Garden Update: July 1, 2010

Sorry about the radio silence from here lately – it’s been a really rough month and a half for me. I felt like a bunch of things were hitting me at once. Sometime in mid-June, I ended up in the emergency room with massive pain in my chest, shoulder and neck, and the past month has been all about trying to deal with the pain as everything was healing – it’s been a haze of pain and physical therapy and painkillers that has left me pretty debilitated. I was trying to handle a massive course load at school while all this was happening, and quickly got overwhelmed. And I got some really disappointing news last week – I got a rejection letter from the nursing school I applied to, so I’ve been in a pretty deep funk all week with no passion for eating *or* food. I’m choosing to look at the rejection as a blessing in disguise – the stress I’ve been putting myself under both physically and emotionally were taking a toll on me, and it’s only since I’ve eliminated some of the sources of stress that my problems have started to resolve. And on the bright side, P. has started working again after being out of work for over a year and a half. It couldn’t have come at a better time – we had just exhausted all of his unemployment benefits, our credit cards are maxed out, and our savings are gone. Best of all, the new job comes with health benefits. Expensive health benefits, but benefits nonetheless.

But I digress. Things are starting to look up, and I’d like to talk about the garden. Unfortunately, there probably won’t be an August or September update, since I’ve not been able to keep up with the weeding and/or tending and the poor things are starting to suffer. We’ll see – some plants are still going strong, others (like my poor Sungolds) only have a few weeks left.

Click on through for an update of what’s going on in my backyard.

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Hoosier Amish Cake

The brand of buttermilk I buy (whole fat) only comes in a quart container. Unless I’m planning on making lots of pancakes or waffles, many times that leaves me with a bunch of buttermilk I need to use before it goes bad. In searching for a recipe that uses a considerable amount of buttermilk, I ran across this one. Ironically enough, I found it on the Cooking Light forums.

It’s a beautiful coffee cake. My mom loves it so much that she immediately asked me for the recipe. I think the streusel is my favorite part.

Hoosier Amish Cake

Hoosier Amish Cake
recipe courtesy Cooking Light Community Forums

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Streusel:
6 tbsps butter — softened
2/3 c brown sugar
2/3 c flour

Cream the butter and brown sugar . Add buttermilk and baking soda; mix well to combine. (batter will look somewhat curdled.) Add flour, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir until combined. Pour into greased and floured 13×9 pan.

Make the streusel: Use a pastry blender to cut brown sugar and flour into butter to make coarse crumbs. (if no pastry blender is available, just use a mixer. no big deal.) Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

May 2010 Roundup

What I love about summer is that its really easy to eat both seasonally and locally. This collection of recipes from other bloggers have inspired me, and you should see me making some of these recipes soon.

In savory recipes, Pappardelle with Spiced Butter from 101 Cookbooks, Cheddar Ale Potato Soup from 28 Cooks, Blackberry Vinaigrette from $5 Dinners, Perfectly Seared Scallops and Pasta from A Feast for the Eyes, Cumin-Spiced Pork Sliders with Peach-and-Sriracha Citrus Salsa from A Food Coma, Rosemary Focaccia from Above an Italian Restaurant, Spinach and Bacon Souffle from Adventures in the Pioneer Valley, Egg Salad with Caramelized Shallots and Chives from Always Order Dessert, Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Aioli and Herbs from Amuse Bouche, Seafood Gratin and Spicy Shrimp Po’ Boys from Annie’s Eats, Grilled Chile Lime Chicken and Eggplant Rollatini from Beach Eats, Skillet Lasagna from Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen, Sweet ‘n’ Sticky Baby Back Ribs and Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Nuggets from Black Girl Chef’s Whites, Tag Team Skillet Gnocchi Casserole from The Blog That Ate Manhattan, Seared Scallops with Creamy Spring Ramps from Burp! Where Food Happens, Chili los Mariscos from Cara’s Cravings, Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie from Carly’s Kitchen, Grilled Tandoori Chicken and Poutine with Mushroom Gravy from Closet Cooking, Matt’s Breakfast Tacos from Coconut & Lime, Chipotle Cheeseburgers from Cooking with Court, Southwestern Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing from The CookMobile, Apple and Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops from Crepes of Wrath, Toasted Orzo Chicken Soup from Culinary in the Country, Loosemeat Sandwich from eatingclub vancouver, Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Sumac from eCurry, Cream Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers and Steak, Anaheim Chile, and Scallion Tacos with Guacamole and Cotija Cheese from For the Love of Cooking, Turkey, Chourico and Bacon Kabobs from Full Bellies, Happy Kids, 10-Minute Shrimp and Tortilla Soup from girlichef, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas from guinnah, Risotto Cake with Crispy Ramps from Herbivoracious, Guacamole Bread from Lobster and Fishsticks, Easy Tuna Casserole from Lynda’s Recipe Box, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas from mimi on the move, Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork from mocha me, Mini Souffles with Fontinella and Black Forest Ham from More than Food, Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish with Greens & Mustard Vinaigrette and Swiss Chard & Sun-Dried Tomato Skillet Mac from Perrys’ Plate, Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu from Pink Parsley, Aunt Trish’s Salad Dressing and Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Apricot Sauce from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Asian Turkey Burger with Sriracha Mayo from Serious Eats, Baby Beet Greens with Lardons and Red Wine Vinegar from she’s in the kitchen, Spring Succotash from Simply Recipes, Butterflied Stuffed Rack of Pork from Thibeault’s Table, and Chinese-Style Blood Orange Chicken from What We’re Eating.

