Friday, November 30, 2012

Perfect Day...

Our day after Thanksgiving was started with another wonderful breakfast at the Bartlett Pear, this time of Brioche French Toast with real maple syrup (one forgets how good the non Aunt Jemima product is).  We loitered a bit and then got the necessary gear (camera bag, binoculars, bird books) into the MOMSTER for our visit to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.   This place is always a magnet (and refuge) for us.  Serious birders spend time there generating lists of species as long as your arm, but we prefer to let the scenery drive us, and if a bird shows, fine.  Chef Jordan prepared us a “box lunch” for a picnic, and off we went down to Cambridge and then south to the Refuge. 

We checked in at the visitor center, quite well attended I guess due to the day after the holiday plus the wonderful weather.  I think the same volunteer was in attendance as last time, he is so enthusiastic and will talk about it as long as you want to listen (or even longer!).  They have a great selection of esoteric nature books and field guides, plus nice little nature related. gifty things in honor of the season.   Anyhow, we found out that predicted closures due to “paving” have been removed and all the drives were open.

Somehow, no matter how many times you go there, the same scenes are ever new. 




And the same citizens are generally present

(Northern Shovelers)

(Lord (or Lady) of the Domain)

(a few of the thousands of Canada Geese)

We even found a group of (ring billed) gulls that thought they owned the road (fresh warm asphalt).  They would begrudgingly move a few feet down the road with the approach of the MOMSTER and settle in again..

(This is our street, pal)

Okay, Okay

We eventually found a great place for parking and had lunch in the al fresco portion of the MOMSTER


With our box lunch of roast turkey (what else) sandwiches with truffled pecorino cheese, house made mayonnaise, mustard, freshly made potato chips, fresh fruit, and if you look closely, just under the orange is a chocolate! 


After lunch we sort of headed home, and the water was high enough that it rose the few inches necessary to crest the roadway, even though we were warned,


but by going slowly it wasn’t a problem, except for those idiots that have to justify their expensive vehicles (see dear!  THIS is why we need our Jeep!)


It's so peaceful (besides the Jeep people which were very few) to get away from the houses, chains, lights, and see what there is out there..  An extremely present day recharging the batteries.  Thank you mother nature..

After returning to the inn and a short rest we went out and scored some things we saw window shopping the previous day.  Trying our best to keep the small/local businesses afloat.

I think we’ll save the crowning culinary event of the trip for tomorrow.  It deserves its own space, and by the time I lose control of the verbiage, your attention span will have dwindled to the point of not paying attention.. so we’ll leave you while we get



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Turkey with two sides....

the big day

After our dinner at Out of the Fire on Thanksgiving eve, we retired to the Inn, and spent a restful night, no doubt aided by the Syrah..  Part of the deal with the Inn is the “breakfast” part of the B&B.  It is included in your stay, and it is always great.  Thanksgiving morning we were treated to fresh squeezed orange juice, French press (always) coffee and a wonderful omelet made with farm fresh eggs, and a local cheese, over a bed of tangy wilted greens, local plum jam with homemade bread..  Normally I am what a well known hamburger chain now describes as a “skipper” when it comes to breakfast, but not when this kind of thing is available.  Breakfast is of course served on the same white tablecloth setting as dinner. After recovering from breakfast, we spent the morning driving around in the country some enjoying the scenery,  and had a lunch of the pizza from Out of the Fire (cleverly ordered with the previous evening's dinner), and then returned to the Inn, did a bit of window shopping around town and retired for a pre Thanksgiving dinner rest/nap.  As mentioned earlier, our reservation for dinner was for 6:00 at the Robert Morris Inn in Oxford, about twenty minutes from Easton.  It proclaims itself as “America’s Oldest Inn” dating from 1710.  We had previewed the prix fixe menu which is a choice of one selection from three courses (starter, entrée, and dessert).  So I had decided upon the fried local oysters with lemon and remoulade, Pennsylvania Dutch free range Turkey (with… etc.); and pecan pie with bourbon ice cream.  MFO pre selected the same traditional main course but took a beet salad and apple/blackberry crumble for dessert.  We had driven to the place in the daylight earlier in the day just to make sure we could find it in Oxford.  It’s not hard, and proceeding further on main street you would need a boat.  When we arrived for our evening meal we entered through the street side door which dumps you into the dining room.  Robert Morris Inn is split into two places to dine, the “dining room” and the “tavern”.  Turns out you’re supposed to enter through the tavern side as that is where the “stand” is.  Kind of awkward traversing the dining room, but we did and checked in with the hostess who found us on the list.

