Chestertown shops and galleries are looking forward to cooler temperatures and seeing everyone this Friday, September 4, and the kick off for Labor Day Weekend. Most shops will be open until 7 pm in honor of First Friday. In the interest of community health and safety, no complimentary refreshments will be offered. In addition, we ask that you wear masks and practice social distancing while downtown.
Stock up for the weekend at the Farmers’ Market Saturday morning. If you’d rather dine out, “Chestertown al Fresco” continues, Saturday, September 5, under the lights on High Street at the Kitchen at the Imperial. Open from 6 to 10 pm., reservations are strongly encouraged. Casa Carmen will host a street dinner on Cannon Street the following Saturday, September 12.
We welcome you First Friday and every day! Shop local and shop safe.
Six years ago, Ruby Vanags knew nothing about making cakes. This month, she opened Ruby’s Cake Shoppe & Pastries at 415 B, East Dover Road, in Easton. If the long lines at her business are any indication, she not only succeeded in learning, she’s mastered the art of baking.
To get to today, you have to go back to six years ago, when Vanags received a special birthday cake her husband bought from Desserts by Rita in Ocean City. It was a mixture of mangos and strawberries, flavors that reminded her of her Philippines heritage. She became obsessed with it, hoping that a bakery closer to the Eastern Shore could replicate it (and preferably make it cheaper as well). Her search was unsuccessful, and Vanags decided to learn how to make it herself. When store-bought cake mixes didn’t give her the results she wanted, she went online and tried variations. Each attempt was a failure.
Fortunately, at the time, Vanags was working for the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge and asked for help from her pastry chef friend. “I want to master chiffon cakes,” she told him. “But my cakes keep overflowing. So, he said to me, ‘honey, you have to find a deeper pan.'” That was the beginning. “I failed nine times,” she said, “but I got it right on the 10th try.”
Vanags suddenly found herself a new hobby. Friends and family began to ask her to bake for special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, and even weddings. And she got really good at it. “Every time I wanted to create something, it just clicked. Every time I wanted to learn something different, I wouldn’t stop until I got it right. Baking is very time consuming, and you need to be patient, and I was patient.”
Even though Vanags was willing to remain patient as she learned all she could about baking, some of her friends urged her to open up a store. One, in particular, asked her to explore how much it would take to start a business. “I can’t afford it,” she told him, and he said, ‘You know what? Get your s— together and come back to me. I will help you out.'” And that’s how Ruby’s Cake Shoppe & Pastries came to be.
In January, Vanags left her job at the Hyatt and began construction on her shop. And then COVID-19 hit, and everything was put on hold. Everything except the rent she had to pay. That was difficult, she admitted. Recently, after she got final approval from the health department, she was able to fulfill a promise she made. “I’m going to bake a lot of cupcakes and bring it to the hospital and the frontline workers. So that’s what I did.”
On July 11th, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held, and as Vanags admits, she’s been slammed ever since. She thinks she knows why. “You cannot find around here, what I’m selling. People haven’t tried the kinds of flavors that I make. Some of them are Asian based flavors, like fruits that you would find in an Asian market.” There is the Purple Yam cake, the Mango Cake, the popular Strawberry Pretzel, the Mocha pie, and a version of the Tiramisu. She says she also makes a great carrot cake. Sure, you can find your yellow cake with buttercream or chocolate frosting, but don’t expect it to be just average.
What she enjoys are the custom orders for items not on her regular menu. “I ask the customer to name me the flavor they want,” Vanags said, “and then I look for ways to make it. It has helped me improve my skills.
One cake she learned to make is the classic Tres Leches, a cake popular in the Mexican community. Vanags first made it for a birthday party. She recalls how a few days later, a new customer came in talking about a cake she had tasted, hoping that Vanags could replicate it. When Vanags realized what she was describing, she showed her a picture of the Tres Leches cake on her cell phone. “Is this the cake that you’re talking about? The customer jumped up, spun around, slapped her forehead. and said, ‘Oh my God, you made that cake!’ I now get slammed with orders for Tres Leches.”
