Monday, December 29, 2014

Bringing honey back to life

Did you know that honey doesn't go bad? Years ago, I didn't know that and I threw out a perfectly good jar of honey just because it started to crystallize.  Being a food blogger and constantly researching food, I figured out how to solve that problem.  I also save money by purchasing larger jars of honey at a better deal, knowing that I can use it for a long time.

With the temperature dropping, I have been drinking more hot tea to keep warm.  I love to add honey to my tea.  My large jar started to crystallize, so here is what I did.

Take your jar of honey and put it in a pot of water.  Turn on the stove to low to medium heat.
The key here is low and slow.

Keep it going for about 20-40 minutes.  Mine here took about 20 minutes.
When the honey has returned to its original consistency, it's done!
Take it out of the pot and let cool on the counter.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I've been hiding something...

I feel like I have been lacking in the blog department lately, and for a while I had a good reason. Over the summer I found myself cooking very little (my husband will say never), eating things like crackers, and going to bed really early, even though I napped during the day.  And then I found out, I'm having a baby!  Yep, there is a locavore baby coming in March!  Such exciting news, but in the beginning food was not my friend.  There were so many foods that made my stomach turn and I just wasn't in the mood to cook, therefore, less blogging.  Fortunately, I am well into the second trimester and my eating has been back to normal so I should be getting back into the blog.  

So here we go:

I have recently discovered Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm at the Waltham Farmers Market, which ended last weekend :( In an effort to get some more protein, I started drinking their goat milk and it is delicious!!  I have also tried there goat cheese and have been eating it regularly.  I am bummed about the end of the farmers market season, but I hope with the baby coming in March, the winter will fly by and markets will be opening again before you know it!  Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm will be at the Wayland Winter Farmers Market bi weekly and at the Cambridge Winter Farmers Market the weeks they are not at Wayland.  Both are good winter markets, so I plan on being there.  

And so, here is what I've been eating lately.  I am still trying to keep a healthy diet and need to make sure I am eating lots of protein and iron, hence, this spinach salad.

1-1 1/2 cups spinach
2 slices of bacon from your favorite farm, crumbled 
1 tbsp diced onion
1 tbsp sliced black olives
Sprinkle of goat cheese from Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm, flavor of your choice
1 tbsp of your favorite salad dressing or olive oil and vinegar works too 

Mix all together and enjoy a healthy, filling salad!!

We are so excited for this new adventure to begin!! I can't wait to take the baby to tons of farmers markets!!

The Farmers Dinner

Sunday night I had the fabulous opportunity to attend the Farmers Dinner in Nashua, NH.  The Farmers Dinner is a great organization that features farm to table dinners at various restaurants in NH.  This dinner was unique because the City of Nashua closed Main St so the dinner was in the middle of the street!  The local restaurants took local ingredients from farmers and prepared a delicious six course dinner.  There was live music and wonderful fall decorations.  

This dinner featured local food from Kimballs Farm and Brookdale Farm.  The restaurants included Estabrook Grill, Peddler's Daughter, Riverside Barbecue, Stella Blu, MT Local, Andrew Thistle, and Villa Banca.  Each meal was carefully paired with a beer or wine.  The wine was from Fulchino Vineyard and the beer included 603 Brewery, Peak Organic, and beer from Martha's Exchange.  The restaurant staff and volunteers worked so hard to make this dinner great.  I heard they began roasting pigs in the street at 2am!

Take a look at these apps!  Caprese salad from Kimballs Farm with handmade ricotta and an herb pistou.  I like the twist with the ricotta instead of the traditional mozzarella.  The second course was a potato frittata with onion jam and romesco sauce topped with a pork rind.  It was crazy to think that pork rind was part of a pig early that morning.  I really enjoyed the onion jam because of the nutmeg, a lovely fall flavor.  And next was harvest ratatouille with zucchini cakes and warm parmesan foam.  I can't wait to make this next dish because the recipe was in our gift bags!  At this point, I was stuffed, however the next dish was a cleansing course.  Watermelon and heirloom tomato gazpacho with pine needle tzatziki.  Such interesting flavors with sweetness of watermelon.

