Open Monday through Saturday 7:00 am to 9:00 pm • Sunday 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday Specials

Today we are having the Spicy Jack Panino - turkey, habanero jack cheese, zebra sauce and grilled onions. The veggie version, the Spicy Jeremy is also available.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CSA Weekly Update

Another CSA report. This week I didn't even bother picking up the produce at Cromwell Valley CSA. One large share was (once again) one quart of purslane, one pound of lamb's quarters, 2 small heads of garlic and one squash. Seriously, folks. One single, individual summer squash. You know the jokes about zucchini plants, right? One healthy plant will feed half of the neighborhood. Mothers grate them up and sneak them in pancakes just to get rid of them. Did I mention I paid $650 for this aggravation?! The disbelief is behind me, anger and bargaining got me nowhere. Somewhere between depression and acceptance, grieving for the hands-on csa experience I had hoped for.

This past week I posted a very civil comment on their facebook wall suggesting interns should not be left to face frustrated members alone and recommended a member of the board make themselves available during pick-ups. My post was censured - removed from the wall.

Oh well, let this be the wall of shame.
























On a much happier note, look what I picked up from One Straw Farm! And across the way is Three Springs Fruit Farm and I got super delicious white donut peaches. My face is all sticky and sweet from munching them right out of the bag.

Usually when I pick up the csa it is for the cafe so I tend to get a lot of only one or two items. This week I decided to eat the share so you could appreciate the nice selection of veggies available. And welcome to my back porch! By the way, Carma's Cafe, One Straw Farm, Three Springs Fruit Farm and Cromwell Valley CSA all have facebook pages as well as websites and/or blogs.




Rainbow Chard (1 bunch)
Onions (3)
Gorgeous Eggplants (3)
Yellow Squash (2 portions=9)
Cucumbers (3)
Tomatillos (pint)
Tomatoes (4)









Tuesday Specials

the Rowhouse Panino
sun-dried tomato basil cream cheese, red onions, cucumbers, sprouts, and swiss cheese on a toasted ciabatta sub roll

starting around 2pm
Pulled Pork Panino
with coleslaw and potato salad

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday Special

Today we have The Mexicali - black bean hummus, habenero jack cheese, grilled onions and peppers served with a side of salsa verde, sour cream and yellow corn tortillas.

Our CSA pick ups this week ......

From One Straw Farm eight items (which is guaranteed every week). We had a lot to choose from including eggplant, fresh corn, several types of greens, cauliflower, new potatoes, several varieties of summer squash. Here are a few pics...






































































Cromwell Valley CSA does not have a set number of portions but divides the harvest evenly among members. This week it was two small heads of garlic, one extremely small head of green leaf lettuce, a quart of purslane and one and a half pounds of lamb's quarter.



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Specials

Today we're doing the Spicy Jack (and Spicy Jeremy, the veggie version) turkey, habanero jack cheese, zebra sauce and caramelized onions.

Sorry but the CSA update will be tomorrow. I'm having technical difficulties getting the photos from my phone on to the 'puter. Meanwhile, the veggies for Spicy Summer Squash Bread and Butter Pickles are salted, weighted and draining; the Damson Preserves are cooking; and a big pot of hot water is on for their hot water baths (canning).

Did I mention the HUGE bottles of gin and spiced dark rum I picked up yesterday to make infused liquors? The fine folks at Beltway Liquor are always so helpful. After listening to my plans for the hooch, the salesman took time to explain his recommendations. I had no idea that in a number of cases, the same distilleries produce a "top rail" spirit and a generic "call liquor" that is less expensive. That was my learn something new every day for yesterday.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Specials

Barrell Roll Wrap pineapple jalapeno cream cheese, sauteed onions & peppers, smoky beans, arugula and feta. A non-veg version is also available with ham.

Ren made Persian Lime Bars and of course we have Gazpacho.

If you've found yourself wondering if the Rowhouse Robot could really save our fair city from the evil Turkey Guac, I encourage you to revisit some of Aaron's daily specials art at his blog gonk droid.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday Special

Barrell Roll Wrap pineapple jalapeno cream cheese, sauteed onions & peppers, smoky beans, arugula and feta.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Open letter about our CSA expriences...

Last year the cafe bought one and a half shares at One Straw Farm CSA and overall it was a great experience. This year we decided to buy one share at OSF and one share at another local csa to expand our commitment to supporting local agriculture and to broaden the variety of produce. It’s one of the great things about supporting independent businesses - ironically, shopping in smaller venues actually increases your options.

Case in point, every Michael’s Craft Store carries the same brands of yarn with only some variation in color selection. On the up side that means a limited number of items are available in unlimited quantities. But by shopping locally owned yarn stores I get an almost unlimited variety of yarns, but in limited quantities.

Yesterday marked our 5th pickup from both farms. As usual, One Straw Farm has come through in spades. Before the season even started we got an e-mail from Joan announcing the strawberries were in early! I ran by Mill Valley General Store and picked up well over a quart of beautiful berries. During the regular season we select 8 portions of produce each week - that can mean one of eight different items or 8 of the same item. Portions of each item vary. For example a head of cabbage or a watermelon may be one item, but a bunch of beets, three pounds of zucchini or a quart of beans are also one item. For about $23 a week you can feed a family of four at least one serving of veggies every day - that’s 35 meals worth so far.








