When There’s Fire, There Should Be Smoke

Monday, January 11, 2016


Now that the weather finally resembles winter, I smell fires going in fireplaces nearly every night.  I, in turn, light our fireplace every chance I get, and settle onto the couch with something comforting and steaming.  It’s safe to say that if I am in the house, I am in front of the fireplace. 

It is, perhaps, all of that time around a fire that makes me crave smokiness in my food.  Coupling that with a strong desire to ease off of meat after the holidays, I opted for this frittata from Yotam Ottolenghi as breakfast one recent morning.

In this case, the smokiness comes from the scamorza and paprika.  Be sure to sufficiently brown the cauliflower before adding the egg mixture; it makes all the difference in the flavor.  Neither should you eliminate the chives if you can help it; they provide a nice contrast both in taste and appearance.  It was easy to make with local ingredients: I substituted smoked gouda for the scamorza and cheddar and yogurt for the creme fraiche.  Since this was only for the two of us, I cut everything in half (but used four smallish eggs) and split everything between two small cast-iron skillets.  Consequently, I cut the cooking time in the oven to approximately six minutes. 

Posted by Kevin on 01/11 at 05:55 PM

Eat This Baby For Breakfast

Wednesday, January 06, 2016


I’m almost two years late to the Dutch Baby Craze, and I have no idea why I waited so long to try one after seeing these skillet size pancakes puffing up all over food blogs and in the NYT Food section.  They couldn’t be easier to make, and the popover effect both looks cool and creates lovely browned edges and pools of melted butter.  I followed this recipe from The Kitchn, swapping out the all purpose flour with whole wheat from Daisy Organic Flours.  It was still light and wonderfully chewy - I wouldn’t have known it was whole wheat flour if I hadn’t made it myself.

Posted by Donna on 01/06 at 03:47 PM

Locally Made Traditional Bangers

Sunday, January 03, 2016


We found Stryker Farm’s Irish Style Bangers at the Fair Food Farmstand, and made them here as God intended them - with mashed potatoes and onion gravy, along with the remaining bottles of Troeg’s Mad Elf and Victory Winter Cheers left over from a recent holiday party.  It was a very Happy New Year.

Posted by Donna on 01/03 at 03:23 PM

    Local Bitters for the Holidays

    Friday, December 04, 2015


    We just got back from the member preview of Bartram’s Garden’s Holiday Greens Sale, where we picked up armfuls of lovely holly and other evergreens along with a jar of Bartram’s Bitters.  The bitters are made locally from John Bartram’s own recipe by Philadelphia Distilling and Fair Food Philly.  The Greens Sale runs tomorrow from 10-3, promising wreaths and centerpieces as well, along with various artisan vendors. 

    Posted by Donna on 12/04 at 07:53 PM

    A Bumper Crop .... of Limes

    Monday, November 30, 2015


    So these limes above are ripe - picked straight off our little indoor/outdoor tree just yesterday.  Before this crop of eight beautiful limes, we thought a ripe lime was green.  Only after picking the first one when it seemed a perfect size and still a lovely dark green, but nonetheless under ripe, and doing a bit of research, did we learn that most lime varieties are yellowish when ripe but are harvested before ripening and do not continue to do so once picked.  It reminded me once again of the compromises we accept when we purchase produce that is packed and shipped long distances.  We may not all be able to grow limes in our homes, although I would highly recommend it, but we can refuse to accept far flung inferior imports of those crops we can and do grow here. 

    Posted by Donna on 11/30 at 04:13 PM

      A Panful of Broiled Goodness

      Wednesday, November 18, 2015


      All of the ingredients for this Crusty Broiled Cod with Littlenecks and Chouriço can be found at the Headhouse Farmers’ Market, so there’s no excuse not to make this right away.  I was excited when I first saw the recipe in the Times Food section, as we’ve been underwhelmed with other baked fish recipes and I thought the broiler might solve the persistent problem of wet, mushy fillets.  The cod came succulent and flavorful with the addition of the parsley, garlic and panko topping, along with the lovely pan juices created by just a bit of wine, the juice of the clams and the lemons.  Since La Divisa Meats was out of their two sausages closest to the Portuguese Chouriço called for, we used Mexican Chorizo from Talula’s Table and were thrilled with the way they crisped up slightly and added smoke and spice to the dish.  We’ll be making this every week Shore Catch doesn’t run out of fish.  Don’t forget a baguette.

