Monday, November 30, 2009

Salmon canapes

Here are the leftovers from the bridal shower that ended up back at my house. Half of a pear cobbler and a few flattened salmon canapes. Needless to say I threw a party and we ate them, and then went ska dancing.

My Aunt Irene and her daughters threw my sister a lovely bridal shower, and I was really touched. It was also a huge help, since my mom had to throw together a Thanksgiving dinner and an engagement party just before.

As is my custom now that I have to eat differently than before, I made both dishes without a recipe. The pear cobbler was just a gluten free biscuit mix with seckel pears from Scenic View Orchards and agave syrup. I can't tell you how it tasted to others but it seemed dry, yet tasty. The salmon canapes, however, were the bomb. Ironically, I did not taste them since they had dairy and wheat in them. But I knew they would be awesome when I concocted the idea.

When I got to the shower hall, I got my food out to cook it. My Aunt Irene told me we could not use the ovens. So cousin Patty and I went to her house and she totally saved my butt by cooking the mushroom rolls and chicken skewers I had brought. While she did this, I assembled the salmon canapes. My cousin's husband and Uncle Buddy also enjoyed eating them while we cooked them in the kitchen. Patty's husband said, "there's like three different flavors in there that all come together in my mouth." And my sister told me later that someone had told her that it made tartar sauce in their mouth. I actually spent some time thinking about putting this dish together- when I first imagined it, the cream mixture was going to be on a potato slice that had been baked in oil to reduce moisture, with salmon and a chive on top. Several people asked me for the recipe to this:

Salmon Canapes

  • 1 large loaf of dark brown, sweet bread. I used the bread I got at the last day of the market from So Very Special. It looked like it had dates and molasses in it. I did not try it because of the gluten!
  • 1 c of sour cream mixed in the food processor with 1 c of cream cheese and enough milk to get the mix to piping consistency- the consistency of mortar, when it is soft enough to squirt through a bag but strong enough to hold its shape when it comes out.
  • 1.5 pounds of sockeye salmon, thawed and baked at 425 degrees F in a marinade of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt. I normally cook salmon until it is still gelatinous in the middle but I cooked it more to not freak out the family.
  • Vlasic dill slicer pickles, cut into pieces about 1 centimeter long and 1 inch wide.
Slice the bread into sandwich-thickness slices and cut the slices into quarters. Lay them on a serving tray. Pipe about 1/2 tsp cream mix onto each slice. lay the pickle on one side of the cream and a chunk of the salmon on the other. That's it. Take it to a party, I promise it will be a hit.

I found out today that Melissa and Alexandra of So Very Special lost Stephen today. Stephen was Alexandra's husband and Melissa's dad. He passed away after a long illness. My condolences to them in this difficult time.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

More to be thankful for

This year's Thanksgiving was extra special because it was also the weekend we celebrated my sister Bridget's engagement to Kico. We had lots of friends and family come to visit. Especially members of Kico's family. This was great for me because I grew up with a big extended family (originally a big farm family) and family for me is something you can always enjoy more of. Meeting the little girl cousins was especially fun.

This little girl particularly loved the mashed potatoes. My mom made them with potatoes I got at Scenic View Orchards. I bought half a bushel for $14 at the last market, which seemed like a steal to me. The potatoes were literally white as snow.

I made a couple of dishes, including a coconut curry rice dish that had nothing local in it. But I also made a butternut squash and sweet potato casserole with a caramel sauce that used my friend Chad's sweet potatoes and a butternut squash from I think Jubilee. The colors of this dish were very fall and I loved the black flecks on the casserole dish. I made up both dishes as I went along. For example I poured the liquid off the bottom of the casserole and reduced it to a caramel sauce, mixing in apple juice for flavor. Then I poured it on top of the dish and broiled it.

I got a lot more compliments for the rice than I did for the casserole, though I thought the casserole was better. Something I am noticing too is that as I have begun to eat a lot more healthily, my tastes have changed a lot. A lot of times sweet potato dishes are extremely sweet, and I am not a fan. I like to temper the sweetness with the vegetal notes of the tubers. But that may not have been what people were expecting.