A(side) Number One:

…if you go to restaurants a lot, as we do, you can always notice one table that is kind of stuck someplace usually for overflow.  For instance, in the original Dry Dock location in the blockhouse, there was one two top on the wall between the far stair entrance and a window that was kind of an afterthought.   If the door opened, your napkin might blow on the floor. On the wall above the table was a duck print of some kind, and in MFO’s and my lexicon it got to be known as the “duck table”, to be avoided at all costs.  Henceforth whenever we encounter such a table it is referred to as the “duck table”. 
back to the meal...
Well, we were conducted back through the tavern side (which looks rather nice) and into the dining room and shown to what was their duck table.  It was stuffed against a wall between the entrance to the dining room and the door to the ladies room, as well as where the staff emerged with the meals and such.  We did sit down, but after MFO narrowly avoided a plate of turkey in the ear, I went back and asked to be reseated and fortunately we were shown a much nicer table next to a window.  We then settled in and gazed around us.  The dining room is rather cavernous

And tables were kind of scattered around.  The décor sort of lived up to their “the oldest Inn in America” claim.  It seemed to us to have gone past quaint or cute into well, shabby.  Things were tired, and looked like a good cleaning and general freshening would be in order.  Before proceeding, let me state unequivocally that this was Thanksgiving Day, at six o’clock of probably what was a long day for staff, so maybe some allowances might be made.  That being said, throughout the meal, our server punched (almost) every hot button I have.  “Hi, I’m <….>, and I’ll be (sic) helping you tonight” (do I look like I need help?);  “are you still working on that?”; “I’ll be right back with that bread”  (ten minutes later, no bread nor bread plates);  “are we ready to order?” (Three minutes after first approach with menus and several more times);  “how is everything?” (were you worried?); and so on.  First attempt at DMOTRWAT was a failure, although she did seem to know that dry vermouth was called for, drink replaced with an apology from bartender.  And during the meal, arriving guests (apparently as confused as we were) continued to parade through the dining room.  While consuming our cocktails I perused the wine list, and found a nice bottle of ’09 Premier Cru Rully “Les Cloux” at not too dear a price.  Okay, it’s a celebration, we’ll have a bottle of number 21 (a practice I am not really fond of, but probably works for staff).

And before resuming the meal, I’ll have to admit I let myself down here.  Unexcusable.  But in full disclosure, the young lady appeared with a bottle of wine with Rully prominently displayed on the label.  Quick glace (my downfall)…okay, thanks. So it was opened and poured, after tasting, I said that’s fine, but I really wasn’t bowled over by it.  After she left, I observed the bottle was in reality a ’10 J. M. Boillot Chatalienne Rully.  It was NOT a Premier Cru, although Boillot does have a good reputation, it was not what was ordered.  At this point we were into what the hell, it isn’t bad, don’t make a fuss.

A(side) Number Two:

So the question is, whose job is it to assure the wine that was ordered is brought to the table?  As a consumer I expect that if the wine is on the wine list, Number 21’s description is what the hell should be brought to the table.  In this case, I would hope that server would have returned and said: “I’m sorry sir, the wine list has apparently not been updated, and that particular selection is no longer available, but we do have…. Should I bring that to taste or would you like to look at the wine list again?”.  THAT would be “helping us”.  It seems to me that I should NOT have to study the wine (after the wine list has been removed from the table) to determine if I got what I ordered.  And should I be expected to pay the same amount for a different bottle?  I was.

Back to the meal
Our starters appeared, with my oysters

They were pretty nice, although maybe the green stalk could have been removed and the remoulade was a lot like tartar sauce.  The bread and bread plates had made their way to the table by this time, so we were mellowing. The main deal arrived soon after we finished the first course, and indeed was a testament to the bounty of Thanksgiving..


