Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday cooking is pretty dope

We were so disappointed when we had to cancel Thanksgiving dinner out of town because of a sick baby (she's all better now).  But, it gave us so much time to play in the kitchen.  Which was awesome . . . but has resulted (a bit unfortunately) in so much food that it feels like we are still eating Thanksgiving dinner a week later.
radishes, brussel sprouts, greens, turnips . . . oh my!

Not that I'm really complaining, although it has jumpstarted my need for a good exercise routine (do late night sit-ups count as a routine?).

The biggest excitement of the whole holiday weekend is that I made a lasagna and it involved making tofu ricotta!  So deceptively easy and yet, I feel so fancy having done it!  Check it out:
I made that!!  I made that!  And it tastes pretty grand!

Like that crack in my plate above?  I promise that I'm working on updating my "food showcasing tools" i.e., plates!  In fact, as part of that goal and my goal to do my holiday shopping locally, I am heading out to purchase some locally-made pottery this weekend.  My buddy Alex made pretty much every nice serving piece I have and I am heading out to his Tree Hill Pottery sale this weekend to get me some more!  Come check it out if you can.  It's a great time and you get to see a really cool kiln (how many times have you heard that?)!

Tree Hill Winter Pottery Sale
6765 Osborne Turnpike
Richmond, VA 23231
Saturday and Sunday (12/3-12/4) from 10-5

And how about the rest of you?  Did anyone else make something they were particularly proud of for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Super foodie paradise: Abingdon, VA

Until this weekend, I had no idea that Abingdon, Virginia was such a foodie paradise- my version of a foodie paradise anyway. I am so inspired by the work going on there, that I have to recount to you the most perfect (and unbelievably packed) day, a.k.a. last Saturday.

Brother Al and his lady Miranda were on the east coast for Thanksgiving. They traditionally come to Abingdon to visit Miranda's parents and I could not pass up the chance to see them! So I hightailed it down for Thanksgiving, arriving just in time for the cooking festivities.

Now, Thanksgiving was great- such wonderful food and company. (I even got to fulfill one of my nerdiest foodie dreams- to try Susan Stamburg's cranberry relish!) But, lest this winds up being a tale a la Alice's Restaurant, I need to jump ahead and tell you about what happened on Saturday.

The day began with a trip to the Abingdon Farmer's Market, which was surprisingly busy for the weekend after the eating marathon (or was that just us?) I walked away with a couple of bottles of viognier from Abingdon Vineyard and Winery, a local food guide, and a market cookbook.

The folks at Moyer Family Farm showed off the largest radishes I'd ever seen- a hardy black variety and one that looks like a heart!

We also ran into ladies from Healthy Families ~Healthy Farms who generously talked with me about their project getting fresh food to food pantries- something I hope to work on in RVA next year.

When we left the market, we headed over to the Abingdon Olive Oil Company, where we were free to taste as many oils from all over the world as we wanted- plus flavored vinegars! The staff answered all of our novice questions with such grace. After much internal wrestling, I wound up with a hojiblanca olive oil from Spain and an 18 year old balsamic vinegar. I haven't bought balsamic vinegar in years, but this was sweet and thick, much more interesting than I remembered. We felt like it would be fantastic on ice cream- that is how thick and sweet it is!

Alex and Miranda's mom, Judith, outside of the Abingdon Olive Oil Company.

Then, of course, it was time to eat again. And you know what restaurant is right outside of Abingdon? Barbara Kingsolver's family restaurant, the Harvest Table. That's right...

Alex and Miranda outside of the Harvest Table.

What a warm place! The Harvest Table calls itself 'the most dedicated farm to table restaurant in Southwestern Virginia'. With most ingredients sourced locally, they keep to a very simple menu, sandwiches and pizza for lunch, and seasonal specials for supper.

When faced with the option of pizza or no pizza, I always go with pizza...

Yes, that is a glass of Barboursville Rosé beside this gorgeous salad/ pizza combo. So perfect!

We had heard that Tony Flaccavento was planting garlic, and after we finished eating, we headed over to his farm to see if we could help. Yes, I was wearing a dress and had already had my fair share of rosé, but I have probably gardened in fancier shape than that, so I was in. Turns out, Tony was done planting, which we really didn't mind because he was then able to talk with us about his good work.

