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Category Archives: Food

Spring Things

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Just the beginning of an activity packed week, in and around our home. All things spring.

Starting with Greenfest. Tomorrow at the Howard Community College. Living with wildlife. I’m not sure how our CSA fits in with the theme, but we will be there.

Then, on my plate, a trip to Sharp’s Farm on Tuesday to get my vegetable seedlings to put in the garden. This year I am also looking for some annuals for the yard. To fill in where we lost some plants.

As for flowers, this post by UKDesperateHousewifeUSA caught my eye the other day. In it, Claire talks of the lack of flowers in her Columbia neighborhood. I thought, hmmm, she needs to look elsewhere in the county. There are loads of flower gardens out here.

She misses cut flowers. I should bring her some. This is today’s haul from my yard.

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The early blooming tulips. The yellow daffodils. The white ones are almost finished. I don’t pick the hyacinths, though. They stay in the yard. After the month of tulips, we will have day lilies and star lilies. Then, gladioli. Black eyed Susans. Sunflowers. Mums. All summer and fall, my flower beds produce.

Today, I was happy to see the cherry is blooming.

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Not at peak yet, but soon.

Getting back to the week ahead. Wednesday is Earth Day. It is Twenty Minute Clean Up Day in the county. I will be cleaning up the road side and our property lines.

Next Saturday the Conservancy celebrates their Earth Day. With a bird walk. Service projects. And a plant sale by the Master Gardeners.

Well, that only leaves me with a couple of days to get work done around here. I did take the time today to test a new recipe to use up the last of the peaches in the freezer.

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You can call it peachy pecan bread. Or pecany peach bread. Simple to make. I will be taking some for those of us working our table tomorrow at Greenfest. Made with CSA peaches that I blanched and froze last summer. A sign of things to come. Peach season is right after strawberry season. Can’t wait.

Parsnip-ity

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As in parsnip overload. By my choosing.

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Today was my last week of the winter CSA. Three weeks until the spring/summer season begins. I decided to load up on parsnips from the swap box. Good thing our site host is a friend and lets me swap more than one item if I give her some stuff she likes. I swapped kale and cabbage today to get a triple share of parsnips. They keep well. I like them. I even have made colcannon with them.

These are destined to become roasted veggies. Colcannon. And, I am thinking parsnip and sweet potato fries. I have quite a bit of both left.

Enough to take samples to Greenfest this Saturday. Our site host and I are staffing a table to promote our CSA. We need to guarantee our pick up site by recruiting a few more members.

Our Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative CSA is one that provides us with so many great vegetables. Fruit. Meat. Cheese. Eggs. Bread. Herbs. Milk. Tofu. The list seems to be endless. They have grown by leaps and bounds. Now delivering to six states and the District.

The rest of this week’s final basket.

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Spinach. Chard. Mushrooms. Aeroponic butterhead lettuce.

Add ons.

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The pantry item was mint tea. The cheese was a raw milk farmer’s cheese. The meat share was 1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast.

In three weeks, we will begin the next season. Six months of food. I ordered a full vegetable share. Bread. Cheese. Fruit. Meat.

All I need with the exception of staples to keep us supplied with fresh organic non-GMO food.

Now, off to find new recipes for those sweet parsnips.

See you Saturday at Howard County Community College. Look for the Lancaster Farm Fresh table and stop to say HI to us.

Main Streets

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I grew up in a city. Baltimore, to be exact. Living on “Main Street”.

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On 144 just east of Catonsville (yes, I know Candlelight Lodge is now a funeral parlor instead of the restaurant it was).

Saturday I drove that main street. Starting in Ellicott City.

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Filled with family owned businesses (except for that stupid Subway they added).

Heading east to Catonsville.

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Home of Atwater’s. One of those amazing bakeries around here. Where you can buy lunch and head upstairs to comingle with others at the tables while having lunch.

They have a couple of farmer’s markets right off Main Street aka Frederick Avenue. One on Wednesday and one on Sunday. They also are the home of an icon.

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Bill’s Music House. You have to see it to believe it. It’s huge, and a landmark to us.

I love heading off the highways and traveling the Main Streets in our area.

Take a trip on Rte. 144. Part of the National Road. Worth the time to park, explore and discover.

If you keep heading east you will hit the Inner Harbor. Frederick Road becomes Pratt Street. I couldn’t have grown up in a better part of this state. So much history. So many stories to hear.

The Incredible Edible

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Eggs.

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For years, they got a bad rap. Now, we know they are one very packed source of many vital nutrients. We stopped buying them during that period. Now, they are an important part of our diet. Maybe that’s why my eyesight has stabilized. And why my “good” cholesterol keeps going up.

We get eggs weekly now in our Friends and Farms basket. Really fresh, wonderful eggs. The kind with that bright yellow yolk.

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Eggs on Sunday morning is standard fare at the house. Served with whatever fresh bread we get.

The markets are opening in a few weeks. If you want to experience the taste of fresh eggs, you should pick up a dozen from one of the local farmers.

