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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Summer CSA Wrap Up Week

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The end of the 24 week CSA today. Fall season starts next Thursday. Appropriate for Halloween, my box included the escarole that ate New York.


It has to be one of the largest ones I have seen at any market. It looks like tomorrow I will be making escarole and white bean soup.

As for the rest, here is what our email said we were getting.

Purple Viking Potatoes
Cylindra Beets
Green Romaine
Mixed Sweet Potatoes
Bok Choy (it was bigger than the escarole, I swapped it)
Purple Mizuna (swapped as I bought some yesterday)
Butternut Squash
Red Cabbage


We never got mizuna before today, so yesterday I bought some from Love Dove Farms at the Miller Library Market, since he didn’t have arugula. It figures we would get it once I bought some.

As for doing a wrap up, I am putting my collated list together to see what we got over the course of the 24 weeks. What we got most. What the total number will be for uniquely different items.

And, as for what I will be making. There will be hummus, from the squash and sweet potatoes. Eggplant caponata sounds good.

And, speaking of wrap ups, Larriland closes this weekend. Sunday is the last day the farm is open, until strawberry season begins in May. Pink Lady apples are ripe and only available Friday through Sunday.

I may have to go there just to buy a few quarts of cider. Their newsletter tells us that cider freezes well. Maybe I will try it as their cider is so good.


Personal Pan Pizza

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My Way.


On one of those days that the foodie and the locavore collide. It all started with sending my husband to the store to get oranges and grapeseed oil. Oranges to use with the CSA fennel for a salad. A neutral oil so I can bake butternut squash to make hummus. He comes home with figs, which he decided would be perfect in a pizza.

The first fig, prosciutto, arugula and goat cheese pizza we ever had was in Napa Valley about five years ago. We have been attempting to duplicate it since then.

This time I went with grilling them.


Served with a local wine, using local goat cheese, arugula, scallions and garlic, I got a decent crispy thin pizza.


Early Mountain 2011 Petit Manseng, a very crisp version of a lesser grown grape. Early Mountain is north of Charlottesville VA. A fairly new winery that we visited on our weekend trip. We picked up a mix of their current wines. A young winery, under this ownership, we expect to see real growth in their offerings as their vines mature.

This dinner was really simple to put together. Spread some garlic and oil on crust from COSTCO. Add a few figs, some goat cheese, some prosciutto, some scallions. Drizzle some lemon infused olive oil over it. Put it on a screaming hot grill for a few minutes (500 degrees). Turn off the end burners (or use indirect placement over charcoal). Let it crisp up, and let the cheese melt. Some pepper ground over it. Arugula put on after removal from the grill.

Excellent meal on a very pleasant evening. We took it outside on the patio to enjoy the view. Leaves are getting close to peak around here.


Great al fresco dinner.



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What’s new in the world of warehouse shopping? Had my quarterly (or longer) trip over to COSTCO, mainly for allergy meds, toilet paper, aluminum foil, basic spices and nine volt batteries for the smoke detectors.

As usual, I find interesting things I decide to impulse buy. Like the pomegranates.


We are addicted to the pomegranate seeds. But, at $4-5 each (at Wegmans), we didn’t indulge much. Today I found a six pack for $13.99, which is a real bargain for something so much fun to eat.

We love them with yogurt, or on salads, or just to snack. I picked up some of our favorite Pequea Valley yogurt last weekend, vanilla, to pair with my spiced apples (made from those Larriland apples). Vanilla and pomegranate are a good match, too.

I also picked up a six pack of red peppers, to put on the grill.


There will be some ajvar made with these. As well as some roasted red pepper hummus. We have eggplant from the CSA for the ajvar.

Another major find this visit was the return of Pacific organic roasted red pepper and tomato soup. It isn’t always there. It is a staple to thicken soups that need a tomato kick, without sacrificing my stash of tomatoes and/or sauce.

I was looking to purchase some tuna to grill. The weather has been lovely. They didn’t have any tuna today. I picked up a couple of packs of wild halibut. One of my favorite white fleshed fish.


Seasoned with mustard, peach vinaigrette, pepper and thyme. Drizzled with lemon olive oil. Perfect with fingerlings and broccoli.


We don’t get to COSTCO often, now that it is 16 miles away. It is always a treat to go there and discover what’s new. And, stock up on staples and pantry items. And, nuts for Christmas cookie baking. It is getting close to that time, we know.


Beans and Greens

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Until we joined a CSA three seasons ago, I would not have considered greens with beans and some sort of broth, with a little pork, to be the basis of so many meals.

I wandered back into my archives and found at least a half dozen versions of the beans and greens themes in them. Like this one.

The Tuscan soup version, with kale.

And, one of my first attempts from the freezer.

Much like this one I made today, but with tomatoes.

Today’s was a lighter variation.


