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Cranberries from Jersey. Who knew, the third largest producing state in the USA.

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The treat in our Friends and Farms delivery. Along with this.

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Chocolate pumpkin bread.

But, let’s get back to those Jersey berries. I did a bit of internet digging and found some fun facts about New Jersey’s berry production. And some more about the Pine Barrens, a lovely part of Jersey, right up there in our list of great sites in Jersey, along with Cape May.

Right now, while quickly writing this post, I am making cranberry sauce for my Thanksgiving dinner. And contemplating how to use the rest of the basket this week.

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Looks good, doesn’t it? My other favorite, though, was the Atwater’s chicken broth. A new partner that will provide us with goodies like this one.

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Along with my Boarman’s sausage and Whole Foods bread cubes, the basis for this year’s dressing. Local, small business contributers to my holiday meals.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Squash’d

In the CSA box today.

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The mother of all butternut squashes. Believe me, at the site today, with about 8 of us there (as our truck was late due to the traffic on the interstates), we were all dealing with these behemoths. So big we had to carry them separately to our cars.

We had an early pick up date to accommodate the holiday. Now I have two weeks worth of stuff in the last five days. We did get some really good holiday choices though.

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Like baby spinach and white mushrooms. Perfect for a salad. Brussels sprouts and broccoli crowns. White turnips and Yukon gold potatoes. Sounds like a great base for holiday side dishes.

Along with last week, which I never recorded here.

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One humongous red cabbage. Destined to be married with the glut of apples in our fruit shares. A leek. Two white onions. A bag full of baby arugula. Cauliflower. Purple carrots and a celery root. I kept the celery root, carrots and onions aside to make soup after I do the turkey this weekend.

I love it when a plan comes together. Fall CSA from Lancaster Farm Fresh is certainly delivering some of the freshest and some of the largest vegetables around.

We just signed up for winter CSA. Crossing our fingers we get enough participation to have 13 weeks of vegetables from January through April.

Now, off to contemplate what to do with that squash. I am considering “pumpkin” cookies for the crafts sale at the Howard County Conservancy on the 6th of December. We always have cookies out for those who attend. That squash would make a very large amount of cookies.

Small Business Christmas Trees

All this week and next, I will be focusing on small business shopping for Christmas. After all, the locavore in me spills over into other aspects of my shopping habits.

Let’s start with Christmas trees. To support your local farmers, you can get a tree at many sites in or close to Howard County. Some are “U-Cut”. Others like Gorman Farms work with farmers to bring in fresh trees for sale.

The U-Cut sites include Greenway in Woodbine and Cooksville, Pine Valley in Carroll County just north of I-70 off Rte. 97, TLV Tree Farm in Glenelg, Gaver Farm west of Mt. Airy, Feezers in Marriottsville, and Browning Farms on Penn Shop Rd near Mt. Airy (no web site).

For those in other parts of Maryland, here is the Maryland Christmas Tree Association’s list of U-Cut farms.

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We have cut trees at Greenway, TLV and Pine Valley. Where you go depends on what kind of tree you want. What size. We now tend to look for smaller trees so will pick a site that has graduated prices depending on tree size.

All of these sites will be open next weekend, and what better way to commemorate small business Saturday than to buy a local tree. Most of the sites also have pre-cut trees, wreaths, roping, and my personal favorite for my house, poinsettias are sold in the greenhouses at Greenway.

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Lunch at Ananda

My husband loves Indian food. So do I, but he is more into it. For years, he and his coworkers in DC went out for Indian lunches at least once a month.

So, for his birthday I suggested the newest Indian restaurant in Howard County. Ananda. Down there in Maple Lawn. With no way to know it’s a restaurant.

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Seriously. A lovely building. With no signs. Right across from the Columbia Academy (in Maple Lawn?), and Suntrust Bank. I wish it had been summer and we could have eaten outside, but the fireplace laden room serving lunch was very cozy and inviting.

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Guess what. I didn’t whip out the cell phone and photograph the food. Although I should have.

We really enjoyed the chicken tikka masala and the crab Malabar. And, my husband had TWO of the mango lassi drinks. Finished with cardamom tea.

We will definitely go back for dinner. Indian food, which is a little beyond my capabilities, is one of our favorite indulgences. This place delivers. If you don’t believe me, check out the HowChow posts.

Just south of APL. And it was doing a good business for lunch on a Wednesday. Check it out.

Pasta Anyone?

Solving the regular what’s for dinner without having to head to the store for things. Friends and Farms basket this week again had a theme and just about everything you needed to execute it.

