My favorite thing about summer is having a fridge full of produce. In winter, I tend to make menus, buy the stuff I need, and go from that. In summer, I go to the market, buy food, and THEN decide what to eat. Tonight, after a sleepless night camping in the rain with my daughter’s 4-H group, I wanted something easy. I tossed together some quinoa, some new potatoes and shelled peas from Summer’s Creek, some hard boiled eggs from South Mountain, a red onion from MOMs (I flash-pickled it: pour boiling water over diced onion and then cover them in vinegar and oil for a bit, until they’re a lovely pink), and a balsamic/olive oil dressing. It was yummy and easy. The eggs really pull it all together.
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Categories : farmers' markets, home cookin', recipes
Okay, hi, I’m back. I’ve kind of wandered off and returned with a new purpose here. I’ve been diagnosed as gluten intolerant and I’m having to adjust my diet. As I’m mentioned, I loooove bread. But apparently bread hates me. A lot. And it makes holes in my gut and makes me sick. So a fie on bread. I’ll spare you my new zealotry about gut health and the importance of gastrointestinal testing, but if you want to know more, drop me a line.
What that means here is that I’m going to be on the prowl for GF veggie places to eat and checking out a lot of products. I know that the key to my health improving is to eliminate the vast majority of processed foods from my life. I also know that I NEED some for convenience and sanity. I was on the Eat To Live diet when I started this blog and it was, coincidentally, largely gluten free. I felt really good on it, but my laziness and love of bread sent me back to the processed food. Sure, they were the crunchy granola “clean” products from the Common Market and MOMs, but still. As was pointed out in the very cool blog “Little House in the Suburbs,” it’s better to eat a pesticide-ridden conventionally grown peach than to eat organic bunny crackers. good to remember.
That said, I miss some of my convenience foods. Pizza, for one. Tonight we had home-made pizzas on Kinnikkinnick personal pizza crusts. The family’s primary gluten-free bread-winner is out of town, so the 4-to-a-package size was perfect. They were good! Even the kids liked them. The company makes GF donuts, too, so I kind of love them.
I like sausage on my pizza. In the past, that was no problem as veggie sausage is easy to come by and pretty yummy. It seems to be the easiest fake meat to make tasty. I was mad for Field Roast’s Apple Sage sausage. But of course they are wheat, wheat, wheat. Gardenburger USED to make a GF sausage, but when Kelloggs bought them, they added wheaty evil. Bastards. So I tried making my own.
I used this recipe:
I ended up mixing the spices and tomato paste into the bean and flour mixture, AND I used sorghum flour b/c I only had potato starch and not potato flour. The texture is not at all sausagey. It’s kind of…sawdusty. But the taste is actually pretty close. I crumbled some up on my pizza and while it didn’t give me the nuggets of chewy, it did give me the sausage taste. I’ll mess around with the recipe, I think, see what I can come up with.
Meanwhile–any GF vegetarians out there with a great veggie sausage lead? Leave it in the comments…
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Categories : health, home cookin', recipies
Here’s to a year of good grub! We rang in the New Year in our traditional fashion–fondue and board games. This is our third year of fondue. I made one pot of traditional Swiss, one pot of “pizza fondue” (from my guilty pleasure Taste of Home–it’s just a jar of spaghetti sauce and a package of grated Italian blend cheese. Almost criminally easy and the kids practically climbed into the pot to get the last bite), and a pot of Bagna Cauda (I made it vegetarian by using sundried tomatoe paste instead of anchovies). We paired the meal with Rodney Strong’s 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was fantastic and I was crushed to have a slightly queasy stomach that prevented my overindulgence.
Desert was one pot of chocolate fondue and one of butterscotch, served with fruit and gingersnaps for dipping. Yum. And then I vowed never to eat again. That’s why we only have fondue on New Year’s Eve.
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Categories : home cookin'
Inspired by last weeks “The Splendid Table” radio broadcast, I decided to make butter today. I got a pint of cream from South Mountain Creamery in Middletown and a pint of cream from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA (well, I got it at the Common Market). I followed the instructions on the Splendid Table’s website and soon had two nice-sized lumps o’ butter. We had a tasting. The butter made from South Mountain had a bit of the dairy smell to it, if you know what I mean. A back of the nose smell/taste that reminded me of the dairy. Which, honestly, is a bit stinky, but it came of as slightly cheese-y in the butter. The Trickling Springs butter just tasted super clean. Like just pure dairy goodness. As you might guess, that was the prefered butter all the way around. I think I will add salt to the South Mountain one (cracked sea salt so I get little crispy chunks now and again) and leave the TS one pure.