I don’t even use recipes anymore. I just wing it. This one used all the mustard greens we got last week. The rest of the bok choy from a week ago. The turnip greens. I started it in the crock pot with carrots, celery, onion and the thicker white parts of the bok choy. A half pint of my chicken stock. A wee bit of bacon grease. I fried up a pound of bacon that I got at England Acres. It has been in three meals and there is still some in the fridge.

I added the greens, some bacon, two cans of butter beans, and two cups of almond milk, making this a non-dairy soup.

What you see in the finished soup are some Great Harvest croutons. As for flavor, I added salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder, paprika and ground ginger. I also cut up and added an apple to give a hint of sweetness.

Just before serving, I ladled out about half of it, avoiding the bacon pieces, and blended it to give it that creaminess.

A very hearty soup. Served with a “competition” of Sauvignon Blancs. Linden versus Glen Manor. The 2011’s. We decided the Glen Manor complemented the soup better, although Linden was a much bigger bodied SB.


Here’s to the last week of our summer CSA. Looking forward to fall veggies. Glad that my experience motivated me to cook more with hearty greens.


The Week Ahead

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Another busy week ahead. Not so much out of the area (or out of the house for that matter) but just enough to keep busy.

If you are looking for something meaningful and fun to do next weekend, consider coming out to the Conservancy for Come Get Dirty! Day
Here are some facts about it. 9 am until 1 pm on November 2nd.

— Conservancy patch for all scouts that participate
— Native plant seed giveaways
— Helps meet requirements of Soil and Water Conservation badge and Flowers and Gardens scout badges
— Come for some or all of the day
— Bring a picnic lunch and stay for the day


I still have to complete my photographing and manipulating photos to create my husband’s QSL card. We are looking for really great fall foliage shots from the local area. Here is a sample card similar to what he wants me to design.


I want to use the Dayton post office in his card. We have a few shots, but are looking for better light.


I want to also get the trees in full color. We are close this week to having those conditions.

I also was considering running up to England Acres later this week to get a chicken for the crockpot. Their latest batch of fresh chickens will be ready after the 28th. They are usually open Friday through Sunday.

Add to that Halloween (we never get trick or treaters if I buy candy). I bought one bag, which guarantees no one will drive up our long dark driveway.

Plus, the last of the ripening yellow tomatoes need to be roasted and processed.


I have ten of them sitting on the windowsill. The beets are done. The apples are done. I do have a boatload of broccoli, so I was considering breaking out the food saver and freezing some.

Who knows what our last week of the CSA will bring, on Thursday? I do hope we get a good sized cooking pumpkin as I want to make hummus.


Sweatshirt Weather

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That’s what my husband calls it. The first frost of the season. Although it will warm up again, and today was lovely. It was cold overnight.

Today we headed out on errands, and a picture taking mission. I needed to get rid of some old pain meds at the county take back prescription drug program, at the site of our Saturday market. Unfortunately, TLV was out of eggs, but I knew if I was lucky I could get them at England Acres.


My husband wanted farm scenery pictures to use for his postcard design that highlights living in farm country in Maryland. The “QSL” card is what is exchanged by radio amateurs to confirm contacts. He wants one that highlights farmland, so we have been taking pictures, like these.


The fields that are part of the farm west of Mt. Airy. The farm where I love to get meat, dairy, eggs, and love to see the new animals.


Like their guinea hens who were checking out their reflections in the hub caps of our truck. Interesting animals.

We came home to see our newly resident black squirrel checking out the bird bath. The heating element is in. Getting ready for winter.


Finally, in the end of a busy day, I did manage to make a frittata using techniques learned from Marcella Hazan, to participate in a web based tribute, where bloggers and others cooked Marcella’s recipes and either tweeted or blogged about it.

Hashtag — #dinnerwithmarcella


Spaghetti frittata with parm and pepper.


Hey, Hey, Do You CSA?

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I have been meaning to write this post for a while now, but finally got around to it. Lots happening in the Howard County CSA world. New sites. New CSAs.

First, I should talk about a conversation I had yesterday at our pick up site. I met someone I hadn’t seen before, new this year, with a full share gift from a relative.

They loved the amount and quality of the veggies they got, for what they considered a great deal. $30 a week. The 60% share is only $19 a week. By the way, this couple travels from Anne Arundel county to our pick up site near Robinson Nature Center. She said they had few options in their area.

I blogged a few weeks ago, about the sign up period for the seven week extension of our CSA, from November 7th through December 19th.

It’s a short term commitment for someone interested in seeing what we get from a cooperative of farmers. How much is in a full share or a half share. Hanging around the pick up site, you can see what is in each box.

Sandy Spring Fall CSA Week 3 of 2012

Sandy Spring Fall CSA Week 3 of 2012

Typical full share from last November is pictured above.

I do know that we are dropping from 60+ shares for our summer CSA, into about half that number for fall.

Some people didn’t re-enlist 😉

We heard reasons at the site. Not liking squash. Too many potatoes. For us, though, squash is an excuse to make hummus. Potatoes in a brown bag, hanging in the laundry room, will last for months.

