Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A night with Pizza Tonight

Sunday night, (thanks to my friend Christina) I got to attend a Women Chefs and Restaurateurs event hosted by Pizza Tonight.  I have been wanting to go to one of PT's pizza making classes, and getting the chance to talk with women in the RVA food business was not one I was going to pass up!
That is Chef Ellie Basch and Slow Food's Stacy Luks  wrangling their pizza dough. 
The owner of Pizza Tonight, Victoria DeRoche, gave us some fantastic tips on making pizza dough, which can be extremely tricky. Pizza Tonight dough is made with high gluten flour from Italy (though they make a gluten free version too) and a very precise method.  I believe cooking techniques are best taught in person, and Victoria was a fantastic teacher.  She is funny and even though I am sure she has told the stories and taught the process loads of times, she still seems to genuinely enjoy it.

Extraordinary toppings!
After we took what we learned from Victoria and coaxed our dough into perfect circles, (ahem, most people did- I went for a more 'neopolitan' look.  By that I mean that mine wound up looking like a football.) we got to top them and fire 'em up.  The folks at Pizza Tonight set out the most amazing spread for topping pizzas you could ever imagine.  Sausage from Sausage Craft, salami from Olli Salumeria (local love), fresh white sauce, fig preserves- egg and cheddar, (which I was totally fascinated by) fresh herbs and arugula, all kinds of amazing cheeses- I mean, it was a dream!  I made one with thin roasted blue and white potatoes (!) and mushrooms, white sauce, roasted red peppers and several kinds of cheese.
Jannequin is showing me how to slide the pizza off the peel.  If you wait too long, the flour on the peel incorporates into the dough, and it won't release!  (Very important lessons learned here.)
We fired (Evan fired, we chatted nearby) our pizzas in Pizza Tonight's very own mobile pizza oven.  This bad boy (the oven, not Evan) can be rented out for catering (with the knowledgeable staff from PT, of course) and makes its way regularly to area farmers markets.  As much as I like making pizza at home, it really is better from a wood fired oven.
Never mind the shape y'all, it tasted fantastic.
 Pizza Tonight let us make as many pizzas as we wanted, and we ate ourselves silly.  Fig and Pig, the vendor's special (egg and cheddar with mushroom and sausage), white, vegan, classic- you name it.  If that wasn't generous enough, they gave us each a pizza making kit to take home!  I can practice my skillz  with their dough, marinara and some 'magic sprinkles'.  I guess you know what I am having for dinner tonight...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Inspiring Resources

We often talk about how our generation is self-taught, trying to recreate the crafts mastered by our grandparents. Right? We are teaching ourselves how to bake bread, can, raise chickens, and so on. While this is true - we have something that our grandmothers didn't: we can access information so readily. Often I think we forget how extraordinary this truly is...if you don't know how to do something, you can find out the how-to from a reputable source almost instantly. Here are a couple of my favorite resources du jour....for inspiration, cooking tips, and health information.

  • V.K.Rees Photography - Yes, she is my sister, but she is way talented. Check out her site for dreamy photographs and delicious recipes.

  • Healthy Roots, Happy Life. This is a great resource developed by a dear friend, Katie Haines. I use this site for new approaches to managing our busy lives with stress reduction strategies and whole foods.

  • Radically Simple: Rozanne Gold - I love Gold's approach to food. Simple, healthy, whole foods. Her recipes have a wow-factor, but are so deliciously simple.
Enjoy! P.S. What are you enjoying these days? Please share!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eat More Kale

We're eating a lot of kale around here... thought I'd share my favorite way to eat my greens right now. This version is adapted from a Food52 recipe. (if you don't know about Food 52 it's a great resource, check it out)

(and the image above is from a book by a favorite artist, Collect Raindrops by Nikki McClure)

I could have titled this piece "Massage your Kale" because that's what makes this work, Erin showed us this technique a while back in a post here, but it totally bears repeating and if you haven't try it yet, do it!