Tony founded Appalachian Sustainable Development, (an amazing organization- how does RVA not have something like this?) and is now consulting on food system development all over Virginia. He and his wife Laurel also run Abingdon Organics, a 7 acre certified organic farm, which is where we found him on Saturday. Abingdon Organics is one of the most popular stands at the farmer's market, with individual customers and local chefs alike standing in line for the beauty of his well grown produce. I can see why- Tony's clear vision of what the food system could be is one of the most inspiring I have ever heard. (They take interns btw...)

Alas, we headed home- probably to eat again. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving, and for leftovers, and for kind and adventurous souls. Many, many thanks to Craig and Judith, Alex and Miranda for such an amazing visit. Abingdon, I hope to see you again soon!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Move Over Big Cheese

I love cheese. Maybe too much. No, not too much, but maybe too often. In a honest moment with myself the other day I realized that cheese had become my go-to snack food. I don't make super-cheesy meals, but when I need a quick breakfast or snack...I go for the cheese. And, let's face it, it is usually cheese + a hot/slightly warmed carbohydrate.

What's wrong with cheese as a snack? Nothing. Nothing, I say! Well, except for one thing: giving cheese - or any one food type - so much airtime in my diet isn't best for me. I am missing out on so many other delicious snacks and opportunities for vitamins and nutrients. I am not looking to remove cheese from my diet. Rather, I am trying to reserve this favorite treat for moments when nothing else will do (as opposed to every time my tummy grumbles). So, over the last week I have been searching for and finding cheese-alternatives that pack a similar punch to cheese. It has been fun! I will continue to share under this idea as I discover yummy options, but here are my findings so far.

Example du jour! Roasted Garlic Spread on whole grain bread! Roasted garlic is SO easy. You can prepare and store in the fridge for use through out the week. As we know, garlic is super good for you. But, you don't have to take it from me, the New York Times says so, too. Or how about tahini!? Made from sesame seeds - this paste can offer you a fatty flavor (in a good way) that we get from cheese. Like garlic, tahini is good for you. I like to combine tahini with lemon juice with a touch of salt on salads or sandwiches. Or, try my sister's cabbage chips - nom, nom! She's the photographer of the photo to the left.

There are so many easy go-tos. Avocados with a dash of lime and hot sauce. Freshly ground peanut butter with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of honey. How about crusty bread with olive oil paste? Hmm, how about a bowl of arugula with a simple dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper? I love raw honey with a piece of dark chocolate for a sweet snack.

So, again, cheese will continue to be a part of my life. But, there are a lot of options that are so beautifully simple and, just maybe, even better for me. I will continue to explore, but please let me know if you have a favorite go-to healthy snack!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's usually my annual thanksgiving duty to make the apple pie. The tradition started with plain apple and has evolved into something closer to what Erin wrote about earlier this week.

So the whole pie thing started with my Grandmother Mimi- who on thanksgiving morning, ice water at the ready, would patiently wait for me to wake up so she could make the crust. I'd stumble downstairs in my pj's rubbing my eyes and she'd be there waiting for me mise en place at the ready. I’d start in on the apples and we’d watch the parade and she’d teach me all the secrets of pie crust over again every year. The tradition was not lost with her passing, although it has evolved with the addition of sour cream one year and trials with various apple varieties. It always comes back to the old standby recipe from a crusty half charred copy of the original Betty Crocker (it actually has the electrical coil char marks etched into the back) and lately I've thrown in an additional handful of cranberries and ginger as well, decidedly delicious. I can't help but think Mimi would be rather proud of my innovations over the years.

So, in the tradition of a dear friend who spends every week of her year feeling grateful.

This year I'm feeling grateful for the traditions that bring me back to the past.

For the traditions we continue to rewrite as we bring them into the present and the future.

For my husband who knows all the secrets of the pie crust like it's second nature.

For a growing family who will write their own traditions, whether you are ready or not.

And for friendships that inspire us to take charge of our own new traditions.

