Cinnamon Honey Butter and Strawberry Compote

Just like that he is five.  My first grandson.  His mother takes his younger brother to gym class and the big five comes to visit his grandparents.  Every Monday morning.  Part of what we do is school work (he is starting on the adventure of homeschooling that his mother and aunt enjoyed…and school on Monday is at Gramma’s and Pop’s house.  This week we continued talking about farming.  We discussed what crops he would grow if he was a farmer.  He drew a picture.  He went upstairs (to the yellow room) and built a field with crops (bananas, carrots, and apples) from Legos.  He also reads chapter books with Pop.

And then we cooked.

These really are two very very easy recipes.  My five year old grandson made them with very little help.  He measured all the ingredients and even manned the electric hand mixer.

The first recipe we made was a strawberry compote to use on ice cream or a waffle or pancakes.  This takes all of ten minutes to make (if Gramma cleans the strawberries the night before).

 

Strawberry Compote

Ingredients

1 1/2 to 2 cups of chopped fresh strawberries (which is a pint)

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed orange juice

 

Directions

Rinse and dry the strawberries.  Remove the green tops.  Cut each berry into quarters.  If the berries are extra large cut into 6 or 8 pieces.  

Put half of the cut up strawberries in a heavy bottomed pan.  Add the sugar and orange juice.  Turn the heat on low, stir the mixture and bring it to a simmer.  Stir occasionally and cook for five minutes.  The berries would be partially cooked down and the mixture should be slightly syrupy.IMG_9884

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the saved strawberries.

Pour the mixture from the hot pan to a bowl and cool to room temperature before serving.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

 

We made the strawberry compote first because it needs to cool before eating.

 

This recipe is even more five-year-old chef ready because there is no heat involved.  Just remember to get the butter out the night before so it is room temperature and soft.  You do NOT want to melt or microwave it.

Cinnamon Honey Butter

Ingredients

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Directions

The most important thing to do when making this Cinnamon Butter is to make sure the butter is room temperature.  Don’t try to make this recipe with cold butter right out of the refrigerator.  The butter needs to be soft.

The best way to mix the butter is to use a hand mixer.  You can stir this by hand but the butter has to be super soft.

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a hand mixer to combine.

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Two simple recipes.  Easy to make.  Very good to eat!IMG_9892

Grandson tasted both on his favorite waffles and gave both a thumbs up!

 

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He asked me to take a picture of his strong muscles which he got from eating his waffles with Cinnamon Honey Butter and Strawberry Compote…so here you are.

 

The ingredients for these recipes were purchased from the Collingswood Farmers’ Market where my grandson now shops on Saturday mornings.  His favorite things are the Muth Family popcorn and Springdale Farm’s apple cider donuts.

 

Where to find ingredients at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market

For the Cinnamon Honey Butter….The butter is Hillacres Pride.  (made from milk from their cows grandson will tell you) and the honey is from Fruitwood Farms (and bees….)

For the Strawberry Compote…the strawberries are from Muth Family Organic Farm (but also can be purchased at Buzby Farm, Springdale Farm, Fruitwood Farm… the orange was purchased at Sara’s Produce.

 

 

 

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Simple skillet asparagus

Everyone has an opinion about asparagus.  Some won’t eat it.  Some can’t wait for the arrival of spring and opening day of their favorite farmers’ market to enjoy it once again.  Asparagus is the first spring vegetable that makes it to the market freshly harvested.

For those who love asparagus the next big controversy is fat or skinny.  Me…I like skinny. Husband too.  Although he doesn’t mind fat asparagus if it is cooked until too too soft and smothered with butter and salt.

This week, fresh, newly harvested thin asparagus was the purchase.  Lots of farmers at our local Collingswood Farmers’ Market have asparagus….Springdale Farm, Viereck farm, Fruitwood Farm, Buzby Farm.  All delicious!

This is a quick and easy way to make thin asparagus.  The final product is similar in taste to roasted asparagus.  The flavor is as intense…but the preparation is much simpler.