I ate something that triggered a food allergy. I had a suspicion there might be gluten in the chicken broth mom used for the gravy and I looked it up on the internet. And it did. I not only got tired, I staggered. This had nothing to do with alcohol, because I decided not to have any; It also was not the turkey. The reaction was actually something I was happy about- I think I have really begun to get to the bottom of what has plagued my my whole life- an autoimmune reaction to wheat, dairy, and maybe a few other things. Now that I have eliminated these foods from my diet, I can tell within minutes of eating them. That means to me that if I don't eat them, I won't be a zombie anymore. The other benefit of being food sensitive is that it causes me to either cook for myself or go to places that cater to people with allergies, which are always places that use fresh, whole foods. So I get to be awake and eat healthier.

People felt sorry for me going into the holidays because I picked this time do do my elimination diet. But I had plenty to eat and was glad that I felt so much better in general than I ever have. I also still got to talk to everyone and enjoy them, and that's most of the holiday for me.

I was talking to a friend the other day about my new way of eating, and I remarked how interesting it was that the answer to my problems in the long run was not to add something like a medicine to my life, but to remove something from my diet. My friend told me that is counterintuitive to our commercial culture, where we have to buy something for all of our problems.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. May you be blessed with just enough: an abundance of family and friends, and an elimination of the things that are not benefiting your life.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Farmer Rick

I wanted to wish all our customers a Happy Thanksgiving Day and say thank you for your support during the year.

Being involved in farming and the production of food makes Thanksgiving even more special for me. Our predecessors knew how precious the harvest was to sustain them through the long winter. They were fearful of starvation each winter and thankful to have a good harvest to sustain them through. Today we are far removed from having to store all our food in the fall to make it to spring. We often take food for granted. Growing quality food for a living puts different perspective on the family meal. I know how tenuous our food supply can actually be at times and how the quality of our food has changed over the years.

I hope you have enjoyed the fresh produce we have produced this year for your enjoyment and nourishment. We are already ordering seeds and planning for next year. Hope to see you then.

Thanks So Much
Farmer Rick


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cakes for Cause: You Don't Want to Miss This!

It's the week of Thanksgiving and Cakes for Cause knows that you have a house full of hungry family members and who wants to cook all day anyhow? We do! Let us make your day after Thanksgiving special with a yummy breakfast before you hit beautiful downtown Frederick. Does Grandpa like biscuits? We've got them hot from the oven with jam and butter. Does Cousin Eddie love all things French? How about one of our delicate all-butter croissants? And coffee, we've got lots and lots of strong hot coffee to keep you going for the whole morning. We'll be open for breakfast, lunch and sweet treats all weekend so stop by and visit us. Don't forget our "creative" brunch on Sundays...we bring together a whole plate of goodness for you to enjoy along with all our regular breakfast items. If you're a vegan, don't worry, we make you your own version too.

When Are We Open…When Are We Closed?
At Cakes for Cause, we value our staff and their family time so we offer them several holidays each year. That way, they stay rested and enthusiastic (because we all work like crazy the rest of the time). Our holiday schedule is the following:

Thanksgiving Eve (Wednesday) CLOSED
Thanksgiving Day (Thursday) CLOSED
(except for pre-ordered pick-ups and pastry emergencies 8-12)
We wish you and your families the happiest of Thanksgivings!
Christmas Eve (Thursday) CLOSED
Christmas Day (Friday) CLOSED
New Years Day (Friday) CLOSED

Gingerbread Cookies Anyone?
Those of you who know Cakes for Cause have been asking about the gingerbread cookies and yes, they are coming back in 2009 to make your holidays easier. For those of you who don’t know, we make your holiday baking a snap with our frozen gingerbread and sugar cookies. All you have to do is pop them into the oven, bake them, and then decorate them with our handy frosting kit. This year it’s all part of the same package…2 dozen gingerbread or sugar cookies, a frosting kit, lots of templates with ideas for decorating and plenty of fun for the whole family. Plus, there’s no mess from the eggs, flour, and butter! You’ll be able to pay online and pick up after December 10th. More info to come.

The Swag Is Coming…The Swag Is Coming!
Yes, you have asked and we are responding…with Moxie t-shirts and gift cards. These are the must-have seasonal gifts in Frederick. Get your own little piece of the funky North End and pre-order our hot t-shirts or our even hotter gift cards. Call 301-620-0003 to reserve yours today. And, to make gift giving even easier, we’re offering a special pre-order price of $15 and if you want to add on one of our Cakes for Cause baseball tees, we’ll throw it in for only $12 (while supplies last). It’s a great big holiday extravaganza here at Cakes for Cause! Here’s a peek at the Moxie design (black/grey or pink/brown)…you know you want one!

