Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A sad yarn

Roots & Shoots with Baba Ganoush - 100% locally grown! A root salad of roasted fingerling potatoes and Austrian turnips (don't ask) with balsamic-wilted chard and rainbow radishes served atop a bed of fresh arugula and pea sprouts served with a side of baba ganoush and pita.

Roasted Garlic Red Pepper ABC Soup (vegan)
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (vegetarian)

Sweet and Sour Pork Loin Sandwich

Wooly Wednesday has been a tradition at the cafe since we first opened almost five years ago. We meet every Wednesday evening from 6-8pm usually at the cafe, but when the weather turns cold and it gets dark out early we move up to the Barnes and Noble. We knit, crochet, kibitz and talk yarn.

The reason for spinning this tale is the sad announcement that, for personal reasons, my friend Andrea is closing Spinster Yarns and Fibers at 4337 Harford Road (below the Red Canoe). This little jewel of a yarn store specializes in eco-friendly textiles. Among the yarns she carries are organic cotton & wool, predator-friendly wool, naturally dyed fibers, and yarn made from hemp, bamboo and soy - all of which are 50% off. She also carries beautiful needles, bags and books, all of which are 40-50% off to clear her inventory.

If you knit or crochet (or have one on your holiday shopping list) this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To the point Tuesday

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Moroccan Lentil Soup

Sweet and Sour Shaved Pork Loin Sandwich

Orange Poppyseed Scones

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The most delicious day of the week!

Are you ready? We have.....

Gingerbread Muffins
Blueberry Muffins
Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones
Sundried Tomato & Parmesan Scones

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Casserole
Asparagus Mushroom & Swiss Strata

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
and, by early afternoon probably, Lentil Soup.

First time blog readers, this concludes todays post.
Are you still there?
So I have a confession to make. I have been unfaithful. I dream of this new obsession. Maybe the illicit nature of this love is what makes it so tantalizing.

I have found a sweet, crunchy, crumbly muffins that makes my morning coffee sing. They call it Dangerous for a reason....

Some Sunday, Gental Reader, head over to the Evergreen on Coldspring and try one of these completely decadent cinnamon-sugar coated beauties. Rumor has it that a baking diva by name of Amanda is responsible, but frankly was afraid a stalker vibe would frighten her so it is unconfirmed.

But if you're out there Amanda, that is one fine damn muffin!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Specials

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (vegan)

Spicy Jack Panino - turkey, very spicy jack cheese, grilled onions and zebra sauce.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Specials

Soups to day are Creamy Mushroom Soup (vegetarian) and Minestrone (vegan). Michael is preparing a special sandwich - and sort of a departure for us - a New England-style Halibut Roll made with beautiful fresh, wild caught halibut. We also have Curried Parmesan Tuna Salad. Now if he'd have just made Clam Chowder we would have a fish trifecta.

Baked Ziti with Roasted Summer Vegetables is the farm fresh special made with organic veggies from One Straw Farm.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just the facts

Jalapeno Corn Chowder (vegetarian)
Minestrone (vegan)

Curried Parmesan Tuna Salad
Eggplant Parmesan Panini

Cheddar Dill Scones

Monday, September 21, 2009

An ideal Sunday evening

Today's soup special is Jalapeno Corn Chowder and the last of the Cowboy Chili. We also have Eggplant Parmesan Panini and The Rowhouse Sandwich - sun dried tomato cream cheese, sprouts, cucumber, red onion, lettuce and swiss cheese. Yum! I think that's what I'm having for lunch.

So yesterday, a couple of the women from Carma's drove out to White Hall, Maryland for Music Night at One Straw Farm. We had a great time! The band, Tumblehome, rocked! The air was sweet (well, except for that one time - ewww!), the company top notch and not a bug in sight. We hung out while the band played, children ran about and a few folks tossed around a football. My only regret is it was the last Music Night of the season. Next year, I'll make an effort to attend more often.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What's purple and flies out of here?

WOW! The response to the Eggplant Parmesan Panini was overwhelming and we ran out much too early, so I'm bringing it back today. Fresh eggplant, lightly breaded in seasoned crumb and pan crisped with marinara and mozzarella cheese.

Cowboy Chili
- beef, fresh peppers and tomatoes, anaheim peppers, hominy, black, kidney and white beans, some bittersweet chocolate and espresso, herbs and spices.

Apricot, Pecan & Coconut Scones, Orange Chocolate Chip Scones and Apple Cranberry Muffins are in the pastry case.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Weekend!

Cowboy Chili - beef, fresh peppers and tomatoes, anaheim peppers, hominy, black, kidney and white beans, some bittersweet chocolate and espresso, herbs and spices.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (vegetarian)

Eggplant Parmesan Panini is today's special. Fresh eggplant, lightly breaded in seasoned crumb and pan crisped with marinara and mozzarella cheese.


I'm pretty excited that some of the Cafe Familia will be heading out to One Straw Farm Sunday afternoon for a picnic, some music and socializing. No doubt farm pictures will be up next week.

