Friday, August 31, 2007

Sweet Potato Soup

Winter squashes are now available at the farmers markets. If you are looking for a hearty soup to make this Fall, this one is rich and filling. Serve with warm, crusty bread.


1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups of chicken stock
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh (or canned) tomatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
2 carrots, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Fresh ground pepper
5 cups fresh spinach

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook about 10 minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients except the spinach.

Bring soup to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook about 40 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Remove 2 cups of soup and puree it in blender, then return to pot.

Stir in the spinach and cook another 5 minutes.

Note: Butternut squash can be substituted for the sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tomato Sandwich

A favorite summertime lunch treat of mine is tomato sandwiches, eaten with whole grain bread, cheddar cheese and mayo. Actually I eat one just about every day :) It was a little cooler yesterday so I baked a batch of Oatmeal-Wheat bread.

The cheddar cheese is produced by Greenfield Farms
and the tomatoes were purchased at the Maple Valley Sugarbush and Farm stand at the Coit Road Market.

Oatmeal-Wheat Bread

2 packages yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups cooked oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup warm buttermilk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Mix the yeast and water, let stand for 5 minutes. Mix again.

Add oatmeal, buttermilk, sugar, butter, salt and whole wheat flour and all purpose flour. Work in enough to form a soft dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place in a large bowl and cover with damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place (not oven) for 2 hours.

Punch down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Form 2 loaves and place in buttered loaf pans. (9x5x3inch)

Redampen the cloth and cover the loaves, allow to rise another 45 minutes in a warm place until proofed.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Blue Pike Farm

Carl Skalak, operator of Blue Pike Farm, has the first farm started in the City of Cleveland in the 21st century. Carl calls his one acre farm, located on E.72nd off St Clair Avenue, Blue Pike Farm after the blue pike fish that once populated Lake Erie. All crops are grown organically. They include greens, tomatoes, peppers, squash, herbs and other edibles.

Carl's mission is to bring back fresh food to the city by growing it here. The Blue Pike Farm sits among old industrial buildings and homes. During the time I spent there, there was a constant stream of customers availing themselves of the fresh from the vine produce. Also available was homegrown corn, peaches and honey. The farm is a wonderful asset to the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.

There is an open to the public Farmers Market at the farm on Thursdays from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Coit Road Market

The Coit Road Farmers Market is an East Cleveland landmark that has been operating in the same spot for 75 years. Saturday morning I not only found some great buys on locally grown produce, but got to spend time talking with local farmers and vendors. Besides fresh produce, you can purchase Amish cheese and eggs, spices, fresh herbs, honey, jams and jellies, bakery and much more, as well as spend some time with a great bunch of folks. Help keep an American tradition of "farm to table" alive and stop in for a visit and while you are there sip on fresh-brewed coffee and nibble on some home-baked goodies.

Note: Urban sprawl to create highways, industrial parks and housing developments is destroying family-owned farms across the country. In many areas this development and increased property taxes are forcing family farms out of business. Compounding the problem is the growth of corporate-owned mega farms. According to the USDA 13.7 million acres of farmland has been converted to non-farm use just between 1992 and 1997. This is a 51% increase from 1982 and 1992.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Very Berry Salads

Strawberry- Spinach Salad

2 cups baby spinach
2 cups strawberries - sliced thin
Red Onion (medium sized) - sliced thin

Poppyseed Dressing

Blueberry-Pecan Salad

2 cups of Lettuce Greens
1 cup of fresh blueberries
1/3 cup chopped Pecans
Crumbled Blue Cheese

Dressing of choice