In sweet recipes, Strawberry Almond Cream Tart from Above an Italian Restaurant, Strawberry Panna Cotta from Ambika’s Kitchen, Pistachio Creme Brulee from Bonbini!, Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes from CookiePie, Scrummy Carrot Cake from The English Kitchen, Goat Butter Honey Caramels with Sea Salt from Flavorista, Bourbon Peach Bread Pudding from Inn the Kitchen, Snickerdoodle Pie from Jenny Mac’s Lip Smack, Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries from Lemons & Love, Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberries and Syrup from No Fear Entertaining, Vanilla Custard Strawberry Tart from Not Derby Pie, Mixed Berry Scones with Meyer Lemon Glaze from Peanut Butter and Julie, Pancakes with Raspberry Coulis and Mascarpone Whipped Cream from The Pink Peppercorn, Mini Lime Cheesecakes from The Sporadic Cook, and Pistachio-Cherry Gratin from Zen Can Cook.

Event: Goodale Park Music Series 7/11/2010

My Sundays have just gotten a bit busier this summer. Just like last year, there is going to be a series of six weekly free concerts in Goodale Park. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to any of the concerts last year, but I hear stories of the CU folks getting together and having impromptu potlucks. Concert organizers decided to make the potlucks an official part of the series this year, with a different food blogger hosting each one, and with a loose theme that relates to the music somehow.

Last week, the first concert took place. Colin Gawel and the Lonely Bones put on a fantastic show – it’s no wonder that they are staples in the local music scene.

Colin Gawel and the Lonely Bones

Jim of CMH Gourmand was the host of last week’s potluck, which was themed Americana/Hotdogpalooza. He brought over 100 hot dogs to grill on site and give away to the hungry masses, with a full selection of condiments to top the dogs with.

Jim (CMH Gourmand) Grillin' Up Hot Dogs

Wholly Craft was also on hand to sell their wares…

Wholly Craft

Now, about the food. About a dozen or so people brought dishes, so there was a nice selection of stuff. Personally, I brought a pan of my Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese, which seemed to go over well considering there were only crumbs left a couple of hours later.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

There were also a couple of different types of potato salad, like a crock pot of this German potato salad:

German Potato Salad

And my personal favorite, this interesting potato salad with loads of dill, radishes, and cucumbers.

Pickled Cucumber & Dill Potato Salad

Most of the rest of the dishes were salads of some sort. Like this Quinoa, Corn and Green Bean Salad.

Quinoa, Corn and Green Bean Salad

Some macaroni salad:

Macaroni Salad

In the veggie sphere, someone brought succotash.

Succotash

Someone else brought three different kinds of spreads:

Three Different Spreads

There were a couple of desserts, too. One person brought these chocolate cookies.

Fudge Cookies

And some nummy dessert bars, which I was too full to try:

Yummy Dessert Bars

If you missed last week’s concert, don’t fret – there are 5 more chances to enjoy the fun. Today at noon The Mooncussers will play, with Lisa of Restaurant Widow hosting a southern cuisine potluck. Here’s a list of the remaining concerts and potluck themes:

Goodale Park Music Series - 2010 Lineup

P. and I will definitely be there – keep an eye out for us, and please stop and say hi if you see us. We love to meet new people (and catch up with those we’ve met before).

Farm Fresh & Local Produce 7/3/2010

July has been flying by, hasn’t it? I’ve been under the weather for the past few weeks, so there hasn’t been much time for anything except keeping up with my classes and nursing my wounds, so to speak. Still, I did manage to go to the farmers markets on the 4th of July weekend, even though I regretted it immediately afterward.

Not because of what was available, mind you. Had I been feeling 100%, I would have been totally psyched about everything I found. Instead, I was just sorta stoked.

I always walk by Honeyrun’s stand at the North Market, but I think I need to start taking a closer look, especially at their selection of infused honeys.

Black Locust Honey

I’ve been going nuts for the peaches from Rhoads again this year. I bought a huge box to eat throughout the week.

