Now I remember that other thing, Painted Hand Farm, which has a booth at the Bloomingdale Farmers Market got a write up in the Wednesday Food section (hey at least something survived the revamp). The article “Veal, cast in a kinder light,” by Jane Black mainly talks about another farmer, but Sandy Miller gets some mention and a photo with two male calves. Also at her stall at the BFM she sells her neighbor’s Keswick cheeses and pudding. As the weather cools I’ll be making veal stock and I’ll be needing Painted Hand’s bones.
Yesterday at the Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market I ran into MVSQ’s Si and mentioned I was going to buy 20-some odd pounds of tomatoes to can. On the Eckington Listserv or was it Scotts Bloomingdale list there was an announcement that one of the vendors was selling a box of tomatoes for $12. I started talking about my plans for canning and Si said I need to blog about it. So, here’s the first.
Supplies- I picked up my canning kit some time ago at the 5th Street Hardware store. They didn’t have it in stock so they ordered it for me and I picked it up several days later. It’s the Ball Canning Kit item # 6096606 and it comes with everything you need for hot water canning and costs about $55 bucks. I also grabbed some 1/2 pint and 1 pint jars from the store as well. The kit comes with the Ball Blue Book Canning Guide, which is how I sort of figured out WTF I’m doing.
So that afternoon I had Mrs. DC Education Blog, BL, come over so the near sighted could lead the blind. I had already canned a lot of strawberry vanilla fruit spread, some pineapples and some peaches. And so BL came to see how this canning thing is done.
I had already pealed and sorta quartered and sort of seeded the tomatoes when she came. They were of the seedy variety and at a certain point I gave up on trying to get all the seeds. I discovered I didn’t have to wait long, or for the skins to crack, after letting them bob around in boiling water and then dunking them in ice cold water. Too long in the boiling water and those puppies cooked in their skins, scalding my hands when I went to peel, core and deseed them.
Okay this post is getting long, so I’ll do a part two later.
No, that’s not my yard, but the amazing front yard garden on 8th Street near the Giant. Comparatively, my yard is sort of disappointing. The tomatoes are just plants. A few sport some small green globes. So far I’m doing very well with arugula and I’ve been giving away the salad to friends and neighbors. Another salad item I’ve got going gangbusters in the yard is purslane. I saw it at the Mexican Fruit Stand and found out it is called ‘Verdolagas’. But no need to buy it as I have tons of it. I just have to avoid steeping on it, and the arugula.
I also have growing cucumbers, beans, sage and a bunch of other herbs. The cukes are weird. I bought a particular variety of cucumber that formed softly furred baby cukes. The other plant (I swear from the same seed) has fruit with hard spikes.
I, like many it appears, have started experiementing with canning. My excuse is, I’m running out of room in my freezer and would like to remove the things that can be canned. I ordered a hot water canning kit from the 5th Street Hardware Store, then went back later to pick up the last set of 1/2 pint canning jars they had on the shelf. I’m hoping that if and when my tomatoes do come, I can can them. So far I’ve canned a banana rum jam and some peaches from a neighbor’s yard. I’m still looking at the jars carefully to make sure I did it right. 72 hours and so far so good. I would can the cherries, but my favorite form of preservation is to soak them in vodka. I’m trying to see if the drunken cherries are somewhat shelf stable. Problem is I keep eating them.
Speaking of canning there are a few articles in today’s Post’s Food Section. One on 14th & U and Bloomingdale farmer’s market vendor, Stefano Figerio. Stefano’s pastas are taking up space in my freezer, which is why I must can.
And some dissappointing news about food, organic isn’t as organic as we’d like. And if you really want to depress yourself (or not, depends on you) here’s a big ole organic agri-business chart. Last word, which makes this mess so sad, I was overhearing a conversation between a shopper and one of the farmers at the farmer’s market. She wanted to know if the veggies were organic. The farmer tried explaining that he couldn’t use that word “organic” because of the USDA rules and what not, but yes, no pesticides or unnatural fertilizers.
I’m running out of “drunken cherries” for my chocolate ice cream with drunken cherries. My ‘drunken cherries’ are cherries that have been soaking in sugar and vodka for 3 months. The purpose of which is to make a cherry liquor. Depending on how it turns out, because the two batches I made several months ago tasted different. One tasted more like a cherry sugar syrup, the other like a upscale NyQuil. I blame the bottle and not so tight cap (and spill) and the off season supermarket cherries.
Anyway, this time around cherries from the farmers market! And Stoli! I have two new batches waiting to sit around for 3 months. I hope to make a small 3rd batch, using the farmer’s market cherries, the organic vodka I got from Bloomingdale Liquors sometime back, and maybe some Florida Crystals, depending on how much those crystals cost.
The basic recipe, should you want to make some is:
1/2 pound of Bing cherries, unblemished and stems removed
1/2 pound of sugar
2 cups of vodka
Place cherries in quart (?) sized jar, pour sugar on cherries, pour in vodka. Cover, seal, whatever, and label. Leave on top of refrigerator for 3 months without touching or shaking or messing with.
