Tuesday, July 31, 2007

CSA crop share 2007 10

A perfect ten, baby!

(Click on the photos to see larger images and notes at flick'r.)

Check out www.farmtophilly.com for my CSA report and lots more local awesomeness!

Monday, July 30, 2007

OLS dinner 2007 06

Dewds, I baked.


Look, homemade flour tortillas!

One Local Summer 2007, Dinner Menu 06
  • Whole wheat flour tortillas (McGeary Organics/Annville Flouring Mill - 94 miles), a layer of lettuce (Blooming Glen Farm CSA crop share - 5 miles) stuffed with a tofu scrambler made from tofu (Fresh Tofu - 25 miles), red frying peppers, onion, purple spring onions (Blooming Glen) several varieties of tomatoes (from Blooming Glen, and our garden - 0 miles), jalepeno peppers (our garden) and mushrooms (West Grove, PA - 60 miles). Nonlocal ingredients used: Cumin, paprika, tumeric, salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil.
  • A chilled salad of blanched Romano string beans, orange cherry tomatoes (Blooming Glen) and a julienned chocolate pepper (our garden) splashed with a bit of vinegar. Nonlocal ingredients used: vinegar.
  • Boiled sweet corn (Blooming Glen) with vegan buttery spread (Earth Balance - 117 miles).
  • Strawberries for dessert (Blooming Glen).
  • Christian W. Klay Jumonville Glen Red wine (brought home from our Falling water trip - 0 miles).
Meredith turned me onto Annville Flouring Mill right before the start of OLS, and I contacted them right away. It's taken several weeks, but I finally received my package of organic whole wheat pastry flour from them. Oh, and that would be fifty pounds of organic whole wheat pastry flour. They would have mailed me a two-pound bag earlier, but I kind of thought that conflicted with the whole eat local thing, so while I waited for the big bag, I found some people with which to share. I ended up with ten pounds and this was my first shot using the flour.

As a rule, I don't bake. It's too specific and I'm distracted too easily. I also don't like being told what to do and certainly don't like feeling incompetent; baking does both of those things to me. Although I'm pretty comfortable knowing what substitutions are viable while following a cooking recipe (for instance, I have a ridiculous amount of squash in the fridge - something that I could substitute if I were using a recipe that called for eggplant), I'm all thumbs when it comes to baking.

Besides that, I can never remember which is which: baking soda or baking powder?

My definition of baking includes anything that requires flour and/or baking powder. (Or is it soda?). Tortillas contain both of those things and so, even though we eat them pretty often, I never even considered making them. That is until, of course, OLS.

My ugly tortillas are from this recipe. They tasted pretty good, but a were maybe a little too thick and a bit floury. I'm thinking that I may have over-floured the counter while I was rolling them out. They were sticking to the rolling pin (that I had to borrow from my dad), and I figured a little flour on the counter is good, so more is better, right? Still, they weren't bad for my first try. Considering I still have at least 9 1/2 pound of flour left, I'm sure I'll have another opportunity soon to perfect my recipe.

This meal also has about four different kinds of tomatoes. My favorite cherry tomatoes from Blooming Glen so far, are the green grape variety that I picked last week. They're perfectly acidic and so unique looking. I threw some in the scrambler along with some red cherry and regular tomatoes.

We also got to finally pick the chocolate pepper from our garden. This signifies the end of our experiment: it tasted like pepper, not chocolate. Just in case you were wondering.

So, that's it. Number six, can you believe it? Only four dinners left. Speaking of which...

I realize that this makes two OLS posts in a row! I had to get this week's meal done today because we're leaving for Rhode Island midweek. I do plan on scouring some local RI goodness while I'm there, but if anyone has a scoop (specifically where to find tofu, seitan, tempeh and/or bread), please let me know. I will post the meals I come up with when I get back in the middle of the month.

PS: Here's an extra shot of AC and his sloppy plate. And sloppy hair. He started dredlock-ing it yesterday.