The main course, roasted pig from Brookdale Farm with charred onions and apple sauce, grilled polenta, peppers, and collard greens.  I loved getting the apple sauce flavor with the pork and the collard greens were probably my most favorite part of the meal.  They were spicy which I love, but went great with the pork.

And finally the dessert.  I am not sure how I physically ate all of this, but I did.  Apple bread pudding with Jake's Local Ice Cream.  The pudding went great paired with the caramel sauce and there was even a hard piece of caramel on top of the ice cream.  A great way to end a great dinner.

I don't live close enough to New Hampshire to frequent these events, but they are worth going to if you get the opportunity.  And if you live near or in New Hampshire, check out the website and get tickets to the next dinner.  You won't be disappointed!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lexington Farmers Market

A couple of weeks ago, my friend asked me to dog sit for a few days.  Since I love his dog, Brady, it was easy to say yes.  We became good buddies over the few days and I wanted to find something outside that we could do.  I thought that going to the Lexington Farmers Market would be a good idea.

I wanted to check out Wright-Locke farm because they kindly mention me in tweets every week and I see pictures of their beautiful organic produce.  I did a loop around the market first because I didn't know how Brady would do around all the food.  He manage to down a whole hot dog the previous weekend at a cookout.  So we did a loop and I kept him close by.  All the kids wanted to pet him and he is super friendly so it wasn't a problem.  I just told them to keep an eye on their treats.  Just when I thought I wouldn't get any shopping done, a nice man asked me if Brady could try a dog treat he just bought from a vendor.  Brady ate two and seemed to like them, although, I don't think he is too picky.  My behavior analyst instincts kicked in and I went to buy Brady some dog treats to use as a reward for sitting and staying with me.  By that point it was really hot and I didn't know that Brady doesn't like the heat.  I bought him a dozen dog treats from Camberville Treats, but Brady didn't seem to care because he went right under the table to get some shade.  The woman from Camberville Treats snapped this cute photo of him.  I can't stand his cuteness!

So once I got Brady out of the shade, I managed to get some shopping done.  I went to Wright-Locke farm and bought some organic raspberries.  By this point, Brady kept going under all the tables to sit in the shade, so it was easier to shop.  Then I bought some breakfast sausage (my current addiction) from Chestnut farms.  Then it was time to take my buddy home because he was hot.  On the way back to the car, we had to stop under every tree so Brady could sit in the shade.  When we got home, Brady happily enjoyed his treats in the air conditioning!!

If you have the chance to take a trip to Lexington, go on a Tuesday to check out this market!  There are some awesome vendors that I didn't get a chance to see including, fiore di nonno, Samira's homemade, Stillman's and many more.  This is the type of market you can do all your weekly shopping at!  Check it out on Tuesdays from 2-6 on the corner of Woburn St and Mass Ave in Lexington!

Here is a little something I have been into for breakfast lately:

1 breakfast sausage patty from Chestnut farm or your favorite farm
2 eggs from your favorite farm
A sprinkle of your favorite cheddar

Cook the sausage patty until it is cooked all the way.  A trick I used to do this is to add a small amount of water after I flip it to help cook through without burning it.  In a separate pan, scramble the eggs and cook to your liking.  Then put the sausage patty on a plate and cover with scrambled eggs and then sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Garlic Scape Pesto

One of the many seasonal veggies that I have been into recently is garlic scapes.  I guess I am always into them this time of year, but I am intrigued about the many varieties I found at the Needham Farmers Market a couple weeks ago. 

I usually just chop them up and throw them into my salad, which is delicious.  But since I bought so many, I have been trying to find other ways to use them.  I chopped them up and threw them in with some green lentils along with some vegetable broth. It was a nice surprise when I got a burst of spice in a bite of lentils.  I have also been sauteing them in a bit of olive oil with spinach.  All are a good way to use garlic scapes, however, I offer up this recipe for the real garlic lovers.  Next time you are at the market, grab a handful and make this pesto.  I do recommend eating this alone or when you don't have to go out because you will reek of garlic!!