If there are strawberries still available I will play with the idea of making a strawberry liquor. I have a blueberry liquor that I have yet to strain, and decide if it worth trying to make again when blueberries come into season.
This morning I awoke to the sound of thunder and went back to sleep. Then the clock radio clicked on, and I tried fighting not going back to sleep, and then a story caught my groggy attention. Listen to local resident and NPR reporter, Neda Ulaby’s report about our dear Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market. You’ll hear the voices of other locals Ted Mcginn, Robin Schuster, and Scott Roberts.
It is amazing how the area (though not in the TC I’m claiming it) got this wonderful market. It’s got kids and dogs and so far so good with that. I’ve said it before the market has a great atmosphere, that I haven’t experienced at some of the other DC markets. Dupont has a lot of great stuff, but OMG is it crowded. I ran into one in Georgetown it was rinky-dink, but then again it was closing down when I showed up. and the farmer’s market (this was a while ago so it may have changed) near the Department of Ag, felt lacking. And Penn Quarter’s farmers market, where I’m heading to after work, is good, but not the same.
I’m still loving the strawberries that are in season. I still have some waiting for turning into a strawberry spread, loosely based on Copper Pot‘s recipe seen on Fox 5. I halved all the ingredients, including the time but except the vanilla, and use the spread to make strawberry ice cream. The jellies Stefano Frigerio (Mr. Copper Pot) sells is firmer, more jell-y. Didn’t see him last week at BFM, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for him this weekend as his pasta sauces are wonderful.
Sadly there were no duck eggs at the Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market today when I showed up. They were available yesterday at the 14th & U market, but I didn’t buy any there.
So what’s the deal with duck eggs and how are they different from the chicken eggs?
When I first bought them all I was told was that bakers love duck eggs. Ok. When cooking with them, when I made scones, the only difference I noticed was they were bigger and seem to have more yolk. When I made straight scrambled eggs, I didn’t care for them. But when I made ice cream, and I primarily used duck eggs there was a noticeable difference.
The ice cream recipe called for 5 egg yolks. I used 1 chicken egg and 4 duck eggs. When separating the white from the yolk, the egg was thick like a hair gel and the white didn’t separate easily. I had to run my finger down the side of the broken shell to get the white to drop. After the duck eggs, I did the chicken egg, and it was like water. I followed the rest of the recipe and set the mix in the fridge overnight. When I took the mixture out and poured it into the ice cream maker it was like pudding. Really thick pudding. The finished product, chocolate ice cream, was like a frozen brownie that melted in your mouth.
Maybe I would make sense to a marketer, or not. I love the Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market (this week’s info at BACA Blog) and I will buy several items from the vendors there, even though they are more expensive than products I’d get at a regular supermarket. However, the quality most of the time is superior to the Giant or Safeway and neither of those places give me the experience of chatting with the producers.
On the other end, I shop at the messy and chaotic Florida Market where I get items from the Mexican Fruit Stand. I complained to my roommate that the avocado I bought there cost me a whole $1. Last week it was 50 cents. It seems that avocados are supposed to be more than $1. I’ve been spoiled. The fruit stand is where I get my onions, garlic, potatoes, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, lemons and limes. I go through a lot of lemons and limes. Sometimes I do spot organic items at the fruit stand, most of the time, not.
Where quality matters I may go with the local and organic items. When I’m probably going to boil the bejeezus out of them or they will get lost in the background of other flavors, I’ll go with the cheaper items. But the way I see it, the cheaper stuff saves me money so I can buy the higher quality items.
Besides the bikes that a few of my neighbors have, I figured the rumbling I’d hear would be limited to them and a few of their friends. Nope.
Sunday at the Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market, where I wandered over to get pasta and strawberries, I saw a parade of motorcycles lead by the police. This is not a good picture, but back on Florida Ave is where a small portion of the bikes can be seen. It was a good bunch, men, predominately Afro-American, on shiny big bikes, waving to the people and honking their horns. Traffic was blocked for several minutes and it went on long enough to make me wonder if I could get back to the other side of Florida.
The mini parade went on long enough that as they were passing my attention went back to buying things. I really like the Copper Pot’s pasta sauces and meat filled pastas. I’ll admit, I’m not that big of a fan of the spaghetti, but I like very, very, very thin noodles. Last night I had the lamb angelico(?), the lamb stuffed pasta,with a cream sauce I made from cream, white wine, garlic, a bit of lemon juice and some sage growing out in the yard. OMG that’s good. The week before I had the rabbit pasta, which is very delicate and requires a delicate sauce. So far the lamb is my favorite.
And there were two vendors selling strawberries. Last week I made strawberry frozen yogurt with those strawberries and that very smooth yogurt found at Timor’s. That was very good and no I didn’t give any of that away, like I normally do with a lot of my ice creams. So this week, I bought some more strawberries, from both vendors and once again made strawberry frozen yogurt, and pina colada sorbet. Both have booze in them so that limits who I can give them away to.
Unlike store bought strawberries, these in season, local kind, don’t have that tasteless white center I often find. The farmer’s market strawberries are tasty throughout.
The Bloomingdale Blog has the long description of all the old and new vendors coming to my favorite little stretch of R St NW this Sunday. I’m excited. Aren’t you?