Hope you are all finding and adapting your own traditions on this day.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Friends- giving, with recipes for apple ginger pie and cranberry relish

Sunday was Friends- giving, a tradition started and headed up by our dear friend Anne. She makes the turkey, and we bring the sides. It is a grand old time.

photo by Casey Freeman

I made my favorite fresh cranberry relish, a ginger apple pie and a pumpkin praline pie. That's a lotta pie!

Fresh Cranberry Relish
1 6 oz container of fresh cranberries
1 apple, peeled and cored
zest and juice of 1 orange
pinch of salt

Blend in a food processor until it is the consistency you like.

Ginger Apple Pie

Peel and core about 5 cups of apples. Add 2 TBS shredded fresh ginger, and 3 TBS butter (in pieces). Sprinkle 3 TBS of white sugar and a pinch of salt, a dash of vanilla and stir. Pour on top of unbaked pie crust.

For the topping, combine, 1 1/2 cups of almond meal, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 3 TBS butter and a dash of nutmeg. Blend with your hands or with a mixer, so that the butter is well incorporated. It will be very crumbly.

Sprinkle topping on apples, and bake at 350 until apples are soft, and edges of crust are golden.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Frame Out the Cold

Our two rear raised beds covered with Matt's movable cold frames

If your looking to extend your growing season, now is the time to install cold frames in your growing area.  Often used as a separate, permanent structure to start plants the cold frame can instead be incorporated into your garden space.  Hoops made of PVC and covered with opaque plastic are a common solution.  The opaque plastic lets light in, and traps heat without cooking your plants, unless the weather warms to the upper sixties or so.  Here's an idea my husband came up with on the fly for  cold frames that allow super easy access and venting.  Some years ago he constructed two movable cold frames that we can switch between our four raised beds from year to year with our crop rotation or we can break them down and store them for the summer.. 
The diagonal 2X2 shown at front of the raised bed above is actually the resting position of the swinging leg that holds the lid open.
This past year they covered the two left beds, and we used frost fabric later in the season to help start quick crops like radishes.  Each cold frame started as four separate raised sides with hardware cloth that Matt made to keep the rabbits out.  Our raised beds are 4X8, so there are two 16" tall  4 foot long sides and two 8 foot long sides for each.  These are attached, and removed from the raised beds with a screw gun. To make the cold frame   He made an  extension that screws into the top of  the long back side of each.The hinged top lifts easily and props itself up with swinging legs attached to each end.  These can rest on the ground to let in a little cool air,  atop the sides for working in the beds, or flipped all the way over for very warm day's with too much wind to leave them propped up.

Once the weather warms enough we remove the top, but can leave the plastic covered sides up for a while to help keep the soil temperatures up, and  flea beetles etc down.         Yesterday we took advantage of the nice weather to go out and plant our Swiss Chard inside the cold frame and our shallots in the space our frame was last season.  It's still not too late for this season, or you can use the quite of the winter season to plan one  for early spring.  The frame will allow you to start planting as early as March.  Not into do-it-yourself?  You can contact Matt at The Living Wood Workshop for help. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Holy Napa Cabbage, Batman!

Look what my husband harvested from the garden this week!
Anyone have any ideas for a Thanksgiving dish with lovely Napa Cabbage?!

Seitan - a vegan protein for Thanksgiving or any occasion

A recipe for a vegetarian 'turkey' option from my sweet brother Alex, who is not only making me a faux turkey for Thanksgiving, sent on the recipe and recommendations for those of you who will have vegetarians at your table. Thanks, Al!
I am making a Seitan dish for our favorite Richmond-Food-Collective-organizer-who-is-named-Erin when she comes up to Thanksgiving this year. Seitan is not only a great "meat substitute" but a delicious, versatile protein dish on it's own. And it's easy and cheap to make and stores in the fridge for quick use in many different dishes.

One quick note - Seitan is pretty much 100% wheat gluten. So if you're on a gluten-free diet, this is about as far from that as you could go. But for everyone else, it's a nice, healthy, fun protein that can cook up quickly to go in many dishes. I use the recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen.
Image credit - Utopian Kitchen

Setian starts life as wheat gluten mixed with other flavoring ingredients - you mix it all together into almost a dough. I use my KitchenAid with the dough hook. Then, you simmer this dough in a broth and voila - seitan! It takes maybe an hour and this part is a great weekend activity.

