Food Day Celebration Includes Food Drive to Benefit Community Food Pantry

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On October 24th and 25th, Chestertown residents join Food Day, www.foodday.org, the nationwide celebration that inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies with a Two Day Food Drive to benefit the Kent County Community Food Pantry. The Downtown Chestertown Association (DCA) and Chestertown Natural Foods have organized the Food Drive with generous help from Washington College Sorority Alpha Omicron Pi.

“The residents of Chestertown are famously enthusiastic and supportive of real food. Our Saturday morning Farmer’s Market features produce grown by our neighbors making a Food Day celebration a logical and much welcome celebration of real nutritious food.  I urge all Chestertown residents to participate in our inaugural Food Day celebration and make it the success I know it will be,” noted Mayor Chris Cerino.

Collection boxes will be at Acme, The Freeze, Walgreens, 7-11, Twigs & Teacups, Chesapeake Bank & Trust, and Chestertown Natural Foods on Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th.

The fourth annual Food Day will see thousands of events in all 50 states aimed at promoting “real and just” food for all. All year round, Food Day is devoted to mobilizing support for policies that advance healthier diets, promote sustainable and organic agriculture, reduce hunger, reform factory farms, and support fair working conditions for food and farm workers.

Food Friday: The Julia Child Effect

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Twice a day, Luke and I eye each other for a few moments after he sits, on command, before he falls on his bowl of kibble. He is waiting for me to give him the okay to start eating. What trills out of my mouth is my bad imitation of Julia Child shrieking in falsetto, “Bon appétit!” We have been doing this for two years. The poor dog. He lives in a bad Saturday Night Live sketch, sans a Bass-o-matic.

Although I should report that I just stalked back into the studio from the laundry room where I stood, and looked accusingly at Luke, as he retreated from attempting to inhale the stinky cat food. Wouldn’t Julia Child have shouted out, “Bad dog!” in French? “Luc, tu es un vilain chien!” (That was my best Kevin Kline French accent, by the way.) These are the daily trials that challenge people who work from home. If I had been in a proper office exchanging bon mots with my talented and creative colleagues, Luke could have carried out his mission in triumph, and no one would have been the wiser. The cat would suffer in her usual silent, moribund fashion. Bon appétit, indeed…

I hear Julia’s voice like Handel’s fanfare announcing the arrival of the Queen of Sheba when I think of certain foods, like quiche Lorraine, cheese soufflé and babas au rhum, and of course, coq au vin. Julie Powell wrote cleverly about her fascination with Julia Child, but I think we all have a little bit of Julia Child’s spirit when we return to the kitchen after our summer hiatus, and take up the challenge of cooking warm, nurturing meals for our dinner companions and loved ones. Julia is whispering inside our pointy little heads that we can be French chefs, if only for the weekend. Walk away from the grill, put down the pizza dough and file the take away menus. Light the stove. Open the wine. Let’s cook!

Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, Mushrooms and Bacon]
Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Feeds 4 to 6 people
A 3- to 4-ounce chunk of bacon
A heavy, 10-inch, fireproof casserole
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 to 3 pounds cut-up frying chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cognac
3 cups young, full-bodied red wine such as Burgundy, Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Chianti
1 to 2 cups brown chicken stock, brown stock or canned beef bouillon
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
12 to 24 brown-braised onions (recipe follows)
1/2 pound sautéed mushrooms (recipe follows)
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons softened butter
Sprigs of fresh parsley

1. Remove the rind of and cut the bacon into lardons (rectangles 1/4-inch across and 1 inch long). Simmer for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water. Rinse in cold water. Dry. [Deb note: As noted, I'd totally skip this step next time.]
2. Sauté the bacon slowly in hot butter until it is very lightly browned. Remove to a side dish.
3. Dry the chicken thoroughly. Brown it in the hot fat in the casserole.
4. Season the chicken. Return the bacon to the casserole with the chicken. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.
5. Uncover, and pour in the cognac. Averting your face, ignite the cognac with a lighted match. Shake the casserole back and forth for several seconds until the flames subside.
6. Pour the wine into the casserole. Add just enough stock or bouillon to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to the simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run a clear yellow when the meat is pricked with a fork. Remove the chicken to a side dish.
7. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms (recipe follows).
8. Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole for a minute or two, skimming off the fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/4 cups. Correct seasoning. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.
9. Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste (buerre manie). Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whip. Bring to the simmer, stirring, and simmer for a minute or two. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
10. Arrange the chicken in the casserole, place the mushrooms and onions around it and baste with the sauce. If this dish is not to be served immediately, film the top of the sauce with stock or dot with small pieces of butter. Set aside uncovered. It can now wait indefinitely.
11. Shortly before serving, bring to the simmer, basting the chicken with the sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is hot enough.
12. Sever from the casserole, or arrange on a hot platter. Decorate with spring for parsley.