Cakes for Cause


Fresh this week from Rohrer's Meats

Just a quick reminder that I will be at the Dutch Plant Farm Wednesday, from 10 AM until noon. I will have some extra product with me, including bacon and sausage. If you have any questions you can call my helper Becky at 301-514-7477.

Rohrer's Meats


Let them roast

One November night I decide to roast vegetables to bring out their natural flavor and show-case beautiful colors. The vegetables were:

  • Cheddar cauliflower from Gwen (Glade-link farm)
  • Chiogga beets from Jim (Tomatoes etc)
  • Red Thumb potatoes from Will (Whitmore farm)
  • Yellow fingerling potatoes from Rick (Summer creeek farm)
  • White onion from Chris (Jubilee farm)
  • Yellow carrots and dark beets from my backyard garden
Potatoes and beets were par-boiled before roasting. I made a dressing with olive oil, sherry wine, mustard and some thyme and tarragon. It is visually stimulating and very satisfying to work with fresh and colorful vegetables. Needless to day, they were very yummy.

Talking about yummy roasting, check out Dianne's post on Thanksgiving. Everything looks so delicious!

Dan and I will be traveling for Thanksgiving and we are looking forward to a delicious meal and joyful conversation with our very special friends. Hope everyone travels safe, if you are traveling, and have a happy Thanksgiving.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Last Day at the Market II

Here are some more pictures of the last day at the market. Pictured are Jeff and Amanda (Cakes for Cause), Richard (Scenic View Orchards), Ida, and Michelle (Tourism Council) and Zack Kershner with kids in tow.

I am going to miss the market until it starts again in the Spring!!!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mt. Zion CSA

The Mount Zion CSA is taking new members for 2009. The farmer for this CSA is my friend Chad Stull. The customers of his CSA from last year that I talked to raved about how good his boxes were, and how much produce he gave them. Chad is farming organic but is not certified. Pickup is at his home on Stone Road off of Mt. Zion Road. To reach Chad about the CSA, you can email him at or call at 301.473.7068. He is doubling capacity this year based on the success of last year. Now that's what I like to hear.

For those who are not familiar, CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture". The way it works is that you pay the farmer up front for fresh produce. The farmer is able to use the money that you pay to purchase neccesary supplies and equipment early in the year, and guarantee a certain level of income for the year. In turn you get to pick up your bounty, usually every week during a length of time during the growing season.


Last day at the Market

Saturday was the last day of the season for the West Frederick Farmer's Market. We had a beautiful day and a good turnout- thanks to everyone who made it! I love this picture of my friend Jen with her various parcels, including at least two market bags and a baby.

Many of you know that the market will have to find a new location next year. Some of you may have read about the circumstances in the Frederick News-Post. Nobody need worry- the market will definitely be back next season. Yeon and I are planning lots of cool events for the next market, including several chef's challenges that I think you will really enjoy.

The next picture is Jim from Tomatoes, Etc. showing off some fine radishes and broccoli. More pictures from the last day of the market are coming.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flowers this Fall

These photos are for Charles. I told him that I will post photos on Saturday and didn't get to it till today. My camera had lost the date setting so I don't know exactly which Saturdays I took these photos. Some time in late September to early October.

At the end of the day, I feel so drained and weak. This terrible clenching headache doesn't help either. Even with all the worries in me and gloomy news all around, I am going to stay positive and grateful.

It is going to be all right.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

EBlast from Catoctin Mountain Orchard

The Black Family would like to take this opportunity to say "thanks" - we appreciate your support throughout the year by purchasing our own grown and produced products.

Through this support you keep our dream alive and well by supporting the concept of buy fresh, buy local.

This means, you get great taste and freshness, you help to improve the local economy, by keeping your dollars circulating in the community, safe guarding your families health and protecting the environment.

Even though to many, it would seem that the season is about to come to an end and we're getting ready to settle into the quite of the winter months - on the contrary.


We still have lots of your fresh favorites for the coming holidays, as well as apple gift boxes, fresh pies, apple dumplings, all type of desserts, fresh cider, and the list goes on and on. Call ahead for quick and easy pickup.

Many of our items are available through our on online store that can be delivered straight to your door, all year!

Stop by! See you soon! Thanks and Happy Holidays from the Black Family.