There is a huge country ham in my fridge at home waiting to make an appearance on the menu. Country ham is one of those foods seldom found in restaurants outside of the southern states. In many ways it is the rustic American cousin of prochuttio (Italian) and serrano (Spain) - each being salt-cured and aged. As a child, I remember stopping at shanties along the side of Route 11 and getting a paper plate heavy with ham biscuits and potato salad and eatting it at a picnic table by the road.

Anyway, I could wax poetic all day about the country ham. Instead, I suggest you keep an eye on the blog for ham biscuit day at the cafe, grab a large Sweetea and cop a squat on my picnic table.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A grey and chili Thursday

Cowboy Chili with Cornbread - beef, fresh peppers and tomatoes, anaheim peppers, hominy, black, kidney and white beans, some bittersweet chocolate and espresso, herbs and spices.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (vegetarian)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

By any other name is as sweet

The Spicy Jack Panino - turkey, very spicy jack cheese, grilled red onion and zebra sauce.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup, Gazpacho, and Split Pea are our soups.

Also made a batch of Cherry Almond Scones and .........
.......a Blueberry Buckle!

What, you ask, is a buckle? Essentially, a buckle is fruit-filled coffee cake with streusel topping. I hesitate to use the word coffee cake because so many of us equate "coffee cake" with dry yellow cake, a crunchy top and powdered sugar mess pulled served in an aluminum pan pulled from a cardboard box. Debunking that sad state of affairs will have to wait for another day. Trust me that a real buckle is so tasty your knees will buckle!

It is related to a host of other classic American fruit desserts such as the crisp, betty (or brown betty), cobbler, crumble, grunt, slump and pandowdy (I kid you not), but unlike these other colorfully named creations, the buckle is an almost equal union of cake and fruit.

The recipe for this Blueberry Buckle was taken directly from Cook's Illustrated's 2009 American Classics edition. The folks at Cook's Illustrated are the hosts of America's Test Kitchen, a great PBS series that airs locally on the weekend. These people are the ├╝ber geeks of all things cooking and kitchen related and, to their credit, operate without advertising or endorsements. So why subscribe to a magazine or pay-site when so many recipes are available free online? Because if they say that xyz produces the best roasted turkey it is because they roasted 100 turkeys 100 different ways. Sometimes playing around in the kitchen is fun and the results are not so important; sometimes you need to make sure it's right the first time. Fifteen years ago, long before brining became a verb every cook knew, I was soaking the Thanksgiving turkey in a pot out on the back porch thanks to my subscription to Cook's Illustrated.

If you have never seen or read the magazine look for it the next time you are in one of the large bookstores or William Sonoma. It is well written, beautifully produced and ever back cover illustration is frameable.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Special

The Spicy Jack Panino - turkey, very spicy jack cheese, grilled red onion and zebra sauce.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup, Gazpacho, and Split Pea are our soup offerings.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rain, rain go away...

..we have Smoked Salsa Strata in the oven, Banana Coconut Pecan Muffins, Cherry Almond Scones and Candied Ginger Scones. The soup is actually a stew, Mushroom Stew (it's just a bit spicy, too).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rainy Friday

Today's specials, featuring hickory smoked veggies, is a vegan Mushroom Stew, BBQ Chicken Quesadilla with Smoked Salsa and The Hot Italian Panino - with turkey, pepperoni, mozzarella and tomato sauce. We also have some Pumpkin Black Bean Soup and the last of the Gazpacho.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It must be the stars...

Pumpkin Black Bean and Gazpacho are our soups today. Both are vegan. Fair warning to the Gazpacho fans, the season is almost over - get it while you can!
Pesto Caprese Panini - pesto, roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, provolone
The Hot Italian (no remarks from the peanut gallery!) turkey, pepperoni, mozzarella and a parmesan tomato sauce.

In the past twenty-four hours, I have lost my wallet, locked myself out of the house and misplaced the key to the cafe. On Friday I drove all the way to Rosedale to get our blender fixed before realizing my purse had been left at the cafe. I've checked my horoscope but found no insight in its blathering about excitement and seeking an adrenaline rush (clearly this is speaking to geminis who do not own a cafe!).

It might be tempting the fates, but I'm going to fire up the smoker to make a grilled salsa and throw on some meat as long as the coals are hot. Aloe vera - check. Fire extinguisher - check. Bandaids - check. Now if the rain will hold off....

Shameless plug:
A you may know, I have a bit of a retail crush on the new Waverly Ace Hardware store. This weekend, to celebrate their grand opening, almost everything in the store will be 20% off on Saturday and Sunday. So if you need a new grill, garden hose, trash can, miscellaneous household do-das, this would be a good time to visit the helpful folks at Waverly Ace Hardware.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Grillin' & Chillin'

What do you call cheesecake layered between two slices of pound cake and grilled? Fried Cheesecake Bites with Triple Berry Coulis and Michael's most recent decent into dessert decadence.

The cafe is also serving the Pest Caprese Panini and vegan Cuban Black Bean Soup with Saffron Rice and hearty Scalloped Potato Soup with Broccoli.