There’s the turkey (with ham peeking out underneath), the hand formed roasted potato, the sage onion and celery dressing, the glazed seasons vegetables, cranberry orange and ginger dressing, and hey, let’s throw in a bacon wrapped sausage end for good measure.  I don’t remember what the roasted potato is resting upon, I think maybe it was my "favorite" mashed sweet potato.  In actuality everything was fairly tasty, and anyway indulgence is the order of the day for thanksgiving..  A few “how is everythings?” later we surrendered our plates and dessert soon followed.  It was perhaps the best course of the evening.  I am a sucker for pecan (or is it “pee-caan” pie?) and this was pretty good as was the bourbon ice cream


and the crumble was enjoyed by MFO

Each meal was fixed at fifty eight dollars.  Pretty steep methinks for what I got.  Again, let me say that our experience was on a special day under special circumstances.  One would hope they would carry it off, but it was not outstanding.  That darn service thing, and expecting us to accept the duck table.  Oh, another couple who was staying at the Bartlett Pear was offered the same table and had the sense to also decline it.  We chuckled with them about that later.  It was an interesting Thanksgiving to be sure.  Regardless, we didn’t have to cook or wash dishes!!

So, anyway, next time I might return to Bobbie Morris Inn (it is in a lovely setting), but I certainly would try to sit in the tavern section and perhaps enjoy food at that level, although I would look for other options for a special meal in the dining room.  Oh, and yes we were certainly


The next day (Friday) was the out and out best day of the whole trip…


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prelude to (our) Thanksiving

hope yours was enjoyable!

After a hectic early week we spent (pre Thanksgiving) Wednesday morning throwing stuff in garment bags, suitcases, carry all’s, getting ready for our sojourn over to the Eastern Shore.  One of the side effects of having the MOMSTER is that it is so cavernous that if you might want or need “it” you can just throw it in the back.  No decisions, a condition which I enjoy.  Anyway, we got started around noon to make our check in time of three o’clock.

Of course there has to be something to worry about, so all the way up toward Annapolis I was concerned about traffic over the Bay Bridge, thinking of hours of delays at the toll booths, traffic over the bridge itself, etc.  And sure enough as we merged onto US50 from 2 North we came to a rolling stop.  It did pick up after the Annapolis exits, and finally we approached the toll booths to find

And past the booths the “traffic”


With a sigh of relief and a sideways glance from MFO (I told you so!) we proceeded over the river and through Kent Island  and finally the way to Easton was upon us


Traffic was steady but not bad, and we passed the crowded outlet mall, and finally got to our destination..

There are places that just kind of speak to you, and Easton for some reason has a pull on us.  There is just something pleasant about it (I am speaking of the “historic” part here, not the surrounding malls and chain stores).  The stately Tidewater Inn


And charming streets with galleries, “real” shops where you can buy gentleman’s clothing, an Orvis registered store which had more guns than I have ever seen, and stuff like that.  Of course there is a good dining scene (which we will explore later) and our favorite lodging place (and restaurant) at the Bartlett Pear Inn


Discerning readers might notice a slight resemblance to the Inn at Little Washington!


And indeed (in my mind) there are quite a few parallels between the two Inns… Both have impeccable service and gracious staff, the rooms are tidy and well appointed, and each one serves wonderful food.   Where everything is “just right”.

The food plan for the weekend was to dine in the Bartlett Pear on Friday night, and since they were not serving on Thanksgiving (to be with their family, how nice) we had Thanksiving Dinner reservations at the venerable Robert Morris Inn in nearby Oxford.  Being unsure of our arrival time in Easton Wednesday, we decided to try to eat in another of our favorite places there, Out of the Fire.  It being Thanksgiving eve, I was a little concerned (always a concern someplace) whether they might not be serving.  So before leaving the digs, I went to their website, and got to the “contact us” page and sent an email asking about service.  I don’t know about your experiences with this form of communication, but usually it results in…. nothing.  Well, to my surprise I got an email returned within an hour saying yes, they were open, and to call when we got to town.  How neat is that?  So, after we got settled in the Pear, I rang them up, and they said 6:30 would be fine.  Great.