Eat your lettuce!

Friday, July 27, 2007

OLS dinner 2007 05


One Local Summer 2007, Dinner Menu 05
  • Grilled Summer squash, zucchini and onion (all from our Blooming Glen FarmCSA crop share - 5 miles) marinated in dressing and chopped purple and green basil (Blooming Glen) with grilled tempeh (Cricklewood Soyfoods - 28 miles) smothered in barbecue sauce (DelVal College - 12 miles), on a bed of steamed-then-sauteed beet greens, Swiss chard (Blooming Glen) and garlic (bought at the Skippack Farmers' Market from Jack's Farm - 24 miles). Nonlocal ingredients used: olive oil, and Italian dressing*.
  • Chilled salad of blanched string beans and orange and red tomatoes (Blooming Glen).
  • Sliced peaches (bought at Plumsteadville Natural Foods from a farm in Solebury - 23 miles) and strawberries (Blooming Glen).
  • Butt Monkey Chiller Chimp Ale (Lion Brewery - 84 miles)
*I'm one of those people that always ends up with the leftovers. You know how at the end of a party or a picnic, when things are getting put away, packed up and tossed, and there are always those two or three things that could stay or go? The, "If you don't want it, I'll just throw it away" things? Yeah. That's how I got an industrial-sized bottle of Italian dressing. What can I say? My maternal instincts kick into high gear when I see food being thrown away :)

Barbecue was a One Local Summer dinner that I had stashed away in the back of my mind since I signed up for the challenge. It's something that I knew I would do eventually, but wanted to save for a busy week. Coming down from the Fallingwater trip has pretty much depleted all of my energy this week, so barbecue it was.

Earlier in the week, I went to Plumsteadville Natural Foods to stock up on local tofu, and at the last minute asked if they carried seitan; specifically, my local Ray's Seitan. I was happy to learn that they did, and when I went to pull it out of the freezer, I saw a row of an unfamiliar tempeh. Knowing that the owners of the store have a special interest in small, regional manufacturers, my heart skipped a beat as I picked up the package. Could it be local? Hell yeah - it was!

And this is a perfect example of the frustration I have been experiencing in finding local vegan protein sources. Since last year, I've been scouring the internet looking for "tofu in Pennsylvania," "quinoa in Pennsylvania," "Tempeh in Pennsylvania," "amaranth in Pennsylvania," etc., etc., etc., and coming up with nothing. I've spent the last 12 months thinking that southeatern PA is just a dead zone in the way of local vegetable-based protein. It turns out, I'm all wrong. They're out there, but why are they so hard to find? Why aren't these companies listed on the buylocalpa.org website? Better yet, besides Fresh Tofu, why don't Ray's and Crinklewood Soyfoods have a website?

I mean, really. I gotta get on this. I'm going to go write some letters :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Our mini holiday to Fallingwater was absolutely amazing. Dare I even say that it was a spiritual experience?

I think I may.

I've been a fan of America's most famous architect for over a decade, though had never seen one of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings in person until this weekend. Chasing his architecture on the internet and in books for ten years in no way prepared me for experiencing his most famous and unequaled home. It was magical and surreal. So magical and surreal, in fact, that less than 24 hours after touring it the first time, I had to go back.

Fallingwater was built for E. J. and Liliane Kaufmann and their son Edgar, Jr. on their land in Bear Run as a weekend home. The story is that E. J. requested that their "county cabin" be built in such a way that it took advantage of the view of the waterfall on their property. No doubt, the family was a bit surprised upon seeing Wright's plans to build the home over the falls.

Construction began on the main house in 1937 and ended with the guest house in 1939. The original budget for the project was $40,000; the final cost was $150,000.

Throughout the home, you can hear the rushing of the the falls and stream. This is thanks in part to the many windows and doors, but mostly to the "hatch" Wright built in the great room. The hatch provides a sound-scape, air conditioning and a staircase to the stream, into a swimming area.