Sorry if you missed the Chocolate Truffle Pie, it was a huge hit and sold out quickly. I'm certain it will make a reappearance.

Yesterday I picked up corn, tomatoes, jalapenos, red onions and purple peppers from our One Straw Farm CSA share. This afternoon I'm firing up the grill and smoking veggies for salsa. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When it rains....

We have several specials today. The Sicilian Panino is pork loin, pepperoni, provolone and a sauce made with pickled Italian vegetables. We also have a vegan Cuban Black Bean Soup with Saffron Rice and a very hearty Scalloped Potato Soup with Broccoli.

There is also a Chocolate Truffle Pie in the works!

Monday, September 7, 2009


There are goings on in the kitchen today that involve a pork loin, fresh peaches and potatoes. What is Michael up to? I'll encourage him to update today's post when the special is available.

We also have the Spicy Jack Panini, Gazpacho and Curried Cauliflower Pistachio Soup.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Relax! It's Saturday.

MAX! Have you started checking the blog yet?!

A batch of really tasty Cinnamon Scones are just out of the oven, as are Pumpkin Cranberry Scones, Maximum Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins and Blueberry Muffins.

Grand Marnier French Toast Casserole should be ready by 8:30 or so. Our sandwich special is the Spicy Jack Panini - turkey, very spicy jack cheese, grilled red onions and zebra sauce.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Labor Day Weekend!

And we will be open regular hours on Monday.

Curried Cauliflower Pistachio Soup (vegetarian, Creamy Tomato Basil
Soup (vegetarian) and Gazpacho (vegan) are our soups today. We also have Pumpkin Cranberry Scones in the pastry case and I am hopeful Oatmeal Cookies v.3.0 will be done by this afternoon.

The Roasted Tomato & Pepper Pasta with Capers is from this weeks CSA allotment.

Please forgive the photo - it was taken with my phone, emailed to the cafe, downloaded from the server, uploaded to blogger... If it were an actual photo it would be crinkled and worn around the edges!

Moon & Stars
Watermelon Rind Pickle

5 lb. crisp watermelon rind, one medium melon green outer skin removed, most of pink fruit removed and remaining white rind cut into even pieces about 1/2 x 1 inch (mine was an heirloom variety called Moon & Stars)
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoon alum (sold with spices)

Day One:
Put rind in a large pot and just cover with water and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer until rind can be easily pierced with a fork. Add alum, cover and let stand overnight.

Day Two:
Turn rind into a colander and hold under running cold water to rinse well. Drain. Return rind to kettle and add:
9 cups granulated sugar
1 quart cider vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks
Cheesecloth bag containing
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
2 slices candied ginger or ginger root

Mix well. Bring to boiling point only, stir until sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand overnight.

Days Three through Eight:
Drain off the syrup into another kettle with the cinnamon sticks and spice bag (leaving only the rind in original kettle). Bring syrup to the boiling point, but do not boil. Pour over the rind. Cover and let stand overnight.

Day Nine:
Heat the rind in the syrup but do not boil. Remove and discard spice bag and cinnamon sticks. Pack pickles into sterilized jars, cover with hot syrup. Seal and process in 180° hot water bath for 30 minutes. Remove jars and place on a folded towel on the counter away from drafts. Leave until completely cool. Check for proper seal and store in a cool dark place. Pickles are best after maturing for 4-6 weeks.

Cool breeze and fresh summer produce...

... it just doesn't get much better than this!

Creamy Tomato Basil
Soup (vegetarian) and Gazpacho (vegan) are soup offerings for today. For all you CTB fanatics, come in sooner rather than later, quantities are limited!

The Turkey Artichoke Parmesan Panini with Sundried Tomato Spread is delightful. Bring a friend to lunch and share the TAP and our Roasted Tomato & Pepper Pasta with Capers. The pasta dish is this weeks CSA allotment.

The Moon & Stars Watermelon Rind Pickle are in the penultimate phase of completion. Today I will do the final heating then process them in jars. The bite (or two) I've already sampled is exactly like I remember Grandma Halterman's - both sharp and very sweet, heavy with cloves and cinnamon. Tomorrow I'll post the recipe and pics.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Safari pics

French Green Lentil with Coconut Milk and Gazpacho (both vegan) are our soups today. We also have the most recent Oatmeal Cookie variation in the pastry case.

Sandwich special is the Pesto Caprese Panini - pesto, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper and provolone grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

If you'd like to check out the Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Virginia, here are a few of my photos.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tipping toward the cooler side

In celebration of this beautiful weather I'm making a pot of hot soup - our French Green Lentil with Coconut Milk Soup which is a customer favorite. The Ham Asparagus and Swiss Panini with Balsamic Basil Vinaigrette is very special.

The pastry case also features Oatmeal Raisin Cookie v2.5, Cheddar Dill and Pumpkin Cranberry Scones.

To all my fiberiffic friends: You can find me about 2:00 pm on the terrace with my knitting. Come join me!