 

Ingredients:

a bunch of asparagus
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Rinse asparagus in cold water and trim off the tough ends of the stalks (thin asparagus generally has very little to trim).
  2. Put butter in a heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid and heat until the butter is foaming.
  3. Lay asparagus in the pan and shake from side to side to gently coat the asparagus with the melted butter.  If you’re not confident about shaking the skillet you can use a spoon or spatula to move the stalks around.
  4. Cover the skillet with the tightly-fitted lid and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Then check asparagus and turn as needed to prevent burning.IMG_9822
  5. Continue cooking 5 minutes longer, or until asparagus is tender but still crisp and bright green. IMG_9823
  6. Season to taste and serve hot.IMG_9825

Sirloin Steak Bites

I recently bought a smallish (about 1 1/2 pounds) sirloin steak from my favorite grass fed meat purveyors, Hillacres Pride (at The Collingswood Farmers’ Market).  It is now just husband and I so meals are not that large.  He asked for a steak.  He wanted to grill it.  But the weather simply wasn’t cooperating.

A simple solution was this very easy and delicious recipe for steak bites.

First dry the steak with a paper towel and cut it into 1 inch cubes.

 

 

Then mix the marinade.

Recipe for the marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepperIMG_9753

Put the steak and marinade in a plastic zippered bag and place in the refrigerator.  Wait a minimum of 3 hours or a maximum of 24 hours. IMG_9755

When ready to cook, heat a skillet to medium high.  Take the meat out of the marinade (discard the marinade), place in the skillet and fry for about three minutes, stirring constantly.

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That’s it!

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Delicious, easy, and husband loved it!

Sirloin steak from Hillacres Pride (The Collingswood Farmers’ market.

Abundant broccoli soup

I shopped The Collingswood Farmers’ Market and came home with a PILE of broccoli.  It was so green and lovely everywhere I looked that I couldn’t resist buying it from multiple farmers.

The only answer this week to the question of what to do with all that broccoli was soup.

Broccoli soup looks simple but there can be some pitfalls.  Overcooking the broccoli so it is a smelly mush.  Using too much fat and thus losing the taste and health benefit of this beautiful vegetable.

What follows is a quick to make and very tasty soup.

Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, finely diced (or small onion)
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon granulated roasted garlic or 1 clove of garlic minced
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 cups broccoli florets, stalks, stems cut into small pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
juice from one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1.  Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat.  Add the leek, celery, and garlic.  Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, but not browned (about 5 minutes).
2.  Add the flour.  Cook, stirring constantly until all the flour is absorbed (about 30 seconds).IMG_9349
3.  Slowly pour in the milk.  Next slowly pour in the stock.
4.  Stir in the baking soda.
5.  Add the broccoli.IMG_9351
6. Bring the pot to a boil and then lower the heat to maintain a simmer.  Cover.  Stir occasionally until the broccoli is tender and an olive green color (about 20 minutes).


7.  Using an immersion blender (you can do it in batches in a regular blender but the immersion blender is so convenient and easier to control) blend the soup.  Add more stock for a thinner soup.


8.  Add the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt, pepper.  Stir.  Keep warm to serve.IMG_9360

Delicious!

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And leftovers too!

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Broccoli is lovely, plentiful,  easy to cook, and good for you.

” ‘Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication and could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate”.  (John Green, author)

 

Ingredients purchased from farmers at The Collingswood Farmers’ Market.
-butter from Hillacres Pride
-leek from Fruitwood Farm, Formisano Farm, Flaim Farm
-celery from Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm
-garlic from Savoie Organic Farm
-broccoli from Fruitwood Farm (by the bag!), Muth Organic Farm, Springdale Farm,

Squash pocket scones

My daughter likes to bake.  She has recently set herself the task of learning to bake a nice scone.

While I was experimenting with other foods to make with all that winter squash, she decided to use winter squash as the flavoring for her pocket scones.

