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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chow Chow

One of the things I purchased last weekend at the Bethesda Farmer's Market were some local meats made into terrific sausages of various types. On top was homemade Chow Chow Relish. Yummy. My sister said that she loves chow chow relish. So.. she will be getting some for her birthday! Oh, forgot she reads the blog....hmm.

We were supposed to get a frost Saturday morning, so I did a big garden harvest. Lots of herbs: basil, lemon verbena, and sage. Tons of poblano peppers, some jalepeno, some yellow and green bells. Tons of squash, mainly butternut and one last Delicata. The last of the leeks. Some nice young turnips.

And a bunch of green tomatoes. A prime ingredients in Chow Chow Relish. Today I made a batch using about 2 pounds of the tomatoes, adding onions, cabbage, and red bell peppers that were unfortunately not from my garden. My son said it smelled great, but there was just enough to fit into 5 pint jars, so there wasn't any to try out this evening. Also made Pear Honey, a recipe from Paula Deen, using pears and pineapple. Thought it would be more pear buttery, but it is more like a cross between pear jam and pear sauce. Made a basil infusion that may become a jelly if I can stay up that long.

Now to check airline regulations to see if Chow Chow Relish is allowed on the plane to Grand Rapids!

Copyright 2010,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Visiting the Bethesda Farmer's Market

I had a delightful visit to the Bethesda Farmer's Market today. I was in town working at the Bethesda Row Arts Festival with my sister, and since the Farmer's Market was just a block away, I got to stop by there as well. Wonderful market - just wish I had a cooler with me! My very favorite thing was pure decadence - a duck breast prosciutto that I could not resist. I am not sure how I will use it yet, but I know it will be with something fresh and uncomplicated so I can highlight the duck. I also purchased some truffle salami, cured European style, a green curry sauce, a wine vinegar and some mustards, and some unbelievably great cheeses to eat with pears and apples.

At the art show, the level of craft was very high. I feel in love with a painting, but could only afford a print - but did not get it. Fiscal restraint. But I know after many years of art fairs that there isn't a "next time" with art you love. I have never, ever regreted a decision to buy art or fine craft. It simply brings joy. The creativity at the Arts Festival was only exceeded by the level of execution - and the Farmer's Market was the same, but with food.

Combine good food, great art, a light breeze, lots of sunshine and a high in the low 70's, time with my sister -- certainly this was one of the all time great days. A lucky life indeed.

   Copyright 2010,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Summer's Over - Time to Blog Again!

I cannot believe I have not blogged since July. What a summer! The garden did pretty good - no major pest out breaks. The flower gardens were much more neglected! This fall, I started selling a modest amount of produce at the Farmer's Market, along with some baked goods. After a frantically busy summer, adding the Farmers Markets has really put me over the top in busy-ness, but it such a nice place to be. I've made a couple of types of killer granola that I am quite proud of, and the market patrons seems to like it a lot as well. In just a few weeks, I have a following!

Meanwhile, I was quite late planting a fall crop. My lettuce and spinach are up but just barely. My cole crops are being attacked, so it is hard to tell whether the plants or the pests will win. The chard is happy and healthy, but we love it so much I am afraid I will take too much and it will quit for the year. I'm still getting lots of peppers - especially poblanos - and tomatoes.

We had friends over for dinner yesterday, and the food was particularly colorful. I oven-roasted a huge load of tomatoes - yellow, black, and red - with olive oil, onions, kosher salt, my strong soft necked garlic, fresh basil  - in a hot 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.  That mixture then went into a skillet, to which I added fresh spinach bought at the Farmer's Market, and it became our pasta sauce. I made homemade ravioli for the first time (a pasta roller being my newest toy) using pasture raised beef, heritage breed pork, and freshly harvested chard. It took me to a while to get the hang of the dough, but it was quite forgiving. Never was able to pop out the raviolis by tapping the mold on the counter -- hah!! Took each one out one by one by one by one.... sigh. Also roasted bell peppers from the garden - green, red, and yellow - for another colorful dish, with fresh mozzarella cheese. The broccoli rabe came from a store - shocking!

So a lot of activity in the kitchen and the garden... and now on the blog!

Copyright 2010,