Oignons Glacés a Brun [Brown-braised Onions]
Mastering the Art of French Cooking

For 18 to 24 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
A 9- to 10-inch enameled skillet
1/2 cup of brown stock, canned beef bouillon, dry white wine, red wine or water
Salt and pepper to taste
A medium herb bouquet: 3 parsley springs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 1/4 teaspoon thyme tied in cheesecloth
When the butter and oil are bubbling the skillet, add the onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly.
Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herb bouquet. Serve them as they are.

Champignons Sautés Au Buerre [Sautéed Mushrooms]
Mastering the Art of French Cooking

A 10-inch enameled skillet
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed, well dried, left whole if small, sliced or quartered if large
1 to 2 tablespoons minced shallots or green onions (optional)
Salt and pepper
Place the skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating that it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. During their sauté the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.
Toss the shallots or green onions with the mushrooms. Sauté over moderate heat for 2 minutes.
Sautéed mushrooms may be cooked in advance, set aside, then reheated when needed. Season to taste just before serving.

(Thanks to http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/12/magnificence-au-vin/)

Here are one hundred of Julia Child’s favorite dishes:
http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/06/01/julia-child%E2%80%99s-100-favorite-recipes-revealed Mmmmm. #37, braised calf brains…

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child

Crickets Are On The Menu As WC Celebrates Food Day

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Pat Crowley is an advocate for bringing nutrient-rich insects into Western diets.

Pat Crowley is an advocate for bringing nutrient-rich insects into Western diets.

Washington College goes buggy to celebrate national Food Day on Friday, October 24, with a talk from an environmentally friendly entrepreneur who makes protein bars with cricket flour and opportunities to eat several insect-based dishes including cricket tacos, cricket energy bars and desserts made with meal worms.

Pat Crowley, founder and CEO of Chapul Bars, makers of energy and protein bars, will speak at 5:00 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. He will explain why his company incorporates cricket flour as a sustainable source of protein in its bars. Proponents such as Crowley say crickets and certain other insects are a nutrient-dense and sustainable food source that should be raised and cultivated on a large scale.

Washington College professor of anthropology William Schindler, who is helping organize Food Day events, believes entomophagy, or eating insects as food, satisfies the major key themes in healthy eating today. “They are nutrient dense, local, organic, and gluten free,” he notes. “In fact, insects provide amazing proteins and fats, and they do so in a way that is much more sustainable than traditional domesticated animals. The Food Day events at Washington College will provide an opportunity to see that insects can be healthy, sustainable, and delicious.”

In addition to offering cricket tacos and a station to try your hand at making your own cricket flour energy bars, Washington College Dining Services will focus its menus for the day on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. The dining hall is located on the second floor of Hodson Hall Commons and is open to the public for all meals (breakfast, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., $6.40; lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., $9.35; and dinner, 4:45 to 7:30 p.m., $11.40).

Thousands of Food Day events are held throughout the United States to raise awareness for healthier eating and its power to combat obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. The Washington College Food Day activities are sponsored by Dining Services, the Center for Environment and Society, and the Department of Anthropology.

Food Friday: Beer Today, Gone Tomorrow

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We have quite a few friends who are real beer enthusiasts. They have traveled to Belgium and Holland for the beer. They make sudden detours when spinning around Irish roundabouts to find remote specialty pubs. They visit microbreweries. They make knowing and considered remarks about the subtle and alluring flavor of a wheat beer. They nod seriously as they quaff. So perhaps they should read no further, because this week, in honor of National American Beer Month, we will be using beer as an ingredient, not as a beverage.

