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Daily Archives: March 29, 2012

So What is National Local Mom and Pop Business Day?

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Is it just another Hallmark holiday, or what?

I had a draft post I was working on for weeks, that had this time stamp on the draft that sent it to March 18th, when I hit publish. Still need to figure out some of the quirks of WordPress, but I was working on telling the story of using small businesses for most of what we buy. Services and supplies, from people in the county, not from national and international chains.

It is here. Those who subscribe did get it. To update it even more and include food in the mix, I am posting tonight about the local sources of dinner from small, family owned businesses.

We did do one thing today using a mom and pop business. That is, if Cavallero and Company count. My husband has been getting his hair cut by Vince’s shop, from the days they were Rex’s Place. First, Arnold. Now, Wayne. No one else is trusted to cut his hair. Since the late 1970s, I think is when he started with them.

As for the rest of today, I celebrated with a grazing meal tonight. Almost everything on the table was small business.

The salad. Beets, onions and orange from CSA — the oranges come up from a small farm in Florida. Fennel from Roots. Lemon olive oil from St. Helena Olive Oil, CA. USA olive oil, not imported. Woman owned business, that I support wholeheartedly year round.

The cube steak came from Wagner’s in Mt. Airy. The flour from Union Mills. The cole slaw I made using cabbage and carrots from the CSA. The accompaniments were from Cava in Rockville MD. Harissa and tzatziki. Bread from Atwater’s. Butter from Trickling Springs. Wine from Elk Run. No big businesses here. It can be done with just a little effort.

For me, I want to support these businesses all year. Not just for one day. By the way, the wine was awesome. Thanks to Fred and Carol Wilson, who started their winery in the 1980s. This wine, a cabernet, is from 2002. It is ten years old and still full of fruit. Not brown or fading. Just luscious. MD can make really good wines. Supporting people like the Wilsons is something I believe in. They started the very first all vinifera vineyard in MD. Hats off to them for making this lovely wine.


Scrapple: The Last Frontier

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OK, I am truly becoming my dad. I have gone over to the dark side and made my own scrapple. But, it isn’t my fault. It is Mark Bittman’s fault. Darn that “How to Cook Everything” App on my iPad.

You see, I needed to make breakfast for the last week of the Dark Days Eat Local Challenge. I had one pound left of Woodcamp Farms sausage in the freezer.

I was actually looking to make sausage patties with some interesting seasonings, and maybe do pancakes with the rest of the local buckwheat. But, opening the app and typing in sausage, it came up with lots of boring recipes, and SCRAPPLE!

OK, not everyone loves scrapple, but being almost 100% German background, and growing up with the scent of scrapple a normal Sunday morning wake up call, as my dad fried it up crispy and served it smothered in ketchup, how could I resist making my own.

We used to buy our scrapple at Lexington Market. My dad worked downtown as a policeman, so Saturday he brought home scrapple. Made from whatever was left of the pork. Still, nothing in the grocery stores approaches that scrapple.

I was hooked. I needed to try this. I even made it local. And, you could make it even more local than I did. I had cornmeal on hand. Not from up the road, but from PA. You can get cornmeal from Union Mills in Carroll County. But this is all I had.

This is the cornmeal I used in this killer polenta a few weeks ago. The Bittman recipe calls for grits or cornmeal. We don’t have local grits, so cornmeal it was. It also calls for making a double recipe of the grits. Don’t do it. Too much cornmeal and not enough sausage. Next time I make this I will use about 2/3 to 3/4 of the amount called for in the grits recipe.

You can see when I cut it this morning to fry, there is way too much filler for the pound of sausage. If you are trying to eat less meat, it works but it is off a little on proportions. You can also see the little bits of fresh sage from my herb garden.

Cook it all up with a couple of local eggs, and serve. The recipe is after the pictures below.

It looks pretty good, and it was tasty. My husband thinks it needs a little more kick, but this was an eat local challenge and Tabasco isn’t local. It also fell apart as I was plating it.

Local Sources: Trickling Springs for the butter to fry it. Zahradka Farms CSA eggs. Woodcamp Farm pork sausage. Burnt Cabins Roasted Cornmeal. Sage from my garden.

To make it even more local and mostly from Howard County, use: Bowling Green Farms butter, Breezy Willow eggs, TLV Tree Farm sausage, and Union Mills cornmeal, available at Breezy Willow. This way it would be almost 100% Howard County sourced, with the exception the cornmeal from Carroll County.

The recipe, courtesy of How to Cook Everything –

Make the cornmeal polenta, or use grits. The recipe calls for 5 cups or water, boiling. Whisk in two cups of grits or polenta. I believe you should make this with 3/4 of what they call for. Cook, covered, and occasionally stirring, until smooth. Add water if necessary to keep it from thickening too much. You will know if it is too thick. You can’t stir it. Add salt and pepper and butter to taste while making. Be careful tasting. It is molten.

In the meantime, cook the sausage until done. You need at least two cups of cooked sausage. One pound will just get you there. I would go heavier on the sausage the next time I do this.

Mix the sausage into the polenta and add at least a tablespoon of fresh sage. I used close to two tablespoons, because there was so much polenta made. Maybe grits would cook down more but the polenta was really thick and there was quite a bit of it.

Pour into a buttered loaf pan and refrigerate overnight. Cut in slices and fry in whatever you want. I used butter to keep it local. Serve with eggs, any way. I like sunny side up when I have fresh eggs from the CSA.

My husband had a piece of Atwater’s bread, toasted, with his. I didn’t think it needed the toast, as the scrapple is hearty.

So, Dark Days are done. I made it all the way to the end. Now, it will be easier to cook with local foods as we get into growing season.

Try making scrapple this summer. Everything is right up the road, at our markets in Howard County.