Scone ingredients:

3 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
3/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
a pinch of Kosher salt
9 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup whole milk
1 egg beaten

Filling ingredients:

1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup winter squash puree
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
3 Tablespoons sugar
a pinch of Kosher salt

Directions:

1.  Whisk all the scone’s dry ingredients together in one of the mixing bowls.  Add the butter and gently cut it in with a pastry cutter or fork.  Continue until the flour and butter is the consistency of large breadcrumbs.IMG_6521

2.  Pour in the milk and stir with a fork to make the mixture into a shaggy dough.  Be careful not to overmix.  Chill the dough in the refrigerator while you make the filling.IMG_6522

3. Put all the filling ingredients into a mixing bowel and whip with a hand or stand mixer until all the ingredients are well blended and have a fluffy texture.  Chill the finished filling in the refrigerator.

4.  Empty the scone dough onto a floured surface.  Dust the top with flour and roll it into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.  Cut the rectangle into six pieces.IMG_6525

5.  Spoon 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the filling onto each dough portion.  Then carefully fold over into a triangle and pinch gently to seal the edges.  (My daughter’s triangles did not meet her expectations so she made them into square pockets instead).  Place the formed scone onto a parchment lined baking sheet and chill them in the freezer for at least an hour.

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6.  While the scones are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 445 degrees Fahrenheit.  Take the paper and scones off the baking sheet.  Put a fresh sheet of parchment on the baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray.

7.  Place the scones on the parchment on the tray.   Space them at least an inch apart. Brush each scone pocket with beaten egg using a pastry brush, dust the top with granulated sugar.  IMG_6527

8.  Bake for 15 minutes.

9.  Allow scones to cool 5 – 10 minutes before serving. IMG_6528

Perhaps, instead of going shopping the morning after Thanksgiving, use the leftover squash to make a lovely and special breakfast.  Make a pot of tea (instead of only a cup). Put on your robe and slippers and watch the local news to see the crazy crowds of holiday shoppers.

Winter squash

Autumn is coming and after that,  then Winter.  The Collingswood Farmers’ Market is coming to a close for the year.  Only a few more weeks to go.

In the spring we can’t wait for strawberries and asparagus…and then tomatoes, corn, blueberries, peaches, and summer squash.  Now we are looking for vegetables to enjoy in cold weather…potatoes, sweet potatoes (white and orange!), cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, and WINTER SQUASH.fullsizeoutput_5aa8

I will admit that it was my husband (born and raised in New England) who introduced me to winter squash, especially butternut and acorn.  His mother cooked them.  My mother did not.  Ever.

I will admit, also, that winter squash were (and sometimes still are) a little bit intimidating.  When I look at a summer squash (zucchini!) I can picture how to cook it and how to eat it.  The first time I made winter squash I had no idea how to get it ready to cook.   Basic cookbook time.

My husband told me that his mother used to cut the squash in half, clean out the seeds, put a tablespoon of butter in the cavity, sprinkle some brown sugar, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until soft.  That works.  Roasted Acorn Squash

I have since modified the recipe by cutting, cleaning, and peeling the squash before I cook it.  Then I steam them and mash them with butter and a little salt, like mashed potatoes.

Honey Nut Squash and Delicata Squash are new varieties.  You can eat the skin.  It is very thin.  I prefer to peel them, steam them, and mash them with a little butter.  I also roast Delicata squash for a crispy finish.  (Link to recipe here).   Delicata squash fries.

Here are two more simple recipes using winter squash (your favorite variety or a combination) for a 30 minute soup and a snack cake.

Winter Squash Soup

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
4 cups peeled and cubed winter squash
2 medium white potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces of cream to finish (optional)

Cleaning a winter squash (butternut):


Directions:
1.  Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot.  Toss the diced onion in and cook for  about 5 minutes.  Be careful not to let the onion brown.

2.  Put the potatoes and squash in the pot.  Stir them around to mix with the onions and butter.

3.  Pour in 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock.

4.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

5.  Allow the squash and potatoes to cook in the broth until they can be pierced easily with a fork.  (About 30 minutes) You can then mash the vegetables with a potato masher to make a chunky textured soup or blend the soup with an immersion blender to make it smootherIMG_9311

6. Once the soup is the consistency you like, pour a cup of cream into the pot and stir.  Eat at once.

 

And for dessert….