"Organic" does not even begin to describe the way in which this home was built. Because of it's cantilevered structure, views of the outside are fully exploited with rows of glass wrapping around corners so as not to disrupt the flow. Keep in mind that this was during 1937, before silicone; these glass panes are cut to join one another and to meet walls. In several cases, corners were simply eliminated. Wright called this effect "exploding the box."

The home is built on several boulders that are visible from both the outside and the inside of the house. Most poetically, the hearth of the fireplace on the main floor is part of a large rock that previously had been one of the family's favorite sunning spots. Outside, the boulder is in its natural state, growing moss and other vegetation, all at once while supporting the terrace off of E. J.'s bedroom and providing a cozy wall for the walkway between the main house and the guest house.

At Fallingwater, outside becomes in and inside becomes out, and there is almost equal square footage dedicated to the outside terraces, as there is to the indoor floor plan. In addition to the use of glass and utilization of the site's boulders, window ledges and floors are seamlessly transitioned between windows and doors. In the hallway that connects the home to a walkway to the guest house, there is a corner built around a boulder that, when it's wet enough, will run with water from a spring.

We were at first disappointed that our visit was during a rainy couple of days, but one of the owners of County Seasons Bed and Breakfast (where we stayed) was actually excited for us. He said that the rain and wet grounds would make for a better tour and was actually his preferred setting of Fallingwater. Once there, we had to agree. The water made an appearance in the spring inside, we were able to see the drainage spouts in action (simple holes and small chutes from the terrace floors into the creek below) and outside, the rock walls were just dripping and pooling with water running down the mountainside.

Fallingwater, entrusted to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, is essentially part of the 5,000-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve, and so everywhere we looked, we were taken by the home itself, as well as the natural beauty of its landscape. Of course, that was Frank Lloyd Wright's intention: that visitors would be forced to see, acknowledge and appreciate the amazing landscape. He built completely in concert not just with the waterfall, but with the entire stream, the trees, rhododendrons, sandstone, shale, limestone, and sun.

And there are gobs and gobs or artwork everywhere. Picaso, Diego Rivera, John J. Audubon and Hiroshige are on the walls, Tiffany lighting is
in every room, chairs by Laszlo Gabor and Bruno Mathsson sit quietly in reading corners, a Jacques Lipchitz statue praises the plunge pool - it's almost overwhelming. There's just too much to see, too much to take in!

Which is why we went back for a second tour. We easily could've stayed for the week. Seriously.

I haven't even mentioned the inside of the house: The beveled ceilings, the lateral shelving, the flagstone floor, the low ceilings, the efficiency of space, compression and release, the simple colors and materials used, how it has the largest collection of Wright furniture.

Or of the era in which the construction took place: Can you imagine what the neighbors thought? A house with glass walls, over a waterfall, with four indoor bathrooms, cantilevered everything and a "great room." The idea of an open floor plan is common to us now, but it certainly wasn't then.

Or of the divine intervention it took to get this home built: Merchant prince E. J. Kaufmann and Frank Lloyd Wright each have a personality that can hardly be imagined and egos to match. At the time of this project, Wright was at on of the lowest points of his career. The fact that this patron came to this architect with this piece of land at this moment is a story in and of itself.

Or the energy of the house: Synchronized, alive, breathing, Cubism, linear, flowing, moving, confusion, realization, mathematical, noisy, calming, serene, and on and on...

Clearly I was moved by my encounter with Fallingwater. Did you get that? ;) Visit the flick'r set for more interior, exterior and grounds photographs.

And can you believe that this was just the beginning of our holiday? Man, that Jase sure is an amazing guy. He put together this whole get away package for my birthday last year. He booked an early morning tour at Fallingwater, a late afternoon visit to Kentuck Knob, two nights at Country Seasons Bed and Breakfast (an easy five-minute drive to Fallingwater which was perfect for that 8:45am tour) and two nights at Angelspring Farm Wellness Retreat where we had massages and hot vegan dinners brought to us in a picnic basket each evening. Not to mention tons of stops in between for meals, wine and sightseeing. I'll write more on those later.

