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Posts Tagged ‘Bucks County’

Bucks County Taste has moved! See this post on our new server. 

By guest blogger Susan Sprague Yeske

As partners in a business that transforms chefs’ cookbook dreams into reality, it’s good to share a common vision. It’s also good to like the same kinds of food.

Shared tastes and a love of the culinary world prompted local food experts Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer to step beyond their role of crafting other people’s books and create one of their own.

Christopher Hirsheimer, left, and Melissa Hamilton in their Lambertville loft studio

Christopher Hirsheimer, left, and Melissa Hamilton in their Lambertville loft studio

Volume one of Canal House Cooking was published this month, the first in a series of softcover cookbooks that focus on seasonal cooking.  In the book the two moms, who live in Hunterdon and Bucks counties, share the summertime recipes they make at home.

The 80 recipes in the book focus on foods in season and feature summertime fare such as tomatoes, plums and zucchini. Every course is covered, from seasonally appropriate mixed drinks to dessert.

The two authors are former magazine food editors with credentials that include years spent at Saveur and Metropolitan Home. Christopher has collaborated on four other cookbooks, including three for Saveur.

Melissa is well known in local culinary circles for co-founding Hamilton’s Grill Room in Lambertville with her father, Jim Hamilton.

Canal House CookingCanal House Cooking costs $19.95, or $49.95 for an annual subscription of three books and can be ordered through the website thecanalhouse.com.

Next will be a book on fall and holiday cooking, then a winter/spring edition. In addition to the website, books are available at amazon.com, Farley’s Bookstore in New Hope, Pa., and the Hamilton’s Grill Room. The books will also be sold at other private bookstores in the U.S. and through Anthropologie stores.

This recipe from the book is a great way to enjoy the fresh local tomatoes just coming into season:

Roasted Tomatoes Studded with Garlic

serves 4

INGREDIENTS

½ cup diced pancetta
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pasta
2 anchovy fillets
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
4 tomatoes, tops sliced off, seeds scooped out
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
small handful fresh thyme, parsley, or basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
½ pound spaghetti

HOW TO

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Fry the pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp around the edges. Use a slotted spatula to lift the pancetta out of the skillet to a plate. Leave the rendered fat in the skillet.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the anchovies to the same skillet. Use a wooden spoon to mash the anchovies until they dissolve. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until they are golden.
  4. Put the tomatoes, cut side up, in a baking dish and slip some garlic into each tomato. Mound some bread crumbs into each tomato and scatter pancetta and herbs on top. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil over all.
  5. Roast the tomatoes in the oven until they have browned a bit and the interior is supple but the tomatoes haven’t collapsed, 1–1½ hours.
  6. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain.
  7. Return the pasta to the pot and stir in some olive oil and some of the oily tomato juices from the bottom of the tomato roasting dish.
  8. Serve the spaghetti with the roasted tomatoes and their juices spooned on top.

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Bucks County Taste has moved! See this post on our new server.  

Nope, not talking about Christmas. Throughout Bucks County, May and June will be filled with the opening of seasonal farm markets. Here’s our rundown.

Vegetables

Weekly markets:

  • Springtown: Wednesdays from 3  to 6 pm, Springtown Firehouse, 1030 Main Street/Route 212 (begins May 6th)
  • New Hope: Thursdays from 3:30  to 7 pm, New Hope-Solebury High School, 180 W. Bridge Street (begins May 7th)
  • Lower Makefield: Thursdays from 3:30 to  6:30 pm, Edgewood & Heacock Rds (begins June 4th)
  • Linden Hill: Fridays from 3:30 to 7:30 pm, Linden Hill Gardens, 8230 Easton Rd in Ottsville (begins May 29th)
  • Wrightstown: Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm, 2203 Second St Pike (near the township bldg.) (begins May 23rd)
  • Doylestown: Saturdays from 7 am to 12 pm, W. State & Hamilton Streets (already in full swing!)
  • Plumsteadville Grange Market: Saturdays from 9 am to 12 pm, Route 611, just north of Stump Rd (begins June 6th)

Check our calendar for more details and directions.