[Click on the image to see it bigger]


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fresh this Week from Rohrer's Meats

Here we are, down to the last two weeks of the market. Thanksgiving is fast approaching. But there is still time to order your fresh Maple Lawn Farms turkey from me. Turkeys are $2.25 per pound, breasts $3.75, and dark meat portions $1.25. Country cured hams $3.00, boneless smoked hams are $4.00. I also offer fresh hams as well. Delivery can be Nov. 21 at the final day of market, or Wednesday Nov. 26 at the Dutch Plant Farm from 10 AM until noon. My sisters will also be taking orders for pies, cakes, cheesecakes, teabreads and cookies. Thanksgiving orders for Saturday pickup need to be in by Wednesday night. For Wednesday pickup I need them by Sunday night.

This week at the market I will have my complete line of fresh beef, pork, lamb, and eggs. I will also have whole chickens, cutup chickens, boneless skinless breasts, wings, and leg/thigh portions.

Several weeks ago the Washington Post did an article about rose veal. The pictures of animals they were talking about were Jersey bull calves. There is not much meat on their bones. I have been doing something similar for several years. I use my Angus beef calves. They are allowed to run with and nurse their mother, eat grass and hay, and have access to grain as well. I also allow them to get a little bigger. This results in a fat calf with mild flavor and they always get rave reviews. If you still do not like to think about eating a calf, since these are bigger, one can call it petite beef.

I am having a calf processed this week. It always goes fast, so you should preorder. Cuts will be scallopini, cutlets, loin chops, rib chops, sirloin chops, shanks, boneless shoulder roasts, arm roasts, stew cubes, and ground. It always sells fast, so please order ahead so I know how to pack. Please get your orders in by Thursday night.

Hopefully the rain will be gone by Saturday. Have a good week and I will see you at the market.

Rohrer's Meats


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chefs behaving badly

Here's some pictures from the Capital Food Fight. I had a great time there with my pal Hilda. Not shown in these pictures: somehow, Hilda and I wore the exact same unusual color combination: dark teal, orangey red, and black. This strange twin effect would have been funny enough (though her dress was totally AWESOME), but the real hilarity came from José Andrés and Anthony Bourdain, ebulliently and obnoxiously narrating every second of the evening together. Here they are antagonizing Bryan during his battle with restaurateur Michael Mina.

Hilda and I hung out with Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella for a little bit. He was quite charming in person.

José Andrés invited everyone in the audience to try Volt, and exclaimed how wonderful it is. I thought this was very nice of him, especially since he seemed very genuine about it.

There was a little turf garden full of mini parfait shooters, which you could inject into your mouth. Hilda and I thought the concept was pretty cool.

I got to see some real characters tonight, in rare form, without the polish or patina of television editing.

At one point the Judges had their own cooking competition and it was a frenzied free-for all of good-natured competition. The audience judged this one with an applause-o-meter based on Anthony Bourdain's hysterical descriptions of the food, which were at once elevations AND put-downs. He has mastered this particular art form. Carla Hall did a little dance in order to get the audience excited about her team's dish, and it worked. Her team won. Anthony Bourdain got the sads when Eric Ripert told him his balsamic vinegar sauce was a little burnt.

We had some delicious food with a few standouts. I am planning to write a followup post about my favorite dish of the evening (other than the lime /corn nut/guacamole macaroon from Volt) from INOX Restaurant but I want to ask the chef a little more about what was in the dish. I also particularly enjoyed the faux gras gougères from Central by Michel Richard and the airy potato dish with caviar from café atlantico/minibar by José Andrés. There was also a lovely potato blini that I can't recall who made, and some salmon canapés in a crispy cone with some sort of cream sauce made by DC Central Kitchen that I particularly liked.

A lot of young ladies were excited to see Bryan. One such lady walked by me saying, "I'm about to have the best moment of my whole life!" and then called out "Bryan Voltaggio!" Of course I told everyone this and they cracked up.

Our friends Bryan and Graeme lost their challenge to Michael Mina and his sous chef but the judges said it was very close, and that Mina had done a little more to elevate his use of the secret ingredient: beef tenderloin. By the way these chefs only had 10 minutes to do their challenges, and they produced some amazing things in that timeframe. Bryan produced a beef carpaccio that looked delicious. José Andrés and Anthony Bourdain would steal pieces of it from Bryan as he was preparing it and would eat it. They even stole a piece to give to an audience member. They heckled Bryan mercilessly but it was all in good fun and for a great cause.