When I started drinking beer back in the Dark Ages, the event we remember most fondly about Freshman Orientation at Washington College was that there was a beer truck, dispensing pale, watery tepid refreshment. (It was legal back then for eighteen year olds to drink beer.) We progressed to highly sophisticated and stylish Dollar Drunks in East Hall, and on Thursday nights we ordered the cheapest, lightest beers at the Tavern. Flash ahead a few years when I was living in London, and learning to drink bitter, never lager. Perhaps it was the Orientation experience that set my palate for warmish, watery brews…

In Washington State while on vacation this summer we visited some local establishments that had many an artisanal beer on tap, and my recent college graduate would delight in pontificating on the pros and cons of each beer he taste-tested. I will drink a good local beer to be polite when traveling, but mostly I order Bass Pale Ale. With Fall arriving, we need to consider some comfort foods, and freshly baked breads and cakes should fit the bill.

Easy, Peasy Beer Bread

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces beer (I used Heineken)
2 tablespoons melted butter

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. Butter an 8×4 inch loaf pan and set aside. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and beer in a large bowl and mix well. The mixture will be sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes.
3. During the last few minutes of baking, remove the loaf from oven, and brush the top with the melted butter and return to oven for the final three minutes of baking.

Add chili, chips and more beer.

http://www.brit.co/beer-bread-recipes/

http://www.spoonforkbacon.com/2012/11/black-pepper-parmesan-beer-bread/

Here is a Guinness Cake from the kitchen goddess herself, Nigella Lawson:
http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/chocolate-guinness-cake-3086

I just love her opening line: “This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness.”

We have started talking about Thanksgiving – which is a huge development in our normal planning process (which is to procrastinate until the last possible moment) and perhaps we will be brining and then deep frying the turkey this year. Here is a baby step for anyone else contemplating such a radical change to a holiday tradition! And here we give thanks to our friends at Food52 for cooking a chicken: https://food52.com/recipes/1431-stout-little-hen

Needless to say, one must always be sure to use high quality, well-tested ingredients when cooking at home. Bottoms up!

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Chestertown Garden Club’s Flower Show Follow-Up

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Left to right:  Rita Premo, Sandy Griffin, Connie Schroth, Lolli Sherry  (This group won 2 categories - Design that best represents the Selected Theme (Thanksgiving), and Best Overall Design.

Left to right: Rita Premo, Sandy Griffin, Connie Schroth, Lolli Sherry (This group won 2 categories – Design that best represents the Selected Theme (Thanksgiving), and Best Overall Design.

The October 7th Chestertown Garden Club Program featured an “in-house” Flower Show devoted to enhancing the members’ floral design abilities. Members were divided into groups of 3 or 4 and designed an informal table setting selecting a theme from a list including many popular holidays in the year. The designed table setting was used for the luncheon service for the garden club members participating in the creation of the exhibit.

Judging was done by secret ballots submitted by members and guests of the club in the following categories: Best Floral Design, Best Overall Design, Most Creative Design, and the Design that Best Represents the Selected Theme. Judging was followed with a luncheon and then the floral designs were raffled off.

Winners were:

Best Overall Design and Design that Best Represents the Selected Theme – Rita Premo, Sandy Griffin, Connie Schroth, and Lolli Sherry;

Best Floral Design was a tie between two groups – Nancy Hill, Barbara Macbeth, Jan Murphy & Leslie Seabrook, and Linda Verbeck, Heide Harlow, and Jeanne Johnson;

Most Creative Design went to Beryl Kemp, Sandy Ryan and Robin Emling.

The next meeting of the Chestertown Garden Club will be on November 4th in the evening at the Chester River Yacht & Country Club when John Bartram will join us for a presentation. This meeting will be open to the public and we would love to have you join us.

Food Friday: It’s National Pumpkin Month!

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And it is also National Dessert Month!

Heavens to Betsy! However shall we deal with two such charming prospects? Let’s start at the very beginning, and learn how to prepare pumpkin purée, so you can leave the cans of Libby’s on the grocery store shelves and do more than decorate with all of the pumpkins you are going to haul home from this weekend’s farmers’ markets.