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Full of ingredients to make Italian cuisine. This is the individual size basket, with just enough for the two of us, but a large basket would provide quite a few choices for the week before Thanksgiving.

I can make us three meals using this much linguine.

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And, that huge lovely living basil.

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Besides the basil, I love the inclusion in my “D week”, which is plain yogurt and eggs. The rotation where I substitute for milk by getting extra eggs.

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I found a recipe that makes a mushroom spinach carbonara, using the baby bellas, some of that spinach, a couple of egg yolks. Finish with some grated cheese. The recipe called for half and half, but I have been using plain yogurt to make a lighter creamy sauce.

In fact, I am contemplating a simple mix of some yogurt, chopped tomatoes, green pepper, onion and garlic. All of it right there in the basket. Maybe some sausage meatballs. I like “repurposing” the Italian sausage. I also considered saving two to make a simple dinner. Sausage, peppers, onion. Sautéed and served with a salad.

The possibilities here are endless. As for the chicken breasts hidden in the left of the picture above, they could be poached and used instead of sausage in a few of my favorite Italian recipes. Or, stuffed with basil pesto. There is always cheese in our fridge. Almonds in the freezer. Easy pesto.

That leaves the butternut squash and the apples for some other night. Roasted sounds good. Or maybe a soup.

Yep, Italian sounds good before all that turkey and stuffing and casseroles next week.

When He’s 64!

So yesterday was my husband’s 64th birthday. As for that needing or feeding part of the Paul McCartney reference, I at least fed him well.

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Part of it was even local! We tend to stay home for birthday dinners, and break out the good wine, and make something fairly simple but matching the wines. Last night it was a simple lamb chop dinner. I should have gotten the lamb from Mt Airy, but the Whole Foods lamb looked good. It did end up having a little too much connective tissue and fat, but had a good flavor. Simply sautéed with a red wine reduction. Marinated earlier in some rosemary and my roasted garlic. We split a baked potato. And, I made some of those Baugher’s Brussels sprouts. Not that difficult to make, and just the right amount. The dinner rolls were also from Baugher’s bakery.

As for wine, we didn’t do local. We did old.

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A special Chateauneuf du Pape, from the year we went to Provence. 2003.

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Memories of those caves, and the time spent eating and drinking locally produced market fresh foods. It is what created our appreciation of good food and wine from local farms.

We did go out yesterday, on the spur of the moment for lunch at Ananda. In Maple Lawn. An Indian luncheon. A treat my husband loves. Which is Indian food. Thanks to HowChow and his followers for letting us know about this new addition to Howard County. It certainly is a lovely restaurant with very good food. We will be going back for dinner, that’s for sure.

I think my husband had a pretty nice birthday. I certainly fed him well.

CSA’d Out

I can understand it. Our first year we were overwhelmed at the end of the CSA season. But, we hung in there and learned from it, and drastically changed how we approached the weekly deluge of veggies.

I say this because at our first pick up last Thursday for our fall CSA, we heard that about 5 of our summer CSA members never picked up their last week of veggies, or fruit, or meat, or eggs. The food bank did well, as did our site host’s friends, who benefited from things the food bank doesn’t want. Like all that chicken and meat.

We are down to 30 members, from close to 50 in the summer. Enough to keep us going. Those fortunate enough to join us got new and exciting things, like these.

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Watermelon radishes. I roasted mine.

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Salanova lettuce. A red multileaf variety. So sweet. So flavorful. Devoured in a lunch mix with some poached chicken breast on top.

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Baby Hakurei turnips. Thanks to Elizabeth at Three Beans on a String these will be honey glazed with Larriland apples and served for dinner in a few days.

The whole haul.

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Napa cabbage. Will be a slaw soon, with apples. The beets. Already roasted and eaten. The potatoes. Made their way into a potato leek soup today, thanks to Friends and Farms having extra leeks for me to pick up this morning. Sweet peppers. Sliced in salad. Put into a frittata for tonight’s dinner. A couple of them are left.

As for that glorious cheese share.

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Biweekly in the fall. That stinky funky six year aged cheddar. The “Lanchego”, which is simply awesome. A Colby. New to us, from this supplier. Creamy and delicate.

I can honestly say I am not CSA’d out. I am really enjoying the variety, and of course, the freshness. You don’t have to rush and eat it all in one week. With food this fresh, in two weeks, I swear it is still better than grocery store produce.

Tomorrow is my husband’s 64th birthday. Stand by to see what I put together to celebrate. Will I still need him? Will I still feed him?

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