Posts Tagged ‘maryland’

Fresh Summer Flavors at Silver Diner

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

It’s birthday week at Casa de FoodieTots — mine was Monday, and the boy celebrates his this weekend. I know many of you are already back to school, but we still have two weeks of summer vacation here and are squeezing every last delicious bite out of it. So we thought we’d share a few of our favorite tastes and places this week. Up first, a local diner where you can feel good about what the kids are eating. No, really.

Our local Silver Diner chain, as I’ve written about in the past, sources local and natural foods from farms in the region. Earlier this summer they invited us in to sample their summer menu options, including more gluten-free and flexitarian choices. They offer an entire page full of options for kids, though the younger foodie tot is pretty set on her macaroni and cheese with strawberries on the side. I did talk her into sampling the black bean hummus appetizer with cucumbers and tomatoes, though, which was quite tasty.

Silver Diner summer menu | foodietots.com

The boy has a wider range of favorites, including the turkey and mashed potatoes, sliders, and pancakes. Kids can choose from a list of healthy sides that includes strawberries, edamame or mixed  vegetables.

The farm fresh ingredients include free range turkey from Koch’s Farms, PA; eggs from Martin Farms, PA; and goat cheese from FireFly Farms in MD — as well as fresh produce in season. I loved the bahn mi turkey burger (pictured above). Top off your meal with a classic ice cream shake or opt for a healthy pomegranate yogurt shake with wheat germ, my personal favorite.

Silver Diner kids menu | foodietots.com

And Tuesdays are kids night at the Silver Diner, with entertainment and activities to keep the kids busy while the parents finish their meals in relative peace. There are 15 locations in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. If you’ve been, tell us what your kids’ favorite menu selections are?

Disclosure: We received our meal for free to review the summer menu, but all opinions are our own. We frequently eat at Silver Diner on our own dime.

Support Farmer Heinz (and a Sunchoke Soup Recipe)

Friday, January 7th, 2011

A local Maryland farm, Next Step Produce, recently lost their boiler room in a fire. They lost $1600 worth in seeds in the fire and are unable to heat their greenhouses until the boiler room is rebuilt. Read more about the situation here, or go to FreshFarm Markets’ website to make a contribution to the “Help Heinz Fund.” Not only is farmer Heinz a fixture at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm market, but his organic produce is also distributed through our CSA in a crop-sharing arrangement. Below is a favorite recipe from the FoodieTots archives using one of the ingredients I was first introduced to by Heinz, sunchokes. My toddler, then just two-and-a-half, eagerly sampled a sunchoke handed to him by Heinz at the market — and if I remember correctly, sampled this soup as well.

~

Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, look very similar to ginger root, but when you begin to peel them they offer an intensely concentrated artichoke aroma. Raw, they have the texture of a water chestnut, but taste sweeter and nuttier. They are a member of the tuber farm and are packed with iron and potassium. They aid in digestion and store carbs as inulin, not starch, making them an ideal substitute for potatoes. The farmer suggested roasting them or serving raw in a salad, but I’ve had sunchoke soup on the mind since Ramona’s post in the spring. This simple soup lets their flavor shine. I added mushrooms which added to the earthy flavor, but you can omit them.

Recipe: Creamy Sunchoke Soup
Adapted from Thomas Keller

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sunchokes
  • 1 leek, white part and an inch of the green portion, rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup maitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup cream

Instructions: Peel and thinly slice the sunchokes. (They are a little tricky to peel, so go carefully.) Slice the leek cross-wise into thin strips. Coarsely chop the mushrooms. Melt butter in stock pot over medium low heat. Add sunchokes and leeks and cook until they are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes more. Season with white pepper and salt, and stir in chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in blender or with stick blender until smooth.  Stir in cream, warm over low heat for two minutes, then remove from heat and serve. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Farms of Origin: Organic sunchokes and leek, Next Step Produce and maitake from the Mushroom Lady, Dupont Circle Farmers Market. Butter from South Mountain Creamery.

– originally posted 12/09/08

Fresh from the Pumpkin Patch (and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread)

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Fall is my favorite time of year, especially here in Virginia where we are blessed with beautiful weather and picturesque colors this time of year. After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, with those infernal evergreen trees, the brilliant shades of fall leaves here never fail to impress me. And of course it’s not truly fall ’till we’ve ventured to the pumpkin patch. This year, with two kids in tow — and unlike her big brother’s first trip, the Foodie Bebe didn’t sleep through the whole experience. Of course, that may be because we spent the entire day at the farm… But when your farm is part working farm, part Disneyland (right down to the crazy insane lines for the hayrides and food), what else can you expect?