Pumpkin Purée

Ingredients
3 pounds sliced pumpkin
½ cup water

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the pumpkin chunks on a cookie sheet with sides or a big sheet cake pan – skin-side down or up – it doesn’t matter.
Pour the water in the pan. Roast for 45 minutes until fork tender.
Remove the pumpkin from skin when it is still warm. Purée in a food processor or blender until it is smooth. Store it in a container in the fridge for about a week or freeze some of it for a later use.

Now that you have some purée on hand, it is time to get baking! And because it is National Dessert Month you have to bake something sweet and wicked and pumpkin-y. (Next week is National American Beer Week, in case you wondered…)

I am a big fan of cupcakes. They are small, sweet and finite. We don’t live in a big hipster city, so I haven’t experienced many artisinal bakeries that specialize in solely cupcakes. We wandered into the Hummingbird Bakery in London one cold wet November and were delighted by their wee, sweet, and colorful cakes, but I missed all the hoopla and hours standing in line in New York at the trendy Magnolia Bakery, which was made famous and desirable by Sex and the City – though I doubt whether those skinny-mini actors actually ate any of the cupcakes… I would opt for the cupcakes over their shoes, though.

Cupcakes are a temptation you don’t have to resist; they are a perfect form of portion control. Plus you can enjoy delicately peeling away the fluted paper cup, and remember that it is a lifelong skill you mastered in first grade, perhaps. If you have no impulse management at all you can go buy half a dozen pumpkin pecan cupcakes at Magnolia for $24, or you can bake some more humble – yet equally delish pumpkin cupcakes – yourself, and pocket about $20. http://store.magnoliabakery.com/pumpkin-pecan-cupcake-p44.aspx

Here is a family-sized recipe for pumpkin cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting – makes 18 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt (we like crunchy Maldon salt)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée (but you have yours safely tucked up in the fridge!)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium sized bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice together and set aside.
In a big bowl, whisk the sugars, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pumpkin purée.
Divide batter evenly among liners, I use a plastic measuring cup, either the quarter cup or the third of a cup, depending on the size of the cupcake. (Too much math for me to figure out mini cupcake measurements, though. You will need to eyeball those.) Fill them each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, or if the toothpick comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack.
It is the taste of pumpkin pie without the holiday trappings or in-law trauma!

Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick, 4 ounces), room temperature
8 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
2 to 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla – pure extract – no imitation!

Use an electric mixer and beat the cream cheese and butter together until completely smooth, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to be sure that the mixture is evenly mixed

Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer running, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Confectioners’ sugar has cornstarch that will help thicken the frosting, as well as making it sweet. Keeping adding confectioners’ sugar until the frosting is thick enough to schmear in an satisfyingly artistic fashion across the tops of the cupcakes. Decorate with abandon. Candy corn or sprinkles are encouraged, or the edible dragées, the silver ball bearings that the Doctor so adores. And what are you going to do with that $20?

“First we eat, then we do everything else.”
― M.F.K. Fisher

Eastern Shore: The New Wine Country

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Wine Country and Eastern Shore of Maryland are yet to be synonymous phrases.

That could change as new vineyards are established across the Shore from Berlin to Rising Sun—and both new and older vineyards collect prestigious awards along the way.

Of the more than 60 wineries in Maryland—with $30 million annually in sales according to recent studies— 14 of them are part of the developing Chesapeake Wine Trail on the Eastern Shore.

Six wine trails now lace Maryland’s countryside and the Chesapeake Wine Trail on the Eastern Shore is poised to play a significant part in the new Vintage Atlantic Wine Region, along with Delaware, Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey.

At the September 18 launch party for the new wine region, held at Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel, Delaware, winery owner Chuck Nunan expressed his enthusiasm saying, “This is a really an exciting time for wine growing on the Eastern Shore. 55 wineries and vineyards are coming together to create tourist destinations points. We’re at the place Napa Valley was in the 60’s, and each of these wineries directly benefits their local communities. One out of 18 jobs in this country is related to tourism.”

vineyard

Lotte Bowie and her husband Walter took an early interest in Chesapeake region wineries. Connecting with the wine industry through their Loblolly Productions, a design and marketing firm in Still Pond, Maryland, they have become instrumental with branding and marketing Eastern Shore wineries and vineyards. Their online information portal, www.shorevines.com, showcases the growth and potential of vineyards and wineries on the Eastern Shore and offers detailed articles and in-depth video interviews about how to start and manage a winery.