So after a glass of wine in our room and a little rest we walked the couple of blocks between the Inn and Out of the Fire, window shopping along the way.  I think I have blogged about the place before, but they still remain high on the list of places to dine in Easton.  Kind of a bistro atmosphere, an open kitchen with counter spaces, a smallish bar in the back and pleasant art work on the walls.  We were greeted by the lady with whom I had corresponded who was the proprietor and led to a nice table on the wall where I could view both the kitchen and the bar, a kind of situation the Feeder enjoys.  Again it was obvious that it was a popular spot with "the locals", as many of the parties knew each other.  A nice atmosphere...

It turned out our server was also the bartender. I ordered my DMOTRWAT and MFO her gin gimlet.  They were soon delivered to the table, and mine came with the dreaded maraschino cherry, but appeared to be made (correctly) with only dry vermouth.  I noted to her the lack of twist and she immediately apologized, scooped up the drink and went back to the bar..  MFO observed she pitched the whole drink and remade it from scratch.with the twist. Other places have just brought a twist, leaving me to deal with the cherry. Another apology upon delivery, so it was handled nicely.

The menu has several choices plus a few specials, among which (for this evening) was a butternut squash soup, and an Oyster Pot pie.   MFO opted for the soup and a hangar steak, and I went for an organic ceasar salad with the white anchovy option, and the Oyster pot pie.

The wine list is well thought out and offers plenty of good bottles at reasonable prices.  Leaning toward MFO’s steak, I chose an ‘05 Mettler Petite Syrah from Lodi, California.

Food arrived at just about the right timing, and I really enjoyed my salad (with the "school" of anchovies!)


MFO enjoyed her soup.  Entrees followed with a gigantic pot pie for me and MFO’s steak which was cooked just right.  almost charred on the outside yet her preferred medium rare inside.  I guess it was made in and out of the fire!!


At one point the proprietor lady stopped by and said that the Mettler was one of her favorite wines and was glad we chose it.   Incidentally, come to find out that she was one of the pioneers of local sourcing in Easton for her restaurant and continues to push for the “buy local” policy.  They even have a little garden from which a lot of the vegetables are produced, some of which found their way into my pot pie as they were very tasty.  Definitely a must do when in Easton..

After dinner we wandered back to the Inn and prepared for Thanksgiving day.  I think we’ll leave it there for today and continue tomorrow.. where eventually we got ready for Thanksgiving Dinner by being


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Flying time and turkeys....

As some long, long, time readers will recall from the early days of the bottom feeder when it appeared at the bottom (get it?) of my daily aircraft status, I was often given to say “where does the time go?” well that would apply to this year.  Between the pool deck production, the Hospital Gala set up, execution and follow on, Thanksgiving is right on our doorstep and we’re leaving for a (hopefully) quiet weekend in just a few hours.  A report will follow…

So my usual Thanksgiving report has kind of taken a back seat.  I have done most of the initial research, but that “time” has run away (not to mention MFO urging me to hurry up), before I could make my usual insightful report, and so I am going to take the unprecedented step of making some quick observations and including my raw and unorganized notes which you might browse or completely ignore..

A few generalizations that came to me while browsing the magazines:

  1. Turkey is the meat of choice, didn’t find many (any?) beef or lamb roasts.
  2. Herb Roasted is by far the recipe/method of choice, simple rubs and butter on the outside.
  3. Elaborate preparations seem to have (finally!) gone by the wayside, brining is as complicated as it gets.  There is no flipping or turning, or deconstruction. Mostly just throw the bird in the oven until the famous “internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 (to 170)”
  4. Generally start at higher temp then reduce; only one “tenting” method found.
  5. Wines were pretty much left unmentioned except for the piece on the Hudson Valley Ranch.  One publication recommended beer! DWTHYL prevails.
  6. Root vegetables are very popular, mostly roasted.
  7. Stuffings vary, but cornbread (with maybe sausage) seems most popular (except for good old Saveur which uses oysters)
  8. Too damn much use of sweet potatoes (yes a personal bias).
  9. Pies are good.  Simple.
  10. 2012 most useful "guide" Bon Appetit
  11. Too much froo froo: Martha (make your own tablecloth)
  12. Most unique - Saveur 
This leads me to believe that the foodie mags are finally coming around to my position that making a big deal out of preparing the turkey (free range, brine in juniper berries, temp up, temp down, flip, etc.) is largely a waste of time.  Roast it at ~325 for a while (yes, mindful of internal temps) and you get an edible product.  All the other crap doesn’t have much effect.