But here's where it gets fun. You can then store the seitan in the cooled broth in your fridge and then grab it out to stir fry, grill, saute, or cook in any number of ways. So, make up a big batch of seitan on the weekend, and then during the week, cook it anytime in just about any recipe. After you've made the broth simmered seitan, it's fully cooked and can be then used quickly anytime in just about any dish.

Got a recipe a friend sent that calls for beef? Use your seitan! Want to stir fry some veggies in your fridge before they go bad? Use your seitan! Want to make vegan shish-kabobs for the grill? You know - seitan! It's a versatile protein that cooks well in sauces and fries up nicely and is almost impossible to overcook or dry out.

I'm going to try this out for Thanksgiving this year. I plan to pan fry up some seitan to brown up the edges and give it some crispy delicious exterior with a soft and moist interior. Will go great with mashed potatoes and stuffing. Yum!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Late Fall at the Market

I love this time of year.  The air feels crisp and clean. The outdoors are invigorating, but the indoors so welcoming.  Its a great time to wander around the market and see what's available to bring home and cook up.  As the weather tilts towards frost and freezing temperatures I become ever more pleased by all the markets still have to offer.  Today was our pre-Thanksgiving run.(Although I'm sure Tuesday's or Wednesday's markets will find us searching for those last minute items as well). 
Today I found eggs from Steve and Chris of Aults Family Farm.  I love to shop from them, and today I hit them up for some info. on egg seasonality.  It's much harder to get eggs right now, so I asked if this time of year is a major time for chickens to be molting.  As it turns out now is high time for molting which causes egg production to drop dramatically.  Although they did have eggs, many others have not lately, and the Aults said that right now they may get less than half the number of eggs as they have total chickens.  Adding to the slow down caused by molting are the cold weather, and shorter days.  So greedily I got two dozen eggs so I could feel safely stocked up, and Matt went away happy with some pork chops and a pork belly.
The abundance of beautiful produce other tasty treats is quit frankly uplifting.. Tables are piled with Asian persimmons, jams, pickles, sticky rolls, pumpkins, lettuces of all kinds, radishes, kohlrabi, mustard greens, whipped honey, potatoes, garlic, and apples to name a few.  
 We stocked up with local cider, Blanchards coffee, green bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes,  arugula, collard greens, Tuscan kale, crimini and shitake mushrooms, pastured beef, pork, and of course those eggs.  I ran into friends who came in to pick up their per-ordered Turkeys, or hunt out that special Thanksgiving day treat or necessary ingredient.  Thanksgiving is of course this Thursday.  Don't overlook the special markets going on this week!  Tuesday at Byrd House Market, and Wednesday at the West End , St. Steven's, and Lakeside Markets.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Healing Properties of a Well-Stocked Pantry

My poor Mom had an emergency appendectomy on Monday. It was sudden and, from what I can tell, pretty darn painful. I left town on Tuesday to help care for her and lift her spirits. My Mom is a Nurse Practitioner and an amazing care-giver. Her style of care-giving is comforting to the core. She has a way that acknowledges your discomfort and addresses the issue so you feel safe and warm. As I've stepped into the care-giver role as an adult I hope to parrot what I've learned from her.

So, as I arrived to my folks' house, I immediately checked the pantry. I blurted out, "I will heal you with food!" My Dad chuckled. And you know what? As goofy as that sounds, I really meant it. I believed if I fed Mom good food, whole food, she'd feel better. Well, if nothing else, the house would smell nice.

For the last three days I've been cooking from Mom's pantry. I've not gone to the store once and I've made three yummy dinners:

  1. Tomato soup with grilled-cheese on whole-grain bread
  2. Spicy garlic pasta with spinach, tomatoes, and cannellini beans
  3. Udon noodles with Asian greens and tofu
Now, I don't know if it is the food or modern medicine (ok, maybe both), but she is better. I loved that I could just reach into the pantry and find good food, whole foods. I didn't have to run out to the store to do it!

