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Category Archives: Food

Just Another Soggy Day in the ‘Hood

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The Fourth was a real bust around our house. I just couldn’t get into it, after spending Friday trying to salvage much of my waterlogged garden. The weather data around here showed June giving us 9.6″ of rain. Seventeen days in June it rained.

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And we already slogged through last weekend at our Field Day site. Somehow I wasn’t inclined to make it two Saturdays in a row, so we stayed home and I cooked. I really had to do something with these.

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That would be the 75 onions I harvested on Friday. I had to do it. They were starting to crack, and to get softer at the crown.

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This pile couldn’t be hung to cure. They have various bruises and cracks but are a decent size. So, they became crock pot caramelized onions.

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All of them into the pot, for 16 hours, the last two uncovered. I ended up with about 32 ounces of onions. Four one cup containers. Three in the freezer to use this winter. Making them is simple. Salt, pepper, a splash of water.

I can definitely sympathize with our local farmers. This weather is seriously affecting crops. We got newsletters from both Friends and Farms, and our Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA, telling us to hang in there. The fruit and vegetables aren’t as good when the temperatures won’t rise enough to ripen them, and when excess rain waters them down, or splits them.

Still, I can be thankful my garden is producing.

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Ready for the Fourth?

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The locavore way. Berries from Larriland. Chardonnay from Big Cork. Using Maryland’s best to celebrate the holiday.

I am getting ready for this weekend. Lots of good stuff from the garden, the CSA, Friends and Farms and other local farms for grilling, chilling and just kicking back. If only the weather would cooperate.

As for things to do, here is what is high on our list.

Lisbon.

You could go pick berries at Larriland, as they are open 9-1 on Saturday. Have a hot dog at Alex’s snowball stand. Watch the parade. Listen to the music.

For us, we are seriously considering heading out to Rohrersville to Big Cork to join in their celebration at the winery. The events page has the details. I mean, River House Pizza from Eillicott City is heading out there.

As for the grilling sometime this weekend, if it ever stops raining, I am looking forward to those goodies from my Friends and Farms basket.

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I am thinking bratwurst with German mustard.

As for fireworks, not a fan. I know they are all around the area, but we just stay out here in west county and watch the neighbors’ fireworks. Someone, somewhere out here will set off a few.

Happy Independence Day to Howard County.

Zukes and Cukes

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A #grow100 update.

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The major section of my designated #grow100 one hundred square foot gardening area. Covered in zucchini and cucumber plants. With shallots, leeks and onions farther down the row.

I harvested my first green cucumber this weekend. Plus, three more mini whites.

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There were also three more large zucchini out there this weekend.

And the onions. Wow, do we have onions. Want to grow something very easy. Put in onions.

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Most of these came from my grow 100 area. Reds. Whites. Goldens. The rain has been pretty relentless and I have to harvest those which exhibit signs of too much rain. Their tops droop over. If you try to pull them out, they break. These will not be candidates for curing. They will be eaten fresh. Many ways to make those onions. I made Ina Garten’s herb roasted onions for dinner.

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Only I jazzed them up with zucchini and garlic scapes. A simple vinaigrette made with honey mustard, olive oil, thyme, dill, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Baked until soft.

Head over to Grow It, Eat It to see how easy it is to start a garden.

Cherry Picking

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Out at Larriland.

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I got there Friday morning to pick sweet cherries. It certainly was busy.

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The parking area was full. Most people, though, were picking strawberries so the cherry trees were relatively quiet. I know it was the last day of school around here, but there were quite a few families out there.

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Cherries were $3.99 a pound. I picked four pounds. Knowing I was going to make jam, I wasn’t that careful about keeping the stems on the cherries.

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I came home, cleaned and pitted them. Prepared my canning stuff. Found a recipe I liked. And made five jars of cherry “jam”, which is actually more like a syrup.

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The recipe was a low sugar, no pectin, three ingredient one. Cherries. Sugar. Lemon juice. Not too hard to do.

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We are so lucky to have a pick your own farm right up the road. Larriland is a treasure in our county.

Vampires

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Or lack thereof due to the high concentration of garlic in the house.