the great pumpkin hunt at Butlers Orchard

the great pumpkin hunt at Butler's Orchard

The past two years we’ve gone to Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Maryland. It’s large, but activities are spaced out so it doesn’t feel quite as crazy as some of the other local pumpkin extravaganzas. It’s a 60-year-old, family-owned farm, and they actually grow things there. I have nothing against farms who turn into amusement parks if that’s what they need to do to lure people in and turn a profit, I just ask that they actually still grow something. When so many places just plop pumpkins from who knows where into a field, it’s nice to see some honest-to-goodness pumpkin vines. I don’t know if all the pumpkins were grown there (there was a remarkably high percentage of “ginormous” pumpkins, as the boy would say), but close enough for me. There’s a farm store where you can get all sorts of apples, baked goods, canning supplies and other harvest accoutrement as well. On weekends in October, there’s live music, bouncy houses, giant slides, caramel apples, barbecue, apple cider, pony rides, a corn maze …. even pedal tractors and a pumpkin coach pulled by mice (with a little help from a tractor).

A long day of play on the farm demands a hearty breakfast first, and this pumpkin loaf is a perfect start. (Made with our homemade pumpkin puree, not the carving pumpkins we got on the farm.)  I used whole wheat pastry flour to add just a smidge of healthfulness, but you can use white if you prefer.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Maple Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ~ 1 teaspoon water

Instructions:  In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the mixing bowl, beat the eggs on low speed until combined. Add pumpkin, sour cream, butter, vanilla and sugar and mix on medium low until smooth. Add dry ingredients, mixing on low until just combined. Pour batter into a lightly greased bread pan (9x5x3), level off the top, and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

To make the glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar and maple syrup, then add water until a thin consistency is achieved. (If you have maple extract, add 1/4 teaspoon.) Drizzle over the cooled loaf and let stand a few more minutes before slicing.

Makes 1 9-inch loaf. Enjoy!

whole grain pumpkin bread

Chesapeake Corn and Peach Crepes

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Last weekend, the toddler and I wrapped up the Maryland/WaPo Eat Local Challenge week with a tour of the farmstands and markets of the Chesapeake shores. The husband was away for work, so I thought the boy and I would fake a beach trip with day-trips to the Bay.

On Friday nights, the town of North Beach in Southern Maryland hosts a farmers market and cruise in. The market was fairly small, but there were Harris peaches (so good we stopped at their farmstand off Rte. 4 again this weekend), pesticide-free corn, lots of tomatoes, melons and peppers, cheap blue crabs, and kettle corn. The toddler enjoyed the cars on display at the “Cruise In,” and we topped off our Tastee Freez dinner with kettle corn and dancing to live music as the sun set.

Saturday morning we hit the road for St. Michael’s on the Eastern Shore. Traffic got us into town just in time to catch the tail end of the market, undoubtedly the most scenic of FreshFarm’s eight area sites. There were peaches, Chapel’s Country Creamery raw milk cheese, local lamb and more. A 2-week old calf provided entertainment before the toddler selected his peach and took off to see the boats. We headed over to the Chesapeake Folk Life Festival for seafood, watermelon, Smith Island cake and more dancing.

We stopped at historic Wye Mill for local! organic! cornmeal and buckwheat flour (more on that soon), and the Councell Farms farmstand with grown-on-site sweet corn and melons of every shape, size and color. (I highly recommend this stop if you’re taking Rte. 50 to the shore — they have a farm playland for kids that includes a tractor, combine reconfigured into a slide/swing, John Deere tricycle racetrack and adorable pygmy goats.) Came home with a Blue Bonnet watermelon that is so sweet and flavorful.

I wanted to use the local grains in my meal with all this Chesapeake bounty, so I made buckwheat crepes filled with corn, tomatoes, peaches, onion and Chapel’s crab spice (Old Bay) cheddar cheese.

Recipe: Chesapeake Crepes

Corn & Peach Filling
Ingredients
:

  • 2 ears sweet corn, cut from ears
  • 2 peaches, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 2 T fresh parsley or other herb(s)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 c grated cheddar cheese

Instructions: Stir all ingredients except cheese together and let stand.

Crepes
Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c milk
  • 3/4 c buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 unbleached flour
  • 1/4 t salt

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk eggs, add remaining ingredients and whisk quickly until lumps are gone. Cook in oiled crepe or frying pan over medium heat. Takes about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the size of your pan. Remove and place on warm cookie sheet. Top each with generous scoop of filling, then cover with shredded cheese. Roll. Cook in oven 5 minutes, until cheese is just melted. Makes 6-8 crepes. Enjoy!

Notes: I made a toddler version by making mini crepes (about 2 inches in diameter), then topped with cheese and corn/peach filling for a mini pizza. This would have been improved immensely with some fresh crab meat (the Old Bay in the cheese was such a tease!), but I wasn’t able to bring back crabs since it would be a few days before I got to cook this. Next time!

This weekend, the toddler and I hit three Northern Virginia markets in honor of Virginia’s Eat Local week (Aug. 3-9) – stay tuned for a report on those. It’s also National Farmers Market Week, so visit LocalHarvest to find your closest market and check it out!