Monthly Archives: December 2009

Farm Fresh & Local Produce 10/31/09

Halloween was the last regular farmers market day of the season for Clintonville and Worthington, and barring any visits to one of the winter markets, the last update until spring.

As much as I love my farmers market runs, by the end of October it gets harder and harder to drag myself out of bed and down to the markets when it’s still dark out. So while I know that I’m dealing with something that’s just about done, part of me is glad that I’ll actually be able to sleep in the next Saturday. Then, like this year, by New Year’s Eve I’m chomping at the bit for the first spring market of the season.

Not much left by this point, lots of repetition, like these apples that are sold at least a couple of different people at the different markets. We’re really pleased with the selection and quality of The Orchard of Bill and Vicky Thomas.

Apples from the Orchard of Bill and Vicky Thomas

And I savored my last bag of salad of the season.

Salad Greens

Got plenty of potatoes for storage, too.


Ditto with a diverse selection of winter squash, which I’m trying to work into my diet while it’s still good.


And of course, the ubiquitous cauliflower can’t be overlooked.


And super looking forward to the selection of veggies from Wayward Seed.


So, there’s your season – took me long enough to get all the entries posted, but I’m glad it gave me the opportunity to look back and remember. Are any of you hitting any of the winter markets? Any recommendations?

Farm Fresh & Local Produce 10/24/09

I love the fact that apples, in cold storage, will last for months. I still have local apples in my fridge from a couple of months ago, in perfectly dandy shape. It’s the gift that keeps giving. 🙂

Apples from Gillogly Orchard 10/24/09

I really miss AJ’s (of Sassafrass Bakery fame) cute decorated cookies, like these adorable Halloween ones.

Monster Cookies from Sassafras Bakery 10/24/09

And I sort of regret not getting a pie pumpkin this year. I hear pumpkin pie made from scratch is a totally different beast than your canned Libby’s puree. I’ll have to give it a try next year.

Pumpkins 10/24/09

Still can’t fall in love with chestnuts, no matter how much I want to.

Chestnuts from Gillogly Orchard 10/24/09

Now this is an interesting specimen. Not sure what its scientific name is, but I call it a Peanut Pumpkin. Anyone know if the squash’s flavor is similiar to normal pumpkins?

Peanut Pumpkin 10/24/09

We made a great batch of broccoli cheddar soup with a couple of these beautiful stalks of broccoli.

Broccoli from Wish Well Farm 10/24/09

The weather was definitely taking a turn to the cold by this point, although nowhere nearly as bone-chillingly cold as it is right now. I’d take the 50ish temps in a heartbeat right now.

Farm Fresh & Local Produce 10/17/09

It’s funny how much I take simple things for granted, now that they’re gone until next summer. Take these peppers, for instance. Every shape, color and heat level. Have you seen the sorry bell peppers that are available in the grocery store right now? Makes me long for the days of this.

Peppers from Persinger Farms 10/17/09

Dried corn makes a great decoration. We hung some on the front door this year instead of our normal kitschy autumn wreath.

Dried Corn from Wish Well Farms 10/17/09

Looking at this picture, I’m dying for a good salad.

Greens from Sippel Family Farm 10/17/09

I really learned to love beets this year, as long as they were roasted. Drizzled with a little honey and sprinkled with some coarse sea salt…yum.

Beets from Sippel Family Farm 10/17/09

I couldn’t get enough cauliflower this past summer, either. What I wouldn’t do for some local cauliflower right now.

Cauliflower from Wish Well Farms 10/17/09

The carrots were especially sweet this year, as well. I had an ongoing love affair with root vegetables.

Carrots from H-W Farms 10/17/09

What fruits or veggies are you missing the most right now?

2009 Retrospective / A Look to 2010

As is my tradition on the last day of the year, I take a few moments to evaluate how well I stuck to last year’s foodie resolutions,

– Be a lot more proactive about working on the blog. I’m so far behind right now (33 drafts in my folder right now, the events and menus haven’t been updated in like forever, etc) it’s not even funny. I need to devote as much time to the blog as if I were working.

Did horribly on this one – if anything, I’m even further in the hole – over 100 posts in my drafts folder. Lots of events I went to but never wrote about, reviews never posted, etc. I’ll try to salvage what I can, but a lot of it is hopelessly outdated now.

– Take better food photos, and learn how to use a DSLR camera. To this end, I’m starting back at CSCC in a few days to learn photography from the ground up.

