FF_Blueberries for Dad

Food Friday: Blueberries for Dad

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Just in time for Father’s Day, June is busting out all over, summer is almost here, and if you listen carefully you’ll hear the blueberries ripening. Little globules of vitamin-rich blue goodness! ’Tis the season to revel in local blueberries!

A great Father’s Day weekend activity might include visiting a farmers’ market or a farm stand, to spend some quality intergenerational time together. Our children never ate blueberries except in muffins and pancakes until we visited a blueberry farm in Maine, and they got to fill both their buckets and their greedy little gullets with blueberries that they hunted and gathered themselves. Now they are confirmed blueberry aficionados. I should have started with spinach. Hit the farmers’ markets near you on Saturday to pick up a nice fresh pint or two of locally grown blueberries. And if it is early, satisfy your yen with strawberries or blackberries. Yumsters.

You can start the Father’s Day’s celebration off with blueberry muffins at breakfast! http://www.onceuponachef.com/2014/07/best-ever-blueberry-muffins.html Mr. Friday starts each day in a healthy manner – unlike me – who still yearns for those good old days of cold pizza for breakfast. No. Mr. Friday has always set a good example, and manfully tosses a handful of glistening blueberry goodness on top of his bowl of leaves and twigs every morning. So I imagine he will like the next suggestion. For a more health conscious father, you can exhibit some restraint and be oh so au courant with this smoothie treat: http://www.blueberrycouncil.org/blueberry-recipe/blueberry-green-tea-smoothie/ You can probably even sneak in some kale or trending broccoli rabe and he will never notice. Take that, Mr. Friday!

Here’s an easy one for getting out of the house quickly in the morning, yet still getting some nutrition inside your busy dad: http://www.southernliving.com/food/kitchen-assistant/fresh-blueberry-recipes/blueberry-soy-shakes

What are you doing for lunch? How about a colorful salad? For a delightfully cool lunch salad, try pairing blueberries with cucumbers and some feta cheese. The weekend promises to be steamy, so plan ahead. http://www.blueberrycouncil.org//blueberry-recipe/blueberry-cucumber-salad/

Cocktail hour! John Derian is as stylish and clever as folks come, and this is his recipe for a Blueberry Smash. Deelightful! http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/blueberry-smash

I thought this drink was a little sweet, which goes to show the dedication I have toward providing you with accurate food info: https://marlameridith.com/blueberry-martini-recipe/ .

But maybe your dad has a sweet tooth. In which case, maybe you should just concentrate on a really good, old-fashioned dessert. And try to be a good baker, and roll out your own pie crust. Imagine your pride swelling as Dad enjoys the juicy goodness of a slice of your home-baked pie. There is no better way to indulge the fathers in your life than with a nice home-baked blueberry pie. http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12654-blueberry-pie-filling?smid=fb-nytdining&smtyp=cur

Or should you be more restrained (and less blue) and try this lemon blueberry poke cake? http://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/how-to-make-homemade-lemon-blueberry-poke-cake-article

Be careful not to try any of Willy Wonka’s magic Three Course Meal Chewing Gum on your dad. Mr. Wonka is still working on the getting the kinks out of the formula. You do not want your dad to blow up and turn into a giant blueberry like Violet Beauregard did: “’Blueberry pie and cream!’ shouted Violet. ‘Here it comes! Oh my, it’s perfect! It’s beautiful! It’s . . . It’s exactly as though I’m swallowing it! It’s as though I’m chewing and swallowing great big spoonfuls of the most marvelous blueberry pie in the world!’’
-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

“She picked three more berries and ate them. Then she picked more berries and dropped one in the pail-Kurplunk! And the rest she ate. Then Little Sal ate all four blueberries out of her pail!”
-Robert McCloskey, Blueberries for Sal

Chestertown Farmers’ Market: http://www.chestertownfarmersmarket.net/
St. Michaels FreshFarm Market: http://www.localharvest.org/st-michaels-freshfarm-market-M625
Centreville Farmers’ Market: http://marylandsbest.net/producer/centreville-farmers-market/
Easton Farmers Market: https://avalonfoundation.org/easton-farmers-market
Lockbriar Farm 10051 Worton Road, Chestertown, MD 21620. http://www.lockbriarfarms.com/u-picking-at-lockbriar/
Redman Farms 8689 Bakers Lane, Chestertown, MD 21620. http://redmanfarms.net/

Food Friday: Rooting for Radishes

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I have always associated radishes with sitting on the back porch on summer evenings when I was little, watching my father transform pink hamburger patties into charbroiled hockey pucks on the hibachi. We would snack on the raw, red-skinned radishes that my mother served to us in little clear glass Pyrex bowls, filled with bone-chilling ice water. How could anything so cold have such a spicy kick? Such were the summery mysteries I contemplated back then, waiting for the dusk to fall, and the fireflies to rise from back garden.