If you want to get creative, do it with the sides.  Don’t waste time on the bird.

 Thanksgiving Bottom Line

Simple is a good thing.  Toiling away in the kitchen defeats what is the real purpose of “Thanksgiving”.  It is just that.  A time to give thanks for being with friends and family, remembering those who were present in the past and are now just present in thoughts.   Think about all the dedicated service people that are far from those friends and families eating a thanksgiving dinner in a strange land, perhaps in tents, making our lives here secure.  So prepare as simply or complicated as you wish, but use the dinner as a convener of people, not an end in itself.  Enjoy, and Bon Appetit!!  Oh yeah, you still have to


Research notes:

Thanksgiving Thoughts, 2012

COOK’S ILLUSTRATED, Nov/Dec 2012 (number 119)
TURKEY (usual engineer approach)
Pg 6: Classic Roast Turkey on the grill
Starts off by complaining about late dinner due to turkey..
No sooty or smoky flavors
Charcoal ring of fire -  don’t open grill during cooking.. lit coals on top of unlit…crisp-skin Secrets..
Rub, let stand 24 – 48 hours..
3 hours on charcoal..
Roasted root vegetables..

FOOD & WINE November 2012

Cover: The Ultimate Thanksgiving – 3 turkeys, 20 fantastic sides; 9 delicious desserts., including the most amazing herb-roasted turkey.
Pg 158 – Thanksgiving on the (Hudson) ranch – napa valley
Beautiful people grinning..
Hudson vineyards
Turkey: herb roasted: 400 degrees down to 325
Wine Hudson ranch syrah.. matches herbs, mushroom, etc. 
Pg  74 – Wood worker; Wood Smoked Turkey;  brined 24 hours, 5 hours in a smoker
Wine fresh berry – rich medium bodied Pinot
Pg 100 – part of the Handbook.. beer brined turkey; brine uses Guinness!!
Brine 24 hours
350° bacon on breast, remove 3 hours total
Smoky peppery syrah
Cornbread/bacon stuffing; sausage, apple, and cranberry nut bread
Pg 136 Wine Pairing – how to solve tricky wine-pairing dilemmas
Nothing to do with thanksgiving.

 BON APPETIT November 2012
Cover: the ultimate guide to thanksgiving – a 42 page step – by – step game plan;  How to brine roast & grill the juiciest bird
Not a bad layout: turkey; gravy; dressings; sides; salad; potatoes; desserts;
Pg 76 – For the traditionalist – herb roasted turkey: rosemary sage thyme butter rub.   Start 450 reduce to 325.  About 2 hours
Pg 78 – For the anti traditionalist – Grill Roasted.  Charcoal, optional chips
Pg 80:  for the Neo – traditionalist.  A simple roast turkey mirin and soy…
Pg 84 dressings: simple is best; Italian mother in law; bread sausage and pecan;
Pg 86 veggies: roasted sweet potatoes; creamed peas; sweet pot with bourbon maple; Brussels sprouts with shallots and salt pork; mashed root vegetables with bacon vinaigrette;
Salads: various
Potatoes: whipped with horseradish; mini herbed pommes anna;
WINES: Pg 34 – Beer!