Since all of her cakes are made from scratch, and since she’s had requests, Vanags is working on a dairy-free and gluten-free version of her desserts. “It’s not a big deal for me, and it’s going to happen. I want it to be fair for everyone.”
For now, you will have to stop by the shop to buy a slice or a pie from her display cabinet. There is no written menu. You can also call ((443) 205-3979) and place an order. Ruby’s Cake Shoppe and Pastries has a Facebook page, but no website yet. They’re open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.
There was a lot in common with the Avalon Foundation, the Tidewater Inn and Wylder Tilghman Island before COVID-19 came knocking on their doors. All three have always been heavily dependent on the summer months for special events, weddings, and seasonal crowds all eager for entertainment and hospitality services. But after the coronavirus crisis hit, most of those long awaited plans were left in the dust in the wind as stay-at-home orders came down from the Governor’s office.
Nonetheless, the desire by all three to partner on a creative way to create new revenue was almost immediate. With the Avalon’s Suzy Moore, using her eighteen years as its artistic director, securing popular local bands, coupled with chef Jordan Lloyd at Wylder and chef Daniel Pochron at the Tidewater on the food front, the team has formed a dinner and music program that has already become a huge success on Tilghman Island and in downtown Easton.
The Spy asked Suzy, Jordan and the Tidewater’s Lauren Catterton to spend a few minutes to talk about this new alliance and how Wednesday and Thursday nights have been turned into the Sunlit Summer Song Series, an al fresco style dinner and some of the region’s best performers.
The Chestertown Farmers’ Market will move back to the heart of downtown starting Saturday, July 4, from 8 a.m. to noon. Please come out and support the Farm and Artisan vendors. To meet pandemic safety standards, sections of the 200 and 300 blocks of High Street will be closed to traffic, and vendors will be spread out between Spring Avenue and Court Street and along Memorial Plaza as needed.
Social distancing and mask wearing will remain in effect at the downtown location.
The Town of Chestertown and the Farmers Market thank East Coast Storage for graciously allowing the Market to set up in their parking lot these past eight weeks.
The official start of summer is just a few weeks away. The first defense against plant problems is to follow healthy gardening practices. Here are some useful gardening tips for the month of June:
Outdoor Garden and Yard Tips
• Cut iris flower stalks down to the crown when they are finished blooming. Leave the foliage alone. If your iris are over-crowded after flowering lift and divide them. Check rhizomes for iris borer.
• Practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management) in your landscape. Do not spray your trees and shrubs preventively. This kills the predators and parasitoids that are helping to keep destructive pests under control.
• Water newly planted trees and shrubs until they become established (for about 2 years), especially in the summer and fall. Water deeply by allowing the water to soak into the soil directly underneath and around the root ball. Check the depth of water penetration into the soil by digging a small hole after watering. It should be moist about 6 inches down. A 2-3 inch layer of mulch is helpful. Keep mulch away from the trunk or stem.
• Apple scab and a number of rust diseases (cedar-apple, cedar-quince, cedar-hawthorn, Japanese apple, and pear trellis rust) are destructive diseases of crabapple in the landscape. They cause severe leaf defoliation by mid-summer if not treated. The best defense is replacing disease prone cultivars with resistant selections available at garden centers.
• Young tomato plants may be exhibiting symptoms of various leaf spot diseases such as septoria and early blight. Remove badly infected lower leaves, keep a thick organic mulch around plants and avoid overhead watering.
• Pinch off tomato suckers, to encourage larger, earlier fruit, especially if training to one central stem.
• “June drop” of excessive fruits (especially peaches) is a natural thinning phenomenon and is more pronounced where no hand thinning has occurred. Hand thin the fruits on plum, peach, apple and pear trees, leaving space (the width of one fruit) between remaining fruits. Disease and insect problems, environmental stress, and lack of pollination or fertilization can also cause fruit drop. Pick up and throw out all dropped fruits.