Luke the Wonder Dog and I saw some fireflies the other night, so I imagine that summer is almost upon us. Can we resist the lure of fresh radishes? This summer I am going to be a little more adventurous and try radishes in new and different ways. I have started to branch out, by using radish slices as a garnish when we make tacos. You can never have enough crunch, and radishes provide it reliably.

For the data driven – radishes are high in fiber, riboflavin, and potassium. They are low in calories, and have lots of Vitamin C. They are a natural diuretic, and have detoxing abilities.
http://foodfacts.mercola.com/radish.html

I prefer to dwell on the spicy flavor and the crunch.

Have you tried sliced radishes on buttered bread? They will jazz up your next tea party the way cucumber sandwiches never have. Although, if you were French, you would have been eating radishes on buttered slices of brown bread for breakfast for years. Mais oui! http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125066665

And if you’d rather not be picking up disks of radishes escaping from your sandwiches, try this easy peasy radish butter. Yumsters! https://mykitchenwindowsill.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/radish-butter/

Martha suggests adding radishes to corn salad – what a great idea, Martha! The bright red color of the radishes will make a heaping bowl of cooked corn quite appealing. And the subtle addition of jalapeño gives an extra spicy kick. This is a perfect summertime backyard cookout menu item.
http://www.marthastewart.com/319260/corn-and-radish-salad

Consider the summer cocktail, and how easy it is to add some sliced radishes to your favorite Bloody Mary recipe. I’m not sure that I would go to all the trouble that this recipe stirs up – I would have to make a separate trip out to buy sherry, after all. http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/drinks/summer-cocktails-d40795c601836.html

For your next book club meeting, here is a cocktail with literary aspirations: http://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/radish-gin-cocktail-recipe-spring-vegetables-the-red-cat-nyc I haven’t been able to find the Cocchi Americano at our liquor store, though. So I have left it out, and no one seems the wiser. Nor has it been noted by my well-read blue stockings that I also used Bombay instead of the requisite Dorothy Parker gin. (For the crowd that is used to extremely cheap white wine, this is an eye-opener, just like Uncle Willy’s in Philadelphia Story. It packs a punch.)

Here’s one for Mr. Friday to perfect: grilled steak with grilled radishes. http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/grilled-steak-and-radishes-with-black-pepper-butter
It makes me sad, though, to cook a radish. There are some vegetables that are meant to be eaten gloriously simple and raw – like fresh peas, carrots, green beans and celery.

I think I will just mosey out to the kitchen now and cut the tops off some fresh, rosy red radishes. Then I’ll slice off the root ends, pretend that I can carve the little globes into beauteous rosettes, and plop them into a small bowl of ice water. Then I will sprinkle some crunchy Maldon salt flakes over the clumsy rose petal shapes I have created, and eat one of my favorite root vegetables. Ah, summer. It is good.

“Plant a radish.
Get a radish.
Never any doubt.
That’s why I love vegetables;
You know what you’re about!”
Tom Jones – The Fantasticks

Kiss the next 5 minutes of your life away! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jf9HQl8qv0

Storm Season is Coming; Time to Prepare your House by Pamela Heyne

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2012 Hurricane Sandy gave us two valuable lessons: If people are told to evacuate, they should. And, people need to make their homes as secure as possible, because these storms are more powerful than before. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory website, Atlantic hurricanes are now 60% more powerful than they were in the 1970’s and their top wind speeds have increased by 25%. Sandy’s diameter was the biggest Atlantic hurricane on record, 1,100 miles.

Here are some key suggestions to make your home more hurricane resistant. Some suggestions entail new materials and techniques.