Winter Squash Snack Cake

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup winter squash (steamed and mashed)
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup raisins

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2.  Sift flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon together.IMG_9289
3.  Mix the squash and applesauce together.IMG_9291
4.  Beat brown sugar, butter, and egg together until light and fluffy.IMG_9288
5.  Mix dry ingredients into the sugar/butter/egg mixture alternately with the squash and applesauce mixture.
6.  Add raisins and stir.
7.  Pour batter into a greased 8 inch square pan.
8.  Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

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Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or let cool and ice with butter or cream cheese icing.  And some autumn sprinkles.Delicata squash fries.
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Applesauce loaf (to share)

There are many home cooks who do not share their recipes.  They do not for a variety of reasons that are their own.  My grandmother, whose father was a baker, was a great baker and did not share her recipes.  My mother, her daughter, asked her for her recipes.    They were not written down.  The result was that my mother, her daughter, baked with her and wrote many of the recipes down as they baked together.  Now I make them and share them with my daughters and, frankly, anyone who asks.  Look right here….recipes!

My grandmother’s recipes were not always easy to transcribe.  She didn’t use measuring spoons.  And her measuring cup was a “nickel” cup sold at the variety store down the street.  You know…that big white coffee mug with the big handle.  That was it.

I made this loaf one year in a hurry from my mother’s recipe card.  It was the night before the office Christmas party and I forgot.  I had time to make something simple and this was it.  The ingredients are things that are always at hand.  One of my colleagues came into the smorgasbord of dishes and first tasted my applesauce loaf.  And then he pulled a chair up to the buffet table and sliced about half of the loaf.  Someone tossed out a comment about his less than correct behavior.  He responded by telling us that the applesauce loaf tasted exactly like something his grandmother used to make and he simply couldn’t stop eating it.  He hadn’t had anything like it for years.  He was delighted when I offered him the recipe.  And for years after he brought the applesauce loaf to share with the rest of us at Christmas and sometimes on a whim.

I’m glad I shared my grandmother’s recipe.  Now lots and lots of people can enjoy her baking….forever.
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This is a simple recipe that is really more a cake than a quick bread.  It can be made in an 8×8 inch square pan or a loaf pan.

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 1/4 cups applesauce (I make my own…but purchased is fine)

Directions:
1. Turn on oven and set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2.  Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and spices onto wax paper (or into a bowl)
3.  Beat brown sugar, butter, and the egg in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
4.  Mix dry ingredients into the sugar and butter mixture alternately with applesauce.IMG_9270
5.  Pour into a greased 8 inch square pan or a loaf pan.
6.  Bake the 8 inch square pan about 45 minutes…the loaf pan about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake or loaf comes out clean.
7.  Serve warm or cool.
8.  Powered sugar can be lightly sprinkled over the top before serving.

IMG_9274link to homemade applesauce recipe on this blog

A variety of apples purchased from Fruitwood Farm and Wm. Schober and Sons Orchard were used to make the applesauce.

 

 

Farmers are people too.

Rick Hymer has been a New Jersey farmer for 25 years.  It is what he has always wanted to do.  He loves being his own boss, growing flowers and vegetables, and sharing all of that with his family and friends.  Us. He considers those of us who have shopped at his stand at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market for the entire life of the market, his friends.  543272_390818657656762_349448693_n

Rick Hymer does not sell a crazy wide variety of things.  He sells flower, herb, and vegetable plants in the Spring.  During the summer he sells tomatoes, bi-colored corn, peppers, cucumbers.  And in the Fall he sells the best red-skinned potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.