For now, I'm happy to just revisit Fallingwater, the centerpiece and catalyst to the trip.


PS: Yes, of course we had food at Fallingwater, too. They have a cafe that was serving, in addition to other things, a fantastic seasonal summer vegetable soup ;)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

CSA crop share 2007 09

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!

(Click on the photos to see larger images and notes at flick'r.)

We got 7 1/2 pounds of tomatoes this week, plus one pint of cherry tomatoes. I think this heirloom could represent the whole lot on it's own:
I got to see the whole farming family today, and Tricia, Tom and Dakota gave me a sneak peek of the ginormous heirloom monster tomato that's been growing on the farm. Yowzah!

Monday, July 23, 2007

On the joy of motherhood

Is it September yet?

  • Injury sustained Wed., July 11:Cause: failed landing of a board slide at the skate park.
  • Injury sustained Thu., July 12:Cause: bailed off his skateboard trying to land a nine-step jump at the skate park (for the record, he landed it several times first; this was from his fourth or fifth attempt).
  • Injuries sustained Tue., July 17:Cause: a game of man hunt involving 10pm darkness, gravel and a pothole.
  • Injury sustained Sun., July 22:Cause: street skating.

In order to lighten the mood and ease the stinging of washing fresh wounds, I've been distracting AC with the camera, promising a special flick'r set of just his busted up self.

'Cause I hear that's what all the good moms do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

CSA crop share 2007 08

Pretty, pretty share this week:

(Click on the photos to see larger images and notes at flick'r.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

OLS dinner 2007 04

Artichokes? In Pennsylvania? Really? And cute baby ones, to boot! Who knew?

One Local Summer 2007, Dinner Menu 04
  • The monster salad all started with a couple cute heads of baby romaine lettuce (bought at the Skippack Farmers' Market from Jack's Farm - 24 miles). I added shredded turnips, carrots and beets, sliced cucumbers and radishes (all from our Blooming Glen Farm CSA crop share - 5 miles), slices of banana peppers and a cherry tomato (both from our garden - 0 miles). I made a quick dressing of olive oil, vinegar and mashed cherries to drizzle on top. Nonlocal ingredients used: olive oil, vinegar.
  • Still working on those red cherries (bought by kah for me at her CSA, Pennypack, who imported them from Lancaster, PA - 84 miles) and yellow cherries (bought at the Indian Valley Farmers' Market from Windy Spring Farm - 15 miles).
  • Hop Devil IPA (Victory Brewing Company - 45 miles).
  • Boiled corn and artichoke (Jacks' Farm), and baked tofu (Fresh Tofu - 25 miles) on a bed of steamed Swiss chard (Blooming Glen) lightly sautéed in garlic (Jack's Farm) and olive oil. Nonlocal ingredients used: olive oil.
I'm still on the hunt for local protein in the form of beans, nuts and grains, so I decided to check out the Skippack Farmers' Market this weekend. Although I found no protein, I did find some goodies at the Jack's Farm booth, in the form of garlic, adorable artichokes and sweet-elicious corn. They each complemented my CSA share and garden veggies perfectly.

This week's meal started with a mission to consume much produce. We're leaving in a couple days for a mini holiday to see Falling Water and Kentuck Knob so I wanted to clean out the crisper drawers before we go. Once I saw the little heads of lettuce at the market, I decided that a salad would be the spotlight of our meal.

Seriously, we ate a ton of vegetables. And drank a lot of beer. Mom would be proud - of the vegetable part, I mean :) If you just can't get enough, there are a few more photos of this week's meal on flick'r, including one of my beet-stained food processor. Holy magenta.

OLS dinner number four is done, the fridge is cleaned out and I had just enough leftovers for my lunch and dinner today. Sweet!

PS: Check out my fellow regional OLS participant's super creative veg*n OLS meals from week three and week two. How clever is that girl?!

