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Welcome to the New Chesapeake Kitchen

This was originally posted on John's previous blog site on January 5, 2013.

Welcome to the New Chesapeake Kitchen – where the old is once again new!

The latest, hottest craze in the food world is “local cuisine.” It’s all about using products that have been grown or produced locally and are sold in our local community markets. It’s about eating seasonally and hopefully more healthfully. Wow, what a scathingly brilliant idea. Grow and eat local. I’m not making fun. I love that more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon and discovering the joys of local food and farmers’ markets. But it is a very old way of eating. Actually it’s the way that we have always eaten around the Chesapeake Bay region until just the past forty to fifty years. Just a micro-blip in the time-line of the way we have always eaten.

If you are already of fan of farmers’ markets, and local artisan foods, then just come along and enjoy the ride around the markets, farms, vineyards, docks, fishmongers, and gardens of the Chesapeake. For the novice in buying, growing and eating locally, or if you’re just a little out of practice, hopefully this little blog might serve as a guide and resource for cooking and eating locally. Enjoy!

This is my Saturday morning must-do. Ever since I moved back to my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland in 1996, the Waverly market is the way I start my Saturdays. It’s the only year-round farmers market in the city and the hub of many vibrant North Baltimore communities. A lot of people ask why anyone would want to go to a farmers market in the winter. Well, duh, for food. And there is lots of it even in the coldest, most barren months of the year. Remember, our grandparents and great-grand parents did eat quite well year round, and it wasn’t flown in from New Zealand. Just takes a little mindset readjustment and menu planning.

Let’s take a look at what is happening at Waverly 32nd Street Market this winter.

Apples galore from Black Rock Orchard

It isn’t harvest time for apples but as has happened for thousands of years, after the fall harvest the apples are stored, or “cellared” through the coming winter.

Here’s a great recipe for a traditional apple crisp that is spiced-up with a little mango chutney. It is a nice wintery touch for this classic dessert.

  • 6 to 8 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced

  • 1 cup coarsely pureed mango chutney (from the store or homemade)

  • 1 cups flour

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander

  • ½ pound butter, cut into pieces

  1. Mix apples with mango chutney and set aside.

  2. Mix flour, brown sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, coriander, into a bowl. Incorporate butter pieces with fingertips to make a course meal.

  3. Butter a glass Pyrex pan and spread out the apples. Top evenly with sugar/flour mixture.

  4. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 45 to 50 minutes or well browned.

  5. Serve at room temperature, or slightly warmed, with whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

A sea of brussel sprouts from Gardner’s Gourmet. Just the thing for a winter snack.

Baltimorechef, Sam Hottle, loves his Brussel sprouts, and so does everyone who snacks on the trays of his, just-roasted, little cabbage-like vegetables. There are a myriad of ways to gussie up brussel sprouts but Sam likes his simply prepared.

  • 1 pound small brussel sprouts, trimmed (if larger cut in half)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (try some virtually-local olive oil from Dimitri Olive Oil)

  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Toss the brussel sprouts with the olive oil in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

  3. Spread the brussel sprouts out onto a sheet pan and place in the oven, roasting for about 20 to 30 minutes.

  4. About every 5 minutes during the roasting shake the pan to rotate the brussel sprouts.

  5. When the brussel sprouts are nicely browned, remove them from the oven. They can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Some variations:

Add 1 teaspoon Dijonmustard, or 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to the olive oil mixture before coating the brussel sprouts.

From the hives out at Cybee’s Honey, sold at the Brooms Bloom Dairy stall, there’s quite a variety of items for sale. Jars of local clover honey – and – made from the bees wax of the hives, a beautiful assortment of candles.

And believe it or not, there is “virtually local” olive oil available at Baltimore’s two largest farmer’s market s- Dimitri ‘s Olive Oil – produced by Baltimorean, Dimitri Komninos, who operates an olive farm in southern Greece. A beautiful product!

What’s Up at the Winter Market?

Here’s a bitty snapshot of what was on hand this morning at the Waverly 32nd Street Market.

Meat & Poultry – Beef, pork, ham, sausages, bacon, lamb, bison, chicken, rabbit, eggs

Seafood – Wild rockfish & oysters, smoked fish

Fruit – Apples (Jonathan, Empire, Stayman, Fuji, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady – and on and on), pears, cider (apple & pear)

Vegetables – Potatoes (russet, Yukons, red, white etc), sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, shallots, turnips, green beans, Brussel sprouts, garlic, radishes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, field greens, lettuces, arugula, kale (green house)

Dairy – milk, yogurt, goat ricotta, goat chevre, goat feta, half & half, cream, ice cream, and every kind of cheese imaginable

Baked Goods – bakeries with artisan breads, pastries, biscuits and cookies

And don’t forget, there’s local honey, local-ish olive oil, soaps, nuts, gifts. A winter trip to the market is a sight to behold. Looking over the list above it’s plain to see that any family can be well-fed and well-nourished with what our amazing farmers are producing right here in the Chesapeake region. Buy local and bon apetite!


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