Anyway, it's super easy, I think about it as a three ingredient salad. Basically kale, or whatever other greens you have lying around (or if you are a little low on greens go forage for some dandelion to add to the mix.) Add a cubed and roasted orange (or yellow) vegetable like squash or sweet potato- I used butternut squash. Then add the nuts of your choice. I had walnuts for this but pecans, almonds or whatever you've got will work.

1 large bunch of kale (or other greens)
1 Butternut squash (or sweet potato)
1 Cup of nuts
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (or any other vinegar)
One small shallot (or half of a large one, you could also use red onion)
One egg white
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel, cube and then roast squash, 15-20 min

2. Toss nuts in one egg white, with a pinch cayenne (or other seasoning of choice) a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. (You could also skip the egg step but it gives the nuts a nice crunchy coating.)

3. Roast nuts for about 6-8min checking every couple minutes after that. (I always burn the nuts/)

4. Wash and chop one large bunch of kale into shreds or bite size pieces.

5. Add 2TBS balsamic vinegar (or any other kind) into kale with about half of a finely chopped shallot. Massage the kale and shallot mixture with your hands a bit until it gets well coated and starts to wilt.

6. Toss in squash and nuts with about 2 tbpn olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

This was so delicious I only remembered to take a pic after we'd devoured most of it!

Now go- eat more kale!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Plan now for an Ample Harvest

Here is a story that starts in tragedy, and ends, hopefully, in joy and abundance.  Last spring, I planted a huge amount of lettuce in my median strip garden with the idea that I'd share it with all of my neighbors.  Figuring out if they wanted lettuce grown in a garden in the middle of their road before planting it would have been a clever move, because I could not give it away no matter how much I begged them to take whatever they wanted. I wound up pulling and composting all the gorgeous lettuce in June because it was time to plant tomatoes. Tragic!  What else could I do?
Disclaimer: This is not my garden.  It is beautiful and bountiful Swiss Chard though,  oui?

Well, this year I know what I will do with the extra produce.  AmpleHarvest.org has made it easy to find food pantries in my neighborhood who want (and are able to handle) veggies from home gardens.  Check the Find a Pantry page to see if there is one near you!  There are about ten pantries who have signed up in Richmond so far.  Each one has listed days and times (or have given contact info to find out) when you can drop off your garden extras.  I have talked with several food pantries in my neighborhood, and they are so excited to be able to include fresh produce for their patrons.

So, as you order seeds, please think about planting a little more for your neighbors, those you know and those you don't yet know.  Also, if your place of worship or community center has a food pantry, please encourage them to sign up on Ample Harvest so that neighborhood gardeners can share the bounty once it starts rolling in!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Local Produce Farms

There are so many great options for local produce in our area.  Here are are few of the ones we are most familiar with.  Have a favorite produce vendor?   Let us know about them!

Dave and Dee's Mushrooms
Epic Gardens
Tricycle Gardensardens' Urban Farm -Farm Stand
Eli's Greens
Trails End Farm: produce and eggs plus.  (Provides products to  Ellwood Thompson's, Acacia Midtown and Six Burner restaurants.)
Kruize Family Farm

Bill's Produce: South of the James Market.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Enjoying the Fruits of Our Labor

Remember when we were all busy canning, freezing, and drying our harvests? Well, of late, I have been digging into my dried fig stash. Remember these beauties? I am happy to report that they are just as tasty as they were in August.

Last night I made a salad of lettuce/spinach from the garden, sunflower seeds, grapefruit, dried fig, and shaved Parmesan cheese. The dressing was a simple vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. What a treat! The figs offer a nice texture and bright flavor to the winter salad.

Just this morning, I turned to the figs again for a breakfast treat. A quick breakfast of Greek yogurt, local honey, and my dried figs. Figs are high in fiber, and really make a great breakfast. Soooo delicious. I will definitely dry figs again next summer.

