Thursday, October 25, 2007

FolkFoods Veggie Crumble Recipe Rocks!

Crisp Fall Air Calls for Chili!

Happy Fall everyone! I am writing this note two days before the last Farmers’ Market of this season! It is amazing to think about how far we’ve come, and amazing to imagine all of the plans that we have. Truthfully, I can’t even believe that we made it through all of the markets, which were amazing! And a lot of fun. Shana and I have talked about how the best parts of the entire experience were hearing people’s feedback, seeing repeat customers, and sharing time with all of the market vendors. Farmers’ Markets are wonderful; we are definitely going to miss all of the bountiful, fresh and delicious foods. We hope to maintain relationships with many of our new friends and are excited to keep the FolkFoods ball rolling.

A little comment on that: we are committed to the future of FolkFoods. We are right now working on production efficiency, finding a good layout and design person, web designer, and market/distribution person. It is all coming together. Any ideas that you all have, please do share! But more on the business when I write again (I look forward to having the time to begin writing at least weekly again after this weekend!)

For now, if you’ve been to the market in the last few weeks you may have noticed that we have been selling cups of the best darn Veggie Chili in the world. It really is, I am not exaggerating. Alas, I can not take credit for it (other than the fact that it uses our Veggie Crumble.) As the Fall drew closer, Shana and I were talking about how we could finish off the Market season with something new to keep people excited. We also wanted to highlight the Veggie Crumble because we have temporarily run out of the packages of Veggie Patties for sale (we are still doing sandwiches with them – the soon to be famous Ruby and the beloved Benny, and the On The Rise Bakery still has them on their menu, so don’t despair, friends!) Anyway, as we were talking, we found a crumpled note deep in our mailbox, a note that we hadn’t noticed ever before. Below is a copy of that note.

We hope that you will try out this recipe and share it with others. I think that it would make the old man proud!
(I have added some comments in a different color)

O.K., so I am sitting here in the mountain cabin, anticipating the arrival of the North winds. I remember the cold artic-like nights and frigid days. Hot coffee alone doesn’t help to start the old bones to uncurl. I rack what’s left of my mind and kinda remember an olde recipe. I rummaged thru the spice rack, veggie corner and see that all ingredients are available to fend off the future cold. Did I mention that I was going to cook a chili? No? Well that’s what I’m doing. . I recall that on one of my journeys to the south, I met a young couple, patty people or something. They were passionate, informed and had a lot of hair between the two of them. I bought some of their products and thought that they might fair well in a chili. Well, I found the Veggie Crumble and their Master Sauce. FolkFoods, yup that was the name. Nice folks too, they were. (Quiet yoda)

So here it is, Poppi Neshky’s New York Red Hot Chili. Try it and have fun, change it if you must and enjoy.

· 1 large Vidalia onion or 2 medium onions (I actually used sweet yellow onions)
· 2 Italian frying peppers or 1 large green or red bell pepper (I used 2 small red and 2 small green Italian peppers and I roasted 1 of each of them)
· 4 to 5 cloves of garlic (I have to admit that I used almost an entire head, but it was a small one)
· 24oz of Veggie Crumble
· 40 oz of canned pureed tomatoes
· 30 oz of diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
· Veggie soup stock- 1 cup
· 1 teaspoon of Master Sauce(add more to taste )
· 1 tablespoon of oregano(Mexican if you have it , make sure to grind it fine )
· 1 tablespoon of paprika (sweet or hot your call)
· 2 tablespoons of cumin(ground )
· 2 tablespoons of mild chili powder
· 1 tablespoon of chipotle powder
· 1 tablespoon of green chili powder (I couldn’t find this)
· (I added about ¼ a small bar of 70% dark chocolate)
· (I also added about ¼ tsp fresh ground cinnamon – not enough to make it cinnamon-y, but just enough to bring out the tomato flavors more strongly)
· (I was feeling frisky and added about a ½ tablespoon of maple syrup – it worked out well!)
· salt and pepper to taste
· 2 -15 oz cans of red kidney beans drained and rinsed
· 1 cup of corn niblets (optional) (I didn’t use this because I didn’t have any corn and I wasn’t liking yellow that day.)

1. Onion/ peppers/garlic can be diced, minced, rough cut (I prefer diced for better blending of stuff)
2. Take big chili pot/kettle and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and on a low flame, sauté onion/peppers/garlic until liquids start to ooze out.
3. Add all the spices above including the FolkFoods Master Sauce.
4. While that is happening take a sip of your favorite libation.
5. Add salt/pepper here.
6. Add 1 cup veggie stock here.
7. Take another sip and stir to blend, keeping a low flame.
8. Add all of the tomatoes here and stir around, smiling.
9. Heat all of this through until your kitchen starts smelling real nice, you start feeling really good and the sauce just begins to bubble.
10. Stir FolkFoods Veggie Crumble into pot, after 3 minutes, check the consistency (you might need more liquid, if so add water beer, wine or veggie stock. You might want it thicker and meatier, if so, than add more FolkFoods Veggie Crumble.
11. Cook for about 10 minutes on low flame.
(12. Add maple syrup, chocolate, and (taste first) more FolkFoods Master Sauce.)
12. Cook for another 10 minutes stirring often. Add the beans stirring gently. Cook for about 25 minutes.

Ready to serve. You can serve it alone (for the purists) or over rice with mild cheese, oyster crackers, or diced sweet onion. Goes well with cold beer, red zinfandel, shiraz, iced tea, etc.

Poppi Neshky

Friday, September 21, 2007

Good Things To Come!

Hello Everyone!

I haven't forgotten to write, I haven't given up on electronic correspondence, and I haven't deleted you from our email list...

It has been a crazy summer. And the craziness continues. However, I would like to give a quick update and a wonderful recipe.

As some of you know, FolkFoods has been getting wonderful feedback all summer. In fact we can't keep production up with demand! We are sort of winding down a really successful farmers' market season; we have certainly accomplished our goal for the season. People are really happy about the product, we've gotten some notoriety (check out a cool article that refers to us), we've made some money, and we've got a strong foundation to move onward with the company.

Some of the great things that have been going on:

  • We are on the menu at the On The Rise Bakery in Richmond, VT. This place is yummy! Going there for dinner is the best part of our Friday evening Richmond Market "date".
  • We are working on an account with Fletcher Allen Health Care, the teaching hospital in Vermont. They are trying to focus on healthier, locally made products, and they served a Sloppy Joe made with our Veggie Crumble that was received so positively that the executive chef is already experimenting with other recipes for use on their menu! (I'll try to get the recipe for their Sloppy Joe - It was incredible.)
  • We are close to an option for making the Veggie Breakfast Patties in a more efficient manner. That way we are MUCH more likely to be able to start wholesale and shipping.
  • We may be looking for some part-time help later in the Fall, stay tuned...
Okay, there is probably more, but it is late and we have Burlington Market tomorrow morning very early. I did, however, promise an easy and amazing recipe, so here it is:

The Farmers' Market Master Sauce Dip

This dip has gotten rave reviews from farmers' market shoppes from Richmond to Burlington. Most people ask if we are selling the dip. We could, but that wouldn't be fair, it is too easy to make on your own.
1 block of cream cheese
1/4 cup of sour cream
a handful of sliced scallions
1 tablespoon of FolkFoods Master Sauce

Put all ingredients in a food processor and process on high until fully blended. There. You've done it! Great as a dip for parties for crackers, veggies, or pretzels and chips. It is also wonderful as a spread on sandwiches. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

(Sorry no picture today, I'll get back on the ball sometime soon!)