SOUTHERN LIVING – November 2012
Cover: Thanksgiving Celebrations; 93 holiday recipes – Southern Style Turkeys
Pg 81 the most southern thanksgiving ever.. nice; herb roasted turkey, herb butter rub; 400 to 325 for 3 hours; back up to 325; cornbread dressing with smoked bacon and pecans; Fried Collards and Apples
Pg 88 texas meat ‘n three:  Grilled turkey breast; roasted carrot and avocado salad; cauliflour galletes with chipotle crème fraiche; poblanos stuffed with goat cheese mashed potatoes
Pg 90 low country meat ‘n three: Turkey tenderloins with Madeira gravy; sprouts with bacon; orange glazed sweet potatoes; cornbread and country ham Dressing;

Cover: American Made Awards Pies and Sides plus the ultimage Thanksgiving Dinner
Table of contents page: lists photographer; food styling; prop styling credits!!
Maple glazed turkey with gravy:  broth and maple syrup 1 ½ cups reduced to ¾ cup!  Applied during last hour of cooking... 425, then reduce to 350;
Smashed root vegetables with caramelized Leeks; creamed greens with chestnuts; Herbed cracker stuffing
Don’t like organization.  Recipes all grouped together at end (p. 185), makes it difficult to read..

 SAVEUR – November 2012
Cover:  32 Holiday Dishes, seasonal favorites old and new from herb roasted turkey to luscious pumpkin cheesecake.
p.68  Thanksgiving feast on Virginia eastern shore!  Herb Roasted turkey with Hominy, Oyster, and Sausage Dressing… oven at 450 throughout!!  4 hours!! (16 Lb Turkey)
Roasted Oysters with Green Tomato Pickle and Cranberry Horseradish relish; Creamed Spinach with Spiced bread crumbs..okra pickles..


Monday, November 19, 2012

Cast in Concrete....

Certainly not food related, but another of the days of our lives...
It was a busy time toward the end of the week and over the weekend for the flutter family.  Seems like everything happens at once.   As you may remember, way last spring, we made the decision to replace the pool deck surrounding the gray lagoon. After a summer of delays for various reasons that seemed plausible at the time, intervening jobs, vacations, a brush with Sandy, it turned out that last Thursday (15th) was the day for the pouring of the new deck.  No matter that the next day was the Hospital Gala, in which I am involved and should have been spent setting up, but when the concrete guys are ready, you jump.

So the day dawned and we hoped to have a change in the condition we had been looking at for well over a month - plastic sheeting, reinforcing bars, blowing leaves and a pool full of water.. not real attractive.


And on top of it all, among the many other obsessions I have, the condition of my lawn rates high.  I’ve spent a lot of resources and time to keep it nice looking, and the thought of concrete trucks lumbering through it was horrifying to me.  Have to have it both ways, you know.  Well, the concrete folks said they “would take care of that”.  So, first thing Thursday morning, there appeared in our driveway a vehicle that could have come from outer space


Soon to be followed by a more familiar “cement truck”


After some preparations the alien vehicle started to unfold like a monstrous creature coming out of a chrysalis, and slowly began to advance over the digs...





Until eventually it crested the house, and reached the back yard and extended its proboscis down to the pool


All of this was done with a remote control device deftly handled by the alien vehicle's driver, whose first statement was:  "I hate to go over houses!".   Gee, thanks for that!  Once the nose and hose was in place in back, the other beast in the driveway opened it’s maw


And began feeding the alien machine


Pumps began to churn and soon enough concrete was exuded onto the pool deck!  How amazing is that?  The spewing concrete was then guided to the area where it was needed, spread out


And eventually hand finished (several times, actually) as it began to look like a pool deck.

Not content with just colored concrete, we wanted a slate like surface texture, and that called for a technique called “stamping”, which was achieved by taking little pads with protruding "bumps", laying them down and then doing a dance on them to impart the texture to the finished concrete.   Maybe it should more accurately be called “stomping”!


I was told that it took years of practice to perfect the exact pressure, location, and movement to make it work.  I didn't argue.  Finally we had the makings of our new deck!

