On the Road & At Home

  • Local Strawberries vs. Store Bought

    It is summer time and one of my favorite summer treats is the Strawberry! Yes, strawberries are available in the store year round but there is no better time to enjoy them then when they are in season locally. The farther the fruit has to travel, which for Pennsylvania is kind of far, the chances that it has less flavor and here is why:

    Above is a photo of two different strawberries, the one on the far left is a locally grown berry next to a store bought one. Both are organic, cost about the same and are a brilliant shade of red BUT there is a big difference. In the next photos the berries have been sliced and as you can see the local berry keeps its red almost throughout the entire berry, while the store bought one is mostly white. Also, which you will just have to trust me on this, the store berry is bland and lacks a lot of flavor especially after bitting into the local one.

    The reason for this is because the berries that you buy in most grocery stores come all the way from California. In order for the berry to make the 3000 mile journey to Pennsylvania they are picked before they have had a chance to ripened. Think about how many times you have taken a chunk out of a store bought berry and it was very sour, this is why! This is also why when Strawberries are in season I suggest getting as many as you can locally. If you love strawberries year round think about freezing them or canning them whole

    The reason why I created this post was because of an Ad I saw on TV for a strawberry salad. In the add they show the strawberries cut in half, they were mostly white and looked like they were lacking in flavor. I don't want people to think that this is the norm, that strawberries should look like that. People need to experience food around them to see what it should truly look and taste like before they settle.

  • Grapefruit Jello

    Though it is winter here, it is prime Grapefruit season in Florida and I wanted to make a treat I have not made in a long time, Jello! 

    Grapefruit Jello

    Serives 6

    3 cups Grapefruit Juice (if squeezing fresh that is about 4 Grapefruits)

    4 Tbl Plain Gelatin (or 4 envelopes)

    1 cup hot water

    1/4 Light Maple Syrup

    *In a medium bowl bloom the Gelatin with 1 cup of the Tbl Juice, make sure you stir so there is no dry spots)

    *After all the Gelatin is bloomed stir in the Hot Water and stir till the Gelatin is melted, add in the remaining Grapefruit Juice and Maple Syrup, stir until fully incorporated

    *Leave in your bowl or pour into whatever vesal you plan on serving it in. I used a 6 cup glass dish, let it set up in the fridge until it is firm, a deep dish might take three-five hours and a shallow dish might only take two hours.

    ** IF you like pulp I suggest juicing your own Grapefruits, set the pulp to the side, go through the instructions above THEN after the jello sets for about 1 1/2 hours take out of the fridge and mix in the pulp. Waiting will make it so the pulp doesn't all rise to the top of the Jello as it sets!

  • Pennsylvania Pancakes

    Good Morning! Here is a great recipe for a different type of pancake. It can be made many different ways but I am going to share my favorite version, Bacon and Fried Onion PA Pancake! (Which is also my got to hangover cure)

    Bacon and Fired Onion PA Pancakes

    Serverings: 6 Pancakes

    4 Eggs Separated

    3/4 Cup Flour

    1/2 Cup Milk

    1/2 tsp Salt

    4 Slices of Bacon

    1/2 Small Onion Diced

    *Heat small pan over medium heat, Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and fray in the pan until they start to crisp up, spoon out the pieces onto a plate lined with paper towel but save the bacon fat to use later

    *Add some bacon fat back to the pan, just enough to coat it and fry the onions until they are just about brown and set aside

    *Sperate Yolks and Egg Whites into two bowls, beat the egg white till stiff peaks form

    *In the other bowl beat the yolks until the mix becomes pale, beat in the milk and salt, sift flour into mixture and whisk together

    *Add bacon and onions to yolk mixture, fold in egg whites but just till incorporated leaving some streaks of white

    *Use the Bacon Fat to grease your pan or skillet, pour about 1/2 cup of batter per cake onto the pan, once it stars to bubble on top flip it over and cook the other side for about 1 minute

    ***Finish cakes off with whatever you choose, I use butter and syrup but it is up to you. 

    Where it came from:

    Flour : Daisy Organic Flour Lancaster, PA

    Eggs : Backyard Chickens

    Bacon : Andre's Country Meat Market Boyertown, PA

    Onion : Renningers Farmers Market Kutztown, PA

    Milk : Kirchenburg Goat Farm Fleetwood, PA

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Yay, my first recipe! Ready....Set....Yum!