Here’s a listing of year-round markets,  roadside and “pick your own” farms that you might want to check out. This is not a comprehensive list. I “cherry-picked” (no pun intended!) ones opening in May/June. Please see the Penn State Cooperative Extension, Bucks County for more information.

j03137291Active Acres Farm: Specialty plants, bedding plants, perennials, hanging baskets, hay & straw, strawberries, peaches, sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, melons, onions, cornstalks, ornamental corn, mums, gourds, rides to the pumpkin patch*, barnyard animals, educational school tours, Sleepy Hollow Haunted Hayride. *Pick-your-own: May-October Every day
881 Highland Road, Newtown 18940
215-968-2192

Bechdolts Orchard, Inc.: Peaches, pears, apples, plums, nectarines, tomatoes, peppers.
2209 Leithsville Rd/Route 412, Hellertown 18055
610-838-8522
Spring & fall hours – 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Summer hours – 9:00 am-6:00 pm

Bolton’s Farm Market: Turkey: parts, sausage, ground, cutlets; chickens, beef, berries, sweet corn, cantaloupes, tomatoes, peaches, other fruits and vegetables, milk in glass bottles. No hormones or drugs used on animal products. Phone orders taken.
Route 113, Silverdale 18962
215-257-6047
Market: Year round, Monday – Saturday.

Brumbaugh’s Farm: Strawberries*, raspberries, peas*, sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, herbs, lettuce, melons, cucumbers, cut flowers, asparagus, mums, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, hanging baskets, bedding plants, Christmas wreaths. *Pick-your-own
2575 County Line Road, Telford 18969
215-723-3508
Market: April – December, Monday-Saturday

Lavender

Carousel Farm Lavender: Lavender plants, flowers, Lavender products-soaps, candles, creams, essential oils. Organic.
5966 Mechanicsville Road, Mechanicsville 18934
917-837-6903
Open from May to December; call for hours

(more…)

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Last month we talked with Sharon Schwartz about her evolution into a fine home chef. This month, we offer part two. Sharon talks about why she decided to “go organic,” and her favorite sources for ingredients in Bucks County. In her own words…

I started to get interested in healthy food choices when I was pregnant with my first child, Jennifer. At the time (this was the 1970’s), we were living on Long Island, and I decided to join a food co-op. They offered bulk food – mostly organic – at cheap prices.  It was the quality of the food that attracted me, and the fact that we had to work there sometimes, and I could meet like-minded people. 

We were also fortunate to live very close to a poultry farm where they raised their fowl and offered eggs that were raised with organic feed. To this day, those were the most incredibly delicious chickens we’ve ever had.  I bought the chickens the day they were killed and got eggs the day they were laid.  You can’t get better than that, and without having to do any of the work!

In those days there was not much organic farming being done in our area. The vegetables at the health food stores tended to be limp and old because they did not move quickly enough.  About the only decent veggies I could get were organic carrots. I did my best to buy produce from local farmers in season, and we did have a vegetable garden (organic of course) in our yard by the time the kids were 3 and 5 years old. 

It was also around that time that an especially great health food store opened in our town on Long Island, and I got very involved with macrobiotics.  I practiced it pretty strictly for myself, and offered it in the house, with much resistance from the kids and Mark (my husband).  In keeping with my “style,” I did take macrobiotic cooking lessons and learned to get pretty creative with my veggies, beans and miso soup.  After finding that my body needed more protein, I kind of gave up on it, but tried to find food choices that were as pure as possible for myself and my family.  I didn’t go back to eating beef or veal, however, because of the ways in which the animals were raised.

When we moved to Bucks County in the mid-80’s, it became more difficult to find organically raised chickens and eggs, and even fish choices were not as fresh or varied as what was available on Long Island.  I did the best I could, but loosened my standards a great deal out of necessity.  I was happy if I could find locally grown food of good quality. 

It has only been recently, with the advent of more local organic farming, and the arrival of Whole Foods and a few other sources, that I have gone back to my purist organic food choices.  Between the organic sections in most markets, the better selections in health food stores, and the arrival of a great wholly organic meat department at Whole Foods (and some at Wegmans) I can get most anything I want (beef and veal included) at the level of quality I want.  Hallelujah!

