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Category Archives: Food

It’s Turkey Day

The rush is on. At Maple Lawn Turkey Farm. Our local farm that raises free range turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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From 7am until 5 pm, before Thanksgiving, and then they still have hours after Thanksgiving, but these are the busy three days. I am brining my turkey overnight tomorrow, and cooking it Wednesday. Getting ready ahead of time and then I only have to brown it for the dinner. I am finding that to be a bit more manageable.

I also picked up a few extras.

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Drumsticks. Six to a package. Seven pounds. $5 for the package. The ultimate winter staple. Destined to become a number of pots of turkey noodle or turkey rice soup. I split them into two packs and vacuum sealed them. They are back in the freezer. The smoked breast will become a meal sometime next week. I put the breast and the turkey in the little fridge in my laundry room. Set to 35 degrees to keep them fresh.

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I got a 13 pound hen. Wrapped in butcher paper. Brought it home. Cleaned it up. Plopped it in a big bowl and put it away. Tomorrow I will make the brine and get it ready to cook.

It wasn’t that bad there this morning. At 10 o’clock, there was still close in parking and no real lines. You have to pay by cash or check. They do have a portable ATM outside, for those that forget. You can also pick up turkey bacon, ground turkey, wings and tails/necks, frozen, to take home for future use.

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Can’t get any more local than 10 miles down the road. The price is great, too. Thanks to the Iager family.

Sixty Five Years Young

Yesterday. My better half’s very significant birthday. Normally, I cook. We open a special bottle of wine and have a leisurely dinner at home.

This year, we celebrated in a bigger way. With a dinner at Bistro Blanc.

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Paired with wines from our cellar, and a few from our friend, Raj Kathuria, who has always made Bistro Blanc a favorite place for us to dine. We had friends from radio, and friends from wine dinners join us. “Marrying” his two favorite hobbies.

Chef Diego met with me last week to put together a menu. Using many local items. Very small plates. Paced so we could talk and laugh and enjoy the company. I only took the phone out to record the very last course. The small treats finishing the meal.


Peanut butter and vanilla macarons, and bourbon toffee bonbons. The dessert courses were accompanied by one of our very old bottles of vintage port.

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From the year we were married. Bought decades ago at Wells Liquor in Baltimore, from the liquidation of the wine cellar of the Brentwood Inn. On very special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays, we have opened four of the six bottles we splurged on in the early 1980s. Back when we started putting wines under the steps in our town house basement. Most of what is here now is local. Good stuff from Linden, Black Ankle, RdV, Glen Manor, Barboursville and more.

This was the first time I ever put together a private dinner party. Bistro Blanc did an incredible job. We used the private dining area that holds up to sixteen people. We have been in that room a number of times for their wine dinners.

Thanks to all our friends for the pleasure of their company and for the thoughtful gifts and cards given to my husband. It was a memorable birthday in so many ways. Now, he just has to finish signing up for Medicare. Does that make us officially “old”?

The Thanksgiving Wine Decisions

From the local perspective.

I always try to serve local wines with our Thanksgiving meal. Since I go to the trouble of getting a local fresh turkey, and I have local organic CSA vegetables around here, I like to make the whole meal local. Sort of like those original Pilgrim meals. Food from near where you live.

I will be picking up my turkey at Maple Lawn this year. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I feel like being part of that tradition, or really, just maybe I want to get a few other items to put into the freezer for later this winter.

As for the wine selection, I am slightly changing my candidates this year.

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I am leaning towards serving the Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir. We have yet to make it down south of Charlottesville to visit this winery, but we have bought their wines at Early Mountain, north of Charlottesville. I will probably take the Linden to my brother’s house, as it is light and refreshing.

I considered that dry Petit Manseng.

For red wine drinkers, the Big Cork reds aren’t that heavy yet, as they still have younger vines. Their Cabernet Franc is light enough to match with turkey.

Big Cork is a Maryland winery. Another good local Maryland winery to pick from, is Old Westminster.

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They are one of the closest wineries to our home. They make some lovely wines, like their white blends. You can buy them at the Wine Bin in Ellicott City.

No matter what you choose, pick one or two local wines to serve. Make it a real Maryland Thanksgiving.

Tidbit Tuesday

Here we are heading full speed into the holiday season and there is quite a bit happening.

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Like this weekend, the holiday Colonial Celebration over at Belmont. I hear there aren’t many tickets left. Absolutely beautifully decorated, and with good food and libations, it is the only fund raiser that the Howard County Conservancy holds at Belmont to raise funds to support the educational programs held there.

Meanwhile, tonight at Mt. Pleasant, another of the meteor shower events. The Leonids. I will be there setting up and we are crossing our fingers that it isn’t too cloudy. The event is from 10pm-1am.

Here on the home front, I am trying to get ready for Thanksgiving, as one by one, appliances in my kitchen keep having problems. First, the dishwasher only intermittently drains. Even taking it apart and cleaning it out hasn’t solved the problem. Guess it’s time to find a new one.

Add to that, my microwave knob no longer functions. The microwave works, but you can only use the express button and push it enough times to get the number of minutes you need. Since I only use it for potatoes, pop corn and reheating coffee, it’s not a big issue for Thanksgiving, but it is just another place where we see quality is lacking.

