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

          So Good You’ll Forget It’s Raining

          Saturday, August 22, 2015


          We’d already walked a distance in light rain, and now we were sitting down to dinner on the Marine Parade Grounds of the Navy Yard as it rained harder.  As soon as we tasted the pork pate, none of that mattered.  Made by La Divisa, the pate was creamy and flavorful, but with none of the excessive richness or slight funk of more traditional pates.  We ate it as our first course at Diner En Blanc with equally excellent Oldwick Shepherd cheese and cured olives from Valley Shepherd Creamery.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say the pate cleared the sky, but it did stop raining shortly afterward, music and dancing started, and yet another beautiful spot in our city provided a luminous backdrop for the evening.

          For those of you who missed it or didn’t get enough of the Navy Yard, tickets are now on sale for Pheast, the PHS sponsored fundraiser for the wonderful City Harvest program.  Come celebrate the urban farmers and community gardens who supply the program and the night with local produce.

          Posted by Donna on 08/22 at 10:43 AM

          Drink Up In The Garden

          Thursday, August 20, 2015


          We’ve talked before about how seeking out local food on vacation has enriched our travel experiences, and a recent trip to London was no exception.  We attended the Midnight Apothecary, hosted every Saturday night in the beautiful rooftop herb garden of the Brunel Museum in southeast London.  Just across the street from the Thames, the Brunel Museum sits atop the very first tunnel under the river.  We preferred to stay above ground, and had delicious cocktails made from herbs grown right in the garden.


          The beer served was Hiver,, brewed with honey from urban London apiaries.

          Posted by Donna on 08/20 at 01:11 PM

            A Summer Picnic

            Saturday, August 01, 2015

            As soon as I tasted our naturally fermented pickles made a few weeks ago, I knew we had to put a picnic together.


            Headhouse Market newcomber La Divisa meats made it easy, with a wonderful thinly sliced ham we slathered with Green Aisle Grocery’s horseradish on Ric’s Bread.  And of course there had to be a tomato sandwich.



            For dessert, I cooked down a bunch of rhubarb from our garden and made a rhubarb fool.  This was one of those too pretty desserts I had never gotten around to trying.  Definitely worth the minimal effort in the summer - it was cool, slightly tart, and did I mention pretty?



            Posted by Donna on 08/01 at 05:22 PM

            Sauteed String Beans in Tomato Sauce

            Saturday, July 25, 2015


            While I thought it was fitting to use my grandmother’s bowl to serve this old fashioned dish, the result didn’t taste much like the stewed green beans I remember from childhood.  For one, I briefly blanched the beans while the simple tomato sauce was cooking so they could be thrown in at the end to just cook through.  I also used a combination of wax beans and two varieties of pole beans for a mix of flavors.  Our lovely San Marzano plum tomatoes on the plants we got at Savoie Organic Farm aren’t quite ripe yet, so we used several beautiful Persimmons.  They were definitely more juicy than a plum, but that worked well for this quickly cooked sauce.  We did add some chunks of fresh mozzarella from Hillacres Pride just before eating - purely for the protein, of course.

            Sauteed String Beans in Tomato Sauce

            1 pound string beans
            3 cloves garlic
            2 tablespoons olive oil
            5 medium tomatoes
            12 basil leaves

            Trim beans, blanch in salted water and set aside.  Using the same boiling water, blanch tomatoes just long enough for their skins to crack.  Rinse briefly to cool, remove skins and chop in 1 inch chunks.

            Mince garlic and saute a minute in olive oil over medium heat.  Add tomatoes and a few pinches of salt and leave simmering until tomatoes begin to break down and sauce thickens.  Add beans and cook until beans are desired consistency. 

            Serves 2 for lunch or 4-6 as a side dish.



            Posted by Donna on 07/25 at 02:52 PM

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