What are you tapping into as we head into the colder part of winter? I have some peach chutney on my shelf from Yes! We Can! My thoughts turn to a grilled cheese with chutney...perhaps with a nice soup? Hmm....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

a january garden

Winter days spent dreaming through seed catalogs inspired me to walk outside and see....
there is life out there even in the dark days of january...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One of my favorite flowers- the Cauliflower!

Alright, so I know it is late in the season and local cauliflower is hard to come by, but for some reason I have been thinking a lot about cauliflower lately.  For one thing, how can something seemingly devoid of color be so good for you?  But, according to Self Magazine's NutritionData page, cauliflower is:
  'very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese'.  
Protein? Hello there!

Also, you know how Tim Vidra is always trying to get us to eat the leaves of the vegetables we love?  Well, you can, and should eat cauliflower leaves too.  I taught a class of culinary students from the Chesterfield Tech center at the garden this season, and one of our projects was harvesting cauliflower.  They were amazed by the giant leaves, and took some back to school to see if they could make something good from them.  I heard later that they sauteed them with garlic, pine nuts and raisins, and that they also made pesto out of them!  Sounds crazy, but the teacher said it was really great.  The greens look like collards, so just fix 'em up like you would other greens.

Another interesting thing about cauliflower is that exposure to the sun turns the inner part purple!  Many farmers tie the leaves above the florets to shield them and prevent this from happening.  I got a glimpse of the purple color in the Community Kitchen Garden this season.   It is really kind of beautiful!

The cauliflower on the top had been covered and the one on the bottom had not.  See the purple showing through?
And then there is the question of how to cook your cauliflower florets. Last night, I got a voicemail message from my brother Alex who lives in Austin.  He had just harvested the cauliflower from his garden, and he said, "I didn't know what to do with it, so I roasted it!"  That sounds like a plan to me.  In fact, every time I encounter a vegetable for the first time, I roast it!  Always sweet, always flavorful, all veggies taste fantastic after roasting.  Here is a tutorial on roasting all kinds- from broccoli to squash to cauliflower.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tedx Manhattan Event in RVA

Next Saturday, January 21, Slow Food RVA will continue its annual tradition of bringing a Tedx Manhattan viewing party to RVA.  Nearly twenty movers and shakers in the food world, authors to grassroots organizers, chefs to environmental pioneers, bring an entire day of inspiration for 'Changing the Way We Eat'.  I stayed for the entire day last year, but you can come and go as you please.

10:30 am - Noon:   ISSUES
1:15 - 3 pm:  IMPACT
3:30 - 5:15 pm:  INNOVATION

Pizza Tonight will be there with their wood fired mobile pizza oven. (!) The viewing party is free, but you will need a ticket.  Register here.

The event will be held at Gallery 5.

See you there!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Food for Dogs

Meet Clyde.

Clyde is a five and a half year old lab/ mystery dog mix, and perhaps the greatest dog ever. We met when he was about 6 months old.  He had run away and was sent to the pound (I think) because he looked like a full grown pit bull.  Well, he just kept growing, and is now about twice the size as when we first met.

He was a picky eater when I first knew him, which meant hours in the dog food aisle for me.  I was uncomfortable with a lot of the ingredients in those dry foods, but I had to go home with something for him to eat.  I wound up with some pretty crazy things- I remember one had a lot of avocados in it.  There was also a vegetarian one, and one with vitamin bits in it.  I felt like I was being taken- why was I paying so much and thinking so much about what amounted to cereal?  Plus, who wants to spend that much time in the dog food aisle?

Anyway, all of that label reading has paid off, 'cause now I make a lot of Clyde's food.  Yes, that is right.  I cook for him.  But you know, what matters in the food system matters to and for everything that eats.  When you think about it that way, it is kind of crazy that manufactured pet food is the norm!  It is not a big deal to make his food anyway.  Basically, I take the ingredients I saw on the bags of dried dog food, and apply it to whole food.  Most of the time I make it in the rice cooker, so it is really easy.  The bulk of the food is some grain (brown rice or oats), veggies and fruit pulp left over from the juicer (no waste!) or grated fresh, and some protein (egg, liver, kidney, yogurt or cottage cheese, even tofu).  He gets peanut butter in his kong ('cause he loves it) and treats from the farmers market.  I wind up spending the same or less than the fancy dried food I was relying on before.