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Oven: 350º

    Serving: 12- 3Tbl Size Cookies (If you don't eat any of the dough)

    3/4 Cup Butter (Room Temperature)

    3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

    1/4 Cup White Sugar

    1 Large Egg

    2 Tbl Milk

    1 Tbl Vanilla

    2 Cups All Purpose Flour

    1 tsp Salt

    1/2 tsp Baking Soda

    1/3 Cup Walnuts

    2/3 Cup Chocolate Chips

    *Cream together Butter ad Sugars together until lighter in color

    *Add Egg, Milk and Vanilla to butter and sugar, beat them till well combined and smooth

    *In a separate bowl sift together Flour, Salt and Baking Soda, add to liquid mix and blend until combined

    *Stir in Chocolate Chips and Nuts by hand

    *Use a scoop or spoon out 3Tbl size balls onto an ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart, cook for 12 minutes

    Where the Ingredients Came From:

    Butter : I have not yet found a local place that makes butter so I either buy Organic from the store or make my own

    Sugars : Florida Crystals is the brand of sugar I use, it is organic and all comes from Florida

    Eggs : Home grown ;)

    Flour : Daisy Organic Flour out of Lancaster, PA

    Chocolate Chips : Wilbur Chocolates Lititz, PA

    Walnuts : I buy walnuts in bulk and they are grown in California

  • Cupcake Smash 2014

    This will be my third year participating in the Philabundance Cupcake Smash but the first time I will be entring as Hundred Mile Table instead of Sundry Mornings. I have been working on my cupcake for the past couple weeks and in the spirit of my Hundred Mile Challenge I will be sourcing as much of the product from local farms and producers as possible. 

    Keep checking the Philabundance website to see when the tickets go on sale and after the competition I will be posting my cupcake recipe here. I wish I could share it now but can't let the cat out of the bag just yet!

  • The Pantry

    The most important part of my kitchen is the pantry. I love cooking so much that I don't even have the space to accomidate all of the items and equipment that I have collected over the years. When thinking about doing this challenge I looked into my pantry and realized that basics items one needs for cooking are:

    • Salt: As stated before I choose to go with Dimond Crystal Kosher Salt for my kitchen because it is produced in Michigain, which out of the many brands I researched is the closest Kosher salt producer to Philadelphia. If you perfer to use Sea Salt then I would suggest using, Maine Sea Salt.
    • Pepper: Is not grown in the US but mainly in Asian countries. I buy my "exotic" spices from Mountain Rose Herbs because they created a program that it much like Fair Trade called Good Trade (read more about it here). They work directly with every farm that they buy their product from, that means that it is a direct sources which reduces the miles traveled between you and your spices.
    • Oil: Golden Barrel Company is located in Honey Brook, PA and they package all kinds of oil from Canola to Coconut. Their Canola oil is a product of the US. 
    • Flour: Daisy Organics is a flour company near Lancaster, PA and they carry all kinds of different flours and you can buy them in bulk at some stores like Kimberton Whole Foods or by the bag at places like Fair Foods at Reading Terminal.
    • Sugar: Again, Golden Barrel packages sugar including light and dark brown, refined, raw and syrups like molasses and corn.
    • Spices: I get these from Mountain Rose Herbs as well if I can't grow or dry them myself.

    Remember this is just a simple guide and will be updated as I find out more information on the items. It is about asking questions and understanding where products come from that's important.   

  • Inspiration from, Lexicon of Sustainability

    I have derived a lot of inspiration for this project and my Hundred Mile Challenge from a project called, The Lexicon of Suitability. I saw the work of filmmaker and photographer Douglas Gayeton and producer Laura Howard-Gayeton at a gallery in Emmaus, PA a couple years ago. The show I saw was a collection from the project called, Food and Farming in America and the synopsis is:

     “By illuminating the vocabulary of sustainable agriculture, and with it the conversation about America’s rapidly evolving food culture, the Lexicon of Sustainability™ educates, engages and activates people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system in America.”

    They use images to illustrate the words in which they feel are important to help one not only understand what it means to be sustainable but also participate as well. I will admit I was a bit confused to the web that helps create a sustainable life but after seeing that show and also watching the videos I not have a better understand which is going to be a tremendous help through this project.

    This is from their site

    Concepts like “Food Miles” and “Carbon Foot Prints” are designed to make people think about what they eat and where it comes from.  Becoming more connected with a local food system strenghtens a community.  It keeps money in a local economy and connects local food producers and consumers.  Food choices have  an impact not only on a community.  “Food Miles” offer consumers a straightforward way to see how their buying choices can contribute to climate change. - See more at: http://www.lexiconofsustainability.com/pop-up-art-shows/foodmiles/#sthash.hjKVhyT2.dpuf

    Also there are short films on PBS that guid you through some of the images created like the one centered around the tearm LOCAL.

  • Pennsylvania Farm Show, Jan. 11th, 2014

    Yesterday I went to the Pennsylvania Farm Show out in Harrisburg to see what it was all about and to learn a few new things about PA farming. I made it there just in time to catch a bit of the maple syrup demonstration. I learned that only 10% of all the maple syrup distributed comes from the United States as a whole and that is divided by ten states including Pennsylvania. Last year PA produced 134,000 gallons of syrup last year making up 4% of the total US production. Though there are no major production sites of maple syrup within a hundred miles of Philadelphia there are plenty of small farm producers to which you can purchase homemade maple syrup from.1


    Here are some more facts I learned:

    •  97% of PA farms are family owned
    • PA ranks 4th in apple production, 439 million pounds grown annually
    • 62% of US mushrooms are grown in the state of Pennsylvania, #1 in nation

    I made my rounds through the animals and it seemed that we showed up during the goats nap time. I was also disappointed to see that the pigs were no longer there.

     Just before leaving we went inside the butterfly tent. It was funny watching people pass through not having any clue how many butterflys had made them their friends.