How do you keep your pantry well-stocked? Sometimes when I grocery shop, I take my favorite cookbook to the store. In the front section of the book you will often find that the author will give you tips for creating a well-stocked pantry. My go-to is always a Moosewood cookbook. Make a list, it will help you stayed focused. Now, I am off to make Casey/Ned's popovers!

Thank you to my sister, Vanessa Rees, for the photograph!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Popovers were introduced to me by my husband. It might not be an overstatement to say he courted me with them. They make a such grand and imposing breakfast feast- who wouldn't be wildly impressed?

For years popovers were Ned's domain at our house. Ned grew up eating them with his "Grandpa." It was a special treat made by request from the grandkids, a tradition he has now passed on to our kids. And I was always under the impression that there was a trick, a secret family recipe or some cooking mojo that coaxes these things to "pop over" that was in his genes.

Until one morning recently, when the kids and I got up early to make them for Daddy as a surprise. Ha! As it turns out, I was the one who was surprised. He's got us all hoodwinked. They couldn't possibly be easier to make and yes they just "pop over" all on their own.

Somewhere in the distant foggy past, these eggy muffins were derived from Yorkshire pudding, which is made savory with the addition of pan drippings from roasting meats. You can certainly tweak this very simple recipe with the addition of some herbs, parmesean or savory spices and eat it along side a stew or soup.

So, while I have somewhat demystified the popover, I'll let them continue to be Daddy's domain- and quite happily reap the benefits. Which, at our house means using the deep hollow hole naturally made inside the popover for a slab of butter and hearty messy drizzle of honey. Amen.

We use a popover tin (considered sacrilege by purists I hear, Grandpa would not be impressed) but seeing the before and after, these beauties are pretty fabulous. But a regular muffin tin will work fine.

The recipe couldn't be simpler. This one is from one of our kitchen staples, The Joy of Cooking.

Preheat oven to 450°

Oil muffin tin to prevent sticking.

In a large bowl measure:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

In another bowl measure:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon warm melted butter

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix and fill the tin 2/3 of the way full.

Bake for 15 min at 450° and then turn the heat down to 350° and cook another 20min.

Oh and don't be tempted to open the oven early unless you want to watch them deflate :)


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hey Richmond, you just keep getting better

One of the hard things about moving back to the place where you grew up is that you sometimes feel a little sensitive about it. I definitely didn't grow up expecting to be back in Richmond as an adult. And yet, Richmond keeps ticking my boxes. Granted my parents, brother, and sister are all here, making it a place I will not leave anytime soon. But, there are so many amazing things happening here right now, I find myself laughing a bit when my friends from here (who don't live here anymore) list the reasons they would NEVER move back. I remember those reasons. But, things have changed for me a bit.

In fact, as I began writing what I thought would be a very simple post, I realized it needed to be much longer. So I will share with you the one event that got me started and then I will publish a longer post next week with all the reasons Richmond is where I eat (and live!) these days!

The event* that started it all is being put on by a bunch of awesome women out in the woods of Amelia. Basically, these ladies are taking the first weekend of December (Friday, December 2nd - Sunday, December 4th) and turning it into an amazing opportunity to learn, share, and (of course!) EAT! There will be massage, yoga, meditation, plant identification, and much more.

THIS is what is so great about Richmond. People coming together with a bunch of different skills and finding a way to share them. It kind of reminds me of Richmond Food Collective, to be honest. Minus the mad massage skills!

Anyway, to find out more about this event (proper name: Wellness in the Woods) check out the website here. And check out my post next week for a much longer list of the reasons Richmond is the right place for me right about now.

Also, any other great events that you and/or your friends are putting on? I know that Wellness in th Woods is only one of many!!

P.S. A friend suggested that we celebrate the famed shopping day(day after Thanksgiving) by doing all our shopping at local businesses and allI could think was "that would be so easy here!" I'm gonna do it, except since I don'tplan on shopping that Friday, I will just commit to doing the bulk of myholiday gift shopping locally. More on how that goes to come!