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After all, how many people do you know that are curing garlic in their laundry rooms? The garlic hanging there is destined for the Howard County Food Bank. The first of many harvests to give us about a month’s worth of garlic to donate. I took about a dozen heads of garlic out of the ground this week. The largest ones, which were already turning brown on their tops. The rest. Will get harvested as they dry out. If it ever stops raining. Garlic is easy to grow, but needs to be dried somewhere cool and dry.

Besides that garlic, I have scapes from the CSA and green garlic also. Green garlic are those immature plants that are culled out to make room for the more robust plants that will become mature garlic.

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In this picture you can see green garlic on the right and scapes all curled up on the left. I made some pesto. Cut some in pieces to use in stir fry dinners. I should have left a few of them whole so I could wrap bacon around them and grill them. Too late for this batch.

If you have never had scapes, I know that Love Dove Farms sells them at the various county markets. I used to buy mine there before the CSA started inundating us with scapes.

Tonight a few ended up in this meal.

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An almost completely locally sourced meal. The salad. Arugula and butter lettuce and chive blossoms from my garden. The main dish. Pappardelle’s garlic chive pasta from Secolari, served with shrimp from Friends and Farms. Pesto from my freezer (last year’s basil). Snow peas, scallions and scapes from the CSA.

With all this garlic, there will be no vampires in this part of western HoCo.

Tidbit Tuesday Again

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Just some random thoughts on a Tuesday evening.

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The zucchini are officially out of control already, less than a week after finding the first few. The behemoth in the picture weighed 24 ounces and was hiding (the usual ploy of zucchini not wanting to be harvested). All told. 84 ounces in 8 zucchini. And, this is just the beginning.

Notice the two little mini white cucumbers. My first cukes of the season. Pickling cukes. They are far ahead of the other cucumbers. All of these vegetables came from my #grow100 challenge area. What can you grow in 100 square feet? Obviously, beaucoup zucchini.

Moving on to other pictures from my camera since the weekend, congratulations to the volunteer of the year at the conservancy, Woody Merkle. We swear he lives there, we see him all the time.

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We had our volunteer appreciation strawberry social on Sunday. Well attended. Lovely berries from Baugher’s and ice cream from Hoffman’s.

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Today after harvesting for the food bank and for the winners of the auction basket at Wine in the Garden, I got those zucchini and cukes and headed off for my CSA pick up.

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Something new. Red Leaf cheese. Not just any cheese, but an award winning goat cheese with attitude. The joys of our CSA. Finding things like this.

This week we also got something new in our meat share.

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Country spare ribs from the heritage hogs at Razorbacks and Barbed Wire Farm. We have gotten pork chops from this farm. Very tasty. I am thinking ribs tomorrow night.

As for the fruit share.

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Stayman apples and strawberry jam. I just finished the raspberry jam from the winter CSA. Am so happy to see a new flavor to try. Heaven on toast in the morning.

My veggie share?

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Completely insane. Almost too much to photograph. There will be lots of cooking going on. I am thinking of using the massive escarole in a soup with the last of the green garlic. Romano beans and snow peas.

OK, another new one.

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Dandelion greens.

We are slowly transitioning into summer, with a mix of squash and beans, and many different greens.

Lovin’ Summertime

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Summer has arrived. Really arrived. Hot, humid, perfect weather for the garden to flourish.

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The first zucchini. Out of that 100 square ft area in my garden. I like to pick the earliest ones when they are small, and do a simple dish with them. The massive zucchini will come later when I find them hiding under the leaves.

We got some really good stuff in our Friends and Farms basket Thursday. Atlantic Bluefin and ground lamb are the stars.

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We did the tuna Thursday, and made mega meatballs tonight from one of the packages of lamb.

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I do a “no measure” meatball. Putting in bread crumbs, an egg, za’atar and cumin, salt and pepper, a few scallions. Baking at 350 degrees until perfectly browned.

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A few meatballs. Sautéed zucchini. New potatoes from up at Jenny’s market.

Followed by one really great dessert. Strawberry rhubarb dessert bars.

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Not too bad for a hot humid Saturday. Here’s to more meals from local foods. Here’s to celebrating summertime.

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