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's been awhile, I know.

It is HOT. It is HUMID.
But it is not raining (yet).
The last two Fridays, we got rained on
during the Richmond Market. It is still
really quite fun to be there, though.
Please come by and say hello!

Anyway, It has been super crazy these days. Instead of blogging, we have been:
  • researching an industrial machine to produce larger amounts of patties (we can't keep up with demand, not a bad problem to have.)
  • providing Jars of Master Sauce to the Simpson's Movie premiere (That's right. We know that Homer likes the spice, well, he may be eating some Master Sauce straight out of the jar right now!)
  • working on recipe booklets for our products (coming soon, I hope)
  • improving the signs for our market booth
  • creating brochures and business cards
  • getting excited to try to start wholesaling in the fall (contact us if you have any leads!)
Well, I am supposed to be loading the truck for this evening's market, and I just wanted to send something out, as sort of a preview of what is coming. It may be a slower weekend for us though. We are out of patties! (Go back to the first bullet above.) So, it is a Crumble weekend. We are bringing out a new Crumble wrap: The Saucy! It is kid-friendly (tested and approved) and really comforting. Picture Veggie Crumble cooked in a savory tomato sauce, with tons of mozzarella cheese and then melted together in a 12" tortilla. YUM!

Since it is a Crumble weekend, I am going to leave you with a really fantastic recipe using Crumble. It is a little different, but since fresh local tomatoes will be coming out very soon, it is a perfect time to try it. Give it a try and let us know...

Vietnamese-Styled Tomato Sauce With FolkFoods Veggie Crumble

This recipe freezes really well, so make a lot! It really goes well over rice, or any other type of grain. Enjoy!

1 T vegetable oil

1 package FolkFoods Veggie Crumble

1 ½ T sugar

1 ½ T lime juice

2 Serrano chiles, chopped (or 1 T FolkFoods Master Sauce)

4 ½ T Vietnamese Fish Sauce (optional, kind of. Substitute Braggs Liquid Aminos or a good Soy Sauce, but it won’t be the same.)

¼ - ½ c chopped shallot or onion

4 cloves – 1 whole head of garlic (I like garlic!)

½ t ground black pepper

5 or 6 fresh local tomatoes chopped

¼ c tomato paste

1 ½ vegetable stock or prepared miso

Fresh coriander/cilantro for garnish

  1. Heat over high heat, add sugar, lime juice, chiles, 1 ½ T fish sauce or Braggs. Heat through and add package of FolkFoods Veggie Crumble. Stir and mix flavors, heat through for approximately one minute. Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.
  2. Heat the sauce pan to medium heat and add garlic, shallots and black pepper. Fry until onions are wilted and garlic is fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes cook down until the mix is reduced to a lumpy sauce. Approximately 5 minutes.
  3. With heat still at medium, return the Crumble mixture to the pan, add tomato paste, remaining fish sauce or Braggs and vegetable stock. Simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Farmers' Markets

Hello !
I apologize for the lack of posts recently, we have been incredibly busy recently. It is a good problem, but we are having a difficult time keeping production up with the demand from markets! We've been really enjoying the markets and the feedback that we've been getting is truly exciting, inspiring and motivating. Once the website ( is up and running, we're hoping to have a section for food stories and recipes. We'd love to hear what you are cooking and what kind of meals and traditions you share with your friends and loved ones. With that in mind, we would like to share some of the recipes that we use every week at the farmers' markets. But first, some pictures:

More pictures to come.
Below, I've copied a portion of the weekly newsletter that goes out to the Richmond community about their farmers' market. We were highlighted in the newsletter and we included two of our recipes. These recipes were designed and created over many nights of eating laughing and testing with our friends. Thanks everyone! Anytime you use Our Master Sauce, Veggie Crumbles, or Veggie Breakfast Patties in an interesting way with friends and family, we'd love to hear about it. (Even non-FolkFoods product meals, actually, we just like to hear about gatherings and festive meals!)

Come and Meet Shana and Jason, who are new vendors at the Richmond Farmers' Market....
FolkFoods is a small, Burlington-based company owned by Shana Witkin and Jason Frishman. Inspired by cooking and eating together with friends and family, they created FolkFoods to promote healthy fare that tastes great! FolkFoods products include:
* Veggie Crumble: A high protein alternative to ground meat, Veggie Crumble can be used in wide range of dishes. You can try samples of Veggie Crumble in tomato sauce and with taco seasoning at the Richmond Farmers' Market. A 12 oz. bag of Veggie Crumble replaces approximately 1 lb of ground meat.
* Veggie Breakfast Patties: FolkFoods Veggie Breakfast Patties are a healthy addition to breakfast, and make a great sandwich anytime of day. Each ingredient was selected to add both nutrition and flavor.
* Master Sauce: This spicy cooking and condiment sauce adds a unique blend of heat and sweet to any meal. Use it in sauces, wet rubs and marinades, stir-frys, soups, and dressings. It also makes a fabulous hot sauce.

Recipe for the FolkFoods Ruby, Vermont's answer to the traditional Reuben:
2 slices good hearty bread (We use Klinger's Whole Wheat sourdough)
French dressing (We make our own using mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard, garlic and a dash of FolkFoods Master Sauce) - spread on each bread slice
Thinly sliced local Vermont MacIntosh apples - layered on one slice of bread
Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded - layered thickly over the apples
2 FolkFoods Veggie Breakfast Patties, pan fried until browned on both sides - placed on top of the cheese
A generous portion of traditionally made, lacto-fermented sauerkraut (We use Flack Family Farm's)
Put the sandwich together, and place on a heated and lightly oiled frying pan. Use another frying pan or sandwich press to weight the sandwich down, and heat until nicely browned. Flip and repeat. Cut and eat!

Recipe for FolkFoods Taco Seasoned Veggie Crumble:
First, make the taco seasoning:
2 tablespoons Chili powder
2 tablespoons Onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (or more) teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons flour (we use oat flour because it is healthier than wheat flour)
Mix dry ingredients together and stir into:
2 teaspoons Vermont maple syrup
1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite flavored liquid (we've used veggie stock, dark beer, tomato soup, and blended salsa)
Slowly mix taco seasoning into a package of FolkFoods Veggie Crumble until it reaches your desired level of spiciness.