I do keep some dried food around for those days I don't have enough time to cook.  But nothing makes that boy happier than some real home cookin'.  And nothing makes me happier than giving him something that makes him happy and healthy.

'Atta boy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Year of Trying Something New

From The Tricycle Gardens Urban Farm Event.  We'd never cooked for someone else's event, and I don't much like getting my pic. taken, but that night was so much fun! 

In September of 2010  I launched a tiny yet highly rewarding  project. The goal: to try two new things each week, record them and when possible read up about them. Also, if I was experimenting with something new in the kitchen to note it, and jot my recipe down. My little notebook is now completely full. Looking back on it has turned out to be a wonderful reminder of all the past year had to offer as well as  things I've already forgotten but loved and need to revisit.  It has also proven to be an interesting account of how my own tastes have changed just in the last year alone.  When I first looked back over my notebook this past fall I realized I'd been re-wired.  I'm much more likely now to go with the unknown, like Acupuncture Happy Hour, The Listening Lounge, Farm to Family in Mechanicsville, or try that new author, restaurant, album, technique, or even just a new way home. As I've found, venturing to try one new thing often leads to a whole long list of new experiences.

Here is my original post... and below that is a short list of some of my absolute favorite foodie finds from my year of something new. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Time To Try Something New

One of the great things about the local foods movement is that it pushes you to break old habits, mix up your routine and try new things. That certainly was the case for me. I eat, shop, cook, and think about food differently. I have met a host of great new people, made new friends, and visited great places I would have never thought to go.
That said, most of us are creatures of habit, and I am one shining example! Three years into my own local food adventure I had once again falling into a fairly entrenched routine. I go to the same market nearly every single week, to the point of having never made it several of our areas other markets this summer. Once at the market I make a bee line for my same four or five favorite vendors each week. This is my grocery shopping and I'm getting it done. I've even fallen away quite a bit from trying out new things there.
Same market, same foods, most often with the same preparation. Thank goodness for seasonality or that old trap of eating way too much of just a handful of food would have had me for sure.
Well a few weeks ago, with October rolling in I gave myself a pinch. I promised myself that I would start exploring again, not just the markets, but all the great stuff around me that I'm taking for granted.
I set a very easy goal. All I need to do is try two new things a week. They could be foods, music, restaurants, places, authors, recipes etc. Sometimes life can seem exhaustingly busy. When money, time, and energy is limited, I know it's easier to go for the safety of the well tested track, but I've found the smallest effort has lead to great rewards. Whether I like each thing or not, half of the fun is just in the mini- adventure of discovery. I've found a really affordable wine that I love, a mouth watering wheel of cheese that required 15 minutes of perilous dirt road driving to get, and I found out that I really like the Chicken of the Woods Mushroom.
On this weeks list... Kohlrabi, and the Lion's Mane mushroom to name two. Happy Discovering!

Lion's Mane Mushrooms with butter and parm. over pasta with Rockfish
I tried that Lion's Mane mushroom, but the Kohlrabi had to wait till spring.

 Some of these "new" things are embaressingly simple and familiar to many people.  Some I had tried before, but never consciously.  I had perhaps never really given some of these their due attention.  With so many great things out there It was hard to narrow it down to so fewThese tend to be the ones that were not only fabulous, but changed my viewpoint to boot. Oh, and that Gouda mentioned above goes without saying!

