December 31, 2012

The Family Foodie Survival Guide’s 2012 in review

So, why do I love Word Press? Because of features like this! I was going to be generative and create a new blog from the annual report they generated for me, but I can’t make such cool fireworks! My takeaway from my summary — people like clam chowder and pie.  Hope to see more of you all over 2013 … I certainly plan to do more writing and to explore the photography angle with my new camera!!  Thanks to my regular visitors, and to those new to the blog.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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December 26, 2012

Holiday Highlights From The Family Foodie!

It has been a festive time for the foodies in our house.  We started with a Christmas Eve goose!  Cooked simply, that is, just like a turkey, it roasted quickly in the oven, and served as our centerpiece for Christmas Eve dinner. 

Christmas Eve Goose

Accompanied with roasted curry cauliflower (from the farmer’s market) and sweet potatoes (from our CSA), everyone devoured it all up. Rich, we didn’t need huge amounts to sate our hunger.

Goose Meat

After a breakfast of pumpkin muffins, we laid out our traditional Christmas brunch featuring products from two of our favorite local stores, Arrowine and The German Gourmet.

Christmas Brunch Spread

And then this morning, we made Ho Ho Hole-y Popovers….

An extraordinarily simple recipe, but one that I have resisted making — for no good reason at all — because they are super dooper easy. On my husband’s recommendation (and he is the popover expert in this house), I followed the Joy of Cooking recipe. 

You start out with a few simple ingredients (we doubled the recipe) and a preheated 450 degree oven:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

All You Need For Popovers

While you let the ingredients get to room temperature, butter the muffin (or if you have them popover) tins.

Then beat (or stir in my case) those ingredients until smooth.  Then you add in 2 beaten eggs.

Adding The Eggs One At A Time

Fill the buttered baking cups three-fourths full, and bake at once.

After 15 minutes, lower the heat WITHOUT PEEPING to 350 degrees and bake about 20 minutes longer.

Then you can take them out and they will look like this:

Fresh from the oven

Gently release them from the baking tin and serve.

If you are a young child, you might want to turn yours upside down and put the butter in from the bottom.

Holy Popover!

 

If you are more interested to see what they look like inside, before you add the butter and jam, you can slice them open.

Popover AirCool huh?!

We served our popovers with some sausages from one of our favorite vendors at the market, and apple cider.

Day After Christmas Breakfast

Here’s hoping that you have been having a wonderful holiday season … and that warm popovers are in your future!

 

December 3, 2012

The SOLE Routine in the Dark Days

It’s relatively easy to eat locally in the summer season. The market is overflowing with more abundance than one can possibly cook, and the CSA delivers overflowing bags of produce, and the garden outside of the kitchen door ALWAYS has something that needs to be cooked.  But as the month of December dawns, the farmers’ markets are dwindling in size, the CSA has stopped, and although our arugula is trying hard to keep on growing (and 65 degrees today surely helped), our garden is no longer a reliable source of food.

So, what is a family to do when we are trying to eat at least one  entirely SOLE-sourced meal (for those of you new to this acronym…that is Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical)?

Well this family is truly blessed to live where we do — because although the types of local food clearly reflect the realities of the winter season, we are by no means deprived.

In fact, at our market on Saturday (East Falls Church Market, our regular Saturday market), we saw, and purchased, this incredible ruby-leaved lettuce.

Can you believe the rich color of the leaves? Oh and they are delicious too!

Can you believe the rich color of the leaves? Oh and they are delicious too!

Now this lettuce played a starring role in salads that accompanied dinner both Saturday and Sunday. But before I share that with you, let me tell you our other SOLE sources over the winter season.

Our walkable Westover Farmer’s Market just got approval for a Sunday morning market, so we can get our favorite bacon and newest favorite bread (Portuguese corn bread)!

And on Tuesday morning, we wake up to our milk and eggs from South Mountain, as well as whatever else we have decided to order (Swiss cheese and sweet bologna for tomorrow).

If I need some chicken for dinner midweek or some local beer and wine, I’ll head over to The Westover Market and Beer Haus, and for some jam and organic grains The Local Market is a great source….

And so really, runs to my local grocery store are reduced to TP, organic beans and rice, and citrus needs.  I am pretty sure that I can live like this for a  long time.