-Jason and Shana

Eat Well. Eat Together.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Guest Writer! Using Master Sauce

Happy Sunday! This morning, I will be testing a new process for the Veggie Breakfast Patties. They are selling really well, and we can't keep up with our current process. I guess that is a good problem, but it is certainly a little stressful. Anyway, I am also hoping to make a HUGE pot of fish stock (Remember stock? There will be a post about all of those kitchen scraps that some of you have been saving and freezing. Very soon. I promise.) I'd also like to write a lot about the markets; they have been wonderfully successful. We've been told that there is a 'buzz' about FolkFoods. So a post and pictures about all of that is on its way.

In lieu of that post, though, I am going to post something that our good friend Jenn wrote for us awhile ago. We are hoping that Jenn will write a regular column once we get the website up and running. She is a creative and adventurous cook who has used and consumed more Master Sauce than anyone, including Shana and I. Her cooking displays how it is a master sauce, rather than just a hot sauce. (Jenn, I have an extra large jar for you, waiting on our dining table!)

How FolkFoods Master Sauce Saved My Culinary Ass

It was a busy time in my life: I had just started graduate school, and I lived 35 minutes outside of town. Food, although it’s always been high on my priority list, had taken a backseat to other things because of schoolwork, the demands of a long commute, and the lack of a nearby grocery. I had become, against my will, a habit-cook. I could prepare a meal on autopilot, as long as I had all the old standby ingredients on hand. Take away my frozen flour tortillas and pre-cooked chicken sausages, and I’d freak. It was a slow change: the slide from culinary adventurer to kitchen bore was almost imperceptible day to day. But one day I realized that I had to break away from the endless variations of leftover-packed quesadillas and uninspired, whatever’s-in-the-fridge pasta sautés. One night, I stared down at my plate of penne with random vegetables in white wine garlic sauce and said, “I can’t eat this stuff anymore.” My partner breathed a sigh of relief. Turns out, he’d come to this epiphany weeks before, but kept his feelings to himself for fear that I’d take offense and stop cooking altogether. “What do we do now?” we asked each other. For a week, we survived on cereal and peanut butter-slathered crackers. And then, that weekend, there was a miracle.

We were throwing a barbeque potluck, and Jason showed up with a small jar of a dark, rich brown something. “I want you guys to taste my newest creation,” he said. “It’s FolkFoods Master Sauce.” He called it “master sauce” because, while it had a spicy kick, the complexity of the flavor made its potential uses much more diverse than your typical hot sauce. After I placed that first tentative dollop on the tip of my tongue, I knew my problems were solved. Jason’s master sauce spun me out of my culinary doldrums. Soon I was putting it in everything from scrambled eggs to vegetable stir-fry. It even resurrected my good old whatever-I-find-in-the-fridge pasta sauté. (I have yet to get bored of my old standby a second time.) So I want to share the miracle with all of you: In an ongoing column, I’m going to share exciting and surprising ways to use FolkFoods master sauce to breathe life into your own cooking.

My first suggestion: Fish! Fish of any kind. (You’re only limited by your geographical location, your own personal taste, your moral stance on industry practices, and environmental and health concerns about fish farming.) I do two things with master sauce to liven up fish dishes: With flaky, thin fish fillets like tilapia, I smother the fillets with about a tablespoon of master sauce each, and then I dredge the fillets in a mix of rice flour and salt. Then I fry them in an oil and butter mix. It’s good with slices of lime on the side. You can use regular flour if you don’t have rice flour; the only difference is that rice flour is lighter and makes for a crispier coating on the fish. With thicker, steaky fish like mahi-mahi, I squeeze some lime juice on the fish and then slather it with master sauce. At this point, I either grill the fish or broil it. Something happens to the master sauce when it’s exposed to the intense dry heat: it gets condensed and extra savory, creating a yummy coating on the outside of the fish. If you happen to think of it, marinating the fish steaks for a little before cooking while will help infuse more of the master sauce flavors into the fish. And by the way, I once heard Mark Bittman, author of the invaluable tome How to Cook Everything, reveal in a radio interview that marinating any meat for longer than 20 minutes is completely unnecessary. So there! Victory for the spontaneous, discombobulated cooks of the world!

(Jason's Note: That isn't actually Jenn. That is another good friend of ours, Rebecca. I wanted to put a picture into this post and fish seemed appropriate. Rebecca and her partner Chapin have helped to organize a local fish share for a few of us, where we get fresh, sustainably grown fish every other week. We are slowly learning to clean and fillet fish. As for now, Chapin gets the patience award; I generally wind up just hacking away. Either way, we have wonderful fish to accompany the Master Sauce!)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Information about Richmond Farmers' Market

We just got this email about the upcoming Richmond Farmers' Market. I think that it is going to be a really exciting time. (And a completely different experience than the Burlington Market. I will be sharing pictures and writing about sometime this week, I promise.) Anyway, if you have the time and want to come hang out by the river, please come by and say hello!
(And if you come to either the Burlington or Richmond markets, you really should try our Ruby Sandwich. It is the most amazing mixture of flavors.)

ARE YOU READY FOR JUNE 8th? Buy Local, Buy Fresh.

Welcome and celebrate the coming of the summer season at the Richmond Farmers' Market. The Market will be held every Friday starting June 8th through October 12th from 3:00 to 6:30 surrounding the bandstand on beautiful Volunteers Green. Come and meet your Local Growers and Buy Local.

Are you craving fresh local produce and meats? Eugenie Doyle from The Last Resort will bring asparagus, eggs, garlic, and "greens" such as chives. She will also have some jam and pickles and maybe spinach and rhubarb. Ted Sargeant from Still At It Farm will have lettuce, radishes, rhubarb, maple candy, quick bread and creamed honey. Bruce Hennessey and Beth Whiting from Maple Wind Farm will have frozen cuts of grass fed beef and lamb, as well as, organic pastured pork and eggs. They will have summer sausage while supplies last and there will sure to be hamburgers and sausages on the grill. Yum!

Has it been a while since you have had some fresh out-of-the-oven homemade bread, cookies or pie and graced your table with fresh cut flowers? Don't forget, Father's Day is right around the corner. This year the Market will have an even larger variety of fresh local produce, meats, prepared foods, flowers, plants, crafts and entertainment for the whole family. All products available at the Market are locally grown, baked or made.

The following special events are free of charge and are all supported by our local Farmers' Market vendors, businesses, families and agencies.

On June 8th - The opening day of the Richmond Farmers' Market will feature Ted Sargeant's Tractor Day. Hop aboard a kid-friendly vintage tractor. Ted will bring his collection of pedal and garden tractors. Thank you Ted! From 4:00 to 5:00 the talented Kelly King will return to the Market to paint faces. Get a new look with one of her whimsical, artistic creations. Also, tickets for the June 8th charity bingo at the Richmond Elementary School that evening will be on sale. Proceeds will benefit the Community Camp.

