Sunday, July 29, 2018

Farm Friends Bonus

Knowing the farmer has the obvious benefit of trusting that person with the safety and nourishment of the foods we eat.  This meal combines many local foods purchased at the market from folks I can proudly call call friends.  The center of the plate pork tenderloin was raised and processed by the Hardesty Family who own Working H Meats in Friendsville, Maryland.  As an added bonus, Grant Hardesty butterflied the pork tenderloin for me when I messaged before I stopped at the store.  That made the assembly easy.

First I rubbed the meat with sliced garlic: 

I spread soft ripened goat cheese from FireFly Farms in Accident Maryland, onto the meat,

Then I topped that with pimientos and fresh herbs before rolling and baking.

The sliced stuffed tenderloin was delicious hot and cold.

The plate was adorned with a 3-Bean Pasta Salad (that's my homemade Lemon Pepper Fusilli), Pickled Slaw and Toaster Oven Strawberry Cobbler. 

We found a lovely spot for our picnic at Morris park in Fairmont, West Virginia.  The market, park and stores are all within a 45 minute drive of town. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Seasonal Bounty in Almost Heaven

For our annual 3 day retreat at Holly River (WV) State Park, we pack a cooler of local foods to prepare breakfasts, 2 dinners, 1 lunch, and 1 meal consisting of leftovers. This year I purchased 1 flank steak and 1 local trout from our farm friends.  The bounty of vegetables are from the local farmers market, our garden and a local farm stand.  For breakfasts I made eggs, Canadian bacon and pancakes for which I'd packed measured ingredients.

After unpacking, I made us grilled cheese with local bread and my refrigerator pickles.  Then I placed the flank and many local vegetables in the crock pot for our evening meal. This is a picture of the meal prep from a few years back.  I packed the same sauce ingredients for this years' meal.  There was enough flank leftover for a BBQ beef sandwich the next day.  I made Cole slaw with a Greek Yogurt dressing and honey.  The recipes are here.

The recipe for the pancakes is here.   

For the lovely platter at the top of the page, I first rubbed sliced garlic cloves along the inside of the fresh trout.  I filled the inside with sliced onion, fennel and lemon, then baked for almost 1 hour.  At mid-way, I added a few halved patty pan squash misted with olive oil spray.

The assortment of sliced vegetables, squash, fennel, onion and pepper were sauteed in olive oil with an herb seasoning.  That's local corn steamed and cut-off-the-cob and local cole slaw with carrots and celery.  A sliced mango completed the dinner platter.  That's Fiesta ware china with the Holly River logo stocked in the cabin!  We feasted on our picnic table outside the cabin.

 Holly River State Park was created in 1938, under the management of the State Conservation Commission.  There is a fully stocked kitchen, yet no electronics nor cell service in the area.  We were surrounded by nature.

The park has a swimming pool, also built in the 1930s, and a restaurant.  We ate dessert one night in the restaurant-a delicious homemade blackberry cobbler and dinner the last night.  The homemade vegetable soup. hot rolls and chicken breasts were perfect.

The scenic byways provided just the right amount of entertainment with no distractions and no stores.  This is a beautiful remote area of West Virginia not uncommon.  We are lucky to find this only 90 miles from home.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Cookbook Review: The Dirty Vegan

When I asked for a review copy of this cookbook, I was hoping to find vegetable and whole grain side dishes I could add to our menu.  There was a wide assortment of recipes with vegetables, recipes where I could add my local farm finds!

Old Fashion Cole Slaw had a very tasty homemade dressing.

Easy Summer Vegetable Bake was perfect for inclusion of those luscious squash, garlic, herbs, peppers and tomatoes now widely available in our gardens and local farmers markets.

My Mushroom Bake is based on author Catherine Gill's "Famous" Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps" recipe.  I'd purchased a bag of a local farms' Shiitake Mushrooms at our market last weekend, sauteed them with onions, garlic, pepper and celery, then baked the vegetables with seeded cracker crumbs and cheese.  The recipe called for vegan sausage (which I do not purchase) yet was delicious without it.

I did not find any whole grain recipes in the cookbook.  In the baked recipes I made, I used whole wheat flour in place of whole flour.