An Update from Farmer Rick, Summer Creek Farm

Hi to all, the holiday season is approaching, I just wanted you all to know I will be setting up our market stand in Riverdale, Md for a special market on Nov. 19 and again on December 12th for a special Christmas Bazaar. The Thanksgiving market is a late afternoon and evening market. It was fun but cold last year when we did this market. My heater did not work ans I lost my helper to the guy next door who had a working heater! December 12th is an all Day Christmas Bazaar. If you have friends or are in the are tell them to stop by and visit our stand. I will also be at the Saturday Frederick Market till 11/21. I am hoping for a crop of fresh spinach for that last market. I hope the holidays are bright for all of you.

Farmer Rick


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Capital Food Fight

I am so excited, I can't wait! I am going to the Capital Food Fight this Wednesday in DC to try food from some of the best restaurants in DC and watch Bryan Voltaggio compete with a bunch of other chefs. My friend Hilda and I are going together and I am just beside myself with excitement. The event is a benefit for DC Central Kitchen. In their own words:

Our cohesive approach to solving the interconnected problems of poverty, hunger, and homelessness has led us to become a recognized national leader in our field. As a community kitchen, we recycle over one ton of surplus food each day that would otherwise go to waste and turn it into 4,500 daily, nutritious meals for the greater Washington, DC region. Among the people preparing these meals are the students of our Culinary Job Training program; once homeless and hungry individuals themselves, these aspiring men and women are equipped with professional and life skills. DC Central Kitchen uses the existing ingredients of our society to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.
This alone would be exciting. But then you have all the judges and "celebrity guests." Some of these characters are a real who's who of food lovers:

Jose Andres

José Andrés

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain

Ted Allen

Ted Allen

Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert

Carla Hall

Carla Hall

Jonathan Umbel

Jonathan Umbel

And of course, battling chefs:

Barton Seaver

Barton Seaver

Michael Mina

Michael Mina

Mike Isabella

Mike Isabella

Tracy O'Grady

Tracy O'Grady

Bryan Voltaggio

Bryan Voltaggio

There will also be tastings from fifty DC restaurants. There are a number of restaurants I have been dying to try. I will be sure to take lots of notes and report back. I am also interested to see who really highlights fresh local ingredients that are in season. Needless to say, I am going to make an exception to my special eating plan that day, and I am okay with it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.

On a related note, I have nothing to wear and have been out looking for an outfit and have not found anything yet!!!! At least I have some wonderful shoes.



Saturday, November 7, 2009

Odds and Ends

The West Frederick Farmer's Market goes all of the way til Thanksgiving. A lot of people don't know that. Now is a good time to put your holiday orders in, especially for meat.

Dan Goebel (Yeon's husband) has put up some cute pictures of the spinning demo that was at the market on October 3. See them here.

I am a week behind as usual on my Top Chef posts, but was given a reprieve by Bravo showing a reunion episode from previous seasons this week. It really seems like Bravo is trying to stretch this season out. Maybe it's because this season is really interesting and they keep picking up new viewers. Anyway, it's annoying.

And speaking of Top Chefs (I am not insinuating anything), I went to Volt last night with a few girlfriends as I normally do on a Friday night. Bryan brought out fresh truffles and let me smell them. I had never seen a whole fresh white truffle before and it was really pungent and awesome. I told him I am doing a 21 day medical cleanse to eliminate nine different allergens from my diet (I can't drink either- the only thing I had there last night was sparkling water), so he brought out other stuff for me to smell. Have you ever smelled a Tonka bean? Probably not, because until recently they were banned by the FDA: in large doses they act as a blood thinner. They have vanilla undertones, but the smell is even more complex, spicy, and earthy. Bryan and I chatted about how it's great about the publicity, but it also is keeping him from other things that he also considers important. He hasn't been making it to the farmer's market recently, and he doesn't like this. [But he has been buying a lot of fresh local produce] We talked about doing another chef's challenge next year and he is into it. Anyway I am excited for him and the restaurant, and think it's awesome he is doing so well on Top Chef. My friends and I complain halfheartedly nowadays about how busy Volt is, but we are also very proud. Oh, and check out this article in the Baltimore Sun.