      Posted by Donna on 11/18 at 04:55 PM

        Philly Food Swap and Thanksgiving Turkeys

        Thursday, November 05, 2015

        Now that Halloween is behind us we can tactfully discuss that other holiday that comes before Christmas.  If you haven’t ordered your turkey yet, there is still time.  The Fair Food Farmstand, once again, is offering a range of choices: naturally raised broad-breasted whites from Howe Farms; Griggstown Farm’s heritage breed Red Bourbons; Bronze heirloom and certified-organic broad-breasted whites from Koch’s Turkey Farm; and organically fed pastured turkeys from Bendybrook Farm. The order form can be found hereGriggstown Farm turkeys can also be ordered directly from Griggstown but must be picked up at the Headhouse Square Farmers Market on Wednesday.  Finally, Green Aisle Grocery is offering turkeys from Green Meadow.  It’s also worth noting that all three also offer Thanksgiving sides in case cooking the turkey consumes your kitchen. 

        Prior to Thanksgiving, however, the Philly Swappers are holding another Food Swap. It’s been some time since the last Food Swap, so we are particularly eager this time.  There are still a few spots open, so sign up quickly.  As if you needed even more reason, the event will be held in the Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center.

        Posted by Kevin on 11/05 at 06:47 AM

        Just Add Water

        Sunday, November 01, 2015


        Savoie Organic Farm is now growing these beautiful little Mexican black turtle beans, a wonderful addition to the variety of dried beans to be found at Headhouse Farmers’ Market this time of year.  I love turtle beans both for their texture and versatility, so we bought plenty to last until the next harvest. 

        Posted by Donna on 11/01 at 05:22 PM

        A Spanish Dish From the East Coast

        Tuesday, October 27, 2015

        Even if I had made bacon-wrapped scallops, like, a hundred times, I don’t think I would have ever arrived at the combination of scallops and chorizo on my own.  It makes perfect sense in retrospect.  The spicy, paprika-flavored oil rendered from the chorizo, in turn, infuses the scallops.  The soft and creamy texture of the scallops plays off the crispy and brittle chorizo.  Then, everything is accented by the bright flavors of lemon juice and fresh parsley.  It is a very nice study in contrasts, actually.  As Nigella says, it comes together quite rapidly, so make sure that all of the ingredients are prepped and that anything else you are serving it with is ready before you start. 

        The scallops, as fresh as could be, came from Shore Catch, and the chorizo from La Divisa, a very welcome addition to the Headhouse Market this season.  I’ve raved about both before, but this combination gives me a new reason to do so. 


        Posted by Kevin on 10/27 at 07:33 PM

        The Whole Hog

        Wednesday, October 07, 2015

        If you haven’t been to the Headhouse Farmers Market recently, then you may not know about La Divisa Meats.  Chef Nick Macri, using sustainably raised meats, turns out some of the best charcuterie in the City.  They’ve been a welcome addition to the Market, and have more than made up for the sorely missed PorcSalt.

        Now, La Divisa is doing its own version of Philly Cow Share, offering a pig “share” (naturally), but with a twist: this share offers sausage, carnitas, head cheese, and a brining kit in addition to various cuts of pork.  At $150, it is an outstanding value.  See below for more information.

        la divisa

        Posted by Kevin on 10/07 at 05:48 PM

        Cheerful Weather for the Mash

        Saturday, October 03, 2015


        The chilly wind and rain of the last few days sent us straight to brand new British Pie and Mash shop Stargazy’s Facebook page in the hopes they hadn’t sold out yet for the day.  They hadn’t, and in addition to shots of the daily menu and the pies themselves we also noticed something that’s always a good sign to us: a proud picture of their weekly farm delivery, this one from nearby Wuillermin Farms in Hammonton, NJ. 