• Flea beetles are a serious pest of eggplant and also affect potato, tomato and members of the cabbage family. Floating row covers (https://youtu.be/oNm6D0KKG_Q) are an effective means of management but should be removed when plants flower to allow for cross-pollination by bumblebees. Spraying plants with “Surround” (kaolin clay) creates a white particle film that can minimize flea beetle feeding. You can also control flea beetles with “neem”, a botanical insecticide.
• Plant a second crop of beans.
• Keep watering and weeding; mulch new crops to keep them from drying out.
• Learn to identify beneficial insects and keep a vigilant eye out for possible pest infestations.
• Hand pick cabbage worms from broccoli and other members of the cabbage family, or spray with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), if necessary.
• Hand pick Colorado potato beetle adults, larvae and orange egg masses on potato and eggplant plants.
• Hand pick harlequin bugs and their black and white eggs from plants in the cabbage family. Do the same for Mexican bean beetles (yellow egg masses on leaf undersides).
• Prevent flea beetle infestations with row covers. Spray with pyrethrum or neem, both are derived from plants and considered low-risk organic controls. A light dusting of eggplant leaves with flour or wood ash can also deter flea beetles.
• Search the undersides of squash and pumpkin leaves for copper-colored squash bug eggs, and destroy them.
• For slug damage, in a wet period, set out tuna cans filled with beer or a brew of molasses, water and yeast. The slugs will crawl into them and drown. Boards and grapefruit rinds, turned face down, will also attract slugs; turn the board or rind over in the morning and destroy the slugs.
Indoor Plants and Insect Tips
• Monitor houseplants kept indoors for mealybug, spider mites, aphids, whitefly, and scale. If houseplant pests are a problem consider spraying with a labeled horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. If possible, move the plants outside before spraying and when dry, move them back indoors. Discard heavily infested plants.
• Pantry pests, like Indian meal moths, grain beetles, cigarette beetles, and carpet beetles may be found around windows trying to get out of your home. These pests can be swept up or vacuumed. No chemical controls are recommended.
For further information, please visit https://extension.umd.edu/queen-annes-county/master-gardener-home-gardening or see us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/QueenAnnesCountyMasterGardeners. For more information contact: Rachel J. Rhodes, Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener Coordinator for the University of Maryland Extension in Queen Anne’s County at (410) 758-0166 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.
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With limited opportunities to experience the ‘normal’ things in life, the Spy has been on the lookout for fun or interesting things to do, close by, that can be enjoyed outdoors. We heard about Family Affair Farm from someone who said they had encountered all three, while also picking a gallon of delicious strawberries, and learning about the Farm.
It seems that the name, Family Affair Farm, is very appropriate to how owners, Donna Saathoff and friend Nicole Barth, think of their business. First, there’s Saathoff’s husband, Bobby, and their son, who help prepare and plant 10,000 strawberries and other crops. Then there’s a daughter who lives in Pennsylvania, who comes down to help pick, as does Bobby’s aunt Sharon. There are Bobby’s 80-year-old father and 78-year-old mother who plant pumpkin seeds, along with Barth’s parents and… Well, you get the picture. The Farm is a family passion.
Family is how the whole idea started anyway. Saathoff recalls how she picked strawberries with her grandmother every year when she was a little girl. They would sell the berries, make a little money, and a lot of memories.