On the cleanse- it's called MediClear, and it was prescribed to me by a naturopathic doctor along with this stuff called Isocort, which is an adrenal supplement. I've been on the Isocort now for a week and have already seen radical improvements to my energy and to some weird problems I've had for a while like pressure on the top of my head. I even had an MRI for the head pressure a few years back and they didn't find anything. But within a few days of starting on the Isocort it went away. I have narcolepsy, and I think it's being triggered by food allergies. Anyway, I am testing this theory out. The good thing is that the cleanse emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to the temporary elimination of foods that typically cause people allergies and immune problems. It's nice to know that I can not only keep doing the thing I love- eating from the green market- but that it may also be my path to wellness. I'm still doing the gluten-free thing and I feel better than I did- I'm not depressed anymore- but I think there may be other things that are causing me problems. We shall see. If you think this stuff is weird, that's okay. The proof is in the pudding, as my mom says.

Happy Saturday! Hope to see you at the market!

OH and PS, I need to change the header!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Fresh this week from Summer Creek Farm

Fresh this Week:

  • Peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Hot peppers
  • White potatoes
  • Radish
  • Chard or turnip or beet
  • Winter squash
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
From Farmer Rick:

I am giving a presentation on Organic Gardening at the Holistic Family Health Conference at FCC tomorrow at FCC. Stop by and see me in you are in attendance. [note- this event is sold out if you did not previously get a ticket - Shannon]

We are busy at the farm planting wheat, trying to get it in between the rain drops. We have greens growing but with all the cool weather they are growing very slow.

I thank you all for your participation in our CSA program this year. We have seen a tremendous interest in next year’s program already.

I am also busy putting together our winter class schedule for gardening, composting and rain barrel classes. Don't forget we also offer gift certificates for next year’s farmers markets as a great Holiday gift that is practical and inexpensive.

Thanks to all
Farmer Rick


Originating in Italy, broccoli has been around for more than 2,000 years. The name comes from the Latin word brachium, which means “branch” or “arm.” Broccoli has been grown in American gardens for only about 200 years, and commercially cultivated only since the 1920s.

Select broccoli bunches that are dark in color. Florets that are dark green, purplish or bluish-green contain more beta carotene and Vitamin C than paler ones. Also look for firm stalks, rather than rubbery or dried ones.

Store broccoli unwashed in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator’s crisper. It is best used within a few days.

Broccoli is best steamed, microwaved or stir-fried, but is also good in soup or eaten raw. Cooked broccoli should be fork tender, but still crisp and bright green. Watch carefully, and do not overcook, for best taste.

A 1/2 cup serving of plain cooked broccoli has 25 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 80% of an adult’s Vitamin C needs for one day.

Recipe Feature:

Easy Potato Leek Soup
by April Finnen

Makes 4 servings in about 45 minutes.
  • 3 large leeks
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound potatoes, white or Yukon gold (4 to 6 medium-sized potatoes)
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Paprika, for garnish (optional)
  • Chives or scallions, for garnish (optional)
  • Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks into thin rings, and swish around in a large bowl of water, to remove dirt and grit. Dry with towels.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan (3 quarts or larger) over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes, until tender. (If they start to caramelize, that’s OK—it just adds flavor.)

Meanwhile, wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into 1/2-inch dice. When leeks are tender, add potatoes, thyme and stock (enough to just cover potatoes) to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 20 minutes, or until potatoes can be easily mashed with the back of a spoon.

Carefully puree the soup using an immersion blender or regular blender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve garnished with paprika and/or chives.

Link of the week:

More ideas for broccoli – from

Thanks to April Finnen for putting the newsletters together for Summer Creek Farm all season!!!


Fresh this week from Rohrer's Meats

Greetings from the farm. For those of you looking for something to do this weekend, there will be a film festival in Shepherdstown, WV relating to conservation. Details can be found on their website, There are at least four films relating to food, Food, Inc; Fresh, the Movie; Eating Alaska; and No Impact Man. I am hoping to finish early enough today to see Fresh, and Eating Alaska. I would really like to see No Impact Man but it is only showing once, and at a time I'm not available.

It is hard to believe that another market season is winding down and the holidays are approaching so fast. Thanksgiving is just around the corner so it is time to order your holiday meats. Again this year I will be selling fresh turkeys from Maple Lawn Farm. The Iager family has been growing and processing turkeys on their Howard County, Maryland farm since 1938. This is one of the highest quality turkeys you will find. Sizes can be from 12 to 40 pounds. You can also order a breast or dark meat portion.