These are some of Sharon’s favorite places to get ingredients, both in Bucks County and nearby. (Sharon lives in Central Bucks, so she is partial to places nearest to her.) In alphabetical order:

  • Altomonte’s (Doylestown and Warminster): assorted Italian ingredients, including oils (Iliada Greek Olive Oil) and vinegars, and cage-free, organic eggs, handmade ricotta
  • Blue Moon Acres (Buckingham): organic salad greens and herbs; “I’ve even gotten beautiful, big zucchini flowers in season from them which I use to make ‘Ricotta-Stuffed Zucchini Flowers.””
  • Buckingham Seafood (Buckingham): good quality, wild caught fish
  • Cote & Co.  (Doylestown): they carry Max and Me Smoked (organic) Salmon, oils, vinegars
  • Heller’s Seafood (Warrington): good selection of fish
  • Jamie Hollander (New Hope): organic aged strip steaks, good take-out, interesting grocery items
  • The Larder (Doylestown): great bulk food, specialty items, cashews
  • Newtown Farmer’s Market (Newtown): from the Amish stand, chicken, other types of poultry, organic, cage-free eggs; good quality fruits and vegetables from the Asian produce stand (although not organic), and “the falafel guy is great!”
  • None Such Farms (Buckingham): Antibiotic-free, hormone-free, locally raised meats; local produce. “I can even get a brisket with the deckle (fatty part) still on – which makes a superb brisket!”
  • Wegmans (Warrington): for organic produce and other natural foods, in particular, baby artichokes and handmade ricotta
  • Whole Foods (Montgomeryville, Jenkintown, Princeton): for everything organic, but especially meats (Jenkintown store has complete butcher shop). The Princeton store is “huge and fantastic.”

And Sharon’s favorite in-season farm stands:

What are your favorite places to shop for ingredients? Please let us know.

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I’m still new enough to Wycombe that discovering a nest of deer bedded down in the hedge is a thrill. My neighbors, who are careful gardeners, are less thrilled, as is Cody, whose only thought is to get the intruders out of his territory. Two of the does scampered off as soon as we wandered abreast of them, but the third, the biggest of the three, remained as she was, watching us steadily and making it clear she had no intention of moving, no matter how much she was yapped at. Cody would have stayed out there yapping all morning, but I needed coffee and he needed breakfast, whether he remembered it at that moment or not. Once he was fed, I settled in with the paper and came across this article in the New Jersey section celebrating the notion of locally grown food. Outside of elections and sports, the Times doesn’t write about Pennsylvania much, so most of the coverage here is about farms and chefs across the river, but some of them – like the Honey Brook Organic Farm and Hopewell Valley Vineyards, both in Pennington – are close enough for an easy visit (though you have to be a member of the farm in order to harvest there).

One cook who is going all out, however, is Sherry Dudas, 44, who operates Honey Brook Organic Farm in Hopewell Township with her husband, Jim Kinsel, 50, and will get nearly everything, including lemon balm for tea, from her farm or others in Mercer or neighboring counties. She will pick turnips from her fields and get cranberries from Haines Berry Farm in Pemberton and honey and cultured butter from nearby farms. She will even buy flour milled from local grain at Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville to bake homemade bread. There’s a playful aspect to her provisioning; when she drives to Pemberton for cranberries, for instance, she’s not far from Brendan T. Byrne State Forest. “I work in a hike,” she said. “The trip is fun.”

And certainly, it’s easy enough to find similar venues here in Bucks County. Lynne and I are getting our turkey from the Happy Farm in Kintnersville, and the vegetables will come from a variety of farms within a few miles of our house.

Sunday being lazy, we made it just in time to watch the winners of the gobblers contest at Davis Feed Mill in Rushland, sponsored by the Middletown Grange. I’m not sure which was more impressive – the size of the winners, none of whom would have been as sanguine around Cody as the deer – or the way their growers herded them around the yard.

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