1. From Thanksgiving 2010 : Smoked Salmon (and smoked trout) I had always avoided this one, and really it just hadn't been put in front of me all that often.  I owe my lovely first taste to my friends the Foxes.  It was wild sockeye salmon with crackers, cream cheese, and horseradish etc. It was perfect.  Shortly after this I was invited to dinner at another friends house.  The starter, their own salmon catch from a yearly trip to Michigan smoked for them by a specialty smoker up there.  Now I was hooked, and was ordering salmon here and there, once over corn and chive pancakes. I learned that it's not always so good, and I'm grateful to my good friends for providing me such a fabulous first bite.  
2. From an early December 2010 Christmas Party; Latkas with Applesauce: Somehow I just never wanted applesauce on my potatoes.  My entry note from this one says simply "Hey, its Good!"  Thanks, Vanessa.
3. Early December 2010; Red Zinfandel: Okay, I'm sure I'd tried this one before somewhere along the way, but I'd never really paid attention to it, to it's flavor, its alcohol content (!), where it comes from and why.  I went on a Red Zin tear that winter. A big California grape, I discovered my favorites tended to have an alcohol content of around 15.5%.  At a Red Zinfandel tasting it was explained to me that the Red Zin grapes are larger with a higher flesh to skin ratio producing more sugars than some other grapes.  Thus to get a non-sweet Zin. the alcohol content is rather high. Watch out. 
4. From December 2010 and 2011: Fruit Cake:  Again... really, this seems impossible given my time here on earth. Yet, if I had tried it before it must have been decades ago, and a less than positive experience.  I owe my new found love of fruit cake to my mother-in-law whose amazing three year long liquor basting process has shown me the light. Delicate, soft, and moist her fruit cake is a fine example of why this stuff is still served up in millions of homes despite the intensely bad rap this traditional treat has received.
5. From January of 2011:  Apropos coffee, and Aziza's Cream Puff:  So here again is something about which I had sadly been mislead.  Somewhere, or some-wheres in my past I had sampled a thing called a cream puff.  They were always about the size of a ping pong ball and tasted like gritty sugar.  I bet the last one I'd tried was early high school.  I began to read the reviews of Aziza's and this amazing cream puff.  The size of a grapefruit, it's made of light flaky pastry,  filled with a dense silky whipped cream and topped with chocolate.  Not a huge fan of sweets generally, I've made the trek back there multiple times since and tried several other wonderful treats there... but along side some of their savory delights it's that cream puff that keeps bringing me back.
6.From January 2011: A Weekend Morning Cappuccino: Perfection on a lazy morning. I'd long ago (by which I mean a solid 15 years) given up on heading out to the coffee shop on a weekend morning, and I used to manage one.  A single Sunday morning visit to Lamplighter for a meeting with a good friend reminded me of how valuable that supposedly unproductive indulgence can be.  Not to mention the coffee and sandwiches are amazing. Another of my favorite spots for a cappuccino and amazing hot sandwich is Cafe' Espresso in the near westend.  The atmosphere here is really up my alley with a warm and inviting at home feel that includes a large "Take a book, Return one Later" honor system bookshelf filled with books that run the gamut from new bestsellers, to the classics.
7. February 2011; Rancho Gordo and the value of "fresh" dried beans: A big thanks to Erin for this one.  A revelation.  All dried beans are not equal.  After seeing, and trying their beautiful heirloom beans I became a complete convert.  The only hitch, the price.  That said, it inspired me to grow and save my own. These tender and delicious beans totally changed my perspective on the subject.
8. From March 2011; Seeing Gary Naban Speak: You may know him from his works such as 'Renewing America's Food Traditions,' or 'Coming Home to Eat.'  His book 'Why Some Like it Hot' was a turning point for me. Seeing him speak for his more recent book 'Chasing Chilies' was an experience largely filled with the amazing congregation of people who cared enough to be there.  I got to meet so many interesting people including Tanya Denckla of 'The A to Z  Guide to Growing Organic Food.'  This talk was part of the outstanding lecture series held at UVA at their School of Architecture.
And great stuff like this dinner held in honor. I was not there but check out the sources. 
9. From May of 2011; Kohlrabi: After years of just laziness I finally tried the stuff.  Delicious raw, and roasted, it's incredibly fresh tasting and versatile. 
10. From August 2011; Ellwood Thompsons Cheese Tasting: For $5 a person we sat in the closed to the public Ellwood's cafe, and sampled several Virginia cheeses served on at a time with an appropriate cracker or bread along with information on the process, farm, and parings. Sorry to see it go. The attached link will take you to their well- done listing of local cheeses and meats carried in their "Indulge" department.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A nod to Tastebuds in Northside

