Food Friday: Back Into the Kitchen

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Summer ended last week. It is time to reacquaint yourself with the pots and pans and woks and cast iron skillets and cookie sheets that are going to be your seasonal life savers. Turn up the heat and welcome back to the kitchen.

I have some favorites that will be coming back into rotation now that I can’t foist most of the evening grilling on Mr. Friday. And I am relying on one of my favorite food resources, The New York Times.

Some folks have headed back to college, and have gone off their comfortable meal plans, and are fending for themselves for the the first time. There is more to life than ramen noodles and cold pizza. The rest of us come crawling into the kitchen each night, and wonder what on earth we can possible make for dinner without feeling totally keelhauled. Before heading directly for the cheap white wine (although it will be time to switch up to a nice inexpensive Malbec soon!) I want to point out that here are some basics that work without much risk of disappointment or failure.

These are easy peasy, as we are wont to warble. Throw that chicken in the oven and let the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast amuse you with their take on the intricacies of modern culture. And now you can have some wine. http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/culturegabfest/2016/09/slate_s_culture_gabfest_on_don_t_breathe_high_maintenance_and_harry_potter.html

Fettuccine Alfredo: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/9025-elaines-fettuccine-alfredo?smid=fb-nytdining&smtyp=cur

If that seems too fancy, here are eight, 8, ways to make mac & cheese: http://cooking.nytimes.com/68861692-nyt-cooking/961504-amazing-ways-to-do-macaroni-and-cheese

Salmon, for the fish eaters: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/5703-salmon-roasted-in-butter

Cast Iron Pan Steak: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016334-cast-iron-steak

Bearnaise to go with that fine steak: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017389-bearnaise-sauce Because if you are going to hell, you might as well go in style. Yumsters.

Because you really could have spaghetti every night.
Spaghetti: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016833-spaghetti-and-drop-meatballs-with-tomato-sauce

It took me years, YEARS, to get rice right. Here is a never fail approach: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016673-cant-miss-rice

Craig Claiborne’s Beef Stew: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1321-craig-claibornes-beef-stew It is going to get chilly, honest.

Even easier is a good meatloaf. Although if your household is anything like ours, you have some ancestral meatloaf recipes in place already. Still, does yours count pancetta among the ingredients? Doubtful. http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012686-fancy-meatloaf

And here is the definitive list of the New York Times’s 50 most popular recipes: http://cooking.nytimes.com/68861692-nyt-cooking/3238216-our-50-most-popular-recipes

You are on your own for salads and desserts. For this week, at least. Next week – breads!

“No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention.”
-Christopher Morley

Environmental Series Announces Shore Homesteading Series

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How do we value food? North America alone throws away billions of dollars worth of food every year- from farms, retail operations, and the back of your refrigerator.  Statistics show that nearly 50% of food is wasted. Follow “Just Eat It” filmmakers Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin in a story that is equal parts documentary and delicious entertainment. The film will be shown on Thursday, September 1, 6:30 pm at Sumner Hall, 206 Queen Street in Chestertown. You will never look at shopping cart in the same way.

11x17-Just-EatIt-poster

“Just Eat It” has won numerous awards, and was a finalist for the James Beard Awards.  It is part of the new Shore Homesteading Series, presented by the Chestertown Environmental Committee, and designed to inspire lifestyles to support the ecological health of our community. The series consists of films, how-to talks, workshops, and foodie events, and will be held at different locations. For a listing of events, and for more information, visit  http://www.chestertown.com/environment.

The Shore Homesteading Series is free and open to the public. It continues September 20, with, “Growing and Cooking with Herbs,” a talk on spicing up local food, 6:30 pm at the Chestertown Town Hall, 118 North Cross Street. The series is curated by Margo Bailey, and Shane Brill, and is sponsored by the Town of Chestertown.

Time for Tomatoes: 2nd Annual Tasting Event is August 13

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At long last, fresh tomatoes are in abundance again. To celebrate the fantastic flavors of vine-ripened, local tomatoes, Lockbriar Farms is hosting the 2nd Annual Tomato Tasting Event. More than 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes will be available for sampling.