Coming home

Ah ha ha hahahaaha! :D

Thursday, July 12, 2007

OLS dinner 2007 03

One Local Summer 2007, Dinner Menu 03
  • Fried green bell peppers (from our Blooming Glen Farm CSA crop share - 5 miles), purple bell peppers (DelVal College - 12 miles), onion (also Blooming Glen), seitan (Ray's Seitan in Philadelphia - 37 miles) and a splash of DelVal's own barbecue sauce, atop a sliced heirloom tomato (Blooming Glen) and wrapped in a complet baguette (Baker's on Broad - 0 miles). Nonlocal ingredients used: olive oil.
  • Fresh red cherries (bought by kah for me at her CSA, Pennypack, who imported them from Lancaster, PA - 84 miles) and yellow cherries (Windy Spring Farm - 15 miles).
  • A cold salad made from raw red beets and very quickly steamed-then-cooled carrots, green string beans (all Blooming Glen) and yellow string beans (Windy Spring). Nonlocal ingredients used: vinegar.
  • The classic in these parts, Yuengling Lager (Yuengling Brewery - 68 miles).
It's obscenely hot around here, and so I've been anticipating an easy sammich, raw side dishes and icy cold beer OLS dinner since Sunday. Bakers on Broad makes my favorite bread each Wednesday and Sunday. Complet is made from organic quinoa, spelt, amaranth, millet, brown rice, white flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, salt and vitamin C powder, making it nutritionally fulfilling, or complete. Those bakers. So clever. Especially the French ones.

I went in this morning to get my a loaf of complet and a baguette for my OLS hoagie-style sandwiches, and who knew? They had a complet baguette. Brilliant! Actually, as it turns out, the baguette was a bit heavy for how I used it. Next time, I'll hollow it out.

My favorite part of tonight's meal was a side of cool veggies. I steamed-for-just-a-minute, some green and yellow string beans and carrots, added raw beets (all julienned) and let everything cool in the fridge until it was time to eat. If this weren't my local meal, I probably would have added slivered almonds and a sesame oil dressing, but instead I simply sprinkled on a few drops of vinegar before eating. The result was chilly and crisp - a perfect compliment to the spicy sandwich. Also, it looked real pretty.

So, that's it - my number three meal is done! If you're interested in seeing what other people are cooking and creating, visit OneLocalSummer.blogspot. There, you can see the meal roundups each week, which are organized (mostly) by region:
  • New England (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)
  • Mid-Atlantic (DE, NJ, NY, PA)
  • South (AL, AR, DC, GA, FL, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV)
  • Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, OK, SD, WI)
  • West (AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY)
  • International
  • Latecomers
And be sure to check out the One Local Summer photograph pool at flick'r for photographs of OLS dinners, as well as farmers' market scores, garden bounties, pick-your-own trips and, of course, CSA shares.

Bon Appétit!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

CSA crop share 2007 07

We got the first glimpse of Tricia's babies this week:

Aren't they adorable? I can't believe she let us take them home!

Here's an extra shot of the share booty, taken from the other side. You can see the beautiful flowers better from this angle:

(Click on the photos to see larger images and notes at flick'r.)

The Blooming Glen newsletter this week had an easy-peasy-looking recipe for refrigerator pickles. Considering the cucumbers we got with the share and the ones pulled from our garden, I'm planning on giving them a shot. Details to be posted here, of course!

PS: Haha! The title of this post is fun :) (See my previous post's heading.)

Monday, July 09, 2007

"I be up in the gym just working on my fitness."


I'm on my way out the door to go to the gym for my 120th visit.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

After the shower

When I get out of the shower and am toweling myself off, I almost always think of freshly-showered Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Jerry McGuire when he refuses a towel offered by Tom Cruise in a locker room. "No, I air-dry."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

OLS dinner 2007 02

Did you hear? One Local Summer got so big, it needed its very own website. In its honor, I present to you, a very big OLS post this week ;)

Nyuhm, nyuhm!