Week 3: One Straw Farm CSA share on left, CVCSA on the right



Sadly, our initial experience at Cromwell Valley CSA has been ...... well, unbelievable frankly. The pre-season strawberry pickup was less than a pint of small berries. Michael and I enjoyed them on the drive back to the cafe and that was the last positive experience associated with Cromwell Valley CSA. In four pickup weeks (one pickup was canceled) we have received less produce than would fit in a five pound bag. At Cromwell Valley CSA produce is divided among share holders - everything is divided equally. One week "everything" was six immature radishes and a few spindly garlic scapes. The next week it was another bunch of immature radishes, half a pint of snow peas and a few scapes. The third week I walked away without picking up anything - there was a green identified as bok choy that had been so bug-eaten it was more hole than leaf! Week four was canceled and week five was three heads of garlic and a pound of weeds. I kid you not. Keep in mind the dandelion that is a plague on your lawn can also be eaten, this week’s allotment was a pound of lamb's quarters (to quote the csa handout “widely considered a weed in North America it is extensively cultivated and consumed in Northern India as a food crop”).

Don’t get me wrong, as an exotic treat I’m all over it, but I have this vision of the unfortunate csa interns traipsing through the forests in Baltimore County scavenging something...anything...to pass off on csa members.

At $27 a week (or $135 five weeks in) we have not received enough food in total to feed a family of four one single meal.

Week 5:
One Straw Farm












CVCSA











I wouldn’t dream of going to a new hairdresser without a referral, why did I join a csa without doing a bit of digging? Just a cursory ask among friends and customers (what csas have you joined? what did you think of it?) would have saved me $650 and a lot of disillusion.

Oh well, stay tuned. The CVCSA board declined my request to withdraw our membership. Leading a revolution is a lot like running a cafe, it doesn’t leave much time for anything else - someone else will have to lead the revolt. I just hope if a csa-curious consumer googles CVCSA they also come across our blog.

Over the next 20 or so weeks I’m going to blog our csa experience on Wednesdays. I sincerely hope that people who have not joined a csa or have had a bad experience will be excited and inspired by a local, family run farm that consistently turns out beautiful organic veggies (and some fruits), operates with integrity and occasionally throws a great party out on the farm!

Stop by the cafe facebook page for discussion, pictures and more dirt on the farms.

About 30 feet of beautiful organic produce from One Straw Farm at the Kenilworth Farmer's Market, held each Tuesday evening from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

Wednesday Specials

Mexicali Panini!
Black bean hummus, very spicy jack cheese, sauteed peppers & onions served with fresh salsa verde and sour cream. It's my new favorite thing!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday Specials

The San Pedro
avocados, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, provolone, salad greens, and cilantro lime mayo

Eggplant Parmesan
Beautiful Italian eggplants tossed with herbed breadcrumb, fried, then layered with roasted red pepper marinara, fresh basil, mozzerella and parmesan and baked. Served with a small mesclun salad and grilled garlic parmesan ciabatta.

Eggplant Parmesan Panini
The eggplant, roasted red pepper marinara and mozzerella grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Specials

Farmer's Strata
bacon, mushrooms, ham, leeks, peppers, jack cheese, farmer's market sausage, cheddar cheese served with chimichurra sauce

Wild Rice Porridge

Curried Parmesan Tuna Salad

the San Pedro
avocados, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, provolone, salad greens, and cilantro lime mayo

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday Specials

Classic Tuna Salad Sandwich (or Melt)

Buffalo Chicken Panino
Spicy wing sauce on chicken breast with bleu cheese, matchstick celery and carrots.

Warm Lentil Chard Whole Grain Salad with Grilled Eggplant. This is a riff on a dish I made last summer that was hugely popular with both customers and staff.

And Michael has made a Blueberry Boy Bait. I know. My tongue is practically raw from biting it and the snorting giggle is not ladylike by any standard. Basically a blueberry coffeecake.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday Specials

Buffalo Chicken Panino
Spicy wing sauce on chicken breast with bleu cheese, matchstick celery and carrots.

A bit later this afternoon I will have a Lentil Chard Whole Grain Salad with Grilled Eggplant. This is a riff on a dish I made last summer that was hugely popular with both customers and staff.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday Specials

Buffalo Chicken Panino
Spicy wing sauce on chicken breast with bleu cheese, matchstick celery and carrots.

Swedish Cucumber Salad
Refreshing with sour cream, dill, and mint.

Kasey made us some spiced wheat scones and oatmeal black forest scones.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday Specials

Assuming it's going to be a slow day (folks are heading out of town, right?) I just made a couple treats. Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Have a great holiday (and we'll be open on Monday).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Specials

Pork Loin and Sour Cherry Chutney Panini

The Sicilian
- turkey, pepperoni, provolone and homemade red sauce grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

Also have a Cherry Coffee Cake in the oven! The recipe I used is from ifood.tv and will let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday Specials

San Pedro - avocado, caramelized onion, roasted red pepper, cilantro lime mayonnaise, provolone and mesclun.

The Sicilian - turkey, pepperoni, provolone and homemade red sauce grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.