Richmond image found here.
*Obviously, since I know these people, I am biased . . . due to their awesomeness.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Arganica Farm Club, a trial

At 5 on Sunday morning, I woke to a thump on my porch. I hadn't been sleeping well because I was so excited that my box from Arganica was going to show up that morning, and I felt like a kid on Christmas eve. Also, when I got home on Saturday night there was a possum on my porch swing, and I was not going to let that beast beat me to my new food!
So, at 5 on Sunday morning, I raced downstairs to rescue the food from the possum (who was nowhere to be seen) and stocked my larder with foods from Virginia vendors I am excited to learn about!
I have a month long subscription to this farm club through a Living Social deal I bought for $45. I love trying foods from all over Virginia, and I love love love the idea that it is delivered to my door. I am really excited about having this service over Thanksgiving, so I can get interesting hostess gifts and seasonal foods for the holidays. (I am having at least two Thanksgiving dinners- it is my favorite, dont'cha know?)
The ordering process was much easier than I expected, and the food looks fantastic. I got tons of seasonal veggies and fruit (kale, squash apples, lettuce, broccoli, onions and oranges) in the mystery box. Plus, I ordered extras like kimchi from Farmstead Ferments in Charlottesville, organic coffee from Trager Brothers, dog food from Ayershire farms, fresh cheeses, organic milk, cream and butter from Trickling Springs, and ravioli from Mona Lisa. I went a little nuts.
I know there are lots of options for local winter food in the Richmond area, so I am not yet sure I will continue after my trial membership is over. But you better believe I am going to enjoy it while it lasts!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Marathon (watching) party!

This weekend, neighborhood folks gathered for brunch and marathon watching. We were stranded, there was no way out of the neighborhood since we are right on the route. So, we settled in and made a party of it.

Casey made her famous cheesy grits and sweet pumpkin muffins. We had homemade bread with Anne's apple butter and herbed baked eggs with arugula. There were mimosas.

There were happy friends.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

10 Reasons to Love Ejay Rin Noodle Bar

Ejay Rin is a RVA restaurant brimming with local food brought to you by much loved Richmond chefs Bill Foster and Andy Howell. The concept is simple and delicious: an Asian noodle bar with bit of a Southern twist (this is Richmond, ya'll). The menu serves up great starters (kimchi!), noodles (hot and cold), rice bowls, and delicious steamed buns. The chefs make several of the menu highlights in-house (you don't get any more local than that). The location is Manchester, one block down from Legend Brewery. I live on the Northside and I can get there 15 minutes. Here are 10 reasons you'll love Ejay Rin:

1. House-made kimchi

2. House-made noodles

3. House-made steamed buns

4. House-made broth

5. Local meat options

6. Gluten-free options

7. Yummy options for the omnivore and vegan

8. Great beer and wine (try local Glen Manor)

9. Delightful service

10. You'll have a full belly at a nice price

Go there and get your local-on. You won't be sorry you did.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Swapped Out! A post Yes We Can thank you!

A shout out to all of you who brought such amazing preserved treats to our first Yes We Can! event. It was such fun! There was an amazing variety of canned and preserved foods. Just a sampling of the items traded includes...

Pickled eggs, pickled beets, pickled watermelon rind, sweet pickles, bread and butter pickles, Spicy salsa, peach salsa, and sofrito, mad amounts of chutney... from apple ginger in multiple variations, to nectarine, persimmon, peach, and pumpkin spice, fermented delights like kimchi and sauerkraut, both sourwood, and clover honey, pesto and vegan pesto, blueberry jam, strawberry syrup, apple cider vinegar, tomato basil jam, roasted green chilies, bagged kaffir lime leaves, pickled hot peppers, dilly beans, pear butter and more!

We can't wait to try all of the goodies, or hear about E.A.T's spicy Dilly Bean Bloody Marys.

Thanks to Jason of Caramelized OpiNIONS and Mollee Sullivan for planting this seed in our heads, and for bringing such amazing canned goods! Sofrito, yeahman!

A post swap cider, planning for next year.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Local Farmer's Markets

Summer Season 2012 Markets!!