When the Saathoffs, who had a farm that grew corn, wheat, soybeans, sorghum, decided to change direction seven years ago, they considered at the possibility of a ‘pick-your-own’ opportunity. With Barth as a partner, they discovered they would be the only ones in Talbot County. This is how Saathoff sees it: “This millennial generation is very interested in where their food comes from. They’re also more interested in having experiences with their children, rather than spending money on them. So, I thought it was a great idea to have them come out and pick berries and learn about how they grow. Kids are more likely to eat something they know about and pick themselves. So that’s how this kind of started. And then that just bloomed into the next thing and then into the next thing…”
The blossoming into the next thing is how the Farm has expanded from strawberries to blackberries and blueberries, to pumpkins, interactive autumn corn mazes, fall festivals, nursery school tours, kids’ birthday parties, trolleybuses, etc. And in expanding, Saathoff has watched families make their own memories. “Our farm has always been a place where families come. We’ve had the same kids that were in their mom’s bellies that are still coming. They get their picture taken by the same sign every year that shows them how much they’ve grown. They pick their own, and we see these cute little red juicy faces running out of the field. The kids remember, and they ask, ‘Can we go pick strawberries at the strawberry farm?’ it’s something that’s become a tradition for them.”
Drive by anytime during the season, and you’d see 30-60 people picking fruit anytime they were open. Half of them were kids, of course, who were doing more eating than picking. Afterward, there were picnic tables, playgrounds to explore, and farm animals to pet. And these families became part of the Family Affair Farm, as well.
“I support Governor Hogan a hundred percent,” says Saathoff. “I totally understand the 10-person restriction. But if Nicole and I are there, we also count in the 10. So now I’m down to 56 people per day when we usually had 50 to 60 people per hour. But we’ve been doing it and doing it successfully because at week six, and we’re still doing it.”
Success does not necessarily mean they’re happy with the decisions they’ve had to make. Part of the decision was to close off the playgrounds and picnic areas. The bigger problem were the strawberries.
Having decided to expand their production last year, they were faced with thousands of pounds of crop possibly going to waste. Unlike the larger farms in the area, Family Affair didn’t have the staff to pick the berries and then sell them. “So, we had to come up with a plan, says Saathoff. “I lost a lot of sleep over it. I thought about it, prayed about it, thought about it some more. And the only thing I could come up with was to only allow adults to pick.”
Saathoff and Barth acknowledged that a few families were upset they couldn’t bring the kids, but most were grateful to be out in the sunshine, away from crowds, while also getting local and fresh produce. Once they announced their decision, the pair started booking eight appointments every half hour on the hours, all day.
And then, something unexpected happened. “By week three or four into this, parents became okay about coming by themselves,” says Saathoff. “Because at that point, they were working from home, they were homeschooling their kids. They were exhausted, and they needed to get out of the house. There were those who either had a job or didn’t have a job at all, and there was all this stress of worrying about it all the time.”
They began to see a lot of healthcare workers, doctors and nurses, that were coming out to the Farm as a release from what they were experiencing daily. When Saathoff and Barth realized that the fields were a comfort place for some, they started making sure that everyone who called and wanted an appointment was able to get in at some time. That has presented its own set of challenges, says Saathoff.
“I tease people; I’m like, we’re not a nail salon, so you can’t just call and say I want to pick berries on Friday at 10 o’clock. Well, that’s great that you might want to, but that’ll depend on how many berries were picked on Thursday. It might take a whole day to ripen up that next set that’s on there. It’s getting people accustomed to appointments and helping them to understand that this isn’t like Giant or Acme where you go in the back, and you pull more out. When the red ones are done for the day, they’re done for the day.”
The whole strawberry season is almost done, they tell us. Meanwhile, they use social media to let people know when the next batch of strawberries has ripened. Within half an hour, they will have received 30-50 calls, and begin scheduling visits.
Next up are the blackberries and blueberries. The pair know they will continue making appointments but haven’t decided what their game plan will be. There is a lot that is still up in the air. Governor Hogan has not announced when or what or how the next phase will be. So, for now, they’re not putting too much planning into it. Of course, they can’t help but wonder what the fall season, their most successful time, will be like this year.