For those who prefer ham, those will be available from my hogs. The selection will be fresh, smoked, or country cured. If beef is your meat of choice, that can be ordered as well. And for desert, my sisters can take care of that. You may order cakes, pies, cheesecakes, teabreads, or cookies. Pickup can be November 21, the final market day of the year, or Wednesday November 26.

As for the market tomorrow, I will have my usual product line of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and eggs. As some of you know, I had some cutup chickens packaged by parts. I have boneless skinless breasts, legs/thighs, and wings. Everyone wants the breasts, so dark meat lovers, please help me out by purchasing the other parts. I also have pints of livers for anyone looking for those.

There may not be time to make pulled pork barbecue in the next few weeks. We went overboard this week so you can stock up. All three flavors, smokey, tangy, Carolina, will be available.

For those of you who have been asking for beef tenderloin, several roasts will be available this week. I also have a few other odds and ends in my freezer. I have ox tail, beef liver, tongue, and heart, and ground goat. Lamb sausage is back in stock. Please let me know if you are interested in any of these.

Please place your holiday orders soon. You may order online, at the market, or by phone. Please don't order by mental telepathy or smoke signals because my receiver is not always working properly. Eat fresh, eat local, be well. And I will see you at the market.

Rohrer's Meats


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Persimmons are ripe!

Yesterday at work, we took some people from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency out to see some of our restoration projects. Our friend Jason from the Division of Parks and Recreation drove the van and took us on a tour at Libertytown Park, where he is the Foreman. We have done a number of projects with him there including two rain gardens, a large tree planting, and a smaller tree planting with larger "parklike" trees. Jason told us that the persimmons were ripe, since they had gotten a good frost, and he shook a few tree limbs so that people could taste them. Read here to see what happens when you eat an unripe persimmon >:p We got to share the fruit of our native trees with the grantors that have given us almost a million dollars over a number of years to do watershed planning, create the Monocacy and Catoctin Watershed Alliance, do restoration projects, and plant native trees- really cool. We have wild, native persimmon trees in Frederick County. The fruits of these trees are usually about an inch in diameter with several large seeds. The fruit is pasty and sweet like dates, with a spicy flavor that is not unlike cooked pumpkin, though it has different nuances and an astringent aftertaste. There are lots of these trees around- we also have a bunch at Utica Park. Why not try this delicious wild food?



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Calling all apples

A couple weeks ago, we had a rainy and cold Thursday. I wasn't sure if the vendors would show up at the farmer's market, but went anyway. Wendy and Rich were there in the hard rain to my surprise. When I told Rich how surprised I was to see him, he bragged that he never misses the farmer's market. The exception was when so-and-so storm (can't remember the name) hit the market a few years ago. Very re-assuring to know - you can get farm fresh veggies and fruits at the farmer's market unless a category 2 storm hits our town.
Rich had a long display of all kinds of apples. I decided to buy one apple of each kind so that I can get familiar with the color and shape of the varieties, and do a tasting. Rich wrote a label for each apple, and wrapped the apple in a bag with the label for me. He wouldn't let me pay for the apples either because I was going to "study" the apples. I bought some pear cider from him as well and two bunches of flowers from Wendy. I walked home and started studying.

First thing I did was to get my yard-sale stickers out, write down the names for apples, and put the sticker on each apple. It was only a matter of time that I would get apples and labels all mixed up. Now, I took mental notes of their colors, shapes, weights etc and memorized their names. I wanted to make fairly good guesses without eating them. I spent about a week basically staring at apples once in a while and see if I can figure out the names.

Dan joined me in tasting fresh apples. We did it over three days. We cut each apple into halves, save one half for baking later, and cut the other half into wedges. We had some crackers and cheeses (cheddar, Beemster, Comté) to accompany while we munched on apples. Here are our findings (left to right. Exterior is described in italic font):

