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Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 | 0 comments

DIY Kids: Refreshing Icy Milk Watermelon Granitas

DIY Kids: Refreshing Icy Milk Watermelon Granitas

Not only are granitas a delicious, refreshing treat in the summer, but they’re so easy to make. My daughter Ana (age 10) and her cousin (age 11) made watermelon granitas the other day. The granita hails from Sicily, is a cross between a sno-cone and sorbet, and can be chunky or smooth in texture. Often granitas are sweetened with sugar, but the girls followed a recipe online that called for condensed milk as the sweetener. They started with a watermelon (with seeds) that we received in our Green Grocer farm share box. I don’t think the girls had ever seen a watermelon with seeds in their young lives. After picking out the seeds and chopping up the fruit, they saved a few juicy morsels for themselves. Then, they put 6 cups of watermelon chunks into a blender, along with 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/3 of a cup of condensed milk. Once blended, they poured the mixture into a glass pan. It doesn’t matter so much the...

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Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Caffeine: Justine’s Pour Over Coffee Brew Bar

Caffeine: Justine’s Pour Over Coffee Brew Bar

Justine prepared for many months before debuting her pour over coffee brew bar, Caffeine, at the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market. She learned all she could about roasting coffee beans, went to coffee cuppings at Swing’s, and studied methods for making the perfect cup of pour over coffee. Pour over coffee is a means for brewing coffee by pouring the near boiling water over coffee grounds in a filter. The water soaks into the grounds and the coffee drips ever so slowly into the cup set underneath. Justine makes every cup with care and precision. She measures out the beans and the water for each 12 ounce cup, leaving nothing to chance. Then, she uses a circular motion when pouring the water into the filter to evenly saturate the grounds. It takes up to 2 minutes for the coffee to filter through the grounds. Pour over coffee is only as good as the beans you start out with, which is why Justine roasts her own. She buys the...

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 | 0 comments

Summer Canning: Peach BBQ Sauce

Summer Canning: Peach BBQ Sauce

Ever since peaches started to appear at the farmers market, I’ve been looking forward to making and canning a batch of peach BBQ sauce, a recipe I discovered last summer after I attended a canning demo at the Del Ray Variety store. The recipe comes from the Ball book of canning and it’s simple and delicious, truly the essence of summer. The main ingredients are peaches, red peppers and onions, which I picked up at the farmers market. Before I began, I wanted to make sure the canning jars, though new, were sterilized, so I simmered them in my large canning pot for about 10 minutes.  While that happened, I cut up the fruit and vegetables — 6 cups of peaches, 1 cup of red bell pepper and 1 cup of onion. The acid in peaches irritates my skin so I always wear gloves when handling a large quantity — I used 18 peaches for this recipe! The juice covered the counter, the sign of some perfectly ripe fruit....

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Posted by on Jul 10, 2014 | 0 comments

Kremena’s Bulgarian Baked Goods

Kremena’s Bulgarian Baked Goods

I was delighted to see Kremena Stefanova’s familiar face recently at the Four Mile Run Farmers’ and Artisans Market. Kremena is a parent at my daughter’s elementary school and has started selling her baked goods at the market, all recipes she learned from her mother and grandmother in her childhood home in Bulgaria. That day, I went home with the most divine apple strudel you can imagine, with an unexpected, lingering almond flavor I had never tasted before in an apple strudel. Kremena told me she used her Grandmother’s method, learned by heart as a child in her home town of Veliko Tarnovo (the historical section here pictured in winter). Kremena recalls how, “growing up in Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain, families had to make their own food using seasonal ingredients. You can do wonders with as little as five ingredients.” She showed me this photo of her home in the countryside where she says she learned to grow vegetables in the family garden, to raise animals, and...

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Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 | 0 comments

Hot Summer, Icy Cocktails

Hot Summer, Icy Cocktails

When cocktail hour arrives on our block and neighbors gather on front stoops, it’s interesting to note the different ways people choose to chill their drinks. The most common serving in my home year-round is straight up, which is shaken and stirred with ice and then strained into a chilled glass without ice. Our neighbor Mark prefers the ice sphere in his bourbon cocktails on the rocks, which not only looks great but melts just slowly enough to keep the drink cool but not overly watery. He sometimes infuses mint leaves in the ice as well, to make a mint julep with subtle flavor that doesn’t hit you all at once. Here is the type of mold Mark uses to freeze a sphere. The whiskey stones (or rocks) are another way to chill a drink when you like your whiskey served neat.  The stones come in a small bag that you keep in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. You place them in the glass and pour the whiskey straight...

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