Garlic Scape Pesto

8-10 garlic scapes
handful of pistachios 
juice of 1/2 lemon plus zest
1/4 c parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil (I eyeball it until it makes a paste)

Put all ingredients in a food processor until it makes a thin paste.  I topped some zoodles with this pesto along with some sundried tomatoes to make a delicious dinner.  You could also use pasta or chicken and it would be delicious! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Happy Summer!

Well ladies and gents, the 2014 farmers market season is in full swing!  Each week more and more farmers markets are opening up for the summer.  One of my favorite markets, the Waltham Farmers Market opened last weekend in their new location.  I was working in the morning, but I managed to stop by towards the end of the day.  I picked up some chive blossoms, onions, Swiss chard, and green tomatoes.  The green tomatoes were a nice surprise because that is usually something I expect to see in the fall.  It worked out for me because I like to pickle green tomatoes and I am on my last jar of pickles from last season.

Today I went to the Needham Farmers Market, which also has a new location on Great Plain Ave behind Needham Bank.  I was happy to see an abundance of garlic scapes, one of my springtime favorites.  I must have hit the garlic scape jackpot because there were all different flavors (Thai, Russian, Spanish) and 10/$1 at the Neighborhood Farm.  There is also a great farm, MacArthur Farm, which has delicious strawberries.  In fact, I think I associate the Needham Farmers Market with strawberries because I remember those strawberries from last year.  

I came home with a bunch of goodies and promptly began washing and chopping.  I cut up some rhubarb, for the jam I am planning on making this week, some scallions, and the scapes.  I began cutting up my lettuce and what do I find, a gross long creepy crawly bug.  A centipede, I think.  I put on my big girl pants and squashed the bug with a paper towel and threw it outside immediately.  I have really been trying to work on this because I want to volunteer at the farm this summer, so I need to get rid of this fear of bugs.  After all, bugs live in the same place our food grows :)

I saw chive blossoms a couple of weeks ago at the Union Square Farmers Market.  It was the first time I had seen them and wasn't really sure what to do with them, but they stuck with me because they looked so pretty.  When I got home, a simple google search showed me that there are tons of things to do with chive blossoms.  I was fortunate to find these again at the Waltham market, so I could make this simple recipe:

Chive blossoms
White Vinegar

I used a quart canning jar and filled it about halfway with the chive blossoms.  Then I filled the jar with white vinegar.  Store in a cool, dark place (I put mine in the fridge since its been warm out) and let soak about 2 weeks.  Then drain and you will have a chive flavored vinegar to make a vinaigrette!!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spring has sprung!

Who's excited for the 2014 farmers market season?  After a long winter, the spring and summer markets have slowly begun to open.  So far, I have been to the Natick Farmers Market and Union Square Farmers Market.  

New additions that I noticed at the Natick Farmers Market include Bondat Foods, which makes a delicious chocolate chipotle steak rub, Red Barn Coffee, for whole bean coffee and Doos PK, for dips and energy drinks.

At Union Square, I saw Hosta Hill for sauerkraut and Kim chi made with their own produce, Soluna Garden Farm for spices and teas, and Tipping Cow Ice Cream from Medford.  I saw they had a strawberry basil flavored ice cream, definitely something I want to check out.

A beauitful spring market in Natick

Spring veggies at Union Square

Farmers market news and updates:

New farmers markets:
Boston Public Market at 136 Blackstone St - near where the permanent location will be
Open Mondays and Wednesdays 11-6
Watertown Farmers Market - Arsenal on the Charles, Thursdays 3-7 beginning on June 5th
Elm St Farmers Market in Newton - Saturdays 9:30-2 starting July 5th

Waltham Farmers Market - School & Lexington St, Gov't Center Lot beginning on June 14 

And my old favorites that are currently open:
Copley Square Tuesdays and Fridays 11-6
Davis Square Wednesdays 12-6
Central Square Mondays 12-6
Union Square Saturdays 9-1
Natick Saturdays 9-1
SOWA Open Market Sundays 10-4