For now, Saathoff and Barth are grateful to all who make up the Family Affair Farm. Their own family, of course, who work the Farm and keep it operating, and the ones who have become like family returning year after year, making memories, even during a pandemic.
Family Affair Farm, 30091 Rabbit Hill Road, Easton, MD 21601, is open by appointment only. Check Facebook page for availability. Phone: 410-310-1331
Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.
Foods made of animal tissues cultured from cells outside of the original animal, plants and insects could not be labeled “meat” in Maryland under a Republican-backed bill in the Maryland General Assembly.
Senate bill 188 is sponsored by Sen. Jason Gallion, R-Harford and Cecil, who called it “truth in advertising.” Eleven other GOP senators are co-sponsoring the legislation.
“Laboratory-grown meat will become more prevalent in the future, and this bill will proactively prevent these franken-meat alternatives from being labeled as meat,” Gallion said at Thursday’s bill hearing.
“We just think it’s unnecessary. Not only are our members in full compliance with all federal regulations on the subject, but we’ve even gone beyond that with our own guidelines,” Dan Colgrove with the Plant Based Foods Association told lawmakers Thursday.
“These products have to be very clearly marked as veggie, vegetarian or plant-based. That’s sort of the point, to offer alternatives to meat products.” Colgrove’s association represents more than 170 companies including Impossible Foods and The Tofurky Co., which make plant-based meat substitutes.
Cell cultured meat can not be purchased from stores yet, according to an email from Cathy Cochran, spokesperson for the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation, an industry coalition representing five companies working on bringing cell-grown meat to the market.
In March, the U.S.Food and Drug Administration and Food Safety Inspection Service announced they would oversee the production of food made from cells of livestock and poultry to ensure they are “safely and accurately labeled.”
The meat-labeling bill, if passed, would cost the state an estimated $66,500 in the program’s first year to hire one full-time public health worker who would develop regulations, do outreach and look into who would be affected, according to a state legislative analysis.
The analysis estimated the costs would decrease after the first year.
The Maryland Farm Bureau, a nonprofit that advocates for Maryland farmers and rural families, supports the bill.
Parker Welch with the Maryland Farm Bureau told Capital News Service on Tuesday that the bill would provide customers more transparency.
Welch said the bill would “provide a kind of consumer confidence in the product they’re buying, so when they pick up a package (of meat) at the grocery there’s no confusion in what they’re buying.”
Impossible Foods labels their products “plant-based meat,” and last year they worked with Burger King to introduce the Impossible Whopper, a burger that contains no beef, according to an Impossible Foods press release.
In an emailed statement, Impossible Foods told Capital News Service that the company, “stands for truth and transparency. That’s why our products are clearly labeled plant-based meat.”
In December, a federal court blocked Arkansas from enforcing a law that made it illegal for companies to use words like “burger” or “sausage” for non-meat products like veggie burgers, according to an American Civil Liberties Union press release.
The ACLU challenged the law on behalf of The Tofurky Co., which makes “plant-based burgers” and other meatless foods.
The Maryland bill is different from the Arkansas law in that it would not prevent companies from calling their products “burgers;” it only deals with what can be labeled “meat.”
In Thursday’s bill hearing, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Delores Kelley, D-Baltimore County, asked Gallion what the harm is in labeling cell-grown meat, meat.
Gallion explained that this bill acts “preemptively” to protect meat industry farmers, while a milk labeling bill passed last year acted “reactively” in response to plant-based industries “piggybacking” off of the dairy industry’s Got Milk? campaign.
“I think it’s important to have some pro-agriculture bills that come out to support these hardworking farmers who are trying to make a living like everyone else,” Gallion told the committee.
Thirteen states, including Arkansas, have passed similar meat labeling restriction laws, according to a state legislative analysis.
Gov. Larry Hogan, R, signed into law Gallion’s legislation on milk labeling, which prohibits plant-based products, like soy or almond beverages, from being labeled milk — but only if 11 of 14 southern states also pass similar laws. Those states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
If that law does go into effect, it tasks Maryland’s Department of Health with developing and implementing milk labeling restrictions.