The Pumpkin Waffles were delicious.  The substitution of a flax slurry egg replacement worked fine here.

Who doesn't like Peanut Butter Blossoms?  These cookies were soft and delicious.  The recipes did not include a lot of added sugar.  

Thank you Hatherleigh Press for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of creating meals and eating! 

Dirty Vegan
Great Recipe Ideas for Summer
(New York, NY): Providing healthy, vegan alternatives to the sorts of delicious comfort foods that everyone craves, Dirty Vegan makes it easier than ever to live the vegan lifestyle. Self-styled as "vegan junk food"--healthy vegan food that doesn't skimp on taste--Dirty Vegan is a celebration of all the amazing tastes and dishes available to those on vegan diets.

Enjoy these two delicious recipes from the book perfect for summertime:

Recipe #1: Fresh and Toasty Summer Bruschetta Bites
Serving Size: Makes 2 dozen


1 large baguette bread loaf, sliced evenly into 24 pieces
¼ cup vegan butter, melted
8 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 450°F and arrange bread slices evenly on two ungreased baking sheets. Brush bread with melted butter and bake for 5–8 minutes, or until toasted. In a large mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, onion powder, sugar, basil, salt and pepper to taste; mix until thoroughly combined. Arrange toasted bread slices on a serving platter with tomato mixture spooned on top. Alternatively, you can serve tomato mixture in a bow with a serving spoon in it, alongside toasted bread in a basket.

Recipe #2: Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream Pie
Serving Size: 8


½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup maple syrup
1 quart vegan vanilla ice cream, softened
1 prepared graham cracker pie crust, 9 inch size
½ cup and 2 tablespoons peanuts, chopped
1 rip (but firm) banana, thinly sliced
½ cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vanilla vegan soy milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil


In a large mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter and maple syrup; combine with ice cream. Spread half of ice cream mixture evenly in pie crust. Sprinkle an even layer of ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts on top of ice cream layer and arrange banana slices evenly over top of peanuts. Place in freezer while you make chocolate ganache. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt chocolate chips, soy milk and coconut oil together, stirring frequently. When well combined, remove ganache from heat and set aside. Remove pie from freezer and pour on a layer of half of the chocolate ganache; spread remaining ice cream mixture on top of that. Lastly, sprinkle ¼ cup chopped peanuts and the last of the chocolate ganache. Sprinkle with last 2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts, cover with lid (that accompanies prepared pie crust) and freeze overnight or until firm.

# # #


is a writer, blogger, and holistic vegan chef who specializes in natural and health foods. She studied and found her passion in writing, literature, and social science in college. She runs the popular blog The Dirty Vegan since 2010, focusing on comfort-food-style vegan recipes that are fun, accessible, and healthy. She also ran Dirty Vegan Foods, a vegan bakery specializing in veganized versions of classic desserts. She has an active social media presence with over 26K followers on Twitter (@TheDirtyVegan) and 10K followers on Instagram (@TheDirtyVegan_Official). She currently resides in New England with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog. Learn more at 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer Picnics Also Nourish the Soul

A crisp fresh summer meal outdoor surrounded by beautiful scenery is an utmost pleasure to my spouse and I.  We have so enjoyed our Sunday picnics over the course of the past 5 seasons.  Most of the meal preparations are done on Saturday.  Sundays then are reserved for the enjoyment of the 1 or 2 hour drive -much of it on a 2 lane highway-to a nearby park.

This park-Mingo Creek-is a county park near Washington, Pennsylvania.  It was recommended to us by another senior citizen we'd met at a West Virginia park, who was walking his dog.  He'd seen us taking pictures and he knew we'd also enjoy this one.  

This meal features herbed baked chicken tenders, locally raised and served cold.  The corn salad is a combination of the first of the season corn (cut off the cob), cucumbers and tomatoes.  Even the bread-a whole wheat sunflower bread-was local.  We'd beat the rain that day, but the high humidity, upper 80s temperature was hot-so the cold platter hit the spot.

I hope to look back on this time as one of the most pleasurable memories of my 7th decade. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Blended Burger at the Farmers Market

I love the grass fed beef, shiitake mushrooms, crisp carrots and spring onions from the local farmers market-tasty alone and "over-the-hill" when combined. Unbeknown to me, the art of combining beef with other vegetables to create a healthy, sustainable and flavorful recipe is part of a now four year project developed by the James Beard Foundation. At this monthly "sampling" we offer at our outdoor market, we served ours as a meatball to over 250 customers.