Count em' up, 16 Markets and Growing!  Please note changes to times and days for may returning markets, and the Return of the Goochland Farmer's Market! Stay tuned for more updates...
Summer Season Markets Around Richmond and Beyond!:
17th Street Market
17th and Main (Shockoe Bottom)
Saturday Growers’ Market, 8:30am - 4pm
Sunday Vintage and Growers’ Market, 8:30am - 4pm 

Byrd House Market
S. Linden St. and Idelwood Ave. Oregon Hill)
Tuesdays 3:30-7:00pm

The Tricycle Gardens Farm Stand
2107 Jefferson Ave (Church Hill)
 Thursdays 4:00- 7:00pm

South of the James Market
Shelter No. 2 in Forest Hill Park
Off of Forest Hill Ave o 42nd Street, Richmond VA 23225
Saturdays 8:00am-12:00pm
May 5, 2012 – December 1, 2012

The Farmers Market @ St. Stephen's
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
6000 Grove Ave.
Outdoor Market:
Saturdays 8:00am -12:00pm

Monumont Ave. Farmers Market
First Baptist Church, 2709 Monument Ave.
Saturdays 8:00am-12:00pm

 Virginia St. Farmers Market
Thursdays from 3pm to 7pm
May 10 – October 25, 2012
Virginia Street and Turning Basin in the Shockoe area

Huguenot-Robious Farmer's Market
2051 Huguenot Road (At The Great Big Greenhouse)
Outdoor Market Starts April 2
Thursdays 10:00am -2:00pm

Lakeside Farmer's Market
Early Market starting March 31st! 

6110 Lakeside Ave. (Just outside city limits, near the corner of Lakeside and Hillard)
Wednesdays 8:00am-12:00pm and 3:00-7:00pm (Dawn-Dusk through Thanksgiving)
Saturdays 8:00am-12:00pm through Christmas!
April -December
West End Farmer's Market
No more Sunday Hours
Gayton Rd and Ridgefield Pkwy
Wednesdays 3:00pm-6:30pm
Saturdays 8:00am-12:00pm

2955 River Rd. W. in Goochland 
May 5- October 20

The Chester Farmer's Market
Early start:  April 7th!
The Village Green
Chester Va
Saturdays 8:30-12:30
April- October  (Closed September 22)

Ashland Farmer's Market
Duncan St. behind Town Hall 
Saturdays 9:00am-12:00pm
May 5-October 27
Thanksgiving market on November 17
Holiday Market on December 1

My Manakin Market  
New Hours!
68 Broad St, (Behind the Bank of Essex, Just outside Short Pump)
Saturdays 9:00-1:00

Williamsburg Farmers Market
Merchants Sq., Duke of Gloucester St. (Between Henry and BoundarySt.)
Saturdays 8:00am-12:00pm
March 31 -October 27
Holiday Markets: November 17, 24 and December 8

 Charlottesville City Market
A must see...
Saturdays 7am - 12:00
April- December

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kaffir Lime in Da House!

It's cold out and so we've brought in our kaffir lime tree from the patio to warm indoors. We picked up the plant a few years ago to improve our Thai cooking (we are still learning) on a recommendation from the folks at Thai Cabin. We purchased a non-fruit bearing dwarf; the leaves are so aromatic and bright, adding them your broths, curries, or noodles will really transform your Asian dishes. And, while not a plant native to Virginia, I felt like the one-time purchase would had less environmental impact than multiple routine purchases.

This is Virginia, ya'll, so don't plant a lime tree in the ground. These guys don't get much bigger than 5 feet tall, so they make a great potted plant. In the summer, we keep ours on the patio in the shade of other trees. We let nature handle the watering and before the first frost we take the plant inside. Word to the wise: we have to keep ours away from the grasp of our kitties who like eat the plant.

Oph! See the slight lean to the right?
Maybe she wanted a little less shade and a little more light.

The leaves can be added whole to your soups or broths (like a bay leaf) or if you are feeling super fancy make an Asian bouquet garni with lime leaves and lemongrass (heart). They can also be added to dishes sliced in ribbons for finishing flavor. In short, these babies will add a that great flavor that will leave your guests wondering why your food is so dang good.

My regular go to for kaffir leaves is from an easy recipe from Thai Vegetarian Cooking.