Last night I ended my work week with a spontaneous trek with Erin from her northside home to Tastebuds American Bistro on Macarthur Ave. After a day of digging, lopping and mulching in the garden, I was ready for a little respite. We arrived at Tastebuds right at five o'clock just as they were opening.  The wait staff was sitting at the bar rolling napkins, and the owner dimmed the lights to proper dinner atmosphere levels just as we approached the bar.  Still, they didn't miss a beat.  They welcomed us, and made room for us at the bar.  We were after one of their lovely cocktails and were well rewarded.  The owner took his time with us, tailoring cocktails for us, a couple of gals who wanted all the flavors and fun of the cocktail without the sweet. Mine was an amazing combination of gin, with house made grapefruit "marmalade"and cardamom essence. The owner explained in detail how he created each of his ingredients and even altered what I already thought was a perfect concoction with a touch more cardamom just for fun.  Of course, it got even better. He explained to us that since he wasn't working in the kitchen as a cook anymore, he liked playing around with flavors and ingredients in the specialty drinks.  We sat and ordered a Margherita pizza, (one of the best around I think), and watched the place fill up.  We even were so very lucky as to receive a small complementary, and absolutely delicious plate of olive tapenade and goat cheese crostini just as the first dinner guests began to arrive. The perfect start to a winter's weekend.  Thanks Tastebuds!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

RFC Throwback: January

This month marks the beginning of the 5th year of the RFC, y'all!  After all these years of writing, so many of the recipes and other ideas have gotten buried.  What a shame!  So each month this year, I'll bring some of our favorite posts from that month in years past.  Happy 2012!  Looking forward to seeing what comes up...

Fresh, local ginger was the hottest thing at farmers markets last year.  You can probably still find it at markets, and I have seen it at Whole Foods.  Ginger is a wonderful, healing food, warming and detoxifying.  Looking back at last year's posts, I found Shannon's post for a cold remedy- Fresh Ginger Tea.  Could come in handy...

Also, I had forgotten that in January of 2010, we were going to have a mid- winter dinner party that was snowed out!  Coming up with winter meal ideas can be challenging, but reading over the menu just now, I got re-inspired.  Shannon also included recipes the spinach and white bean spread, curried squash soup and pot pies (chicken and vegetarian versions).   The recipes and menu are posted here.

In the RFC recipes from 2009, I found my recipe for homemade breakfast cereals- granola and a warm rice cereal (kind of like oatmeal).  I think I use less sugar in my granola these days, but this simple recipe got me started.  I haven't bought cereal that comes from a box in years- saved a lot of money, and a lot of trash too!

And, in one of the first ever RFC posts from 2008, there are recipes for my favorite egg salad, vegetable broth and chocolate cookies.  Yes, those cookies.  YUM.

Local CSAs and Farm Clubs

CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a great way to support local farms. All CSAs work differently but usually you pay an annual fee to join and then a weekly fee for your fresh produce (and now more options like bread, eggs, milk and more.) Some farms use a 'debit' system so that you can shop at the market money-free...others deliver right to your doorstep. Check out the Wikipedia article on CSAs for more information!

Ready to join, or just doing research for next year? Here are some of the CSAs in the Richmond area...
Amy's Garden - Produce and fresh flowers May through September. Pick up at South of the James and Byrd House Markets.

Ault's Family Farm - Meat, eggs and honey located in Pamplin. VA. Pick up shares at South of the James and Manakin Markets.
Avery's Branch Farm- Local farm producing meat, eggs, produce and raw milk.