On June 15th - The Market will host Vermontica the calf and Dairy Day. Vermontica loves all the attention she will get. Stop by for some free milk and giveaways, thanks to the Department of Agriculture. Vermontica will share the stage from 3:00 to 4:00 with face painter Kelly King. Get a new look with one of her whimsical, artistic creations.

On June 22nd - Bill Myregaard and Joe Carlomagno, aka, Dark Star Duo will join us on stage from 4:30 to 5:30. Dark Star is a talented acoustic duo who play folk and Grateful Dead related songs. In addition they also play tunes from Lowell George, Kingfish, Bob Dylan, and Old And In The Way. You may hear songs such as; Cassidy, China Doll, Willin' and I Shall Be Released. Later on in the season you will again see Bill Myregaard, a member of the Willoughbys; a four piece band playing music from the American landscape. The Richmond Area Business Association is sponsoring this event. Thank you RABA!

On June 29th - The Richmond Farmers' Market will welcome back the ever-popular Rebecca Padula. She is a folk singer/songwriter, with a hint of jazz and will play on stage from 4:30 to 5:30. Her beautiful voice and harmonizing guitar will accompany her and wow the crowd. Attorney David Sunshine and Jon Fath, owner of Toscano Café Bistro are sponsoring this event. Thank you David and Jon!

For further information or questions about the Richmond Farmers' Market, contact Carol Mader at 434-5273 or

Also…………….. We need your help to spread the word about the following special event - "Donate Your "CROP" of Hair at the Richmond Farmers' Market to Benefit Cancer Victims and Research"

July 27th – On stage from 3:00 to 4:30 Denise Barnard and her team of talented hair designers from Bridge Street Hair, Inc. will sponsor a fundraiser for cancer victims and research. Starting at 3:00 they will be donating their time and expertise by giving free haircuts and a new look to those who are willing to donate their long hair (over 8 inches) to Locks of Love and Wigs for Kids. This hair will be used to create hairpieces and be given to those undergoing cancer treatment. If you know anyone willing to donate their long locks, please contact Denise Barnard at 434-2220 to register and schedule a style consultation. After the longer locks have been harvested, they will give free haircuts to the general public, with the cost of the cut and donations going to benefit cancer research.

On stage from 4:45 to 5:30, the HIMS will perform. The HIMS are a 'cutting edge' men's group from Huntington Community Church. The name HIMS was given to the group after first performing on Mother's Day many years ago and means Huntington's Incredible Men Singers. Let your hair down and enjoy the harmony.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Burlington Farmers' Market

Good Evening! I hope your day went well (and if you are in Vermont that you didn't get too wet in the thunderstorm!)

We finished unpacking the truck right before the storm came and were able to sit on the porch and watch the lightning. We were able to watch it right until the big monsoon-like droplets of rain began to blow us over and into the house.

Anyway, we are tired. Tired and happy actually. This was our second time at the Burlington Farmers' Market and it was a fantastic success! We had a lot of fun and talked to some great people and sold a lot of stuff.

If we spoke to you today, please let us know, getting feedback from people really helps us to stay motivated. Also, we would love to hear how people are cooking up their Master Sauce, Veggie Breakfast Patties and Veggie Crumble. Sharing food and stories is somewhat of a passion of ours. We will eventually be offering recipes here, our website ( - right now it is in need of some serious work) and at our market table. I will also post some great pictures from last week when we had a ton of helpers for our grand opening at the market. (Thanks everyone!)

I am too tired to write more right now, but once again, thanks to everyone who bought sampled or even smiled at us today. Eat well and eat together!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Stuffed Buns (Steamed or Baked)

This recipe is time consuming, but worth the effort (and a lot of fun if you want to impress your friends and you have some extra time on your hands.) In my opinion, making the time for something like this is generally a good idea. Put some good music on, gather in the kitchen with some friends, and have a good time - it's more rewarding than TV and cheaper than a movie. What could be better?

These buns can be steamed or baked. They're delicious either way, but the taste of each is quite different. This evening, I baked them because I thought they would go well with the soup Susan was making. The filling can be quite varied. The original recipe calls for spiced pork or sweet adzuki bean fillings. I have used cheese, mushrooms and broccoli, Veggie Crumble (of course), and black beans, garlic, onion and cilantro.

Make the filling:

As I mentioned before, this is where you can get creative. Here is what I have been doing recently:

1 12 oz. package Veggie Crumble

1can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 white onion, chopped small
2-4 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
2-10 cloves of garlic, minced (and about a thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped small, if you want)
1-3 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
1-6 tablespoons of FolkFoods Master Sauce (or a chili garlic hot sauce of your choice)
1-3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1-3 tablespoons of rice wine and rice vinegar

(The amounts are not precise - I base my measurements on what I have in the house, who will be eating with us, how lazy I am feeling, etc.)

Heat a wok, frying pan, pot, whatever and add about 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Add onion and stir until softened. Add the garlic and stir around till it is perfect. How do you know if it is perfect? Whenever you are tired of stirring that stuff around and the kitchen smells really nice, it is perfect. Add the Veggie Crumble and drained beans and stir to get them all mixed around with the garlic and onions. (You can mash the beans a little bit if you want, only if you want.)

Stir in all of the rest of the ingredients and turn up the heat a little. Stir in the liquids slowly until you get the consistency that you want. How do you know when it's at the correct consistency? Practice. Your filling is now complete.

Make the Sweet Bread Dough:

(This dough can really be used for a lot of different things; I once had leftovers and made onion bialys - they weren't totally authentic, but they were tasty!)
1 envelope active dry yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
1 c warm milk (can use soymilk)
1 egg
1/3 c veg oil
3 1/2 c flour + more for kneading

1. Put the yeast and 1 Tbsp sugar in a small bowl and add 1/4 cup warm milk. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir (it should foam and bubble). Stir in egg, oil and the rest of the milk.

2. Put the flour and the rest of sugar in a food processor. While processing, slowly pour milk mixture into the bowl in a steady stream until it forms a rough dough ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl (if its too wet, then add more flour, c'mon.) Remove to a lightly floured board.

3. Knead dough, dusting as needed, until smooth and elastic (roughly about 2 minutes). Put in a large oiled bowl and cover. Let it rise for an hour until doubled, punch it down. Put on floured surface. Rest for a minute, this is supposed to be fun, don't neglect your friends; give them something to do and to eat or drink.

4. Cut the dough in half. Roll each half into a 12" log and cut into 10 pieces. Press each piece down into approximately a 4" circle, with the outside thinner than the inside. Fill!

Filling the Buns:

Filling the buns is a fun activity to share with friends. For you email recipients, here is a short video about how to fill your buns. Or, just watch below:

After filling the buns, put them on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees (although I am basically making those times and that temperature up - I can't really remember the exact time and that sounds close enough. Take out the buns when they are nicely browned on top, that should work.) OR put them in a bamboo steaming tray over boiling water and steam for about 25 minutes.

