Something new.

New Roots Farm has a semi-regular stand at the city market that sells produce grown at the community garden sponsored by the International Resource Committee here in Charlottesville. The garden sprung out of wanting to help refugees feel at home as many of them have a farming background, while also giving refugees access to fresh food, particularly some harder to find items from their home. By selling some of the excess produce, refugees learn new skills and earn some income.  (Here’s a nice article that ran on them this past July) When I see their stand at market, I like to check out what they have to offer because it’s a good opportunity to try something new while also supporting a wonderful project. On a recent visit, this caught my eye:


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Going native.

pawpaw1Pat came across some pawpaws on a recent fishing trip and brought them home for me to experiment with. For the uninitiated, pawpaws are a native fruit not typically found in the grocery store or even at farmer’s markets.  They tend to fall off the tree when they are fully ripe, which happens to coincide with them being incredibly delicate. This delicateness is a large part as to why they aren’t well known – they don’t travel well and need to be eaten almost immediately while giving off an aroma that permeates the surrounding area. They smell like they taste, tropical and yeasty – think a slightly fermented mango-banana mix.  They aren’t much to look at – shades of green and black. Peel the skin off to find pulpy, soft flesh littered with large seeds, that require some work to get to the fruit. A 3″ pawpaw produces a surprisingly small amount of pulp. It takes a number of fruits to be able to make something with them, so if you come across some, grab more than you think you’ll need. They can be eaten raw, but they bake well too, especially when paired with dairy. Continue reading

Quick Cherry Tomatoes and Pasta.

A gardening friend gave me two Sweet 100 cherry tomato plants that have had us swimming in the teeniest, tinest tomatoes this summer.  I’ve been harvesting a few pints of them weekly and in order to keep up with them, I had to get creative.  I was slightly inspired by a recipe my friend Martha used in her cooking class last month, but because these tomatoes are so tiny that cutting them would be a complete pain (and waste of time), I decided to just throw them in the pan whole.

(They also have a slightly annoying habit of splitting upon being picked.)

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Stovetop Granola is totally a thing.

My go-to summer breakfast is fruit with yogurt and granola. I typically buy my granola in the summer, not because it’s too hot to turn the oven on, but because I’ve fallen in love with a ginger granola that I’ve yet to be able to perfect at home and I find ginger granola to be the perfect complement to any fresh fruit combo I throw together.  That changed last week however, when not only was I out of granola, it was so incredibly hot outside that just the thought of getting in my car to go get granola was out of the realm of possibility. I began to wonder if stovetop granola was a thing and if it wasn’t, then could I make it a thing? Continue reading