It’s February. It’s dark and dreary out there. We need some warmth and color.
Imagine – carrots that come in colors other than Pantone Orange 021 U orange! https://www.pantone.com/color-finder/Orange-021-U I did a very unscientific survey of what was available to me at the grocery store: I found orange carrots that came in a clear plastic bag, with orange stripes printed on the outside to enhance the carrots’s color within. I found lopped-off-tops carrots not in plastic bags, that were about the same color orange as the bagged carrots. I found deeper orange carrots, but without the unnecessary, difficult-to-dispose-of plastic bag, that had not lost their green heads. And finally some organic carrots, without plastic, with tops, that were almost the color of radishes. Maybe an earthier red – almost a raspberry Jujube candy color. Guess which was sweeter? Yes, indeed, the Pantone 186 C. https://www.pantone.com/color-finder/186-C?
I love eating raw vegetables. I cannot see much sense in stewing them to pulp – unless you are tossing them into soup. (And then they are easy to push to the side and ignore.) Always try to be the cook – then you can get your fill and the pick of the litter. Luke the wonder dog has an affinity for carrots, too. Some nights we take turns: one carrot chunk for me, one for him, and one for the salad.
In the deep of winter we need to come out from our underground warrens, and stoke the furnaces that keep us functioning in the cold and dark weather. Luke and I will roast some vegetables, like our beauteous, jewel-like carrots. We cannot convince Mr. Friday to toss root veggies on the grill for us when it is cold and blowing out there. Sigh. So we will roast them in the oven.
Now for roasting inside: one of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is roasting. Roasting at a high heat converts a plain vegetable into a delicious caramelized treat. You can roast any type of vegetable you want with this basic recipe. Adjust the amount of oil you use accordingly. We’ve roasted asparagus, garlic, squash, broccoli, potatoes, cauliflower, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, corn, carrots, zucchini, you name it.
Roasted Veggie Mélange
1.Preheat oven to 450° F.
2.Toss all the vegetables together in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3.Divide the vegetables among two cookie sheets – mine have sides, for less spillage. Put fast cooking vegetables together, and group the slow cookers likewise. Fewer headaches!
4.Roast vegetables for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
The vegetables cook quickly — some vegetables may take only 15 to 20 minutes — but they still have a chance to brown nicely on the outside by the time they become tender inside. So keep an eye on them. Carmelized onions are one thing, blackened and incinerated are another.
It’s very important that you cut the vegetables in pieces of about the same size. Unevenly sized pieces won’t roast and brown in the same amount of time, and you’ll end up with both over roasted and under roasted vegetables. And if you have any fussy eaters, you won’t be able to persuade them to enjoy the rich roasted flavors of winter.
The winter colds are here – not the scary imported kind – just regular rotten colds. Mr. Friday is still hacking away in the most attractive fashion. I intend to cure all that ails him with some sensible winter stews:
Restorative Beef Stew
2 pounds beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (use beef chuck or similar)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 cups potatoes, chopped
2 pint cans of Guinness (this is not for the faint hearted)
1 quart beef stock
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 cup coffee (make extra for breakfast in the morning)
Splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a large stock pot, heat up a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the beef and brown for about 5-7 minutes.
Once the meat is beautifully browned, add the garlic and other vegetables except for the potatoes and cook until they caramelize and have a bit of color. (About 8-10 minutes)
Add all the liquid, the whole sprigs of herbs (bundle the herbs together with some string for easy removal) potatoes, some salt and pepper and reduce the heat to a simmer
The soup should have small bubbles rise on the sides of the pot for 1 hour or longer until the meat is fork tender.
Serve with a fresh baguette and some creamy grass-fed cow organic butter. Guinness on the side. A salad if you insist. And remember, “Guinness is Good for You.”