2015-08-15-tomato-tasting-01The tomatoes will range in color from almost white to deep purple and they will vary in size from little cherry tomatoes to gigantic beefsteak tomatoes.

Not only can attendees sample as many tomatoes as they would like, they may also vote for the one they think tastes the best. If a home gardener is growing a tomato that they would like to share, they are encouraged to bring some to the event.

“Last year’s array of tomatoes was just overwhelming”, according to Sabine Harvey, Horticulture Program Assistant at the University of Maryland Extension. “I tasted so many fabulous tomatoes. As I result I am growing some of them myself this year.”

Some of Harvey’s favorites were Persimmon, an orange tomato that does indeed have a persimmon flavor and Joe Thieneman’s Australian Heart, a beautiful red tomato. However, none beat Harvey’s all-time favorite, an heirloom paste tomato called Gilbertie.

In addition to sampling tomatoes, attendees can also sample some dishes featuring tomatoes. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions about growing and preserving tomatoes. Best of all, the heirloom tomatoes will be on sale for $2.99 a pound.

The event takes place on Saturday, August 13th from 11am until 1pm at Lockbriar Farms, located at 10051 Worton Road, Worton. The event is co-sponsored by the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners Program.

Food and Eco-Tourism Workshops

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MID-SHORE FOOD SYSTEM COALITION 1Join a round table workshop on “Food and Eco-Tourism on the Mid-Shore,” at any one of the upcoming sessions in the five-county mid-shore region. The first is coming up fast: Thursday, July 21 at noon at the Dorchester County Library.

Why attend? The aim is for you to leave the hour-and-a-half session with three new ideas for your business.  Share in strengthening the regional food systems with positive outcomes by personally involving you and your business in this economic development/marketing workshop.

The Mid-Shore Food System Coalition (MSFSC) is launching this first series of workshops to brainstorm new ideas and revenue streams with a focus on community resilience and triple-bottom-line sustainability.

Go to the MSFSC website www.MidShoreFoodSystem.org, to review the mission and goals as this initiative moves forward.

To reserve a space, please email director@midshorefoodsystem.org.

Additional “Food and Eco-tourism” sessions are planned for Tuesday, July 26, 8 p.m. at the Kent Library in Chestertown; Monday, August 1, 7 p.m. at the Caroline County Library in Denton; Saturday, August 6 at 10 a.m. at the Talbot Library in Easton; and Thursday, August 11 at 6 p.m. in Centerville at the Queen Anne’s County Library.

Harvest at Crow Begins with the Annual Vineyard Walk

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Harvest season is right around the corner and at Crow Vineyard & Winery that means it is time for the 5th Annual Vineyard Walk. Every year the start of harvest is marked by opening the vineyard to the public for a guided tour with vineyard manager, Brandon Hoy.

Antique carriage rides provide a wonderful way to view the vineyard.

Antique carriage rides provide a wonderful way to view the vineyard.

Guests can enjoy the beauty of the vines and grapes on foot or in the comfort of an antique horse drawn carriage, tour the winery with winemaker Catrina North, taste Crow’s award winning wines and enjoy appetizers featuring smoked Crow Angus Beef and creations from Martha Walton of Happy Chicken Bakery. Entertainment will be provided by musicians Tim and Christine Carroll. Have your photo taken by Anna Smolens of Purple Horse Designs and Photography while on your vineyard adventure.

Each year Roy and Judy Crow, owners of Crow Vineyard & Winery, choose a local non-profit organization as a beneficiary of the event with a portion of the proceeds donated to them. For 2016, Bridges at Worthmore has been chosen. Located in Kent County, Maryland, they are committed to using horses to foster personal growth and learning. Their programs include equine assisted activities such as adaptive riding, psychotherapy and learning.