“There are five wineries within 20 minutes of Chestertown: Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville, Salisa Winery and Clovelly Vineyards in Chestertown, Cassinelli Winery and Vineyards in Church Hill and Tilmon’s Island Winery in Sudlersville. We want locals to know about this group also because it is becoming an important part of our local economic health,” Bowie says.

Doris Mason, Executive Director of Upper Shore Regional Council, sees the Wine Trail and Chesapeake Wine County concept as a vibrant economic force. The USRC, charged with fostering economic and social development of Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, supports the shoreVines initiative

“Not only is there an economic impact through employment, but also there are other arteries that go with supporting vineyards and wineries—restaurants, bed and breakfasts, hotels, even conversations about upcoming distilleries and breweries—that all play into networking and developing a larger tourist industry,” Mason says.

Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville.

Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville.

And the wine? People are taking notice.

Wine enthusiasts and judges are giving a hearty thumbs-up and handing out top-flight awards to Shore wineries.

Bordeleau Vineyards, near Salisbury, just won the Shore’s 1st Governor’s Cup Best in Show for their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Amarone and many other Eastern Shore wineries  have won accolades as well, including Crow Vineyard and Winery Best in Class for their 2012 Barbera Rosé and gold for their 2012 Vidal Blanc, and Clovelly Vineyard’s silver for their 2013 Rosé and Vidal Blanc.

So much for the “Eastern Shore can’t make quality wine theory.”

“Our wines are phenomenal and the impact on the community is immense. It’s only just begun,” Chuck Nunan said at the Harvest Ridge ceremony for the Vintage Atlantic Wine Region.

In the following video, Lotte Bowie and Doris Mason talk about wineries and vineyards, the growth of the industry on the Eastern Shore, and the bright outlook for the Eastern Shore of Maryland as… Wine Country.

 

 

map_CWT-2

Map and Crow Vineyard photo by Lotte Bowie, loblolly.biz

Links:

Vintage Atlantic Wine Region

ShoreVines

Maryland Wine

Chesapeake Wine Country

In Search of Eastern Shore Gluten Free: Easton

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glutenfreebakerygirlTucked inside the very first stall of Easton Market Square on Washington Street you’ll find professional pastry chef, Tricia King. There, in a tidy little kitchen, she creates cookies, muffins, pies, cakes, specialty pastries and more, all with a special twist. They’re completely gluten-free.

“Gluten-free isn’t a fad, it is definitely here to stay” said King, owner of the business Gluten Free Bakery Girl. “My customers are people with celiac disease, but also people with gluten intolerance, or any type of inflammation – Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Lyme disease, or many other autoimmune disorders. Even parents of children with autism say that a gluten free diet without sugar or dairy makes a difference.”

What is gluten? It’s simply a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. People with celiac disease can’t digest it and become very ill, and people with gluten intolerance feel achy, tired and sore after eating it. King’s experience was that she’d feel lethargic for days after eating gluten. And in our industrial food system, gluten can be found in the most unlikely places – in sour cream and yogurt, for instance, black olives, and anything labeled “modified food starch.”

Confused? You’re not alone. But it’s becoming easier to access gluten-free products and more information is widely known about the disorders. Tricia King offers consulting services to people who have recently been identified as gluten intolerant. As a personal chef for over ten years, she has the skills and experience to help people modify their kitchens and diets to keep themselves well. She can help anyone pick safe foods, read food labels to identify hidden dangers, and feel good about a gluten-free lifestyle.

Soon her operation will be certified as gluten-free by the FDA – a lengthy process in which all of her handmade flour mixes will be laboratory tested to ensure that there are less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This certification will allow customers to be sure that every single item made in King’s kitchen is completely safe for gluten intolerant eaters.  King also makes paleo items, as well as sugar-free baked goods using coconut palm sugar.