        Posted by Donna on 10/03 at 05:55 PM

        Crack Open A Book

        Tuesday, September 29, 2015

        With Sunday’s Headhouse Market closed due to the Papal Visit, we had stocked up the week before.  Then the weekend came, and the blissfully car free streets full of happy residents and visitors made eating out seem so much more appealing than cooking that fridge full of food.  I was feeling a little dispirited by the idea of getting through it all, until I decided to take a look at a cookbook or two for some motivation.  A few minutes later, having flipped through 100 or so pages of Tender by Nigel Slater, I had three recipes we could easily make with everything we had on hand.


        It seems so silly to say “and then I thought of my cookbooks!”, but this time of year I really do tend to forget them.  So much of what’s available right now needs little in the way of a recipe to make a delicious dinner.  Blogs, newspapers, and magazines all offer recipes perfect for the season.  But a cookbook like Tender, as the subtitle “A Cook and His Vegetable Patch” suggests, is perfect for looking up individual vegetables and finding simple, seasonal dishes.  I immediately made a broccoli and bacon soup for lunches, the recipe available here, then moved on to baked eggplant with tomato and parmesan for dinner. 

        Posted by Donna on 09/29 at 06:09 PM

        Last of the Summer Wine

        Tuesday, September 22, 2015

        As the Summer of 2015 is officially coming to a close, I wanted to include one last word.  We drank several local wines throughout the summer (especially Hawk Haven‘s Pinot Grigio), but the standout was unquestionably Turdo’s Sauvignon Blanc.  Like Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc can come off a bit austere.  Bracingly acidic and bright, but with little in the way of nose or finish.  Not Turdo’s.  First, the color has a slight blush - perhaps from some contact with the skin.  Second, the nose contains citrus fruit, but there is also something, in my opinion, herbal to it.  The acidity is nicely balanced, and the finish surprisingly long. Rather than suggest a perfect pairing for this wine - because it is so versatile, I would find it impossible to recommend only one - I suggest a perfect setting: a blanket on the beach, some cheese and salumi to snack on, and a late summer sunset. 



        Posted by Kevin on 09/22 at 05:11 PM

        Local Food Access During Papal Visit

        Sunday, September 20, 2015


        We stocked up at the Headhouse Farmers’ Market today, as it will be closed next Sunday for the Papal Visit.  While I can’t find anything specific on The Food Trust’s site, which runs Headhouse, Farm To City does list which of their city markets will be closing this week:  Dilworth Park on Wednesday, Jefferson Market on Thursday,  Gorgas Park on Friday, and Rittenhouse, High Street and East Falls on Saturday.  That leaves the following open: Rittenhouse on Tuesday, University Square and The Fountain at Passyunk on Wednesday and Chestnut Hill on Saturday.  Suburban markets seem unaffected. 

        As for local food purveyors, Green Aisle Grocery plans to be open regular hours at all their locations, with some curtailed deliveries later in the week.  The Fair Food Farmstand is extending their hours to 7 PM on Friday and Saturday and opening early at 8 AM on Sunday.  Their last delivery is expected on Thursday, to resume Tuesday.  Greensgrow will have no farmstand or CSA pickup on Saturday or at Greensgrow West on Thursday or Friday.  Weaver’s Way is not indicating any closures on their site. 


        Posted by Donna on 09/20 at 05:50 PM

          A New Cheese In Town

          Tuesday, September 15, 2015


          So I suppose this doesn’t look like much, unless you know you’re looking at fresh feta, and even then may not convey the utter deliciousness that this soft, creamy, salty cheese from Valley Milkhouse is.  Called Foxtail sharp and creamy feta, it’s a far cry from the chalky crumbliness of a more traditional feta.  Don’t waste it in a complex dish - the flavor ended up being overwhelmed in the cous cous salad we put it in, but it was fantastic eaten by itself straight out of the milky liquid it comes in.  We got it at Greensgrow, but their website lists all the typical local food purveyors, various farm shares and the Clark Park Farmers’ market.  Go find it soon, as it seems to be seasonal. 

          Posted by Donna on 09/15 at 03:18 PM

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