Monday through Friday, I step off the train in the morning at Penn Center Suburban Station following a 45 minute commute, and the smell of coffee smacks me in the face. I love it; in fact, look forward to it. Without ingesting a bit of caffeine, I’m awakened for the second time.
Allow me to add another aroma I wouldn’t mind confronting each morning: kabocha squash baking in the oven. Sweet, nutty, and fragrant like a decadent dessert when, in reality, it’s a nutritious impostor with many recipe functions.
Kabocha arrived in my CSA share, among other varieties of produce that are new to my vocabulary (thank you, Landisdale Farm!). From Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes and Red Tropea Onions to Sweet Dumpling Squash and Sugar Baby Watermelons, I’m amazed at the innumerable varieties of fruits and vegetables. Squash isn’t just squash anymore – it’s kabocha, acorn, sweet dumpling or zucchini. Continue reading
There’s something special about food in a Mason jar, though I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it’s the persona it exudes: homemade, distinct, unique; or maybe it’s the belief that a fair amount of care and effort linger just beneath the lid.
Canning foods adds a layer of depth to eating seasonally by “saving the seasons” — fresh, bright blueberries in the midst of a harsh, cold winter is a particularly pleasant prospect, especially when coupled with the personal fulfillment of having created the product yourself. I’ve been reading about how to can foods at home, wrapping my brain around the necessary steps to, quite frankly, avoid poisoning myself and fellow tasters. Canning is a bit scientific and methodical, requiring certain supplies to execute a heat-activated process to kill microorganisms and inactivate enzymes that cause food to spoil. Jars must be vacuum-sealed to prevent air from entering and re-contaminating the food. Continue reading
Amidst fireworks and barbecue, the 4th of July holiday weekend afforded a much-needed day off from work. While we’re still far from settled in our new home, I took some time to explore the new stomping grounds. Armed with my new local food bible from the Montgomery County Cooperative Extension, I set out in the late-morning heat on Monday. After turning into a Philly’s Farmers’ Market groupie and divulging my pledge to diversify, I craved options to acquire fresh, local produce outside of the Landisdale CSA. As it turns out, options abound.
I discovered two roadside farm stands within a stone’s throw of each other:
Sunrise Sunflower Farm was my first stop. The small, wooden farm stand popped with sunflowers and red tomatoes, unattended while bodies worked in the fields. I pulled into the driveway and took inventory of the saleable items. Besides tomatoes and sunflowers, zucchini and blueberries rounded out the small but bright harvest. I noticed a lock box with a small opening; recognizing this as their cash register, I slipped $3 into the box and walked back to my car with a pint of fresh blueberries. Continue reading