Top Row

  • Cameo: Tart but not granny-smith tart. Mildly sweet. Firm texture. Goes well with Cheddar cheese.
  • Red Delicious: Sweet. Soft texture.
  • Fuji: Crisp and firm. Not too sweet, not too sour. Balanced flavor.
  • Stayman Winesap: Firm. Tart. Purplish dull
Middle Row
  • Mutsu (Crispin): Very Firm. Slightly sweet and hint of tartness. Oxidized very quickly once cut. Goes well with Beemster cheese. Green.
  • Golden Delicious: Sweet and very little tart. Somewhere between crisp and mealy texture wise. Goes well with Cheddar cheese. Yellowish green.
  • Empire: Tart. Mealy.
  • Gala: Mildly Sweet. Crisp texture.
Bottom Row
  • Cortland: Flesh is very white. Soft and mushy texture. No tartness.
  • Jona-Gold: Medium firmness. Very slightly tart.
  • Nittany: Slightly tart, not sweet. Crisp texture. Goes with Beemster cheese.
  • York: Not much flavor
York apple didn't have much flavor at all. I suspect the apple that we happened to taste was a bit young. We probably need to give it a second chance to be fair. Dan and I are big fans of Fuji and Gala apples - yes, we are biased toward crisp apples with balanced flavors. After tasting, our new favorites are Mutsu, Cameo, and Jona-Gold.

For the second-round of tasting, I made apple galette. I had to know where all the 12 of different apples went so I created a small map. (I will add a photo of galette later). Because apples are peeled and then cut into 1/8 thick slices and then baked on top of buttery crust, all the apples tasted pretty good. Flavors are more or less rounded so our notes are short.

Baked apples in apple galette
  • Cameo: very tart
  • Red Delicious: very sweet
  • Fuji: good texture
  • Stayman Winesap: okay
  • Mutsu (Crispin): tart and good
  • Golden Delicious: appley and tart
  • Empire: tart
  • Gala:very appley and sweet
  • Cortland: very mild. hard to tell its apple.
  • Jona-Gold: appley.
  • Nittany: best balance of tart and sweet.
  • York: mushy texture and mild flavor.
We liked baked Jona-Gold, Nittany and Golden Delicious in the galette. Fuji and Gala were pretty good (but we already knew this because these two are the apples that we eat/bake all the time).

Ideally, the next round of testing would involve making mini apple pies (or apple cobbler) for each variety. If that happens, I will send an invite out.



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween jalapeño poppers

Saturday, I visited Farmer Rick at the Summer Creek Farm stand at the farmer's market. He had a quart of jalapeños. I said, "I'll take those." He looked at me funny. "You want ALL of them?" "Yep," I answered.

I took them home and made jalapeño poppers. I brought one back for Rick to try when I came back later for the vendor meeting after the market. Will from Whitmore Farm also tried one. I think the consensus was that they were awesome. Yeon and I ate the rest of them on our way there.

Since they turned out well, I made a second batch for my friends for Halloween. I called together an impromptu porch party for anyone who wanted to hang out and give kids candy. I had "adult treats" for us, like mulled wine. I also had a bag of caramel corn from Catoctin Popcorn. I had about 10 friends show up, which was really fun. My friend Charisse brought a giant inflatable Scooby Doo, which we put on the porch with us. We had a good time interacting with the kids and their parents; I think we had about 80 kids come through. Some of the costumes were awesome. My favorite was my neighbor friend Samantha. She dressed as the fruit of the loom grape guy but her grapes were purple balloons. My little buddy Henry dressed as a farmer, and his treat box had a scene with fresh vegetables on it. I did not see him eat any vegetables, however.

Sometimes I would offer the parents treats. One parent dude loved the jalapeño poppers. After he and his kids went to the next house, he wandered back: "hey, I heard you guys had jalapeño poppers." Me: "you look a little familiar." Him: "that's not me. That was my dad." HILARIOUS.

Jalapeño Poppers

  • 10 Jalapeño peppers (I used Summer Creek Farm's)
  • chevre or cream cheese (I used Caprikorn Farms's chevre)
  • Hard cheese like cheddar
  • Bacon strips (I used Rohrer's)
Wear rubber gloves if you don't want to have spicy hands. Slice the jalapeños lengthwise in half. Cut out the stem part on top. Use your fingers to remove the seeds and the white pith. Put chevre in each jalapeño half until almost level. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and mound a little on top. Sprinkle with paprika if you have it. Wrap with half a slice of bacon. Have the bacon ends on the bottom of the jalapeño, and stack the bacon ends, don't overlap them. Put in a baking dish. Bake at 450 until the bacon is cooked to your liking. If your bacon is not cooking quickly enough but you don't want to cook the jalapeños too much you can broil them. It depends on your oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes until the cheese won't scorch your mouth. Drain on paper towels. These things are pretty hot.