And our local meals for the weekend?

Saturday morning:

Sunday morning:

Sunday night:

Easy as can be, right?

If you’d like to see what my fellow SOLE-food bloggers are up to this winter, please follow along at our Google Reader log.  Lots of wonderful stories to read, and if you eat venison, apparently we will learn lots about different ways to prepare it from Annie and Susan this winter!

Please do join in … we are looking forward to an awesome adventure through the winter months.

November 26, 2012

Two Things I Learned This Thanksgiving

The two lessons below may seem straightforward, and perhaps well known by my readers. But here is what I learned this Thanksgiving (besides the fact that my 12-14 lb. turkey that I made for leftovers was insufficient. I made it on Saturday, and came home this afternoon to discover that all but the broth is GONE!!!).

Lesson 1. Simple Is Best

I am always looking for new vegetable sides to serve with Thanksgiving. For many years we have made a broccoli-lemon-garlic-parmesan sautee that we love. But not everyone is as crazy about it as we are. So, I was browsing my many recipe-filled magazines and came across a recipe for Roasted Vegetables from Eating Well.  Featuring both garlic and capers, we were pretty sure that we’d love it. Oh, and all it really required was chopping, seasoning, roasting, and then drizzling with a dressing made with said garlic and capers. Easy-peasy, and delicious. And an even better bonus … it was a great way to use the fall vegetables that had been featured in our CSA in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Pics below, check Eating Well for the full recipe.

Not Quite As Pretty As The Professional Photo….But They Sure Tasted Good

Lesson 2. Make Your Own Cranberry Sauce

Nuff said. Why did I ever buy a can?! All you need to do is heat up 3/4 cup of orange juice, add a bit of sugar, some cinnamon and nutmeg, and some grated fresh ginger… Heat until the sugar dissolves…Stir in the cranberries and heat for about 5 minutes or until they “pop.”  If you are so inclined, stir in some pecans or walnuts. My husband has never ever commented on the cranberry sauce. He felt compelled to try this one and exclaimed…”Why haven’t we been making it this way all along?”  Good question, dear one.

 

What did you learn over your Thanksgiving holidays? Hopefully something wonderful.

November 24, 2012

Through The CSA Seasons

Our autumn CSA is done, we are moving into the dark days for fresh produce, and it is time to step back and reflect on what we received from the farm this year.  Sometimes, it is important to just look at the wide variety of produce and be amazed. I am still learning how to make sure that I either eat or preserve all the produce we receive, and since this summer produced many unwelcome changes to my life, I have a New Year’s resolution all set. In fact, the resolution is starting now as I acquire cookbooks and read all of my favorite blogs, and gather resources that will be at my fingertips when I need them starting next June.  Oh, and I really need to make sure that I capture what we pick up ALL season. I realized that I am missing photos from almost the entire Autumn CSA. Here’s hoping that your CSA filled your fridge and your belly with abundance this year.

Week 1: An abundance of green

Week 2: Colors Begin

Week 3: And Then There Was More. The Fennel Took Over The Fridge.

Week 4: Two Baskets Worth of Comida

Week 5: Moving Into The Golden and Ruby Season

Week 7: Tomatoes and Corn. Must Be Midsummer.

Week 9: Abundance!

Week 10: Time for Gazpacho.

Week 12. The First CSA After the Beach. The Butternut Squash Brings Intimations Of Fall.

Week 14. Okra, Broad Beans, Canary Melon. Gumbo?

The Last CSA Delivery of 2012. My First Grain Ever From the CSA!

November 11, 2012

Some Recipes On My To Try List

http://m.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/recipes-make-it-freeze-it-take-it/2012/11/06/0d5e363e-2792-11e2-b4f2-8320a9f00869_gallery.html

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November 1, 2012

Our Slow Slide Into Eating Local

When did the local eating – which now seems entirely normal –  begin? Was it our time in Bolivia, when local was mostly the only  food we had? Was it with that first North Carolina peach eagerly awaited and lovingly described by my then fiance (and now husband) as we drove from Chicago to Ocracoke, and then consumed in one delicious minute? Was it when we lived in Southern California and bags of oranges awaited us at the weekly market? Who knows? All of these experiences, and many others, feed our now routine local habit.