It is still curing so the final condition won’t be obvious for a week or so…

Speaking of a week or so, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I realize I have not had a chance for my annual (boring) Thanksgiving Day foodie report.  By now I know your menu is set, but I’ll try to jump through my several Thanksgiving day issues of the food mags and maybe come up with some tips.. one of which will most assuredly be



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Local" Lore

After my "CCC" relaxed lunch on Friday, Saturday turned out to be an interesting day..   a couple of real “local” things.  I know “buy local” are the “in” buzz words right now, and there are many definitions of what that constitutes, but I think I did hit the mark…

The day began a little inauspiciously when I showed up at the ceremonies for the start of the “oyster reef” project down at St. Mary’s College near their (in)famous boat house.  The plan is to begin restoration of oyster reefs to help replenish the oysters in the area.  I showed up right on the dot of ten, and only then found out that ten was the “set up” time, not the time of the actual event. So I got a quick shot of the first piece to be deployed in St. Mary’s River, which will form the basis of an artificial reef.  I must admit I don’t know too much more about it.  Certainly more of these are needed to form any sort of meaningful housing for Oyster Spat….


Turned out the real event started at noon, as did the immensely popular Trinity Church Dinner so the thought of more cars vying for the few parking places down there made me decide to just head home.  Since I had new found free time, I decided to stop at our new(ish)


It was a good day and well attended by both suppliers and consumers.


Inside it was pretty well packed, with spaces divided between actual farm stands and various crafters, bakers, certainly “homemade” local stuff.  Not my cup of tea, but okay.  Our local Port of Leonardtown winery had a little stand, populated by the always gracious winemaker and wife.  There were many families, small kids everywhere, poking into this and that, neighbors chatting, and generally having a good time.  Many of our local farms had stands with greens, various vegetables, root crops, and good stuff.  It’s so pretty…




I was very pleased to see that a meat vendor was in attendance, in this case WAG farms (near Leonardtown).  There was a freezer cabinet with small packages of their various products (which I now wish I would have captured on…. ones and zeroes, but didn’t).  A white board listed the stuff available (note handwritten, no powerpoint here--"local")


Note that Scrapple is offered… can’t get any more local than that!!  I talked with the gentleman  a bit about grass feeding or grain, this and that, so I decided that I couldn’t leave without getting a sample (it’s my duty) so I chose a


Although goat burgers were available, I thought maybe for an initial purchase I would go with a little less adventurous choice.  So, I took it home, thawed it out, and prepared it for the grill


Note the nice marbling which he attributed to finishing off the feeding of the cattle with grain rather than strictly grass.  I salted it with Kosher salt for a couple of hours, applied some Penzy’s Chicago Steak Seasoning, (the Northwoods Fire is added just after cooking during the resting period.  I grilled it until the internal temp was about 130 or so – I have found with some cuts of firmer meat that the “press test” can yield inaccurate results – so while I generally go by the thumb test I also check with the thermometer.  There are a few (not so nice) stories about using just the pressure method which I won’t go into here.

Anyway, after letting it rest for a bit, we put it to the fork, and I am very happy to report that it had excellent "beefy" flavor and texture which we thoroughly enjoyed. Sorry ,LongHorny Roadhousy Outbacky, I will go back and expand my selections from a local producer.  In particular, one of the things I lament about supermarket meats is that their pork has evolved into a tasteless, fatless, protein substance with almost no flavor.  Hopefully some of the “local” varieties will prove better.  Reports to follow (maybe including goatburgers!)

As I have often said, the challenge of “buy local” is to give me a product that is better than I can get from chains or delvered by silver sided trucks from a far away food distributor.  They thrive on consistency, but generally at a consistently mediocre level.  Enough of that for now..

A quick note on…. airport food.

What did you say, Mr. Feeder?  Airport Food? Well, I get daily posts on my mobile devicefrom various sources  that cover restaurant changes, openings, and food trends, and while they are informative, I don’t like to just fire them at you..  However, I got one yesterday that did catch my eye which might be worth passing along..It was entitled: “Food Network Opens First Restaurant in  (sic) Fla. Airport”.  Goes on to say that a casual eatery called the Food Network Kitchen in Terminal 3 will “feature dishes created by the lifestyle network’ slate of celebrity chefs such as Paula Deen.  OMG, get me to a ticket counter.  Want to try the airport version of cuisine from the high priestess of “y’all”, profanity, and plastic surgery.  Think I’ll go back to WAG.

Worth Keeping for Reference
Here’s a nice link for local farms that supply meats (and other products) for you to keep as a reference..  Look out for them.  We need them