Thursday, September 30, 2010


A couple of weeks ago I attended the Honest Weight Local Harvest Festival, which re-inspired me to shop at the co-op and experiment.  I've had a small obsession with spelt for about a year now, but I have had no idea what to do with it.  Feeling adventurous, I bought some anyway.

And then I saw this post on EatLiveRun about spelt and goat cheese stuffed gypsy peppers.  Mmmmm goat cheese.

Then I saw these at Gade's Farm Market...

Italian frying peppers.  At a market near you. 

...and all the pieces came together.  And I invented a recipe.  And it was darn tasty.

Unfortunately, I had to wait two days, because spelt is an ancient grain... and not instant.  So you have to soak those babies overnight. (Night #1)

And then boil them for a long time (an hour) until they get squishy. (Night #2)  SOOO much work.  But so worth it.  Because they're really healthy and full of protein.  And yummy.

But by Night #3, I was ready to stuff some peppers!!

Start by cleaning your peppers.  As in, take out the seeds.   
Then chop some swiss chard or spinach.  Be sure to discard the tough stems.  Then, saute the swiss chard in a pan of olive oil and garlic.  It will go from this:

 To this: 

Where'd it all go???

Mix in your swisschard with your goat cheese and cooked spelt.  I found local goat cheese at Hannaford by Nettle Meadow Farm (Warrensburg, NY).  VERY tasty!

If you like, toss in some sundried tomatoes (I did), but be careful, they can overpower everything else.

Then, stuff those peppers!

Maybe you could broil them.  But I had already waited three days... I was hungry.  So I plopped them in a pan with a little oil and butter.

Just cook on all sides, then enjoy!

Spelt-stuffed Peppers (Ingredients List)

4 Italian Frying Peppers (or another sweet pepper)
1 cup cooked spelt
small container of goat cheese (6 oz)
several stalks of swiss chard (about half a bunch)
a tablespoon of chopped sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
chopped garlic

P.S. if you come up with a good side dish to this one, please let me know!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Autumn: It's Official

It's officially Autumn.  I used to hate fall.  As a kid, it just meant summer was over, school was starting, and winter was near.  That was then.

But not this year; I'm in love.

Here's some things to love about the fall:

1. The leaves are bright and beautiful (which lend to dramatically improved drives and bike rides).

2. It is now OK to rock your flannel.

3. Apples are everywhere!

To usher in the fall, we decided to spend a lovely Sunday afternoon apple-picking.  A little bird told me that Indian Ladder Farms had the best cider donuts, so it was our destination for the day.  Of course, we took the scenic route.

Erin and I are a little short for apple-picking...

Everyone seemed to have the same idea, because it was very crowded.  But we were still able to pick a bountiful bag of apples.  In fact, we had to take turns carrying it!

This hefty sack set us back $14, which seemed steep, but let me tell you, there's a lot of apples in there.

After picking, you can head further down the road for the donuts and market.  The market sold everything apples -

Pretty!  But it's about $3 cheaper to pick your own.

- as well as various local products, such as fruit, veggies, and Palatine cheese.

And of course, donuts.

So close, yet so far.

The donuts are made fresh, but you can only get them if you wait in line for the take-out window.  And on a day like Sunday, the line is very, very, very long.  Unfortunately, we did not wait :(

This was very disappointing.  So unfortunately, I cannot safely vouch that these are indeed the best cider donuts.  But if you're wondering, you can find out here.

Anyway, get out there and enjoy fall.  Apple recipes to come!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Local Harvest Food Festival

There's something about slanted sunshine, crisp air, and bright leaves, that make people want to get outside, get together, and eat. Yay for Fall!

Sunday was neither sunny nor crisp, but fortunately, people still came together in Washington Park in Albany for the Honest Weight's Local Harvest Food Festival.  I was suffering from my first cold of the school year (it didn't take me long...), but it was a welcome break from my schedule of tea and napping.

Check out some pics from the afternoon:

Lovely lavender, bunches and soap (and cake, to taste!)

A bicycle covered in garlic is my kind of bike.

I bought a pair in white (her nature-inspired artwork was amazing, too).

We shared a red-velvet, and I'm now addicted.

You know it's fall when the gourds come out!

Delicious Greek treats!  (Although the dolmades were still not as good as my Dad's, even with the pine nuts).