One Local Summer 2007, Dinner Menu 02
  • Fresh blueberries (someone's front yard produce stand - 6 miles) and black raspberries (picked while on a bike ride through Lenape Park in Perkasie - 5 miles).
  • Troegs DreamWeaver Wheat Ale (Troeg's Brewery - 95 miles).
  • Steamed Swiss chard, beet greens and kohrabi greens, sautéed with scallions and shredded kohlrabi (all from our Blooming Glen Farm CSA crop share - 5 miles). Nonlocal ingredients used: olive oil, salt, pepper.
  • Focaccia (Baker's on Broad - 0 miles), spread with pink pesto made from garlic scapes, purple basil (both from Blooming Glen) and cherries (bought by kah for me at her CSA, Pennypack, who imported them from Lancaster, PA - 84 miles), then layered with steamed then lightly sautéed purple kale, and with steamed then lightly sautéed summer squash and scallions, and sprinkled with chopped basil and parsley (all Blooming Glen). Nonlocal ingredients used: olive oil, salt.
  • Stir fried seitan (Ray's Seitan in Philadelphia - 37 miles), scallions, basil and parsley (from Blooming Glen, of course). Nonlocal ingredients used: olive oil.
I was recently turned onto a local organic flour source, the Annville Flouring Mill in Lancaster, by Meredith (edge effect). I've ordered flour, but until it arrives, I'm happy to feature bread from my favorite bakers (Linda and Raphael from Bakers on Broad) who live and bake just a couple blocks away. The opened shop just about two years ago, and I've been visiting a few times a month to buy their amazing complet bread and olive rolls. Occasionally, we'll pick up some fun-to-decorate focaccia, too :)

I happened across kohlrabi patties on frugelmom's photo stream earlier this week and I plan to veganize her recipe in the future. I couldn't wait to try out her method of shredding kohlrabi, though. It was a great way to incorporate an additional texture and flavor into our usual steamed-stir-fried greens.

I split a share from our CSA with my sister and when we hooked up to break up the order, she mentioned a garlic scape pesto recipe she saw online. We talked a bit about it, and eying up the gorgeous purple basil we had just received and considering the remaining handful of garlic scapes from last week, I decided to make a spread for the focaccia. I processed all of the eight or nine garlic scapes, all four stems of purple basil and the last stem of green basil from last week's share with some olive oil. The result was fragrant, but extremely bitter. Ugh. Realizing that I used all of my garlic scapes and basil, I quickly became bitter myself.

I certainly couldn't toss the mixture; I had to find something sweet, local and currently in my kitchen, to add to the mix. I was frustrated, grumpy and pissy, banging around the kitchen, when Jason suggested adding a handful of the cherries I had out on the counter. Cherries? Cherries to pesto?! That would never... or would it?

Well... why not?

At like a million dollars a pint (or four, whatever), I couldn't imagine it was the smart thing to do. I already used my entire lot of scapes and basil and now felt like I was getting ready to toss $8 worth of cherries. "And the cherry season is so shooort," I whined.

Luckily, Jase tapped into his superhero patience and encouraged me to start with just a bit of chopped cherry and a teaspoon of the pesto. He's so smart, I know.

It was passable, so we pitted and processed abut 15 cherries into the pesto and spread it onto the focaccia. I added a layer of greens and scallions, then summer squash, and baked it all at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. The end result was way more than passable. It was divine. The high temperature really brought out the cherry sugars, accentuating the garlic and basil flavors. Also, I think that just by baking the scapes, their bitterness was subdued.

I'm glad I didn't just toss the pesto and give up. Something I don't know I would have done, had I not been preparing my weekly local meal. Losing the ingredients was just not an option - I mean, I only get so many garlic scapes a season! Plus, what would the farmers at Blooming Glen think if I just wasted that food?! Man.

Another OLS week down! A little more dramatic than last week, but still fun to prepare and so delicious to eat :)