I first washed and chopped the vegetables in a food processor. 
I sauteed the vegetables in olive oil and drained thoroughly before combining with the raw beef, egg and seasonings in a mixing bowl.   I portioned the meatballs with a 1 tablespoon scoop onto parchment lined baking sheets and baked for about 15 minutes, when the interior registered 165 F with a meat thermometer.  To serve at the market, I covered in a simple Italian tomato sauce and served from a commercial soup crock.  For 250 servings, I needed 7 pounds of beef and equal amounts of vegetables.

Here is the recipe for 32 meatballs.  These could be be portioned into patties, larger meatballs or even meat loaf for a tasty entree that requires no condiments!

People of all ages love meatballs!

Since I'm up at 430 baking meatballs (and worked the entire day before to prepare ingredients), I'm always thankful to my husband who draws customers to our table and is an awesome public relations promoter for our profession and the farmers.  Today he was joined by dietetic intern Alleda and a dietetic student Kasey.  Bob highlights the need for RDNs to provide this type of outreach to the community members before they become sick.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Patriotic Picnic Picks

Red, white and blue potato salad, homemade pimiento cheese, tomato olive bread, corn salad and watermelon comprised our July 4th picnic menu on an extremely hot holiday.  We thoroughly enjoyed our South Carolina pimiento cheese, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I made my favorite tomato olive bread to go with it.

Pimiento Cheese

(1 cup)

Mix mayonnaise, ground pecans and goat cheese with pepper and salt.  Add pimientos.  
1/4 cup mayonnaise with olive oil
2 tablespoon ground pecans
Fresh ground pepper
1/16th teaspoon salt
2 ounce goat cheese
2 ounce diced jarred pimientos, drained

Stir in shredded cheeses.
3 ounce extra sharp white aged Cheddar, shredded
2 ounce Gouda, shredded
Tomato Ciabatta with Olives

(2 Loaves-16 Servings)

Saute peppers and onions until soft.  Add:
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1/4 cup Yellow Onions, diced
1/4 Sweet Red Pepper

Add tomato paste, olives, tomatoes and cayenne.  Set aside to cool.

2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
Dash Cayenne
1/3 cup diced Kalamata Olives
1/2 cup Tomatoes, diced 

Mix in bowl of electric mixer

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. rapid rise yeast
1 tsp. sugar

Slowly add water.  Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.

1 3/4 cup Water (125 degrees)
Add 1 cup flour. salt and oil.  Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.

1 cup whole wheat Flour
2 Tbsp.olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

With dough hook, continue to beat at low speed, adding
Tomato olive mixture
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 cup all purpose flour
Knead until dough leaves side of bowl.
Cover and let rise for 1 hour. 
Punch dough in half.  On pastry cloth sprinkled with flour, shape with hands into long loaves. Place in double baguette type pans sprayed with Pam.
Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on rack. 

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

(Serves 4)

Scrub and cook in boiling water.  Remove from water according to size when done.  Peel when cool.  Dice.  Add diced celery and tomato.  Toss with cooked salad dressing.
12 ounce red, white and blue Potatoes, diced uniformly
Cooked Potato Salad Dressing
Combine sugar, dry mustard, flour and egg in double boiler.  Cook until thick.  Remove from heat.  Stir in water and vinegar.  Return to heat to thicken.
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 dry mustard
1 1/2 tbsp  flour
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. vinegar

In place of a double boiler, use 2 pans that fit together, heating water in the bottom pan and the ingredients in the top pan.

Corn Salad

(Serves 4)

Mix ingredients and chill.
1 ear of corn, cooked and cut off the cob
1/3 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 mini cucumber, diced
2 tablespoon fresh snipped chives
Fresh basil and parsley, snipped
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Our picnic today was at Teter Creek Wildlife Management Area near Philippi, West Virginia.  It was a very hot day, but we found a favorite spot in the shade with a little breeze.  Our cold picnic foods were delicious.  We stopped on our trip back to town for ice cream!