If you really get hooked on fresh eggs, you can always find out how to raise chickens in your yard (how’s that for a segue into Greenfest?). Cathy Hudson and Van Wensil will be offering their workshop at 12:30 pm at this year’s Greenfest at Howard Community College on April 18th. Always popular.

If you can’t raise chickens, you can find them at many of the local farms, like England Acres. I like to go there and watch the chickens run all around the farm, while you are checking out the goodies in their farm store.

Tomorrow, April 12th, they are open and grilling their beef for tasting. Eggs and other local goodies in the store. They are just west of Mt. Airy. Most of the lamb we eat comes from them.

What does this have to do with eggs? Nothing, really. I am just very happy to see spring has arrived and the farms and markets are opening weekly.

As for the eggs. How about a few more of my favorite ways to enjoy them.

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A frittata.

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Or a spinach salad.

I also love to make egg salad for sandwiches.

Such a versatile food. Easy to make. Easy to digest. Easy to find. And, quite good for us, too.

Aeroponics … and More

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What are aeroponics? Why do I want to know? Because of this.

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It arrived in today’s CSA basket. With this inside.

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It seems our Amish CSA is using aeroponics to grow butterhead lettuce. Another way they continue to surprise us. Considering the fact that we still seem to be in the midst of winter, and we keep getting those everpresent root vegetables. There are signs of spring though.

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This is the next to last week of our winter share. Spring/summer doesn’t start until the week of May 3rd. Still, I appreciated the lettuce and the young rainbow chard. Added to it. Carrots. Sweet potatoes. Green beans. Dinosaur kale and portabello mushrooms.

Another new item. This cinnamon scented muesli.

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It was our pantry item. We did get hot Italian grilling sausages (maybe it will get warm enough to grill?). The cheese was an artisanal goat cheese. Rich, and creamy.

I headed off to Friends and Farms after picking up the CSA. There, we found a few signs of spring as well.

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Hydroponic arugula and a head of romaine. There were also parsnips, apples, mushrooms, sweet potatoes (really? Do you know how many types of sweet potatoes are hanging out in my pantry?), butternut squash puree. My apple cider for milk substitute to use to make that beautiful bone-in pork roast. A couple of chicken breasts. Destined to become chicken salad. Eggs. Bread. Breakfast links.

Another week. Another full delivery of regional specialties to cook with.

I did add on some seafood this week. Rockfish.

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It quickly became dinner tonight. Panko breaded with a glaze of honey mustard under the breading. Excellent meal.

Garden Plann(t)ing 2015

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Today was the real beginning of the gardening season up at our community garden plots.

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All of our plots are full again this year. Eighteen new gardeners joined us. We had our row cover sale today, and a work session cleaning out and preparing our 900 square foot food bank plots.

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Sharps Farm provides us with row cover to sell to our gardeners. We pay the bulk prices to buy the cover then sell it at a very small markup to pay for our seedlings and seeds for the food bank plots. In other words, we round up the per foot price slightly. Still, 12 food wide row cover for 70 cents a foot is a tremendous bargain. They were doing a brisk business. We also held a “barn” sale on those items the food bank plots have accumulated as donations over the years from past gardeners. Mesh screens. Tomato cages. Trellis pieces. The extra “Surround” we bought last year. All told, it will help us finance our efforts to provide fresh vegetables to the Howard County Food Bank.

Today the food bank plots looked like this.

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Weeding. Moving the hoops and changing where we will plant tomatoes. In July, it should look like this again.

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We now train the tomatoes to grow between the rebar rows, as the cages just aren’t heavy enough to hold them. We plant vegetables that produce well, and that are easily prepared by those with limited resources. We have learned that rare and exotic vegetables don’t lend themselves to simple preparations. We grow huge amounts of carrots, beets, collards, kale, spinach, lettuces, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini and peppers. Last year we donated 1679 pounds of vegetables to the food bank. We were lucky to have an extra plot when someone had to give up theirs. This year, we are back to the original 900 square feet.

It’s good to see the weather changing, and to see all our gardening friends out there today. Here’s to another great harvest year.

Love for the Gateway

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I have to admit. There was a time 40 years ago when I moved here that I would have thought an office park wasn’t fitting of praise. Back then it was GE’s Appliance Park East. My first room mate worked there in 1975 when I moved to Columbia right out of college. Now it’s Columbia Gateway.

Today, the Maryland State Highway Administration in its abbreviations calls it Col Gateway Drive, and Col is not a recognized abbreviation of Columbia, but Colonel. It has become a destination for some of us looking for decent small business restaurants.

Like Aida Bistro. Rudy’s Mediterranean Grill. Flavors of India.

With last night’s celebration of all things Gateway, it reminded me that you can find really great ethnic foods in these small businesses. We don’t need to eat at chain restaurants around here. Yes, maybe in the middle of nowhere on an interstate you are forced to endure Applebees or TGIF, but here, there are great small businesses at every turn.

Not just at the Gateway. All over Howard County. Check them out. These three restaurants are worth it. And, you can thank Colonel Gateway for reminding us about it. Check out @colgateway to see how awesome this location is. As are its inhabitants.

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