2 tbsp oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 small red or green chilis, finely chopped
12 oz of dried noodles - chef's choice - prepared to taste (al dente or no)
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
6 basil leaves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 small green or red pepper, chopped

Add oil. Heat up your wok or pan. Heat oil until haze appears. Add garlic and oil. Cook until golden. Add noodles. Then add remaining ingredients. Cook until peppers are slightly cooked, but still al dente. Put on a plate and eat it up. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CAN I get ready?

I have a fair amount of cooking to do to get ready for our food swap this weekend. I have peppers to dehydrate, pesto to make, and a dozen other things that need my attention.

So why can't I stop reading other recipes on one of my new favorite food blogs?

Maybe it's her mix of new baby pics and great recipes.  Either way, now I'm reading instead of cooking!

Anyone else showing a blatant disregard for deadlines? Oh, and sure hope some of you are joining us this weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Local Meat, Egg and Diary Farms

Looking for places to buy grass fed meat and dairy products? What about pastured eggs? These farms have everything you're looking for, and many sell at farmers markets around the area. Others encourage you to buy a 'cow share.' Scroll down to find a list of our favorite local cheeses. Most are made from grass to finish nearby.
If your farm of choice is not on this list,
let us know!

Aults Family Farm:  
grass fed Beef, pastured pork , eggs, Thanksgiving turkeys,  chickens
Avery's Branch Farms :
eggs, grass fed poultry and beef, pastured pork, seasonal produce, and cow shares.
Broadview Ranch : 
Pastured beef, woodland pork, and eggs. 
Deer Run Farm of Amelia
Grass fed beef, pastured chickens, eggs 
Dragonfly Farm

Grass fed beef. 
Elim Springs Farm
Grass fed beef, pork, chicken, eggs
Empress Farm
Chicken, Turkey, Rabbit, Duck, Goose, Chicken and Duck Eggs. 
Faith Farm

Grass fed beef, pastured pork, chicken, eggs. 
Frog Bottom Farm

pastured pork, eggs
Furbelow Farm
Chicken, quail, duck eggs, as wells as hatching eggs,  etc.
Harmony Hill: eggs
Homestead Creamery:
Milk, non-homogenized milk, cream, butter, ice cream 
Honey Hollow Homestead: Goochland: eggs, and chicken, David Fitzgerald.
Kruize Family Farm: eggs
Mount Vernon Farm
Grass fed beef, lamb, and pastured pork
Polyface Farms : eggs, beef, pork, and chicken. Near Staunton Va. Products available in Richmond via pickup locations, Ellwood Thompson's, Whole Foods. 
Rock Run Creek Farm
Chicken, duck, and goose eggs, lamb, goat, pork 
The Rock Barn
Pork shares
Trails End Farm:eggs, and some goat
Tuckahoe Lamb and Cattle Company
Pastured chicken, eggs, turkey, beef, lamb, rabbit, and raw milk shares
Wild T Bison

Some Great Local Cheeses
Everona Dairy: Culpeper VA : Unpasteurized sheep's milk cheese, 'Blue Ridge' Blue cheese, and more.
Our Lady of The Angels Monastery: Crozet Va.  Lovely non-smoked Gouda..  
Sullivan's Pond Farm: Near Deltaville, An outstanding array of cheeses including a natural blue, ashed rind, and leaf or husk wrapped (beautiful) Including a corn husk moonshine soaked bit.    At Elwood Thompson's, and Various Farmers Markets.
Goats R Us: Delicious soft chevre goat's cheeses, various blends.  At Elwood Thompson's, and Farm to Family, Fall Line Farms and various markets. 
Oak Spring Dairy:  Elwood Thompson's carries their 2 year aged white derby style cheddar.  Its fairly sharp, and certainly delicious. And here is a link that includes a great review of their 'Bay Derby' cheese.
Mountain View Cheese:  Near Charlottesville: A variety of quality cheeses.
Meadow Creek Dairy:  Galax Va.: Meadow Creek has earned some International recognition as producers of  fine cheeses including the award winning 'Grayson'. (The Grayson is a soft, stinky cheese.) An RFC favorite is the 'Appalachian' 
Night Sky Farm:  Chevres from plain to Lemon Balm, a goats milk cheddar, Havarti, and terrific marinated fetas, and cream cheeses.