Peaches

Down at Worthington, AJ of Sassafras Bakery was timely with her American flag sugar cookies.

American Flag Cookie

And speaking of infusions, there’s another (new to me) farmer who has been infusing different vinegars. I especially loved the deep color of the Opal Basil vinegar, so I picked up a bottle.

Infused Vinegars

Since I developed an appreciation for beets, not a week can go by without me picking up at least one bunch.

Beets

At Gillogly Orchards, they had these wineberries. It’s not a berry I’m familiar with, have any of you ever worked with it? They kind of remind me of raspberries in appearance.

Wineberries

And lots of sweet corn available at all the markets. Once sweet corn season starts around here, I can’t get enough. It doesn’t even need butter or salt.

Sweet Corn

The person in front of me got the rest of the sour cherries for the year. :( I’m bummed about how short the sour cherry season is here in Ohio.

Sour Cherries

So how did the rest of you spend your Independence Day weekend?

Garden Update: June 1, 2010

After putting in the raised beds last year, I was super psyched about gardening this year. I got a late start this year, though. I didn’t order or start seeds in time, so I got stuck planting seedlings. And didn’t even manage to get those in very early – we were definitely past the last frost date (May 15 in our area) in getting everything in. With the exception of the Sun Gold tomato plants (4 of them), that is. I planted those in containers, so I got those planted at the beginning of May. What that means is that by the end of May a handful of them were already ripe.

Homegrown Sun Gold Tomatoes May 2010

So, here’s an overview of what I have planted this year, and where everything was at the beginning of June. Since it’s so picture-intensive, I’m continuing the entry under the cut.

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First Fridays at St. John Chrysostom

If you happen to have a little extra time to spare tomorrow afternoon, run – don’t walk to St. John Chrysostom Church on Cleveland Avenue near E. Dublin-Granville Rd. at around 3:30pm. Every First Friday of the month (except for when those Fridays fall on holiday weekends – this month being an exception because they’re trying something new) the ladies of the church cook up all manner of Polish specialties to sell to the public to raise money for the church.

1st Friday Sign

I’ve known about First Fridays for ages, but it took reading Jim’s blog post about his visit for me to remember it before Friday rather than after. Once you see the sign, turn into the parking lot and follow it to the building in back – just look for the line or where people are coming in and out of – it is the building to the left side rather than the right side. If all else fails, just follow the scent of cooked cabbage. Your sense of smell will never lead you astray when it comes to good food. We got there pretty early – at about 3:30, which ended up being a good thing; people started lining up at the door not too long after that. Luckily, we saw what was happening and quickly got in line – this meant that we were second behind a long time visitor. We spent the time discussing old Columbus restaurants – neat how many food memories have at places that no longer exist.

Finally, the doors open and the mad stampede begins. Well, not mad, exactly – more like an organized stampede but people were definitely there with a purpose.
The selection of foods available in a particular month is completely left to the discretion of the good ladies who do all the cooking, so not all items are available every month. Here is a list of some of the possible items and their prices:

1st Friday Menu

They are all laid along tables on a path to the window – there are 4 different types of pierogi to choose from, with each segregated to its own box and marked as to what they are. I can honestly say that we’ve had the savory ones so far, and they’re quite good – they brown up beautifully and made a wonderful meal paired with some sausages and fried onions. They are sold frozen, just thaw before you fry them – no boiling needed first since they’ve already been boiled before freezing.

1st Friday Pierogi

I absolutely love their halushka (browned buttered cabbage with noodles), it’s something we make here as well with the leftover bits of cabbage when we make cabbage rolls. Their version is probably the best I’ve had. Sold refrigerated, all you need to do is heat it up before serving in the handy microwave container they pack it in.

1st Friday Halushka

We passed on many of the sweet items, but here’s what we saw this particular time round:

Khrusty, which I believe were described to me as fried dough covered in powdered sugar.

1st Friday Khrusty

Chocolate fudge, which seemed to be a traditional recipe.

1st Friday Fudge

Fried apple kolach, which I believe are a danish of some sort.

1st Friday Apple Kolach

And just a couple of pies available for purchase.

1st Friday Pie

My favorite, though, has to be their cabbage rolls – they are served hot (ask for them at the window), and at $8 for 6 of them, are a steal considering how time-consuming they are to make and the price that is charged for them elsewhere in town for similarly sized rolls. If nothing else, we’ll be back every month just for these. We couldn’t even wait until we got home, and started chowing down in the car in the parking lot.

1st Friday Cabbage Rolls

It’s great food, a great cause, and something definitely worth checking out. I’ll be there tomorrow, how about you?

If you’d like to go: First Fridays at St. John Chrysostom, 5858 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, OH (North Side).