Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Shop, Sip & Savor at Evie Lou This Friday!

Join us this Friday for an evening of shopping, cheese and wine!

Our friends at Evie Lou are hosting a pop-up featuring FarmShare's seasonal selections of Northeast Ohio cheeses paired with wine by Private Reserve Fine Wines. 

It's the perfect opportunity to toast fall and check out what's new at Evie Lou. Bring a friend, sip some wine, and take home some delicious cheese.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Just Being Neighborly

An extra few extra ears of sweet corn, a second basket of tomatoes, two pounds of green beans instead of one, and an assortment of adorable, baby zucchini. These were among the extra items I added to my already-overflowing market basket at this morning's weekly trip to my local farmers'  market.

I had bumped into an elderly neighbor of mine earlier this week and our conversation, as usual, turned to food -- fresh produce in particular. As she lamented the sub-standard, supermarket sweet corn and tomatoes she's had to endure all summer, I remembered that she doesn't drive doesn't enjoy the luxury of just hopping over to the market like so many of us can. I see this woman two or three days a week, but I had completely forgotten. So, instead of offering my usual "try the farmers market" response, I asked if could pick up a few things for her when I went on my normal Saturday morning market rounds. 

We local food advocates are constantly encouraging everyone we meet to support a local farmer or their community farmers market. But it's all too easy to forget that there are many among us who simply can't eat this way. We're quick to assume that this is due to financial or time constraints. But sometimes, maybe more often than not, it's simply logistics.

So, what if we all just acted a bit more neighborly and remembered to ask folks if there's something we could fetch for them while we're at the market? Since this week is National Farmers' Market Week, it's the perfect time to make this a new habit. It doesn't require any extra time or burden, just a moment of reflection about who might need a little help or really enjoy some of this beautiful harvest that's upon us now.

My neighbor's face lit up when I delivered this little basket of sunshine to her this afternoon. But it made my day even brighter.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In Deep Blue

"I'm in deep blue over here!"

These were the words uttered by my friend Paula as we picked our way along the tall rows of blueberries at Wintergreen Tree Farm earlier this week.

Deep blue indeed! In just an hour and a half we managed to harvest over 20 pounds of blueberries between us. Plump, gorgeous, full-flavored berries of several different varieties ranging from slightly sour (the ones I prefer for baking) to sweeter varieties best suited to eating right out of the picking bucket. I've happily been deep in blue most of the week, nibbling on berries, freezing some for later use, and putting up a few jars of my favorite blueberry compote.

I also whipped up another batch of my mom's wonderful Blueberry Scones. Of course, they're excellent for breakfast but these scones also do double duty as wonderful little shortcakes. Just slice in half, top with Blueberry Lavender Compote and a dollop of ice cream or freshly whipped cream. A perfect, summer dessert from your breakfast leftovers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Fruit Crisp Tartlets

Fruit crisps are the simplest way I know of to make delicious use of fruit and berries any time of year. They work wonderfully with frozen fruit during the colder months. But right now when we're at peak harvest time for so many luscious berries and fruits, it's the ideal time to enjoy a fruit crisp.

I've adapted my go-to fruit crisp recipe to make tartlet-sized hand pies which pack perfectly for all those summertime activities we're enjoying right now... picnics, boat rides, concerts at Blossom, Cain Park, the Transformer Station and Wade Oval Wednesday.

Have fun with creative combinations of seasonal fruit, berries, and flavorings. In early summer, rhubarb is my favorite filling. For Fourth of July, I filled these tartlets with blueberries and took them sailing where they were enjoyed with fireworks along Lake Erie. And come fall, try using apples and raspberries and a little ginger.

Summer Fruit Crisp Tartlets 

Makes 10-12 tartlets

Crust & Topping:

1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal (or your favorite granola)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted

Mix flour, brown sugar, oatmeal/granola, and salt. Stir in melted butter and mix well.

Fruit Filling:

Approximately 2 cups fruit (rhubarb, plums, blueberries, apples, etc.), cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Using two thirds of the crust/topping mixture, form a bottom crust for each tartlet by pressing approximately 2 tbsp of crust dough firmly into the lined muffin tins.

Fill each tartlet with approximately 2 tbsp of fruit filling.

Crumble remaining crust/topping mixture over the top.

Bake at 20-30 minutes until tarts are bubbly and golden brown.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Creamy Garlic Scape Dip

My garlic went in very late last fall. So, their scapes appeared a bit later that normal as well. I just snipped the last few today.

With this final harvest of scapes, I'm celebrating with one more batch of Creamy Garlic Scape Dip. I've improved upon the original Garlic Scape Dip that I posted here last season. This was quite at last weekend's Fourth of July festivities. (Note, this is strong, spicy, garlicky little number. If you prefer a toned down version with milder garlic flavor use fewer scapes, or sauté the scapes in a little olive oil until tender before using them in the dip recipe.)

Whip up a batch for yourself before scapes disappear from our Northeast Ohio markets and gardens for another year.

Creamy Garlic Scape Dip

3-5 medium-sized garlic scapes, chopped into 1-2" lengths
7 oz Greek style yogurt (one small container)
3 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil, finely chopped (optional)

Start with all ingredients at room temperature.

Add scapes to food processor and pulse until finely minced.

Add yogurt and butter and blend until smooth.

Add salt and pepper and fresh basil if you prefer and blend again.

Serve as a dip or spread with your favorite crackers.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fourth of July Favorites

All of a sudden it's Thursday, my house is a mess, tomorrow is the big holiday, and I'm out of time for that blog post full of Fourth of July treats I've been thinking about all week. So, in the interest of maximizing this pre-holiday time, here are a few tried-and-true, easy-to-prepare, seasonal favorites from past posts that I'll be whipping up for the weekend ahead. Maybe you'll enjoy revisiting these as well...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Plum Chutney with Lavender & Cardamom

Bloomfield is a gorgeous, local cheese made in the style of French brie by Mayfield Road Creamery. It's a perennial favorite of mine throughout the year, pairing perfectly with seasonal fruit conserves of all kinds. Summertime harvests of seasonal fruits and berries inspire all kinds of new combinations.

Inspired by a recipe from Cowgirl Creamery Cooks and a few over-ripened plums I found on my counter, I prepared this quick little plum chutney. The original recipe calls for star anise which is lovely but the fresh lavender blooms from the garden were an even better seasonal addition.

Plum Chutney with Lavender & Cardamom

4 large red or purple plums, pitted and cut into wedges
1 shallot or 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Port
1 tsp cardamom seeds (removed from the pod, ground or whole)
1/2 tsp lavender

Add all ingredients except lavender to a small pan and heat over medium heat, covered loosely, until bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until fruit is tender and the aromas of plum and cardamom fill the kitchen. Add the lavender and simmer 5-10 minutes longer. Cool and pack into a pretty jar to serve alongside Bloomfield or your favorite cheese.

The FarmShare cheese case at Luna Bakery Cafe has Bloomfield in stock now for your weekend picnicking pleasure.