And the list will keep growing!  I'm so excited to get back into the farmers market season!
Happy long weekend!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Somerville Winter Farmers Market 2014

Spring is finally here!!! Except for the snowstorm that appears to be headed our way, but regardless, good things are coming.  Summer farmers markets are headed our way and a new farmers market will be opening in Watertown!  I love to hear that more cities and towns will have access to local food!  The market will begin on June 5th and run on Thursdays from 3-7 at Arsenal on the Charles.  Sounds like a beautiful spot for a farmers market.  I will keep everyone updated as I hear information about this market.  Another great thing about Spring is Union Square Farmers Market will be opening a few weeks early this year on May 17th.  

Even though it's not technically winter anymore, many of the winter farmers markets are still open.  My farmers market visit this week was to the Somerville Winter Farmers Market.  I went to this market for a few reasons...I needed breakfast sausage, which I know I can get at Stillmans Farm.  I also picked up some duck eggs while I was there too!  I love the richness of the yolk.  I like to make an egg sandwich and have the egg running down an english muffin.  I have also been eating a lot of sauerkraut lately.  Its delicious in a sandwich or on a hot dog, but I like to eat a couple bites in the morning because it is so helpful for the digestive system.  I picked up a jar from Hosta Hill.  I hope to see them at the summer markets as well.  Heron Pond had some great looking root vegetables and I was in need of some parsnips to make parsnip fries.  They also had some good looking mustard greens as well.  For a treat, I picked up a bag of cayenne mango cashews from Q's Nuts to snack on this week.  I also bought a new flavor, chocolate coconut almond for my husband.  Luckily, I got a sample of it at the market because the bag was gone before I could get a taste!  My last stop of the day, Union Square Donuts!  I was so excited to see the maple bacon donuts at the market, which ended up being my breakfast.

Other great vendors to check out include Long Wind Farm for some greenhouse tomatoes, Dan's Brick Oven for bread, Seta's Mediterranean Food, Narragansett Creamery, Soluna's Garden Farm, and many more.  This is a great market to get a little bit of everything.  Go check it out for the last day next Saturday, March 29 from 9:30-2 at the Arts at the Armory!

Last week I made this tasty spaghetti squash quiche!  It's super easy and great to make ahead and have for breakfast.  All the ingredients should be found at your local farmers market :)

1 medium spaghetti squash
6 eggs
1 tbsp good stuff from Soluna Garden Farm
3/4 lb breakfast sausage from Stillmans Farm

Cook the spaghetti squash.  Here is a link for instructions on how to cook a spaghetti squash.  While that is cooking, brown the sausage in a pan and set aside.  Whisk the eggs and seasoning together.  When the spaghetti squash is done cooking, put into a pie dish and pour egg mixture over the spaghetti squash.  Top with the sausage and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Enjoy not making breakfast this week!

Medford Winter Farmers Market

Finally February vacation came, so I spend one of my free days at the Medford Winter Farmers Market.  This market is located at the Hyatt near Medford Square on Thursdays from 3-7.  It's a small market, but has lots of character; decorated with lots of art.

Some familiar vendors that I saw were Stillman's, Soluna Garden Farm, and Foxboro Cheese Co.  I picked up some breakfast sausage from Stillman's and merlot salt from Soluna Garden Farm.  How could I resist salt infused in Merlot? I tried a little bit on my eggs in the morning and I used it in the fake shepeards pie that I made Sunday night.  By fake, I mean that I used ground turkey and added some red wine and spices and topped with veggies and mashed cauliflower.  I thought the merlot salt would be a nice addition to this dish.  A new vendor that I checked out was Doos PK.  I was sold on this dip that you can eat and drink.  There were three flavors, not too spicy, mild, and hot.  So far I have used it as an energy drink by adding ice, seltzer, and a squeeze of lime.  Other vendors you can find are Brookford Farm, Zoll Cellars, Joni's Cannolis, Oakdale Farm, and TRILLfoods.  