Windows: these must be secured because during a storm it is very important to keep high-velocity air out of the home. Depending on variables, the house could explode like a balloon if hurricane-force air suddenly whooshes in.(hurricane force wind can be between 74 and 157 mph.) Hurricane proof windows have proven effective here and in other areas. They are double glazed with a laminated layer on the room side. Roll down shutters can be operated at the touch of a button. High tech fabric panels or lightweight polycarbonate panels admit light to the home when installed, and are an improvement in impact tests over plywood.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 9.33.34 AMRoof: You may want to check our your roof structure to make sure it has appropriate hurricane ties that attach the beams or trusses to the walls of the house. These may need to be upgraded. According to Craig Willis of Chesapeake Builders in Saint Michaels, the straps should be rated for 1000 pounds of uplift or more. He notes there are numerous configurations of straps available. These are more common in new homes. Retrofitting an older home might be done at a time when new insulation is considered, for instance.

Flooding: With hurricanes another worry is possible flooding. If you have a mortgage on your home the lender undoubtedly requires you to have flood insurance, a good thing. Car experts recommend a lift for your automobile in your garage if you have enough headroom, and reinforced slab. Some years ago a neighbor’s new Jaguar was ruined by rising waters in the garage. The mere thought of it made this Jaguar lover wince!

Debris: It is important to keep branches picked up, and to make sure trees are properly trimmed. Even on the interior of the home, individual rugs are easier to move than wall to wall carpet. And speaking from experience, newspapers are easier to recycle when dry than when wet!

Folks in New Jersey and New York had a false sense of security when Sandy hit, because prior to that they had “over-prepared’ for Hurricane Irene. But Sandy, the “Frankenstorm”, killed 233 people total and left an enormous path of devastation. Lucky for us in our area, the storm veered north rather than roaring up the Chesapeake Bay.

Pamela Heyne, AIA is a Saint Michaels architect.

Taste of the Town Chefs Receive People’s Choice Awards

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Lina of Little Village Bakery puts final touches on a cake - runner up for Best Use of Local Ingredients

Lina of Little Village Bakery puts final touches on a cake
– runner up for Best Use of Local Ingredients

Guests attending the 9th annual Taste of the Town were tasked with a difficult decision; choosing which dishes were the “Most Creative,” “Most Flavorful,”
and whose food showed the “Best Use of Local Ingredients.” The event was held on Sunday, May 1 in downtown Chestertown’s Fountain Park, and featured 13 restaurants from Chestertown and all corners of Kent County.

“Most Flavorful” dish was awarded to The Kitchen at the Imperial for their Barbacoa beef tacos and spicy sriracha slaw. Runner up was the braised short rib, with red onion marmalade from Chef Larry Ortmann, Chester River Yacht & Country Club. Barbara’s On the Bay was voted “Best Use of Local Ingredients” for the Crab Pretzel, with The Lemon Leaf’s Crab Bisque a close second. Chef Bruce Wetterau from the Kitty Knight House received “Most Creative” for his Crab Stuffed Chicken, with the Little Village Bakery’s Honey Lavender Cupcakes and Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Champagne Filling just one vote behind.

The Taste of the Town is sponsored by the Downtown Chestertown Association, (DCA) with generous support from Chesapeake Bank and Trust, Chestertown Natural Foods, DE Nicholson, Yerkes Construction, Peoples Bank, Twigs and Teacups and Dixon Valve & Coupling.

The DCA is committed to maintaining a viable historic business district as an integral part of preserving the quality of Kent County life. For additional information, visit www.downtownchestertown.org.

Humane Society Hosts Summer Cocktail Party June 17

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A summer cocktail party fundraiser for the Humane Society of Kent County will be held on Friday, June 17 th from 5 to 7 PM at Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville. Tickets are $25 per person and include appetizers and one glass of wine.

Additional wine can be purchased. Music will be provided by Tim Carroll. Tickets can be purchased at The Humane Society or from their website www.kenthumane.org. All proceeds benefit the animals of The Humane Society of Kent County.

Adkins Arboretum Announces ‘Native Table’ Raffle

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Early-afternoon brunch en plein air with fall leaves drifting lazily to the forest floor…a sunset dinner on the wetland overlook set to a serenade of spring peepers…indulgent desserts in the Native Plant Nursery’s lush greenhouse. These delights are what winners of Adkins Arboretum’s Native Table raffles can anticipate.

Beginning this spring, the Arboretum will hold two Native Table raffles annually. Winners will receive a seasonal dining experience for 20 inspired by the Arboretum’s wild edibles. Only 100 tickets will be sold per raffle, with proceeds used to support the Arboretum’s mission of conserving the Chesapeake Bay region’s native landscapes.