I love cabbage and Rick Hymer’s cabbage is the best I’ve ever eaten.  He explained that he uses seeds from a vintage variety.  It’s the best for soup, a side dish, stuffed, cole slaw.  Years ago when I lamented the impending loss of his delicious cabbage he told me how to “grow” it so that I would have it all winter.  He sold me several heads of cabbage that he dug out with the roots still attached.  I did as he instructed.  I buried those cabbage heads upside down in my garden with the roots sticking out like a handle.  I covered them with dirt and waited.  When I needed cabbage, weeks, months after the market had closed for the season, I grabbed the root and pulled a head out.  I peeled off the layer of outer leaves and I had a gorgeous fresh head of Rick Hymer’s delicious cabbage.  Sometimes the winter weather was too harsh and the cabbage didn’t make it.  But more than one year I pulled the last buried head and cooked that cabbage with my corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day!

So far this Fall I’ve purchased those much anticipated sweet potatoes and broccoli.  Cauliflower is coming soon.  This odd summer (weatherwise) has pushed back the harvest

The average American farmer works more than 10 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Rick does.  To be sure to bring something to his table for our table.

But, farmers are also people. People like us. People who like spending time with families, watching the game on Sunday, reading the newspaper, playing with our grandchildren.

Rick Hymer says that his least favorite aspect of farming is the long hours, and that there is no guarantee for a successful crop.  He regularly misses family gatherings because ripe  tomatoes or the day the cauliflower must be planted wait for no man.  And sometimes, even with all the time and sweat and sacrifice, the crop fails.

Rick thinks this is the year he will retire from farming.  But he says he will keep his greenhouse open.  He’ll be back to Collingswood in the Spring with flowers to sell.  Probably herbs and vegetable plants.  He thinks he’ll plant a little bit.  Enough to sell at his home farm stand.  He thinks he might offer his help to other farmers too.  Definitely he’ll find his way back to The Collingswood Farmers’ Market in some capacity.  He feels like the people there, shoppers and vendors, are his friends.  And he is sure he’s going to miss them.  He likes talking with them.

I hope he’ll be back.  I like what he sells and I like what he says.  And he always has a smile.  But if he decides to grab his fishing pole and head out for some peace and quiet, I wish him many long and happy years.

Rick Hymer is a farmer.  Farmers are people too.  And Rick Hymer is one of the best!

 

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Some recipes:

Mashed broccoli (for people who don’t “like” broccoli)

Trim and steam a head of broccoli.
When the broccoli stalk can be pierced with a knife and is soft enough to mash, take it out of the steamer.  Put the broccoli in a serving bowl.  Drop some butter on top to melt.  When the butter is melted, mash with a potato masher or large fork (or puree it with an immersion blender).  Sprinkle with salt to taste.  Serve.

 

 

Sweet Potato Baked Home Fries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Wash and peel the sweet potatoes.  Cut into even sized chunks of about an inch.  Put the potato chunks into a pot of water and boil them until a knife just pierces them (about 10 minutes).  Drain and put the potatoes back into the hot pot.  Stir gently and quickly with a wooden spoon to “rough them up”.  Drop butter into the pot to melt. Coat the potatoes with the butter.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  Dump the potato mixture onto a foil lined tray.  Bake in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes.  Watch for doneness….they will get browned.  When they are browned to your liking, take out of the oven and scoop into a serving bowl and enjoy!

 

 

 

Produce from Hymer Farm.

It’s finally time for soup…

We’ve had a peculiar summer here in the Mid-Atlantic.  Hot.  Humid.  Rain.  Repeat.  Not the kind of weather that makes me think of soup.

But the weather for the last market was positively autumnal and I craved soup.  While treasure hunting my way through the Collingswood Farmers’ Market I thought of a great way to make a delicious, unique, and simple vegetable soup and I set to it.

My daughters and I shop together each week and our shopping strategy is to walk the length of the market to see what’s new and enticing.  We stop, turn with the sun  at our backs, and shop, filling our wagons, until we are at the end of the market where we’ve parked our cars.

I decided during our walk to give every farmer a space in my soup pot and I bought one or two things only from each stand.  This is a great way to experiment with new vegetables.  It is also a great way to get your children involved.  Let them choose.

Recipe for Hamburger Vegetable Soup.