They are really good! If I can remember, I will post a generic dipping sauce sometime in the future. (Or you can just dip the steamed buns in your friend's soup!)

Monday, May 14, 2007

R&D: Repetitive and Disasterous?

This is a FolkFoods business update.
It has a happy ending, so stick with me, ok?
(Because it certainly was difficult for us to get through to the silver lining.)

We went to the Venture Center a few weeks ago, excited and prepared to produce 80 pounds of Veggie Breakfast Patties. This was a major step for us, as we would now have "stock". [We would also know the size of the patties and could move forward with ordering the packaging, printing the labels and getting ready for market.] Now, I was a little anxious for this, as we were still not exactly sure about the process that we were going to use for our patties.

Let me back up a little and explain (which means, "Please allow me to divulge all sort of little details that only a few people would care about, but I feel compelled to share.") The original patty recipe called for shaping the batter/dough into a log, wrapping the log in parchment paper and aluminum foil, and then steaming for about 90 minutes. We want to sell the patties in the freezer section, so logs aren't good for freezing whole and we don't have a way to efficiently and consistently slice 80+ pounds of patty logs. So, we make them directly into patties. That works, right? Well, right, but not easily. Big question: how do we get them into consistent, professional looking patties on a mass produced (small batch) scale? And will doing that change the texture or integrity of the patty? After lots of questions and numerous batches of home cooked patties, we found a process that worked. New question: how to replicate the process in a mass produced way at the Venture Center?

We went to the Venture Center prepared to use a machine called the filler. Long story short, well, it didn't work and we got a VERY intricate, delicate machine VERY clogged up and messy. The batter/dough was too thick for the filler (it is generally used to fill jars of sauce and stuff.) Our second attempt was with a machine called the Pucker. (Yup, we made a lot of rhyming jokes.) Anyway, our dough/batter was too thin for the pucker, as you can see here:
(For those of you getting this in email, you can check it out here.)

So, the Pucker didn't work. I REALLY wanted that pucker to work. In theory, it was supposed to make perfect little pucks in perfect round little shapes, all ready for baking. The problem? The patty mixture was too thick for the Filler and too thin for the Pucker. Puck Me! Anyway, the only solution that came to mind was to either thin it down or thicken it up. Remember that I REALLY wanted to use the Pucker, right? So we decided to thicken it up. With what? Lots and lots of Vital Wheat Gluten. So, now we have 95 pounds of dough that is quickly becoming more and more dense as the wheat gluten does its stuff (it gets denser.) And guess what? It still didn't work in the Pucker! So it's getting late in the afternoon, tension is high and we come up with the final, genius idea of the day:
(Again, you email recipients, check these out here and here.)

We look pretty excited here, right? Those patties look great right? We returned the very next morning to bake those patties. (It took a long time to hand cut 625 patties!)

That's Shana and our dear friend Becky (remember Becky, we'll get back to her) right before they went on a LONG run (they are marathon training!) They put the 31 sheet pans into the ovens, quite excited to go on their run and return to fresh baked, perfectly cute, perfectly round FolkFoods Veggie Patties. I stayed at the center to clean up, and take care of some other stuff. Well, when the patties were done, Shana and Becky had still not returned. I took a little taste. Well, they didn't suck. But their consistency had completely changed! The taste was still good, but so not right. I was more than a little bummed. Two days and lots of ingredients, and we had 625 patties that we wouldn't sell. Andy, is this what you referred to when you said to make sure that we had done all of our R&D?

So I was devastated. Really. Then, I receive a call from Shana and Becky who are on their way back from their LONG run. They are excited to eat some patties, and I almost cry. Becky, a true Renaissance woman, goes directly into 'fix-it' mode. After a lot of brainstorming, she looks at us and says, "Is there any reason that the patties have to be Round?" No! Square patties make more sense from a production standpoint, there's no wasted space on the sheet pan, no worries about perfect little round patties, and hey, it's kind of unique, which sometimes sells. Brilliant!

I went home and we experimented, and tested and ate a lot of patties. And, to end this long story, we succeeded! Our patties are square. Last weekend when we went in for Veggie Crumble production (which was a complete success), we tested a batch of patties on a sheet pan in the convection oven. They were fantastic; the texture and taste were just right! Check it out (here):

So, that's the Patty story. Becky saves the day.

Soon I will post a picture of the coolest tool that we are going to use to cut the patties into perfectly uniform shapes! Anyway, after all of that R&D, we have an even better process and a better product. I just wish we had figured it out earlier in the process!

For those of you who have read this far, thanks! There will be a really good recipe coming up later in the week, and we have two weeks to get everything ready for our first Farmers' Market!

This Just In - Guest Author

My sister recently took some Veggie Crumble home for experimentation. She shared her success with us in the form of a recipe and pictures:

We are definitely meat eaters. My husband has to have protein - whatever kind it is. I happen to love everything that my brother cooks (with the exception of mistake soups - but thats for another day). So when he told us about the Veggie Crumble, we had to try it. To add into the mix, we keep a kosher house. Which, in a nutshell, means that we do not mix milk and meat. For example, a lasagna would be only cheese, no meat added. No Parmesan cheese on spaghetti and meatballs, no cheese on meat sandwiches, etc. So I was very excited to experiment with the Crumble. Not only was this the first time using the Veggie Crumble, but my first time making lasagna. Here's how it works:

Veggie Crumble Lasagna

Veggie Crumble
Olive Oil - I like Exra Virgin
Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese - 1 pack, I used part-skim
Ricotta Cheese - 1 container
Lasagna noodles - I used the no-boil ones, takes out 1 step
Fresh Basil (there is nothing better then fresh herbs)
Parmesan cheese

How to:

1. Chop up onion. In a pot, sauté with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. You add the salt here to release the juices from the onion - you want liquid for the crumble. Once the onions are translucent, add the crumble. I used cups. Next time I would use 2 or 3 cups, depending on how 'meaty' you like it. (remember, husband - meat eater). You can add about a teaspoon of water here, just to make some more liquid and hydrate the crumble. Once the crumble is fully mixed in with the onions, add tomato sauce, about 2 jars.

2. Build Lasagna. Don't worry here, you can't mess it up. I thought I could - but you can't! Start with a layer of the sauce. Then add the noodles. Then add the ricotta, then the mozzarella. If you love basil, you can put some full leaves in here. Then sauce, then noodle and repeat again. When you get to the top, cover with sauce and tons of mozzarella cheese. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese - extra yummy. Then you can call it '3 Cheese Crumble Lasagna'. Make sure it has enough sauce, I ran out of sauce, added a little water to the lasagna tray and pushed it down.

3. Bake in oven at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour. Don't be too caught up with numbers, measurements or times, just enjoy - It's delicious!!!