OK, enough about the Sandy Spring Fall CSA.

Let’s talk about next year in the county. We are indeed lucky to have so many CSAs in Howard County. Next year, add another. TLV Tree Farm.

And, another new pick up site for Breezy Willow. They will offer pick up at Wegmans. Cheers to Wegmans for supporting local farms.

Just like MOM’s supports One Straw Farm, with pick ups at their Jessup store.

All told, I believe we now have Sandy Spring, Breezy Willow, Gorman Farm, Love Dove Farm, TLV Tree Farm, Zahradka Farm and One Straw Farm. Amazing the options available with potential to have fresh veggies all year round.

CSA’s. Try them. You might get hooked like we did.


A CSA For All Seasons

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Today we got a little bit of every season in the CSA Box. We even got a bonus of two bags of broccoli.

This is what we got, and items I swapped.

2 bags broccoli florets
1 bag mixed green and purple peppers
1 bag mixed hot peppers (I swapped my cubanelles to get those habaneros)
1 butternut squash
1 bunch mustard greens
3 ears popping corn (I swapped green tomatoes to get this)
1 bok choy
1 baby bok choy
1 bunch tatsoi
1 fennel bulb
2 leeks
1 container micromixed greens
1 bunch scarlet turnips


The reason I say this box spanned seasons is the fact that there are peppers, a summer item. Greens, usually spring and fall. Squash from fall. Broccoli and popping corn, late fall. Fennel, spring and fall. Leeks, late fall and early winter. Turnips a winter staple.


I love getting popping corn. Drop an ear in a paper bag, and microwave for two to three minutes and you have incredibly fresh pop corn. Drizzle a little butter, add some seasonings, and you just created one amazingly tasty bowl of “movie” food.

We have one week left of our summer CSA, and then we transition to fall. For the fall share, we will get seven weeks of good food, to celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Confessions of a Leaf Raker

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In response to HoCoConnect’s post this morning.

I admit. We are leaf rakers. Of course, some of it becomes compost. Some of it is given away to our Rake and Take partners, and some of it (occasionally) goes to the landfill in the pickup truck.

It is easy to say “let it stay on the lawn”. Until it gets to be 4-6 inches deep and it is killing the green stuff that grows in our yard. I hesitate to call it grass, since we have all sorts of unconventional green things growing out there. Like clover, chickweed, buttercups, dandelions, crabgrass, moss, purslane, parsley. Whatever. Oh, and corn, from what the squirrels bury.

We do have resourceful squirrels out here. Smart, too.

Our grass isn’t fertilized, treated, cultivated, manicured. The deer love it.


We do have to deal with it taking off in strange directions, and unless we want mud out there, we have to pick up the leaves. When you have 150+ trees on the property, some of them 50 feet high, and many of them 40+ feet high, you can drown in leaves. They smother the green stuff and make it die.

We do a mulching leaf vacuuming every week. It results in 15-20 bags each time. Our Rake and Take partners take some for their compost piles. We put some out by our shed in our compost pile.

If we didn’t have a Rake and Take partner, we would head off to Alpha Ridge and put it in the yard waste piles that will become compost to sell by the county.

Until we came here, from a town house in Columbia, we had no idea how much work a large property can be. It does keep us in shape, all that raking, leaf blowing, vacuuming, mowing, mulching, snow blowing, tree cutting, pruning, gardening, weeding.

Actually, we like what we have out here. Particularly with sunsets like this.



So Worth It

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One of the things I like most about being part of the hocoblogs community is the encouragement (and the inspiration) to try new things.

Like canning. Between HowChowBlog, LisaBMrsS, and The Soffrito, I am working my way up and now have conquered tomato sauce.


Before processing in the hot water bath, two quarts of sauce. This took about 20 of the heavy beefy tomatoes from our Larriland visit. I roasted them, after halving them and scooping out the seeds. Pulled off the skins once they cooled a bit. Put them in a pot with gently “sweated” onions, shallots, garlic and olive oil. Added some Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cooked for about 30 minutes. Ladled into the jars, with lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Processed for 45 minutes.


Until I was encouraged by my fellow bloggers, to take that step from freezing to canning, I wouldn’t have done this. HowChow got us interested in picking at Larriland. Lisa encouraged me once I did my first jars of jelly. Victoria at The Soffrito back in our food challenge days showed me meals made from her canned items.

All told, I have made three pints of oven roasted tomatoes, four bags of whole peeled blanched tomatoes and two quarts of tomato sauce. I have enough tomatoes left to make two more quarts of sauce once the last 20 tomatoes get ripe enough.

I figure that if I bought organic sauce, canned tomatoes and roasted tomatoes, it would have cost us at least $40. We got these 24 pounds of tomatoes at Larriland for $16.

I think that’s worth the price. Don’t you?

Didn’t get to pick apples today, but we are heading out there tomorrow. Canned applesauce coming soon to the kitchen near me!