figs and twigs looks divine. I have reposted it here so that I can pretend it is mine every time I look at my blog. No seriously, this looks awesome. I have been sick all week and can't taste anything but I can totally taste this in my mind. Check the link to see a recipe too.

Remember everybody, you have til midnight on Friday to send us a link to a picture/post or to email a pic for the apple challenge. Make anything with apples. That is the only rule. I'll be waiting. I also hope I am well enough to make something. How sad would it be to hold a challenge and then not show up? I will do my best. By the way, check out Rochelle Myers' last column in the Frederick News Post on the Apple Challenge. Best quote ever: "Shannon Moore wants you to show off your apples." Thanks Rochelle! LOLZ!

And sorry I have gotten behind on my Top Chef posts- I'll get back to normal as soon as I can. Spoiler alert: the Voltaggio brothers are still in. Ashley and Ash are out. Robin is still in.



Monday, October 5, 2009

The Apple Challenge is ON!

Anyone for apple bourbon bread pudding? I thought so. Me too. Our first apple challenge entry comes from Kate, of real food*real life. Kate has also shared the recipe. The picture is from Kate.

I love this recipe for several reasons. First of all: bread pudding. Bread pudding is my favorite dessert. One time I had praline bread pudding at Jazzfest in New Orleans and I spent weeks trying to track down the vendor so that I could get their recipe. No luck. I even thought about writing Bon Appetit. But I figured I would just go back someday. Then Katrina hit. I wonder if the stand is still there? I am obsessed.

Second, Kate's bread pudding was made with homemade challah. Hello heaven. Oh, and third, bourbon. The magic ingredient in a perfect Manhattan. Not that I drink those. Well only once a week.

I am also excited to discover Kate's blog!!! I have added her to the blogroll. And remember, you have until October 16 to get your pics of apple dishes in!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Cakes for Cause: Our Focaccia Has Run Amok

Yes, because we forgot all about our email last week we are being punished by our breads. However, it’s a good thing for you this week…we have gargantuan focaccia so if you’re looking for a unique sandwich bread or would like to sit around in your living room and dip bread into olive oil, we have the loaves for you at the Farmer’s Markets this week. Of course, we’re experimenting with our new ovens and are pretty excited at how great they work so we have lots of our other great products too. It’s also a bonus week since we’ll be selling outside the new café on Saturday for In the Street. Did you ever wonder why no one sells breakfast at Frederick’s largest festival of the year? Well, this year we’ve got it covered with scones, cookies, coffee, lemonade and iced tea (and the infamous Arnold Palmer). Three venues and lots of opportunity to support Cakes for Cause:

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

In the Street
Saturday 9-5 (or until the food runs out)
Moxie Bakery & Café, 629 North Market Street (next to the fountain)

October 17th is Just Around the Corner
We know we have two weeks and 1.5 days left until our grand opening but do you have your calendar marked for our big day? We’ll throw open our doors and welcome you into the space that we’ve been waiting for for the past year and a half. She looks beautiful, we’ve taken her out on a couple of test runs already and we’re ready to be a part of the vibrant North End Community every day (we think). Set your alarm clocks early for the ribbon cutting and the rush for the door. If you bring out your lawn chairs and camp out, we’ll hook you up with coffee and cocoa whenever you get there. We’ll have specials and drawings all day and we hope you’ll join us.

Knitty McKnitten...
Do you like to knit? Are you obsessed with yarn? This week might be your week at the West Frederick Farmer's market with a Wool to Yarn - Spinning Demo. One of our own vendors, Rose of Whitmore Farm and her friends will be spinning wool fleece into yarn using spinning wheels and drop spindles. You will get to see the art of spinning and learn how the fleece of a sheep or other fiber animal is transformed into yarn to knit, crochet and felt. Some of their creations and crafts will also be available for purchase. The rain date is October 10th. It's very zen and appropriate for fall crafts!

Cakes For Cause


Apple Challenge! You have until October 16

Yeah, another challenge! Why not? The eggplant challenge was a lot of fun. This time the ingredient is the lovely apple. Make anything with apples, and send or link a picture before Friday, October 16 at midnight. This gives you two weeks. I know you can do it. Try to use local apples if you can get them (in Frederick, that's not a problem, because local apples are everywhere). I was inspired to make apple the focus of this challenge after reading the baked apple recipe at Dianne's Dishes. Thanks, Dianne!

I am thinking of making an apple charlotte (charlotte aux pommes) with calvados crème anglaise. This is a molded apple tart with toasted bread on the outside and apple compote in the middle. I saw the recipe once in Gourmet or Bon Appetit and have been meaning to make it ever since. But since I don't eat wheat anymore, I first have to come up with the right bread. I bought a bunch of flours recently and will be trying my hand at gluten-free baking. When I get a good bread...that's when the charlotte magic will happen. I am wondering if a brioche would work with this.

So what will you make? Apple dumplings, apple butter, apple sauce, apple pie, apple pancakes, apple jelly...



Thursday, October 1, 2009

Great quote from a local chef

Local Chef Rochelle Myers has restarted her column in the Frederick News-Post (she also writes the blog, Lots of Everything). Here is a nice quote from today:

I realized I had turned a corner when I discouraged a friend from serving asparagus at a family gathering in the fall. Why eat woody, flavorless asparagus from Peru when you can eat local, flavorful, fresh swiss chard, broccoli or pak choi?Besides tasting better, the stuff that's in season is fresher (it didn't have to travel as far to get to your plate) and far less expensive.

Eating local fresh food has become more than mere lip service or an occasional nice idea. It's a way of life. I do still eat asparagus out of season, but it just makes me miss the real deal and wish spring would arrive so I can enjoy it to its fullest once again.