Faith Farm - Meat, Eggs, Honey, Butter, Pasta, Goat Cheese and more. Located and hour west of Richmond, pick up shares at Byrd House and South of the James Markets.

Frog Bottom Farm - Produce, Eggs. Located in Appomattax County, pick up at St. Stephen's Farmers Market.
Tuckahoe Lamb and Cattle Co.- ( Formerly Tuckahoe Plantation) a range of meats including lamb, beef, pork, rabbit and chicken as well as eggs. Whole, half, and egg only shares available. Raw Milk shares also available.
Victory Farms - Produce and Flowers grown on a local farm in Hanover VA. Weekly pickup at Byrd House and South of the James Markets.

Farm Clubs
These companies all work a little differently to bring local products to RVA. Find one that suits you, and eat local all year long!
AgriBerry - Large variety of fresh fruit supplied May through November. Many pick up locations including Byrd House, Lakeside, West End, Whole Foods, Monument Ave and more.
Dominion Harvest - Produce, Eggs, Cheese and Meat delivered to your home May trough November.
The Farm Table - Locally run home delivery CSA offering produce, bread and eggs April through November.
 Farm to Family- Delivery and pickup options for pastured meat, eggs, produce, bread and dairy
Fall Line Farms - On-line year round co-op of local producers. Produce, Meat, Bread, Prepared Foods, Pasta, Honey, Body Products and More. Weekly pick up locations in several major Richmond neighborhoods.
Local Roots Food Co-Op-The Center For Rural Culture's branch of Lulu's Local Foods.  Like Fall Line Farms, but serving the Goochland, Powhatan, and Eastern Hanover areas with pick ups on Thursday evenings.

Horse and Buggy Produce - Produce, Fruit, Meat, Eggs, Dairy and Bread from local Virginia farms. No commitment and home/office delivery available. Weekly pick-ups at the Weinstein JCC.
Rural Virginia Market - Combines products from a handful of our areas best producers. Meat, honey, produce, eggs.3 seasons of CSA including Winter. 

Off The Vine Market- On-line purchase for Virginia and Regional farm products. 
Arganica Farm Club - Based in DC, this large farm club is now serving the Richmond area. A year round delivery service brings you everything from local produce, eggs and milk to wine, cheese and ice cream.

If your CSA or farm club is not listed here, please let us know!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My New Favorite Baked Apples- Fresh Orange Peel and Sweetner Free!

Come fall and early winter, baked apples are one of my staples.  They're so quick and easy to make, plus they help me make perfect use of any less than perfect apples stored in the bin. And ultimately, they are such a great cold weather comfort food.  I would alternate between just cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, and allspice, and make twists involving cayenne, ginger, clove and honey- usually to be eaten with my favorite Greek yogurt, or along side a main dish

This fall, I was making baked apples for a family gathering and was trying to minimize the amount of sugar so that everyone could have some.  I used dried orange peel, cinnamon, ginger, and coriander.  I then divided the giant bowl in two, playing with the level of honey added.  One got a small amount, the other almost none.  Hands down the 'almost none' batch was the favorite.   Since then I've made a few variations and my absolute favorite has fresh orange peel, and no sugar added I love using the fresh orange peel at this time of year when Florida citrus is available.

Good, flavor- filled apples and better quality/ fresh spices are the base of this recipe's success.

. The Recipe
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
-Approx. 5 medium to large apples (I use different varieties together like Stayman, Piney River Gold, Honey Crisp, Fuji etc. ) Peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices.

- 1/2 tsp. dried orange peel or  about 1 tablespoon fresh!
- 1/2 tsp  powdered ginger
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
-approx. 4 tbsp. quality butter

Mix all spices thoroughly with prepared apples in a large bowl, transfer to a 4 quart baking dish and top with butter. Cover and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring the apples a couple times to distribute butter and juices. Let cool and enjoy!