Overall, I really enjoyed myself. The festival wasn't as big as I'd expected, but it's only their second year, so hopefully it will continue to grow.  And it was still a lot of fun. I wasn't really feeling in the fall spirit, but the Fall Festival got me there.  And, it inspired me to head over to the Co-Op, where I haven't been in a while, to experiment with some new ingredients (which will soon follow, hopefully).  

Happy Fall :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer's End

Oh, tomato season, must you end so soon?

It seems to have turned into fall overnight, and tomato season is nearing it's end.  Eat 'em while you can.

I found delicious tomatoes at Gade's Farm Market in Guilderland. I also bought Yummy Peppers (literally, that's what they're called). 

I attest that Yummy Peppers are, indeed, yummy.

All veggies on this pizza came from the farm.  I like pizza because you can put on whatever you can scrounge up, and it always tastes good.  I also bought mushrooms, but they didn't fit.

End of Summer Pizza

A large ripe tomato
1/2 red onion
3 Yummy peppers, or a bell pepper
fresh basil
1 clove garlic
olive oil
cheese (whatever you like-- this time I had some sharp provolone that I grated on top)
crust (I used a Pilsbury pizza crust, which was surprisingly delicious... and super quick on a school night)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and roll out the pizza dough on a greased pan.
2. Chop up all your veggies to desired size (I like things big and rustic, but feel free to dice).
3. Spread pizza crust with olive oil and chopped garlic.  I don't use sauce because I think the chopped tomato makes up for it.
4. Layer on your veggies.  Season with basil leaves and salt and pepper.  Sprinkle on cheese.
5. Bake for about 10 or 15 minutes (it's done when the crust edges get golden).

Let cool, and enjoy :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Feeling saucy?

I am.  Maybe because it's the first week of school. Or maybe because of all of these tomatoes!

Late summer in Dad's garden means my parents can barely keep up with the tomatoes. Which means we end up with a lot of very ripe tomatoes.  Don't throw them away!  Make sauce.

My roommate already told me I was crazy to make sauce from scratch after the first day of school.  But I promise, it's not that bad.  Here's how:

Wash up all of those beauties and put them in a big pot of water. 

You're going to turn on the heat, and magically, the skins will start to peel off all by themselves!  The water won't even have come to a boil yet... it only takes about 10 minutes.

Take them out with tongs.  They'll be really soft and ugly.

I mean, that's pretty ugly.

Let those hot mamas cool!

Then you can peel them.

It's an ugly job, but somebody's got to do it.

Now let this hang out in the fridge for a while...

The Next Day:

After a long day of meetings and broken photocopiers, take out some of that aggression on a few cloves of garlic:

Saute it in some olive oil.  For the love of God, DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC.  Burnt garlic is a tragedy, both for the wasted garlic, and the ruined meal.

I used about three cloves of Dad's garlic... which is strong.  I'll definitely still smell like garlic for the rest of the week.  But it's OK, because it's delicious, and maybe it will keep the freshmen away...

Add the tomatoes in with a fork, because you don't want the tomato water that has since drained out of them:

Above: Squishy tomatoes.  Below: Tomato water.

Yuck, just dump this out.  Nobody wants runny sauce.

In just a few minutes, it will start to look like sauce.  Your kitchen probably already smells delicious.  Let it simmer there in it's tomatoey goodness while you put on the pasta water.

When the pasta is in, and the sauce looks like sauce (15 mins), just add some fresh basil.

Those who have had my sauce before know I usually add a bunch of other things to it, but when the ingredients are this fresh, less is more.  I didn't even add salt or pepper.  Don't overpower the beautiful tomatoes with seasoning-- they don't need it.

Use with your favorite pasta.  I used it over raviolis that just needed to be eaten.

I know you want some of that.  Here, try it-- open wide!

Good, huh?

And I really did just eat all that...  :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Teaching "Green"

Look what's coming to Albany! According to, a center is being built with the purpose of educating the urban and suburban population on how they can live more sustainably with the resources at hand.  Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pelligrew, founders of a similar community center in Texas, have now moved to Albany and are starting up The Radix Center.  They will begin with a greenhouse, and hopefully add a chicken coop, goats, and fish, as well as begin workshops to educate the public.

I hope that they will be able to present topics in a way that will excite the community, and not feel overwhelming.  I can be just as guilty of feeling limited by my surroundings; I don't even own a home, much less enough farmland to feed myself.  But again, I don't think it's a Go Big Or Go Home kind of situation: every little bit we can do helps, both in terms of our own health, and that of our community.  And lots of little bits can certainly add up to a big bit.

Anyway, I'm excited to see where this goes!

Check out the article on AOA here.