I never did buy a DSLR camera (lack of employment keeps such luxuries out of reach), but I did indeed start back to CSCC, although not for photography. College has taken up much of my time for the last few months, and promises to do so for at least the next 2+ years.

– Take a foodie road trip to a nearby city (somewhere within driving distance, like Cincy or Cleveland, western PA, somewhere in Indiana, Kentucky or West Virginia) to check out their food scene and blog about it.

Did this one, sort of. I took a couple of trips to Athens, OH this past summer, and have posted about some of it, but still have a couple more restaurants I visited.

– Learn how to pressure can.

Nope, didn’t do this one.

– Cook at least one recipe from each of the cookbooks I own (who needs hundreds of cookbooks if you don’t use them?)

As if. Most new recipes I made this year were from the Internet or magazines.

– Work harder at cutting sugar out of my diet. Even though I lost almost 100 lbs this year, I know I could lose more (and break this damn plateau) if I ate less refined carbs/more protein. I want to make my health a priority and lose at least 50 lbs. this year.

Not nearly as successful with this one as I wanted. I lost about 15 lbs. this year. Better than gaining 15 lbs, right?

– Cover at least one local event per month for the blog.

I did at least one local event per month will all intentions of blogging about it, but never did get around to that part.

– Learn how to eat well on a limited budget.

I kind of had to do this, more out of necessity than desire.

– This summer, visit a local farm for a tour and blog about it.

Did this, never got around to blogging about it. It’s in that famous drafts forward, and somehow it seems wrong to blog about it when fresh veggies are months away. Thoughts?

So, that was last year….my goals for this coming year? Will be limited, that’s for sure. Being back in school means less time for things I love. But I do have a few hopes.

– Cooking time is at a premium, so I promise to make (on average) one new recipe a week.

– Still need to lose weight, and I know the key to that is to eat less carbs. I’m going to try to limit my consumption of refined carbs to one meal a day. Hopefully this will allow me to lose 50 lbs. in the next year.

– One of the Christmas gifts I got were brioche roll pans. I want to learn how to make brioche. And foccacia.

– I got a pizza oven this past year. I resolve to make time to use it at least twice a month once it gets warm enough to safely do so. Will probably use it more than that, but that’s the minimum goal I’m setting for myself.

– I want to make a batch of cheese from scratch this year. I may be something as simple as homemade ricotta, but I do want to give it a try.

Those goals are definitely within reach for me. What are your foodie goals for 2010?

Farm Fresh & Local Produce 10/10/09

Still typing away. I hate unfinished business, so my first priority is to get these market reports for last season knocked out before the end of the year. Only a few more weeks of reports to go.

I always want to grow decorative gourds, but never do. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love decorative gourds, I decorate with them all the time in the autumn, but just feel that if I can’t eat it, it’s a waste of space in my personal garden. Go figure.

Decorative Gourd Ceterpiece 10/10/09

What I wouldn’t do for some local raspberries right now. Or any fresh berries, for that matter.

Rapsberries 10/10/09

I really should make some more tree fruit meals while they’re still readily available.

Fall Fruits and Veggies 10/10/09

I’ve been meaning to cook with Asian pears, but never have, that I can remember. Any recipe suggestions, anyone?

Asian Pears 10/10/09

Ditto with salsify.

Salsify from Wayward Seed Farm 10/10/09

This reminds me, I have a bunch of squash in cold storage that I really should check the condition of and/or get to using.

Dumping Squash from Elizabeth Telling Farms 10/10/09

I’ve yet to go to one of the winter markets. Anyone have the scoop on any of the new ones?

Mahogany Beef Stew

I’m a sucker for stew recipes, especially during the winter. The cold weather is an excuse for me to hunker down and eat hearty, and it doesn’t get much heartier than this. The key to this recipe is the hoisin sauce, so don’t substitute. The stew has a nice rich flavor with a very subtle sweetness to it. Great on noodles, but I think it would pair equally well with potatoes or dumplings.

Mahogany Beef Stew

Mahogany Beef Stew
recipe courtesy Recipezaar

4 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed, cut into 2 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups good-quality red wine
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup hoisin sauce (this is the critical ingredient – don’t leave it out!)
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced

To Finish:
1 lb slender carrot, peeled,cut diagonally into 1 inch lengths
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Add meat to pot; sauté until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Push meat to sides of pot. Reduce heat to medium; add 2 tablespoons oil to pot. Add onions; sauté until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Mix meat into onions. Add 1 cup wine, tomatoes with juices, garlic, herbs, hoisin sauce, and bay leaves. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and 1 cup wine. Cover; simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover, increase heat to high; boil until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes longer. Reduce heat to medium, add cornstarch mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Season stew with salt and pepper.