For fun, I tried a few add-ins. I plucked the last of my nasturium blossoms and chopped them up and added them in–it was radishy and tasty. I think it would be fantastic on a potato. I chopped up a couple frozen strawberries and added those in–terrific on toast with honey. Finally, I chopped an apple and added some cinnamon. Yum. That would be great on a waffle. The troops have requested some basil butter with the last of the basil. I cleaned out my Square Foot Gardens today and there was just a smattering of sad basil remaining. I think it will be wonderful. Because, you know, butter. basil. I think I’ll add a smidge of parmesan, too. What could go wrong?
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Categories : home cookin'
Apple pie! A couple months ago, we saw the Good Eats episode about apple pie and it just looked soooo good. But it required a few purchases before I could get started. I got grains of paradise from The Spice House (don’t forget the “the” in that address or you will get a…different sort of website). I went to Amazon for my pie bird and a deep tart pan. Then I went to Mountain Valley Orchard in Cavetown for my apples. They have a great selection, really good prices, and they don’t spray the trees with pesticides past the blossom stage. It’s not organic, but it’s better than nothing at all. The Stayman are great this year. They were my childhood favorite and I hadn’t had a good one in years. Finally, I hit Trout Liquors for my Applejack. I was ready for piemaking.
I used a mix of all sorts of apples, mainly stayman, gala, and fuji. It was sort of an all-day thing, but well worth it in the end. The apple juice reduction made the top crust super crisp. The texture was just perfect. And so pretty, look!
With the tart pan, you can just push it out and it looks gorgeous. And when sliced, the apples just stay put, perfectly stacked, each coated with yumminess.
We each had a slice before bed and then a slice for breakfast…and then it was gone. Sigh. Guess I have to go back to the orchard…
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Categories : food around town, home cookin', treats
Walking into the Saturday Farmer’s Market in August just makes me happy. So much food! And look at all those people! I like to start on the far side–near South Mountain’s booth–and work my way over. I’m not sure what farm I hit first, as they had no sign, but the guy behind the counter said that a chef from Volt had just been by. That bodes well, I think. Can’t wait to see if they’re offering some critter-free yumminess!
I got a LOT of food. Beets, greens, lettuces, onions, melon, blackberries, cukes, corn, herbs, beans, potatoes, and more. I got 25 pounds of tomato seconds for 20 bucks from Summer Creek farm. They’re organic, so that’s a fantastic deal. Rick Hood, the owner, said he brings 2 boxes of seconds every week, but if you want to reserve a box, to give him a call at 301-271-9399. I didn’t get to the box until Sunday, and I only had to throw one small tomato out and cut out one bad place from another. For “seconds,” they were in great shape and tasted fantastic.
The weather is good, so I’m canning! We don’t have central air, so the thought of heating up the kitchen in August is usually daunting, but this is the perfect week to can. I felt like I worked my butt off, but when I think of the shelves and shelves of food my mom used to put up every summer? I’m a huge wimp. I got several jars each of dill and sweet pickles, about 4 pints of salsa, 3 wee jelly jars of pickled roasted jalapenos, 3 quarts plus 2 pints of tomatoes. Won’t get us through the winter, but it’s still nice to see.
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Categories : food around town, home cookin'
I braved the gnats and the biting flies that have suddenly appeared at my house–I harvested the raspberries. I have crazy red raspberry canes in the back yard. They are, ostensibly, contained in a fence, but anyone who has raspberries will know that they are merely amused by our sad attempts to tame them. I cut the canes back to about 6 inches in the spring, but they could now hide Brer Rabbit and all his family for 10 generations with no trouble. I was asked earlier this week, “How hard is it to grow raspberries?” I replied that it was harder to NOT grow raspberries. They’re at their peak right now, so I went down and picked about 3 lbs of them. First up–make a pie. My favorite–pictured above–is the recipe for Summer Berry Pie from Baking Illustrated. I’m not going to print it here because you need to just go buy this cookbook. Everything I have made from it has been terrific. It’s by the Cooks Illustrated people, so not only will they tell you what to make, they’ll tell you why. I love those guys. This pie is so light and summery–just perfect for raspberries. And whipped cream (yes, it’s the stuff from a can. First, shut up, it’s tasty. Second, I just ran into the corner store and it was this or half-and-half).
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Categories : home cookin'