With an expanding wholesale business, Gluten Free Bakery Girl products can now be found in Annapolis and beyond. Locally, you’ll find Tricia King at Easton Market Square from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm W-F, and 8:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday, her busiest day of the week. Call ahead 48 hours for special orders, from birthday cakes to breakfast pastries, cookie trays or specialties for holiday parties.

“If people have questions, they should come see me. I’m here for anybody with gluten intolerance” she said. For more information, call (801)792-3700, see her website here, or stop in and visit her at Easton Market Square at 137 N. Harrison St in Easton.

Food Friday: A Crop of Apples

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Crunch! Give me crunch. Walking through piles of leaves. Eating apples. The little bit of tooth that defines the perfect French fry. Bacon. The delicious snap of a thin, carmelized-along-the-edge chocolate chip cookie. To intone Martha, these are good things.

Apples always remind me of brown-bagged lunches, with warm, wax paper-wrapped cheese sandwiches. And they make me think of Jo March, scribbling in her cold New England attic, her inky fingers clutching apples as she gnawed away, reviewing her latest lurid tale. Apples bring knowledge and comfort, and at this time of year, there is a profusion of reasons to eat them often.

It’s a little early for the strolls through crunchy leaves, but the autumnal yen of eating crunchy apples can be indulged right now. You need to motivate and travel to your favorite farmers’ markets this weekend and stock up on freshly picked treasures, because there are so many good things you can make! Of course, it is always gilding the proverbial lily to do anything to an apple but wash it and take a bite. Even pies seem unnecessarily vulgar. Does an apple really need brown sugar, cinnamon and dabs of butter to taste better? Of course not! But any iteration of an apple is a good thing!

There is romance and poetry in the 7500* known varieties of apples: Adirondack crab-apple, Albermarle Pippin, Allen’s Everlasting, Ambrosia, American Mother, Annie Elizabeth, Cameo, Captain Kidd, Cellini, Coeur de Boeuf, Gala, Granny Smith, Maiden’s Blush, McIntosh, Red Jonathan, Rhode Island Greening, Winesap, and Zuccalmaglio’s Reinette. You should go to this site and read some of the apples’ characteristics. The Zuccalmaglio description reads: “Flavored with tones of wild strawberry, quince, pineapple, ripe ear and a fine floral touch. Rough sticky skin flushed brown-red with faint red stripes and some russeting. Fine grained flesh.” Sheer poetry. http://www.orangepippin.com/apples
(*Thank you, Serious Eats! http://www.seriouseats.com)

Our first world problems include having very few varieties of apples at the grocery store. Which is why you need to get to your farmers’ market. I would rather rummage through 19 varieties grown locally, than choose from 5 kinds shipped 2,000 miles across the country – fruits chosen for their long shelf life and bruise resistance. Here is an interesting article about testing 10 different kinds of apples to see which is the best for pie: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/10/the-food-lab-what-are-the-best-apples-for-apple-pies-how-to-make-pie.html

Now here are just a few ideas of what you can do with all those delicious apples: applesauce, apple butter, apple fritters, apple cobbler, apple cookies, apple fritters, apple jelly, candy apples, apple crisp, mulled cider, apple cake, apple chutney, apple-tinis, cider doughnuts, apple pancakes, apple turnovers, apple stuffing, Waldorf salad, apple tarts, baked apples, apple brown Betty, apple muffins, and, of course, apple pie (deep-dish or regular).

This Apple Crumble is easy peasy and so good!

6 Golden Delicious or Braeburn apples, peeled, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
4 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice
Grated zest of one orange
2/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked oats

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix apples, sugar, lemon juice and orange zest. In another bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss with butter. Combine with apple mixture in a buttered baking dish.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a nice big splotch of whipped cream. Yumsters. All of the taste of apple pie with no fragile or temperamental pie crust to contend with.

For a boozier cream try this:
Bourbon Cream
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon good bourbon

Appletinis:

This is a serious treatise on the awful syrup-y sweet cocktails of the 90s. It treats apples with respect and good bison grass vodka:
http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/01/cocktail-overhaul-upgraded-appletini-better-apple-martini-vesper-variation.html

“Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard.”
― Walt Whitman