(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before serving, stirring occasionally.) Transfer stew to large bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Excellent with buttered egg noodles.

Turkey Risotto

In case you have any Christmas turkey left to use, I heartily recommend this turkey risotto recipe that we made just with Thanksgiving leftovers. Better than it had any right to be because we made stock from the carcass of the bird, and then reduced it considerably. Great way to use some leftovers, and a damn fine meal.

Turkey Risotto

Turkey Risotto
recipe from In Mama’s Kitchen

¼ c. olive oil
1 onion, chopped into ½” dice
1 ½ c. Arborio rice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. minced fresh sage leaves
½ c. dried cranberries
5-6 c. turkey stock, heated
1 ½ c. cooked dark turkey meat, shredded
3 oz. feta or Jack cheese, grated
Fresh sage leaves, for garnish

In a 10-12 inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until almost smoking. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes, each grain turning milky white. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the sage and dried cranberries, if using, and stir. Begin to add the stock, ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all of the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock, stirring, stirring, and stirring until the rice is tender and creamy but not mushy, about 18-20 minutes.

Just before making the final addition of stock, stir in the turkey meat and the cheese, add the remaining stock, taste and adjust the seasoning. Ladle into warmed soup plates, garnish with fresh sage leaves, and serve immediately.


This lasagna recipe is probably the first one I ever developed on my own – I’ve been making it this way since I was a teenager. Little has changed over the years – now I’m using no boil noodles rather than going through the hassle of boiling them, and I’m using a spicier Margherita pepperoni instead of your regular Hormel.

It isn’t pretty to look at in the least, but it’s friggin’ delicious if I do say so myself. It seems like everyone has their own version of lasagna. What does yours include?



1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
1 stick Margherita pepperoni, cubed
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 jars marinara sauce
1 lb. no boil lasagna noodles
3 lbs. ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 tbsp. minced parsley
1 lb. mozzarella cheese
8 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, saute the onions and green pepper until slightly softened, and then add the ground beef, sausage, and pepperoni. Saute until browned, then drain off excess grease. Add marinara sauce, and let simmer on low for 2 hours.

Mix eggs and parsley into ricotta cheese, mix thoroughly to incorporate. Set aside.

In a large baking pan, ladle sauce onto bottom, and then layer noodles atop sauce to cover. Ladle more sauce, and then dollop ricotta cheese over sauce, sprinkle liberally with Parmesan and Mozzarella. Repeat, noodles, sauce and cheese, and then finish with a layer of noodles covered with sauce and sprinkled with what remains of the Parmesan and Mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Let sit 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Pasta e Fagioli “Stew”

Wow – going through my Flickr stream, I found a picture of something I made quite a while ago, but never got to posting. As far as crockpot recipes go, this one is a keeper, although it turned out more like a stew than a soup. Either way, it’s super hearty and quite comforting during these cold winter days.

Pasta e Fagioli "Stew"

Olive Garden Pasta E Fagioli Soup in a Crock Pot (Copycat)
recipe courtesy Recipezaar

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (16 ounce) can white kidney beans, drained
3 (10 ounce) cans beef stock
3 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons pepper
5 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)
1 (20 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
8 ounces pasta

Brown beef in a skillet. Drain fat from beef and add to crock pot with everything except pasta. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. During last 30 min on high or 1 hour on low, add pasta. 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pastry

Man, oh man do I love simple recipes. This is one that I found on another blog during the summer, and made it quite a few times when raspberries were still in season. I’m sure it would work just as well with blueberries. And nobody will know just how easy it is to make or how quickly it all comes together.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pastry

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pastry
recipe from My Culinary Sanctuary

4 oz cream cheese at room temp
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 egg yolk
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1 sheet of puff pastry thawed out
egg wash and granulated sugar

With a whisk beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, lemon zest, egg yolk and powdered sugar. Mixture will be thick and yellowish in color. Please try and refrain from eating it all before you put it in the puff pastry.

Cut your puff pastry in half with a pizza cutter. Place one half on a grease cookie sheet. Top with cream cheese mix and raspberries. Do not fill to the edges. Paint egg wash around edge with a basting brush. Carefully place other half of puff pastry on top. Crimp edges and baste with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 375 for 25 mins or until puff pastry is deep golden brown. Let cool!