Tickets are $30 ($25 for Crow Wine Club members) and are available online at crowvineyardandwinery.com or by calling the tasting room at 302-304-0551. For more information on Bridges at Worthmore please visit bridgesatworthmore.org.

Located in the rural heart of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Crow Vineyard & Winery is Kent County’s first winery. For more information visit crowvineyardandwinery.com or by email at crowfarmmd@gmail.com

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.

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

Save the Date: Taste of the Town Set for May 1

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One of Chestertown’s signature events, the 9th Annual Taste of the Town & County, will take place Sunday, May 1, noon to 3 pm in Fountain Park. Organized by the Downtown Chestertown Association, the affair pairs restaurants and diners, farm and chefs from throughout the county.

Chef Jordan Lloyd of Barlett Pear Inn will participate in the cooking demo, Diced! at Taste of the Town.

Chef Jordan Lloyd of Barlett Pear Inn will participate in the cooking demo, Diced! at Taste of the Town.

Attendees can sample a tantalizing variety of dishes prepared by local chefs and caterers who are encouraged to partner with local producers in sourcing ingredients. Prior offerings include cream of crab soup, gnocchi, pulled pork, beef brisket, oysters, beet napoleon, lemon pie and chocolate bread pudding. People’s Choice awards will be given to Most Creative, Best Use of Local Ingredients, and Most Flavorful.

While sampling the food, watch Chefs Kevin McKinney from K-B Market & Kitchen School, Jordan Lloyd from the Bartlett Pear Inn and Doug Stewart of Stewart’s Catering participate in “Diced! A Local Food Challenge,” patterned after the popular cable TV show “Chopped.” Each chef will prepare a dish from a “mystery basket” made up of ingredients donated by local farmers. The chefs have no idea what is in the basket until just prior to show time!

Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville will be on hand with a selection of wines to purchase by the glass; local beers will be for sale as well. Proceeds from a raffle and auction benefit two local groups dedicated to maintaining the flowers, planters and trees in downtown Chestertown: Curb Appeal and the Chestertown Garden Club.

Come early to view entries from the annual Paint the Town Quick Draw competition. Paintings will be displayed along Cross Street prior to the opening of Taste of the Town. Artist from across the East Coast are participating in this year’s four day plein air event culminating in the Sunday morning competition.

Advance pass tickets are $15, and are available at The Finishing Touch, 311 High St Chestertown or on line at www.TasteofChestertown.com.through April 29. Admission at the door is $20.

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.TasteofChestertown.com or call 443 480 1987.

Mead, Munchies, and More Than Honey: Celebrate Earth Day By Honoring Bees!

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charmCityMeadIn honor of Earth Day, April 22, get ready to celebrate the world’s most fabulous pollinators—bees—with the documentary More Than Honey shown under the stars, and a chance to taste actual nectar of the gods from Charm City Meadworks. The events are sponsored by Washington College’s Cen ter for Environment and Society and are free, open to the public, and on the lawn of the Custom House, 101 South Water Street.

At 6 p.m., guests over 21 are invited to taste the ancient liquor of mead, an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water and yeast. Charm City Meadworks, opened in 2014 in Baltimore, has taken this storied art form to a new level and reintroduced it to a more contemporary palate. Co-owners James Boicourt and Andrew Geffken began the meadery with the hopes of showing the world that the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage is still relevant and delicious. Their wares range from basil lemongrass mead to a seasonal pumpkin spice flavor. To learn more about Charm City Meadworks, check out their website.

At 7 p.m., guests can spread out their blankets and beach chairs, munch on complimentary popcorn, and watch Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof’s film More Than Honey, which tackles the global decline of bees and the lives of people who rely on them from California to Switzerland and China to Australia (not to mention Baltimore!). One out of every three bites of food you take requires pollination. This film will open your eyes about the vital role that bees play in our everyday lives, and why we need to understand their decline and work to stop it.

In case of rain, the event will take place in Litrenta Lecture Hall in the Toll Science Center on the College campus. You can RSVP at the Center for Environment and Society and receive reminders for the event on their Facebook.