Since we have returned to Northern Virginia, we have slowly but surely replaced much of what we eat with locally sourced food.

We started out with the farmer’s market. Produce and bread were our main purchases. Berries, apples, asparagus, and peaches were eagerly anticipated and rapidly consumed.

This initial entre was accompanied by a vegetable and herb garden of our own. Tomatoes were the primary focus here.

We began to purchase bacon at the market and slowly purchased more and more of our meat from the market.

Next up was the CSA. Weekly produce deliveries of what was most bountiful. After an underwhelming start, we now rely on the CSA from June through November. The CSA has expanded our produce comsumption and we now look forward to garlic scapes, butternut squash, and bok choy!
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October 27, 2012

Getting Ready for Sandy at the Farmer’s Market

As is true for many of us up and down the East Coast, today is focused on preparing for Sandy. And while we have stocked up on batteries and candles, filled the cars up with gas, and will be getting leaves out of the gutters this afternoon, we started our morning with our regular visit to the farmer’s market. It was relatively quiet (I’m wondering if folks were all at the grocery store instead of the market), and so we got to enjoy the bounty that was present once again, and purchased more than enough produce to feed our gang over the next week or so.

After deciding that we wouldn’t purchase any additional meat because of concerns about a power outage — we are well-stocked with meat/protein from our favorite farms already — a stewing hen for broth, flat iron steaks, two different types of spicy sausage, pancetta, ground pork, and wild caught salmon — we focused on the fruits and veggies.

Today I was struck by the colors and shapes that were everywhere at the market, and nowhere to be seen at our local grocery store.

Gorgeous Eggplant Mixture

French Breakfast Radishes

Multicolored Pole Beans

Incredible Orange Beets

The Biggest Heads of Cauliflower I’ve Ever Seen

Romanesco Cauliflower

More of the Most Amazing Chanterelle

And what did we come home with?

Most of Our Market Haul October 27, 2012

As you might be able to see, we found our favorite orange cauliflower and some parsnips….

And a late season watermelon …

An October Watermelon

Now to plan what to make. Since we have a gas range and oven, loss of power usually means lots of cooking for us…and if we are all home on Monday or Tuesday, I might even have time to cook!

Here’s sending wishes for a safe journey through Sandy to all my friends up and down the Eastern seaboard. And good cooking through the storm!

October 20, 2012

Just Another Saturday

When the morning begins with sunshine and a trip to the Falls Church Farmers’ Market, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be a good day. There were lots of wonderful things at the market today. We still have some summer produce (tomatoes and watermelon were seen today!), but lots of fall produce too.

Our two favorite finds are in the picture below: chanterelle mushrooms and fresh ginger! Must use the ginger and the Napa cabbage in a dish this week.

The chanterelle mushrooms were featured in our breakfast today – with lemon thyme from our garden. They have a wonderful flavor and texture and were quickly consumed! Eggs, cider, and bacon from our dairy delivery (South Mountain Creamery). The avocados, of course, are not. On a side note, when we lived in Bolivia, we had an avocado tree in our front yard. There is nothing like being able to wake up and walk outside and grab an avocado off the tree for breakfast….not something we can do here in Northern Virginia.

And we just had to spend some time in the back yard because it was so darn beautiful out!

 

Now to bring the day to a close with some beautiful singing.  Here’s hoping you had a wonderful Saturday too!

October 15, 2012

Shopping Local-Style

Little time to write. But still some time for shopping at the farmer’s market. Although my schedule has been less than ideal for the past month or so, I have relied on the farmer’s market, our CSA pickup, and the milk, eggs, and meat delivered from our dairy to sustain our family.  No one has gone hungry, and my time at the grocery store has been quite curtailed. I am ready for some sanity to return to my day to day, but am blessed that I can nuture my soul and body while I shop for our daily bread.

Here are some pictures of what we got at the market this week. Although the temperatures can’t quite decide whether to exist in the warm or cool zone, this hasn’t affected produce available at the market. The colors are the rich deep reds and oranges and yellows of fall.

With some deep greens, and the whites of cauliflowers to share in the reds and yellows and oranges, we are ready to start the week.

Now, if I could only get the Man of the House to prep that kale that is sitting in the fridge waiting….

What’s your favorite fall season veggie or fruit?

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