Posts Tagged ‘reids orchard’

Sour Cherries and the Trouble with Pies

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

What is it about baking a pie that strikes fear into the heart of even accomplished home cooks and, ahem, food bloggers alike? A flaky pie crust is a lovely showcase for summer’s ripest berries and fruit, but it’s that pesky crust that seems to spoil the best pie-making intentions. I’m guilty myself of scrapping plans for a pie to make a cobbler or crisp instead. Even if you have a trusty crust recipe on hand, a pie must be planned for — with the requirement to chill the dough before rolling it out, it simply cannot be left to the last minute. (And then you’re supposed to let it cool before serving — rather than immediately spooning it out and scooping a spoonful of vanilla ice cream on top.)

sampling sour cherries

I dragged lured the whole family out to the Bloomingdale Farmers Market on Sunday to secure the elusive sour cherries* for pie baking. (Reid’s Orchard at the market is one of my favorite sources of summer berries and fruits.) Seriously, the mad rush for sour cherries at the more trafficked DC markets is even to put anyone off baking. Not so at Bloomingdale, where the boy observed the modest line at the berry stand and said, “Let’s come back to this one,” before continuing down to pick an array of summer squashes from Garner’s. We selected hot dogs from Truck Patch for grilling, pastries from Panorama Bakery to consume right there (with iced coffee drinks from Big Bear Cafe next door), and some cheese from Keswick Creamery (and chocolate pudding … for the husband). After cooling down on Big Bear’s patio — where the boy joined several other children in planting himself under the mister — we picked up a pint of Dolcezza gelato to go as well.

foodietots cherry pie

But back to the pie… Pie crust is nothing complicated — butter (or lard), salt, sugar, flour, water. Use cold butter and work quickly, and chill the dough thoroughly before rolling it out. Rolling a pie crust is an essential skillĀ  for any child to learn, so sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto your clean counter or cutting board and put them to work — and then, should it turn out less photogenic than you’d hoped, you can just inform your guests that your little one made the crust. ;-)

Now the good thing about pie is that once you conquer your fears of crust-making, the filling is endlessly adaptable. A couple (~4) cups of berries or fruit, 2 tablespoons corn starch, 1/2-cup or so of sugar, squeeze of lemon juice and pinch of fresh herbs or spices. (I like nutmeg with cherries, a tiny bit of rosemary or thyme with peaches, and of course, cinnamon with apples.) Toss them together and pour into the prepared shell, dot the top with butter and arrange your top crust — or strips, latticed if you want to get fancy — over. Crimp the edges (again, no need to get fancy — a quick pinch will do), cut a few slices for venting, and bake. (400 degrees for about an hour, covering edges with a strip of foil to prevent over-browning.) Voila! Now just try to resist slicing into it until it’s cooled.

It’s #PieParty today, a virtual pie bake-fest created by GlutenFree Girl, and more than a thousand bloggers are conquering crust-phobia to share their pie creations.

When pie baking plans go awry (read: kids or life in general get in the way of baking time), here’s a fall-back strategy: pit the cherries (or otherwise wash/prep the fruit you have on hand), toss them with the cornstarch/sugar/spices, and pour into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Stick it in the freezer until another day… and enjoy almost-instant pie.

pickled cherries

* Wondering what else to do with sour cherries? Try homemade bourbon cherries (for the grown ups, of course), or pickle them for a wonderful accompaniment to cheese. If time is less of an issue for you, here’s a recipe to put up sour cherry pie filling for winter, via the domestic guru Mrs. Wheelbarrow.

At the Bloomingdale Farmers Market (and Sunday BLTJs)

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I ventured into the city Sunday to check out a new (to me) market, the Bloomingdale Farmers Market. The sister market to the 14th & U Farmers Market, Bloomingdale is open Sundays from 10am-2pm. I was lured in to visit by news of some new cheeses at Keswick Creamery. (Head over to the cheese blog to read about those!) The Bloomingdale market is a small but robust neighborhood market, one block long and featuring a terrific group of vendors.

Keswick Creamery and Copper Pot were perhaps the more well-known vendors from other markets. I picked up strawberries — the most flavorful I’ve had this season, by far — and an heirloom pepper plant from Reid’s Orchard, a Pennsylvania vendor who also appears at some of the Fairfax County markets.

I got arugula and smoked bacon from Truck Patch (who also had lovely strawberries, asparagus and eggs), and a loaf of rustic white bread from Panorama Bakery. In addition to Truck Patch, there were also lamb and goat meat vendors, a vegan baker, and another produce vendor.

And as an added perk, the market is located in front of Big Bear Cafe, so I was able to pick up a Counter Culture latte for my trip home.

Once home, I made a quick lunch of BLTJ’s — last summer’s tomato jam standing in for fresh tomatoes. (Okay, and technically it’s a BATJ, as I used arugula in place of lettuce.) And for dessert, Keswick’s decadent chocolate pudding. I think it’s safe to say the Foodie Tot is a fan.

Bloomingdale Farmers Market
1st and R Streets, NW
Sundays, 10am – 2pm
Get market updates on Facebook

One Local Summer BBQ Bash

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

To close out the summer, we savored the best of local foods from coast to coast. I’ll write more about our Oregon finds later this week, but for the official last post of One Local Summer I wanted to detail the family barbeque we had this weekend for the toddler’s 2nd birthday.

On the menu:

  • Heirloom vegetable crudite with Italian “Little Tree of Sarzano” zucchini, lemon cucumbers, yellow and purple peppers, purple cherokee cherry tomatoes
  • Corn chips with fresh peach salsa
  • Watermelon gazpacho
  • Grilled corn-on-the-cob with South Mountain Creamery butter
  • Virginia beef hamburgers (freshly ground by the butcher) on Va.-made buns with Tom’s cave-aged smethe cheese & Amish pickles (PA), Bigg Rigg’s ramp mustard (WV) and Mr. Ugly tomatoes (MD)
  • Beverages: Peach Sangria, with Barboursville sparkling wine (VA); Fordham (MD), Dominion (VA) and Dogfish Head (DE) beer.
  • Dessert: birthday cake & cupcake from Buzz Bakery.

The produce came from our Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA; Mt. Olympus Farm, Reid’s Orchard and a Northern Neck VA farmer at the McLean market; and Tom the Cheese Guy, D&S Farms and the plant stand at the Del Ray market.

Only non-local ingredients: tortilla chips (though Snyders were from PA), jicama, seltzer, Gulden’s mustard and organic ketchup. One lesson learned – don’t ask a butcher how much beef you’ll need unless you want some giant burgers! But they were oh so very good.