Serve with a great salad, yummy crusty bread and some good wine.

**Note from Jason: my parents, my brother-in-law, and my sister's in-laws all loved this lasagna. I am secretly hoping that my sister froze a piece for me (or at the very least will cook it the next time that she comes to visit.) More guest authors and recipes are coming along as well!

**Also, as soon as I get a chance, there are a lot of updates about the business - we've got some cool videos and stuff...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Quick Request

Hey everyone!
Here is a quick and easy way to get involved with FolkFoods. We are planning on giving out a BUNCH of recipes at the Farmers' Markets.
(UPDATE: We are going to be selling at the Burlington and Richmond Farmers' Markets - but more on that in the next post, too busy tonight.)
And this is where you come in: We'd like your recipes! Any of your favorite recipes using ground meat.

These can be simple, like a quick and easy meat sauce or intricate and complex, like, well, something intricately complex. I don't know. If it incorporates ground meat, send it it. We will see how well it works using our Veggie Crumble and if we like it, then it goes onto an index card or into the cookpamphlet. And... There will be some sort of prize if we choose your recipes. I don't know what kind of prize yet, because I don't know what kind of results I am going to get from this post. But it will certainly be worth the time it takes to type a recipe!

Oh yeah, and do it soon, Farmers' Markets start in a couple of weeks!
You can post recipes as a comment or email us at:

Crumbles for dinner:

And Crumbles for breakfast:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Moving Right Along

OK, so this is a blog about our company, FolkFoods. And the company is really about people and community and good food and all of the benefits of bringing these things together. Most of our recent posts have been about food and gatherings and such, but what about the business??

Starting a business is time consuming. It is stressful and resource consuming. It is also a lot of fun. I think it's cool that we have to make decisions about what size packaging to use or how much Veggie Crumble we think should be in each package, "to feed a family of four." More and more, it is requiring that Shana and I work together to guess at the best answer to those questions. Thankfully, we are getting a lot of help and support from Brian at the Vermont Food Venture Center. That guy knows a lot about the food business!

Last week, we officially went into production! We now have samples of all three products! (And most importantly, we know that the large scale version of our recipes work) Our products: Veggie Crumble, Veggie Breakfast Patties, and MasterSauce (A Spicy Cooking Sauce and Condiment). More on these as time goes by, but I can tell you that they are excellent, versatile, healthy, and really good. (Approved by our meat-eating and veggie friends alike.)

Some of you know how fond I am of the household immersion hand blender (I use it often, sometimes for Kefir Smoothies!). Well in the picture above, I got to use the mother of all immersion blenders! So freakin' cool! Shana, well, she got to play with A LOT of garlic!

There on the left, that's Brian, our food expert! He's showing us how to use and calibrate a filler (that's a simple name for a very complicated machine). Yes, you may have guessed it, that big conical stainless steel thing-ama-jig is now holding many, many pounds of FolkFoods MasterSauce. On your right, you will find both Shana and I hot-packing the MasterSauce into jars. We made 12 cases! Product? We got Product!

Well, that's about it for now. But, first, here's a little look into the beginning process of FolkFoods MasterSauce:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Country Folk, City Folk

Asher, Tamara and Eran!
Welcome to Vermont!
My sister, her husband and their 3 month old son (Tamara, Eran and Asher) have come to visit! They drove up from New York City on Friday and we've been talking late into the night and eating ever since! (And of course spending a lot of time cuddling and cooing over Asher!)

It has been really fun sharing my Vermont family with my New York family. On Saturday night most of us got together for a pizza fest and baby-filled evening of conversation and laughter. It was Awesome. I learned something, however. I have no idea how to cook for a specific number of people. We had 8 adults and we made enough food for at least 12 (which isn't an altogether bad thing, I now have 2 whole frozen pizzas ready for the next time!)

Tamara and Eran tried some FolkFoods products for the first time as well. I used some of our Veggie Crumble on the pizza, and it was a big hit! To be honest, it is a big thing to me that both Tamara and Eran were such fans; they are veggie friendly, but are certainly bonified meat eaters. They raved about the crumble. So much so, in fact, that we decided to experiment and try to replicate one of Eran's mother's recipes, which is a sort of Turkish, middle-eastern spiced ground meat baked roll-up. On Sunday night we made two of these roll-ups (recipe to follow in the next short post) and did a side-by-side comparison of the crumble version and the ground beef version. We fed 8 adults and all of them loved the Crumble version (3 even claimed that it was better than the ground meat!) I am becoming more and more confident in our FolkFoods products and our vision. After the weekend that we've just had, I am so excited to share recipes, community, experience and practical strategies with people!
Oh, and before I finish this post, I have a new endorsement that I would like to share with you:

Stay tuned for:
- More from our Urban Family! (Perhaps a guest blogger?)
- More Recipes
- Major Business Updates
- Making and Using Stock (Have you been saving your scraps?)
- Reading Suggestions!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Small Steps to a Food Revolution

Hey there! Remember this picture from awhile back?
I had asked people to give a guess as to what it was and its importance.
Well, guesses were abundant. The two main guesses were compost or soup stock.
In some ways, both answers were correct.
Its importance, however, was never mentioned.
It is quite important. Read on, please.

Making stock is a small revolutionary act. Raise your hand proudly if it is something that is already a part of your kitchen process! I am sometimes amazed at the lack of people who do not make stock. It is easy, time-efficient, crazy frugal, healthy, and adds such a depth to all of the rest of one's cooking! But why revolutionary, you may be asking??

Increasingly, prepared and pre-packaged foods are being used by families and individuals who cannot or will not take the time to cook meals from whole foods. This is not a judgment, it is an unfortunate (in my opinion) result of the culture in which we live. Preparing meals with and for one's family is placed on the back-burner. Other activities have replaced the centrality of the dinner table, the hearth, and the kitchen in general. I feel that this is an unfortunate turn of events for a number of reasons that I won't go into right now (this would become way too long of a post!)

I feel that I must mention one Consequence of the decreasing amount of traditional home cooking. The distance that is being created between people and the food they eat is growing exponentially! I just read a great quote from the book, Coming Home To Eat, by Gary Paul Nabhan, that said something like, "Most people today who eat poultry, beef or pork have never actually met a chicken, cow or pig"! (The book is absolutely fantastic, more on that in a later post, I actually want to quote about 2/3 of the introduction!!) Increasingly, individuals and families have no idea at all about where food comes from, how it gets to their table, and with what processes it has gone through to be presented as beautifully as it needs to be in the supermarket. Meat does NOT come beautifully packaged on Styrofoam trays! Fish fillets do NOT simply separate from their bodies, ready for poaching! (I know, I just gutted two fresh tilapia this evening, what an ordeal!) Vegetables, do NOT grow without blemishes, irregularities, dirt and decay! I think that the further that we move from our food source the less connected that we become with one another and our communities. There are people who kill, clean, butcher, fillet, and care for meat and fish. There are people who spend hours of time caring, growing, and harvesting vegetables. (I hope to highlight some of the local individuals who do these things. They are real and they work HARD!)