The winner of the first Native Table raffle will receive Brunch Under the Branches, a decadent brunch for 20 catered by chef Steve Konopelski of Turnbridge Point Bed & Breakfast. Guests will indulge in offerings inspired by the field and forest, including wild onion frittata, banana and black walnut muffins, sassafras sweet tea, highbush blueberry cobbler, and field greens garnished with wood sorrel in a sumac vinaigrette.

Konopelski is a classically trained pastry chef and couture wedding cake designer who graduated at the top of his class from the prestigious French Culinary Institute. A former Broadway performer, he infuses his creations with passion and artistry. His love of performing and ability to connect with people have made Konopelski a popular teacher whose love of teaching is almost matched by his love of baking. Konopelski and his husband, Rob Griffith, own and operate Turnbridge Point, an upscale bed and breakfast and event venue in Denton.

Brunch Under the Branches will be held under the Arboretum’s new education pavilion on Sun., Sept. 18 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Ticket sales are underway and will end on Thurs., June 30 or when all 100 tickets are sold. The winner will be selected by a random drawing on Fri., July 1. Tickets may be purchased at adkinsarboretum.org or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0. for more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org.

Photo courtesy of Steve Konopelski

Photo courtesy of Steve Konopelski

Garden Club May Mart Will Bloom Again May 13 in Fountain Park

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If you are looking for a new plant or have a question about gardening—then plan to stop by May Mart on Friday, May 13.  The Chestertown Garden Club will hold its annual plant and bake sale from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Fountain Park in downtown Chestertown.  The festive spring event helps to support the club’s activities plus efforts to maintain and beautify the town’s parks.

Spring annuals, perennials and shrubs, as well as specialty baked goods, vintage fashion accessories, “All Things Garden” and a “What Not Table” array will be offered for sale. Garden Club members will be on hand to provide information and advice on planting and plant care.

This year a charming white vintage garden bench with a cushion at a value of $200 will be offered through a raffle.  

The club will also hold its popular “Picnic in the Park” gourmet box lunch as part of May Mart.  Lunches, priced at $8.50, may be ordered in advance by contacting Holly Bramble at 410-778-1857 or email at dorsey0419@gmail.com.

The Chestertown Garden Club was founded more than 75 years ago to bring together women with a mutual interest in gardening.  Today, the civic-minded group has an active membership of approximately 30 women.  Members contribute labor, time and resources to improve and maintain the Chestertown’s public spaces.  The CGC provides informative meetings that are open to the public, local flower shows and pilgrimages to area gardens.  The club also decorates Fountain Park for the Christmas season, and works with Kent School on special gardening projects and Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, Inc. for their summer program.

Lure of LED Lighting by Pamela Heyne

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A few years ago I gave a friend a beautifully wrapped Christmas present. In the box was an LED light bulb. The friend was a strong environmentalist, yet kept her old incandescent bulbs throughout her house because she liked the amber color, even though her bulbs were actually little heaters that only produced 10% light. I was showing my friend that she had a different option.

For a while there it looked like those cold looking compact fluorescents were the main way to light our homes responsibly. But, coming on sScreen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.04.43 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.04.36 PMrong has been a whole array of exciting LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. Want exposed filament? I have decorative LED’s that look like they came out of Edison’s workroom. I also have LED spotlights, “candles”, soffit lights that can shift color, and table lamps.

For clients I have specified glamorous closet rod LED’s, and LED’s that change color and flicker in time to music.

Admittedly, buying LEDs can get complicated. Want a warmer hued light? Go for 2,700 to 3,000 kelvin. If you want the equivalent of a 60 watt bulb, chose an LED A19 bulb that is only 9 watts (yes, nine watts!). Most are dimmable now, but you should check because some are not. Some will work with standard incandescent dimmers, but LED dimmers are the best fit to make sure there is no annoying flicker. As for recessed lights, while you can just screw in a bulb, it is recommended that simple screw in retrofits (bulb and rim combined) be used instead for better heat management.

Prices keep coming down…While $3.00 and more per bulb is more than the old incandescents, the LED saves money in the long run. The standard incandescent costs $4.80 per year to use while the LED costs about $1.00. The LED also can last for twenty five years, does not burn fingers, has no toxic components, can be dropped with little harm done, and reduces A.C. loads.