Here are a couple of links with interesting variations of the beef stew theme:
The groundhog saw its shadow, so we should only have a few more weeks of winter. I hope so, because I have crocuses in bloom already, and daffodils pushing their way up and out. I’m going to try to root some carrots from the pretty organic ones I bought last week – I saw this great replanting video and hope that I get some good results. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CkHET7e_7k
“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”
– Paul Cezanne
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All hail the cabbage! Humble. Long-lasting. Tasty. Crunchy. Overlooked. Packed with Vitamin C and calcium. (Red cabbage is loaded with anti-oxidants.) So long, kale! You have outstayed your welcome.
I’m still flushed with enthusiasm for New Year’s Resolutions, which always include saving money and eating better. And I’d like to cut down on my carbon footprint. Luckily the grocery store is under 2 miles away, but if I only head in there once or twice a week, it is better than making a daily errand destination. It’s bad enough that I am going to stop off at Target later…
A cabbage is cheap, and packed with nutrition, as well as being versatile and large. The last cabbage I pulled out from the heap weighed 4 pounds, just brimming over with meal potential. You can easily spice up your weekly menu without spending lots of money. And cabbage doesn’t have to be just the stinky accompaniment to corned beef once a year. There are lots of new and enticing ways to prepare cabbage. I’ll bet you that right this minute someone in Park Slope is experimenting with an artisanal bespoke organic cabbage smoothie, infused with saffron and CBD.
Here is a lot of practical and basic info from the geniuses at Bon Appétit: https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/tools-test-kitchen/article/cabbage
When winter rolls around we tend to think of oven-baked meals as a way to keep the kitchen cozy and our little bellies full. Whenever we do pork chops I always think of cole slaw and apple sauce as good side dishes. Samsin Nosrat (Of Salt Fat Acid Heat fame https://www.saltfatacidheat.com) has a better idea than my mother’s 1950’s Hellmann’s mayonnaise-inspired slaw dish. You should try this: Samin Nosrat’s Bright Cabbage Slaw. It incorporates cabbage and apples, without the fat and calories from nostalgic mayonnaise. It is a bright treat on a dark winter night. https://www.pbs.org/food/recipes/samin-nosrats-bright-cabbage-slaw/ You can pretend you are in California. (This is originally Michael Pollan’s recipe from Chez Panisse.)
Nigella’s Sweet and Sour Slaw is a little more time consuming – it might be perfect for a Saturday night meal, and it is quite festive and tasty. http://www.sweetpaulmag.com/food/nigellas-sweet-amp-sour-slaw
Now you can take your new knife skills and try something fun for Taco Tuesday: Not Your Traditional Korean Tacos. Our friends at Food52 always have a tasty and clever solution for dinner, and these fresh Korean tacos will set you apart from the salt-laden Old El Paso-recipe dependent households. https://food52.com/recipes/17897-not-your-traditional-korean-tacos
An even more sophisticated take on cabbage and wraps comes from Bon Appétit: One-Skillet Hot Sausage and Cabbage Stir-Fry with Chives. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/one-skillet-hot-sausage-and-cabbage-stir-fry-with-chives Mr. Friday is always buying Italian sausage, and we wind up using it just for sausage and pepper dishes, or as pizza topping. This adds another meal to our burgeoning repertoire for 2020.
And where would we be in the midst of winter without a scrambler recipe? That is, a recipe where everything is already on hand; in the fridge, in the pantry, in the larder, ready to roll: Pasta with Cabbage, Winter Squash and Walnuts. This will take care of a lot of leftovers, particularly that half bag of walnuts from the Christmas baking. No need to go out in the snow! https://food52.com/recipes/78397-pasta-with-cabbage-winter-squash-and-walnuts
Cabbage probably won’t ever be the fleek media darling that kale was, but it is always dependable. Like an old friend, or an old pair of jeans. You remember it fondly and it soothes your soul.
“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”-Mark Twain