Anyway, this has gone way off topic from stock and compost!

And I am tired. So I have a request to make. Bear with me. Read over this rant and see what it may bring to mind for you. Post a comment about it. Maybe you'll help me to organize my thoughts around this topic and write more coherently in the future! But also, from now until next week sometime, I ask one thing. Every time that you do cook something, be it vegetable or animal, save the scraps (separate bags for vegetable and animal, please) If you are cutting up an onion or some garlic, the ends and the skins can go into a bag. If you are peeling some vegetable, those peels can go right into the bag. If you have some chicken, fish or steak the bones can go into a bag. Keep the bags in the freezer in between cooking times. You can put fresh scraps right into the bag with frozen ones. Try it, please. For one week. Maybe two. I will get back to stock and its revolutionary power. I will suggest some cool ideas for using stock.It will be worth it, I promise. (As a notes though, you might want to keep broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and other cabbages in a separate bag altogether. I'll tell you about that in 1-2 weeks.)

Thanks for the indulgence. It has been a long week.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


This whole blog thing is pretty nifty.
And I started thinking about them when I first subscribed to my friend Lee's blog.
At first, she was my friend Matt's girlfriend. Since then, though, she's become my friend and Matt's fiance (as well as my blogspiration - I just made that up. Yeah, it's dumb, I know)
Matt, by the way is nicknamed Beef, although I like to call him Tofu. Just thought that you'd want to know.
As of yet, I know of no nicknames for Lee. I am going to start working on that right now.

So, Lee has this engaging and entertaining blog that I've been reading for awhile now. She is a great writer, and takes some fun pictures as well. Her blog is, well, a little slice of her life. It is a really cool way to keep up with what's going on within the worldofLee. WorldLee. Nice. Anyway, you should all go and check out her blog! She turned me on to, which is the site that allows some of you to get this through email. It also has lots of great statistics about who has checked out your site. If everyone goes to her blog from the link below, and then browses around some of her posts, then Lee will think that I am about as cool as I think she is. (By the way the link below is a blog entry about FolkFoods!

Okay, I have heard a lot about Lee and Beef (Leef?) and their cooking adventures. There is some mention of them in her blog. So I have another idea for an interactive moment. (By the way, I will be following up about the picture that I mentioned awhile ago, it was a vegetable stock.) Anyway, the interactivity:

** What is the meal/food that you most enjoy cooking and serving to other people?

So here is how this works. If you have a blog (LEE, JENN, SUSAN, JOHN, soon to be ANDY and TAMARA) then post that on your blog as an entry. (Challenge-by-Choice, of course) Include whatever you want and be as extensive as you'd like, include the recipe if you want, or not. Others without blogs, feel free to join in and add to this entry as a comment. I hope to link all of these ideas to the blog and perhaps we can get a nice good list of recipes, food stories, comfort food, whatever to share! (See, Lee really is a blogspiration - err...that really is a dumb word.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

FolkFoods Business Update

Here's a really quick update on the FolkFoods business. What you see above is Shana and I holding our recently acquired LLC certificate. That's right folks! We are officially the owners of a limited liability corporation. FolkFoods, LLC.

(We have no stock yet. We do have three products that we are going to be producing and a site where we are going to produce them. We are still working on the label. We are a bit closer to getting accepted to farmer's markets this summer. We have an accountant. We have a lot of excitement. We have 32 subscribers to this blog! We want more. We still have nothing up on our website. We don't have our booth ready for the farmer's markets. We have some great ideas for prepared sandwiches that we will serve at the farmer's markets in addition to our products. We have no idea what we are going to charge for all of this stuff. We have applied for a million dollar liability insurance policy. We are working on getting a health department certificate to sell prepared food at the markets. We don't have the perfect packaging yet. We are filled with excitement.)

Wow. Well, there is a lot to come!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Old Man Stout Cake. Really.

look at this cake! just look at it! well, don't just look at it. look at it, please, while imagining that i have incredible amazing fantabulous genius mad photography skills. because this is really one of the yummiest, most unique, and phenomenally wonderful pieces of cake that has ever existed. i am serious. i am so serious that i posted two pictures. i ate two pieces as well! (well not really, but my piece was pretty big.)

and there's an interesting (subjective) story to the cake. i came home after a particularly long and emotionally trying day at work, excited to go and meet with these wonderful women about the art for our logo/label (a magical encounter, indeed! - more on that next week) and while i am sitting down, having a moment, shana walks in carrying a container with, you guessed it, cake! "save it for later, after we get back, to celebrate," she says. so we go, meet and talk and dream and visualize verbalizations and eat thin mints. ideas get shared and we love them all. shana and i come home excited, renewed, and joyously tired. we sit down to cake. john made this cake. synchronicitously, we looked up and it was midnight. my birth-day and we are eating cake! pretty random, but not really. jenn and john gave shana the cake, and now it has become a birth-day cake. celebrate good times, come on! really. {shana wanted me to take this out. i refused.}

and the back story (there's always a back story). a main ingredient of this cake is Old Man Stout, a home brewed partial mash oatmeal stout brewed by john and i for his birth-day. we initiated him into the sacred rites of fermentation and introduced him to my personal fermentation god, affectionately called, 'The Yeastie Beastie'. john took to brewing quite well. he also took my keg and CO2 tank to his house; leaving me with a keg and no pressure. oh well. he did make cake! Here is the Old Man himself:

Here is the recipe:

Gingerbread layer cake with candied pistachios (from The Bon Appetit Cookbook)

For the cake:
1 cup dark beer 1 cup molasses (I used the darkest I had)
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda 2 cups all porpoise flour
2 Tbsp ground ginger (yes, 2 tablespoons!) 1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
3 large eggs ½ cup white sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar 1 Tbsp minced ginger
¾ cup vegetable oil (you MUST use this much to make the cake as moist as possible!)

For the cream cheese frosting:
1 8-ounce pack of cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
¾ Tbsp finely grated orange peel, but I think you could use more
2 cups powdered sugar

For the Candied Pistachios:

(I didn’t make this, but it is in the recipe)
1 cup finely chopped pistachios
1 Tbsp light corn syrup 2 Tbsp sugar

For cake
: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 8-inch diameter cake pans. Bring stout and molasses to boil in heavy saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Let stand 1 hour to cool completely.

Whisk flour and next 6 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Whisk eggs and both sugars in bowl to blend. Whisk in oil, then stout mixture. Gradually whisk stout-egg mixture into flour mixture. Stir in fresh ginger.

Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks and cool completely.

For candied pistachios: Preheat oven to 325. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Mix pistachios and corn syrup in medium bowl. Add sugar and toss to coat. Working quickly so sugar doesn’t melt, spread pistachios on prepared baking sheet. Bake until pistachios are pale golden, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.