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Last week our CSA had pop corn in it. I like to pop it in a paper bag for three minutes in the microwave. No need for butter or oil or clean up.

As for the “last straw”, so to speak, our oven door shattered. This is the second one. The top oven did it a few years back. The lower one, late last month when I put it into cleaning mode.

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Thankfully, it was fully contained in between the outer shields. I suppose I could still use it for a while as it shattered at the beginning of a two hour cleaning cycle, and I didn’t know it until it finished and unlocked. I had heard a “pop” and couldn’t figure out where it originated, until I opened the door.

So much for having a fancier oven. It seems bad glass is bad glass so matter who the manufacturer is. I guess this means I get to hand clean the ovens from now on. Or, I keep having to replace the glass. Annoying. Particularly as we get into my busy baking season.

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Cookie baking time is fast approaching.

Tomorrow, if I get a chance to sit down, I will be writing about Thanksgiving plans, including getting the turkey and the wine.

Get outside tonight, and look for meteors.

She Wolf

Bakery. In Brooklyn. With breads that just amaze with flavor.

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This is sprouted spelt. The description from their web site.

“Bread that comes out of the oven on a Saturday has a production cycle that began on Tuesday! Whole spelt berries are soaked and sprouted over the course of the week, mixed into the dough on Friday, which then undergoes an overnight cold proof before being baked on Saturday. The enzymatic activity of the sprouting process converts starches in the grains into sugars and releases an array of vitamins. Roughly 50% wheat flour, 50% whole spelt flour and ground sprouted spelt berries.”

This is our second week of the fall Community Supported Agriculture from Lancaster Farm Fresh, and this season, the bread share is back. They found this bakery in Brooklyn. Our driver tells us he picks up freshly baked loaves on Monday when he delivers produce to the restaurants and the CSA pick up spots in New York. We get them on Tuesday.

The first week, a sourdough that probably is close to the best one I have ever found.

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Chewy, dense, with just the perfect sourdough taste. We devoured that loaf in three days. I was considering adding a second bread share to have enough for a week.

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The ingredients.

While searching for information on this provider, I found a video on Bon Appetit. It gives a little more insight into the bakery, and the baker.

It doesn’t get much fresher, and it’s why I love buying from smaller regional producers. I hope they offer this bread in the other seasonal CSAs, but I wonder if they can cover the demand. The last bakery, in Lancaster, couldn’t handle the numbers that our CSA wanted.

I think that’s a good thing, in my view. We are supporting and nurturing more small entrepreneurs and looking for the best quality, and not going to the big box stores and the chain stores.

Can’t wait to see what ones we get for the next six weeks. Crossing my fingers for caraway rye and for miche.

Year Round Markets

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The end is nigh. The local farmer’s markets are almost finished. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a committed group that creates a year round market in Howard County? You know, a downtown market?

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I love the Silver Spring downtown market on Saturday mornings year round. They close a road to accommodate the vendors. Love Dove, one of our local farms heads down there to sell. According to the FreshFarm website, there are 36 vendors at the market.

I love the fact that local wineries show up on a regular basis. Multiple rotating vendors. I wish we could get a market started around here, maybe in Old Town EC, or down by the lake in Columbia, or Maple Lawn.

I have always been supportive of, and impressed by, the nonprofit group that started Olney. The group that continues to make it better. Luckily for us, they are only 10 miles down the road. This year, they are keeping the market by the hospital, and they are working to purchase tents to use in inclement weather. Their web site.

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For a few years, they moved the market to the Sandy Spring Museum. It wasn’t quite big enough and some vendors were outside, others shoe horned into the building.

I like the Sunday morning market concept. Come have breakfast. Shop a little. Browse a little. Pick up some fresh food and a few staples from local purveyors.

The mother of all Sunday morning markets is DuPont Circle in DC. Honestly. 40-50 vendors. One of my favorites. Next step produce.

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One of the reasons. They are a local farm growing grains. Many grains.

The other market in the mix. Takoma Park. Also Sunday mornings.

Really. We need to figure out how to do this. We have the local farms and vendors. We have some high density areas. It’s not bad to drive 10 miles to Olney but EC is closer.


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Yes, I have to admit, I miss all the great local food scene trivia, and all the comments that we were used to getting from HOWCHOW’s blog. I know he is busy, with a toddler and yet, I still miss those informative posts that gave us so much information about our local restaurants, markets and stores.

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When I started my blog, he helped me. He linked to a number of posts I wrote. I wrote a couple of guest columns for him. He was the “GO TO” place to read about bakeries, butchers, ethnic groceries and so much more.

Maybe if we all ask nice, we can get him to post a simple post, once a week, asking for comments and input about the latest in the Howard County food scene.

It would certainly help us feel like we have something that focuses on us out here in the boonies.

For me, he introduced me to Ananda, and I love it. H Mart. Larriland. Town Grill. And more.

Come back, HOWCHOW, if only for a quick word or so.

After all, you helped us greet Wegmans with that Facebook page.

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There’s so much happening here in Howard County. We are missing a good source for insider information. Not asking for tons of reviews, just a quick “drive by” post that we can comment on. You know you are greatly appreciated out here.


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