Something I accomplished while I had some time off was to experiment with the food dehydrator.  Since it's winter and there are not many veggies or fruit available to dehydrate, I decided it was time to make some beef jerky.  I am pretty happy with the result for my first time.  I bought a ginger teriyaki marinade at whole foods and added some garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne.  I thinly sliced 2 lbs of steak and marinaded for 48 hours. Then the steak slices were put in the dehydrator for 8 hours.  Then I added the dried piece to some mason jars and it has made a great snack.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What to eat in January...

With the frigid temperatures, it's no surprise that many of us are longing for summer days.  What I wouldn't give to bite into a juicy peach or a fresh tomato.  Luckily, there have been many winter farmers markets popping up and many have winter veggies.  With a little experimentation, you can whip up a tasty recipe.

Last weekend, I went to the Wayland Winter Farmers Market at Russell's Garden Center.  Wayland Winter Farmers Market is open on Saturdays 10-2 until March 15.  Check out their website for special events like cheese day and wine day!  It's a nice market because you feel like you are in a garden with all the flowers and herbs available.  I am a sucker for hot chocolate, especially on a cold winter day, so it's nice to get a table and have a hot chocolate with a marshmallow from Sweet Lydia's.  I even tried the maple bacon chocolate covered salted caramels.  I love the salty, sweet combo and bacon is the perfect way to pull that off.

Other vendors that are worth a visit are Hosta Hill, Caledonia Farm, and Red Fire Farm.  I bought sauerkraut from Hosta Hill, which they make with organic cabbage right from their farm.  Delicious and good for you too!  Caledonia Farm had a very long line, but it was worth the wait to buy some hot Italian sausage.  I haven't been a sausage eater until I started buying it directly from farmers; it tastes so different from the store bought stuff.  Plus, it was delicious in a white bean sausage stew!  Red Fire Farm has lots of root vegetables and greens to choose from.   I bought onions, carrots, watermelon radish, and garlic.  I also bought some kale to make this delicious recipe.

If you have been craving for pesto, but it's not basil season, try this kale pistachio pesto, it is sure to wake up those taste buds (and sneak in nutrients too!).  I mixed this in with some spaghetti squash for a nice  winter meal.

Kale Pistachio Pesto

3 cups kale (I used dinosaur, but any variety will do)
1/3 pistachio
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Pour onto pasta or spaghetti squash.  I put the extra in a mason jar and put it in the refrigerator.  It will last about a month, so make sure to eat it all!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year!

It's been a while since my last blog post.  Sometimes life just gets busy, especially around the holidays, but let's face it, there aren't tons of farmers markets going on right now either.  I'm definitely excited to visit some of the winter markets that are beginning to open.  I am in desperate need of a good farmers market and I have plans to go on Saturday to Wayland Farmers Market!

After a fabulous brunch at Bulfinches in Sudbury (I love eggs Benny!), I came home and decided to stay warm by roasting up some butternut squash.  I love squash this time of year and it is very readily available.  Funny story, especially for those that know my husband.  For those that don't, he is picky and needs some convincing to try new foods.  One week, I made a big pot of chili and some delicious buttercup squash and sausage soup (, the latter which my husband wouldn't touch.  Both were in containers in the fridge and one night that I was working late, I told him to have the leftover chili for dinner.  He called me and told me the chili was really soupy, but I just made it so I told him it should be safe to eat.  So I come home and I see the empty bowl in the sink and realized that he ate the soup instead of the chili. I couldn't stop laughing and he said he liked it, so now he can say he has tried buttercup squash.  Since butternut squash is more popular than buttercup squash, it shouldn't take much convincing for him to eat this recipe :)

This will make a great side dish throughout the week, but it takes some prep work, so it's great to make on a Sunday.

You will need:
1 butternut squash
8-10 sage leaves chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425.  Peel, remove seeds, and chop butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes.  In a bowl, toss with olive oil, sage, and S&P.  Put in a baking dish and bake for about 40-45 minutes. 

Feel free to play around with spices too.  Sweeten with cinnamon or spice it up with cayenne instead of sage.