For cream cheese frosting: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and orange peel in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. (Lee, your post is coming.This is a subliminal message.)Chill frosting 30 minutes.Place 1 cake layer, rounded side up, on platter. Spread frosting over top of cake. Top with second cake layer, rounded side up, and spread frosting. Top with third cake layer, flat side up. Spread sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. Sprinkle top with candied pistachios.

A Fermentation Prayer:
!Hear us, Yeastie Beastie, oh, mystical yet understandable, rotter of creation, breather of the bubbling fire liquids, and bring us to boil. Infect our controlled rots with pleasant and ever so sensual, mundanely furious and particularly astute spirits. Cake from home brew. thanks ever so much!

A Marathon Breakfast, Part II

Previously, on a very special, "A Marathon Breakfast, Part I":
Andy and I were cooking. Lots of people were running. They were going to be very hungry. Andy and I were very tired, but getting effectively and efficiently caffeinated.
The menu was awesome.

I made a French Toast Bread Pudding, which I've made before. It is really easy, and amazingly good. Try it! After the picture, I copied down the recipe that Christine Lavin personally handed to me during one of her concerts. (She handed copies to everyone in the audience; I'm not that special. Actually, though, I did get to go up on stage and sing a song with her...) If you don't know Christine Lavin, certainly go and check her out here! My comments are in green.

"This recipe came from a lovely woman in the audience at my concert in Dallas, Texas. I never got her name -- but thank you, whoever you are!
Takes only 15 minutes to prepare the night before (I do it that morning about 1 hour before)
  • Challah (or brioche or french bread or regular white) (No!No!NO! I say that it must be challah.)
  • 7 Eggs (or 8 -- you just can't mess up this recipe!)
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% milk (or regular milk if you are skinny) (Or real raw milk, if you are smart!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (No...that just isn't right. Use Maple Syrup! between 1/4 and 1/2 cup, depending on how gluttonous you are feeling!)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (the good stuff from Madagascar) (or the cheap stuff if you are cheap. I use a lot of it, up to 2 tablespoons, it is really good, but Rebecca doesn't like it. I also think that you could use 2 teaspoons of dark rum and it would be frickin' excellent!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon or so of fresh ground nutmeg (don't use the powdered stuff). you can add raisins, too! and orange zest! (Yay on the zest, Nay on the raisins; I add cinnamon and sometimes home made dried apples minced small!)
I make this in two aluminum loaf pans (the disposable kind) (I don't. Don't like aluminum very much, i use a glass casserole dish or bread pan - it don't really matter!) Butter them well. If you want to make it extra special, lightly dust the bottom and sides of the pans with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon (in proportion of 4:1 sugar to cinnamon). Tear up the challah into small pieces and fill the loaf pan about halfway to 2/3 with the torn bread.

Mix together the next 4 ingredients (eggs, milk, sugar (Maple Syrup!) and vanilla) with a wire whisk or hand mixer on low and pour over the ripped up bread. Sprinkle fresh ground nutmeg on the tops of both pans (I just mix it into the egg mixture - one less step and gets nutmeg taste into the whole darn thing!) Take a spatula and smush the bread down in the egg mixture so it gets good and soaked. Then wrap both pans in aluminum foil and put it in the fridge. Go to bed (or in my case, frantically get the rest of the breakfast together before the runners hit their halfway mark!) Sweet Dreams! (or funky mornings!)

The next day (or about an hour later), put the pans in a COLD oven (kids can help do this since the oven isn't hot yet.) (Andy can too.) Turn it on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for 30 minutes. Take the foil OFF and continue baking for 35 minutes more (or until the runners can't wait anymore, whichever comes first). It will puff up and be 'set'. If it's wiggly it needs a little more time. The puffing up is the key. Last night I made 4 pans and had to do it an extra 15 minutes, so it depends on your oven.

Serve with maple syrup (of course). It's delicious, and so easy since you can do it the night before. Serve hot, warm or cold.

Bon apetit!
Christine Lavin (and FolkFoods!)

And the festive meal...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Marathon Breakfast, Part I

These days, Shana is training for her second marathon .
As is Becky.
Oh yeah, John, Jorg, Susan and Jenn are also all training.
Chapin and I, well, not so much.
I do make breakfast for all of the runners.
That should count.

This weekend was a special one. Andy was visiting from NYC (where he will soon start the mother blog of all blogs). He came in and we spent much of the evening, into early morning, talking in an igloo, sipping Oban, chewing Shana's Granola and listening to music. Only a few hours later (really) we got up to make breakfast for the runners as they left for their 12 mile run.

The menu:
  • FolkFoods Veggie Patty (coming soon to a farmer's market near you)
  • Andy's 'Chunks o' Veggie and lots of Cheese' Scrambled Eggs
  • Singin' Hinnies (recipe below)
  • Becky's Biscuits (I'll have to ask for the recipe - they are awesome!)
  • French Toast Bread Pudding (Recipe in the next post)
  • Home Made Real Raw Milk Butter
  • Vermont Maple Syrup (of course)
  • Lots of coffee and tea!
The FolkFoods Veggie Patty (enjoyed by carnivores, omnivores and all varieties of herbivores):
(we will send you some Lee - we know you like patties!)

And now the Singin' Hinnies! I got this recipe from some cookbook years ago and have altered it so much that they really aren't even close to the original. I'll try to find that cookbook at some point, but here is what they look like and my recipe:

Sift together into a bowl:

1 1/4 cup unbleached flour (part whole wheat, white, soy, or oat. experiment, people. it'll be ok.)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
cut in coarsely:
2 tablespoons good real butter (no margarine crap in this fine breakfast tidbit!)
stir in:
1/3 cup currants (I like to soak them in warm rum for awhile first!)
about 1 cup of fresh real raw milk Kefir, home made yogurt, buttermilk or just milk
(add the dairy in slowly mixing until the batter is a consistency of a pie crust)

roll out until it is about 1/8" thick (i am guessing here. again, it'll be ok.) cut out the dough into circles, a nice scotch tumbler works well. or i guess you can use anything round. i guess.

heat a heavy bottomed skillet (i will declare the virtues of cast iron in another post, just you wait...) and add some oil. i've experimented with varied amounts of oil. you should too. so i won't tell you exactly how much. it'll be okay, remember. when the skillet is hot, put the cut hinnies onto the skillet and listen to them sing! fry until slightly browned on each side and eat immediately. or eat them later. or eat them in the middle of the night when you come downstairs to go to the bathroom. (just don't come upstairs chewing, you'll get busted.)

anyway, they are great plain. they are great slothered in maple syrup. (decide what slothered means to you and do it. it'll be ok.) they are great used like mini-biscuitish things for holding eggs. they are also great with a schmear of peanut butter as you run out of the house late for work on monday. enjoy them. that is all. really.

Christine Lavin's French Toast Bread Pudding!