Ingredients:  a pound of ground beef or bison, leeks, celery, carrots, lima beans, winter squash, potatoes, green beans and/or yellow beans, cabbage, plum tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini….what would you add?

Directions:
1.  Dice and saute one stalk of celery, two leeks, and three small carrots in about a tablespoon of butter for about three minutes.
2.  Chunk up and saute the ground meat.
3.  Cut up and add your chosen vegetables to the pot.  A little of each makes for great flavor and fun eating.


4.  Pour in a 32 ounce box of chicken broth and 32 ounces of water.
5.  Add a clove of garlic (whole, so you can take it out before serving), salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried parsley.  (You can buy fresh parsley at the market and pull the leaves off.  Delicious!)
6.  Stir all the ingredients, put a lid on it,  and let simmer on low all day.  The house will smell terrific!  Be sure to check the liquid level during the day and, if you have to run out for a quick errand or to take a nature walk with the children….leave the lid on and turn off the heat under the pot.  Then come back in a turn the heat on again.  The soup will continue to slowly cook, without the heat, while you’re away…don’t stay away too long.  If the liquid seems too low add some water or some broth.

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I served this soup with some crackers and cheese spreads (also from the market…see Hillacres Pride …cheese crackers are wonderful…and Cheese Etc.).  Grilled cheese with Hillacres Pride Cheddar on Wild Flour Bakery sour dough bread is also delicious!  And those fabulous little rolls with some farm fresh butter from Villa Barone…maybe even some fresh mozzarella slices.

And for dessert….Some sliced apples from Fruitwood Farm and Wm. Schober and Sons with cookies from Springdale Farm and Wild Flour Bakery.
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Some (I hope all) of the farmers and vendors from whom I purchased:  Springdale Farm, Buck Wild Bison, Wild Flour Bakery, Flaim Farm, A.T. Buzby Farm, Hymer Farm, Formisano Farm, Muth Family Organic Farm, Viereck Farm, Savoie Organic Farm, Wm. Schober and sons, Fruitwood Farm, Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms.

For your next shopping trip to the market…don’t bring a list, have no preconceived notions.  Buy something new.  And have fun!

Cheerful morning apple coffee cake

Thirty seven years ago, at the end of a whirlwind romance, I got married.  We met on a blind lunch date (with two other women) for lunch at a cafe that had recently witnessed a attempted organized crime hit.  That was in mid November.  After a lunch of enormous hamburgers, during which a truck backfired outside and my future husband comically tried to hide under the table, we dated for six weeks and became engaged at the end of December.  On the day after Valentine’s day, we were married.  We had twenty wedding guests at a lovely inn and then went off to a driving trip to New England and the temperature on Boston Common was 72 degrees.

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We returned to a lovely rented carriage house that we shared with a raccoon and about fifty mice.

I had determined that we were going to be cozy.  Big mugs of tea.  Pots of soup.  Homemade breads and cakes.  And to that end I found a very simple recipe that I made weekly, called Cheerful Morning Apple Cake. And so it was.

Hardly anything went as planned those first few months and yet, we’re still together. But we were in love (still are) and everything was (still is)beautiful. Maybe it’s the apple cake.

This cake is very simple to make.  The batter is stirred with a spoon.  Of course I used a wooden spoon.

Ingredients:

for the dough:
Mix together–
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup of room temperature butter
1 egg

Stir in:
1/2 cup milk

Then, add:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

 

 

for the streusel mixture:
Mix together —
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 to 4 apples, peeled and sliced thin

Directions:
1.  Mix the dough well with a spoon. Spread half of the dough in the bottom of a 9×9 inch pan (I lightly  grease the bottom of the pan).

2.  Cover the dough with apple slices and the streusel mixture.

3.  Top with the other half of the dough.

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4.  Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until lightly golden brown or for 25 to 35 minutes

 

I can’t guarantee that mornings will be cheerful because of this cake…but I can guarantee that the cake is simple and delicious and with a mug of tea, coffee, or cocoa…well…..iu

Apples are available at The Collingswood Farmers’ Market at Fruitwood Farms, and Schoeber’s.