By simply installing LED’s in your home, it is possible to reduce your carbon footprint by 6 tons of carbon a year….plus you can have fun doing it!

Pamela Heyne is a Saint Michaels architect and writer. She was lighting consultant for Hearthstone Health and Fitness in Easton. pam@heynedesign.com

Food Friday: Artichokes for Streaking

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How are you getting ready for May Day? Are you practicing your May pole dance? Have you shaken out the dust and the bells on your Morris dancing costume? Are you looking for love? Are you going to participate in the much-loved rite of spring: streaking? If you answer “Yes!” to any of those questions then you might want to buy some artichokes in preparation.

Long considered an aphrodisiac, the artichoke is technically a flower bud that has not yet bloomed. Such a potent symbol: prickly on the outside, soft and yielding on the inside. In 1576, Dr. Bartolomeo Boldo wrote that the artichoke “has the virtue of … provoking Venus for both men and women; for women making them more desirable, and helping the men who are in these matters rather tardy.” Stock up on equal opportunity artichokes, they are good for everyone!

Greek mythology gives Zeus the credit for creating of the artichoke. After he had been spurned by a beautiful woman, Zeus turned his love object into a thorny thistle, the artichoke. The ancient Greeks and Romans thought the artichoke was a rare and delicious delicacy. What better time than the beginning of May to celebrate the artichoke, particularly when it is at the peak of its season? And Sunday is May Day, so you should get off on the right foot.

After the Greeks and the Romans the artichoke spread to Spain. Catherine de Medici was supposed to have brought the artichoke to France when she arrived to marry the future Henry II. Catherine was known for her voracious appetites for both food and romance, and she scandalized the French court by eating lots of artichokes, and enjoying the sexy reputation that resulted. Shortly thereafter the artichoke crossed the Channel, where Henry VIII, he of many wives, was thought to be quite fond of them.

The French brought the artichoke to America. George Washington grew them at Mount Vernon. Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery contains a 17th-century recipe “To Make Hartichoak Pie.” At one point in Hamilton, the current Broadway show, it is remarked that Alexander Hamilton was a serial philanderer, and “Martha Washington named her feral tomcat after him.” One wonders if she ever served Alexander Hamilton Harty Choak Pie, too.

From Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery:

To Make an Harty Choak Pie:
Take 12 harty choak bottoms yt are good & large, after you have boyled them, take them cleere from ye leaves & cores, season them with a little pepper & salt & lay them on a coffin of paste, with a pound of butter & ye marrow of 2 bones in bigg pieces, then close it up to set in ye oven, then put halfe a pound of sugar to halfe a pinte of verges [a sauce made with green herbs] & some powder of cinnamon and ginger – boyle these together & when ye pie is halfe baked put the liquor in & set it in ye oven againe till it be quite bak’d.

Most artichokes sold in the United States today are grown in Castroville, California. In keeping with the artichoke’s somewhat sensual reputation, it should be noted that in 1947 Marilyn Monroe, then Norma Jean, was crowned Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen.

If you are going to get up to corporeal mischief this weekend, here are some helpful pointers:
This is a useful video of Jacques Pepin prepping an artichoke:
http://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/prepping-artichokes-versus-buying-artichoke-hearts-article

I have a fantasy life where on the weekends we are visited by our sophisticated and witty friends, who are stealing time away from their fascinating and glamorous careers in the arts. The only breakfast I could dream of serving them would be this:
http://www.marthastewart.com/356430/steamed-artichokes-poached-eggs-and-smoked-salmon

It never hurts to have elegant imaginary friends.But if I expect a little romance myself this weekend, I had best up our breakfast game. I am going to give this a whirl: http://artichokes.org/recipes-and-such/recipes/artichoke-frittata Sadly, the Saturday morning reality is just Mr. Friday and me sitting blearily at the kitchen table, reading the papers, and considering our list of weekend chores while shoveling sticks and twigs into our gawping mouths. On Sundays we add bacon. This weekend I will throw a some inspiring artichokes into the mix and trust to fate!

“Tra la! It’s May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev’ryone goes
Blissfully astray.”
-Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, Camelot

Here is a nice Maryland variation on the artichoke theme that Food52 suggests we try: https://food52.com/recipes/4382-crab-stuffed-artichokes