Summer Fun in the Kitchen!
So much going on, where to begin? Maybe with the few spots left in next week’s Baking Fundamentals camp? This camp offers a complete grounding in baking principles, but what the kids make from their new knowledge is far from elementary. Last week in Kitchen Fundamentals, the group baked gorgeous fruit tarts, quiches, and more (see the recipe of the month for a great example). There are also some spots left in the Intermediate Baking camp the following week. If your kids are kicking around the house bored, they might just love to join in. I know the groups so far, have been thrilled — one of them so much so, that they want to continue on for an extra week (we’re trying to accommodate them).
Wow! — a lot of our camp teachers have put together great offerings. Charlie Vollmar has The Summer Flavors of Provence right around the corner, on the evening of the 17th. Cheryl Beere is offering an International Vegetarian class on August 2nd. Shy Leong has added Cuisines of Malaysia on August 15th, and Savoring the Fresh Catch on the Sraits of Malacca the 22nd. Amie Bailey offers Happy Birthday to YOU the 19th of August, and skipping to September, a Savory Baking class on the 9th to take advantage of harvest goodies at the farmer’s markets.
Besides these teacher, Rosetta Costantino is back soon from Italy, and offering a variety of great classes in July and August, so check our Calendar. We’ve also added a Class Listing page to the website, for your convenience.
A Very Special Dinner Event
Cheryl Beere, back here for only a few weeks from her home in New Zealand, will be hosting a fantastic Local Supper Club Subscription Dinner at the kitchen on August 11th. This will include a brief amuse-bouche demo class at the start of the meal. Cheryl has crafted an exquisite multi-course menu, and we’re also offering beer and wine pairing options. Our friends at Linden St. Brewery will be bicycling over the beer selections, and old and dear friend Brendan Eliason, owner of Periscope Cellars, our erstwhile neighbor, and former Wine Program Director for Va da Vi, will be pairing wines for us. Special note: Share this event with your friends! Buy a table for eight and get a 10% discount.
Paulding & Company Featured on American Express Website!
Open Forum has published a story on Mother-Daughter Companies, featuring us! We are excited and honored to be included in this great online publication.
In the Market
Where do I begin? It’s all there, really. The first of my favorite Dry Farmed Early Girl tomatoes have even come in, along with a variety of heirlooms. I just read a NY Times article that says tomato breeders, trying to insure a uniform ripe red color, bred a gene OUT of tomatoes for commercial production — the gene, it turns out, that gives them their flavor. No wonder those bought at the farmer’s market are so much better! If you didn’t already know that you can now search our recipe database, try typing in “tomato” and you’ll get a number of great ideas. The markets are bursting with great fruits and vegetables now, from the last of the local cherries (but of course, the ones from Washington will continue through July at the stores) to the perfect but short-seasoned Blenheim apricots, the variety with the best flavor, to nectarines, peaches, pluots, and plums. All manner of berries are in season, of course the strawberries, but also blackberries, ollalieberries, blueberries, raspberries, golden, red and black, and more. I’ve seen blackberries the size of my thumb, for instance. Melons have also arrived, and if you’ve not tried the heady sweetness of a Galia, it’s my favorite for sweetness and flavor. Watermelons are starting, too. And finally, avocados (they grow on trees so in my mind they are fruits!) are also plentiful and great now.
On the vegetable front, little Padron peppers have arrived along with their Japanese cousins the Shishito. Simply saute in a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and nibble. I’ve had them with some Manchego cheese shaved over the top, and finished with some smoked salt —pure pleasure. They’re mostly mild, with an occasional zinger here and there for contrast. Green beans are stellar right now, so good that you realize what you were missing, eating the winter ones shipped from Mexico. Soon the Romanos will arrive too, my very favorites. Broad and flat, buy them young and cook like you would any other bean. But make sure they are fresh, because once they sit around a store for a while, they get starchy and disappointing. Corn, too, is arrived. I wish more farmers planted yellow and bicolor, which I’ve not yet seen at the famer’s markets this year. I think they have much more flavor. White corn is just sweet, and not as “corny” to me.
When it comes to cucumbers, there are a lot of varieties to try. I like the green-striped ones, sometime several feet long and curved. They almost taste a bit nutty. The pale green, almost-white Armenians are good too. I’ve seen pickling cukes, if you are a pickler. Other vegetables are wonderful too, from beets to fennel to all the varieties of greens. Some of the winter kales are less plentiful, but I’ve found them when I wanted. Lettuces have gone from delicate spring to full summer, sturdier varieties, that can take a bit more heat. Still great, especially the Little Gems and some of the deeply colored varieties.
I could go on and on about fruits and vegetables right now, there are so many in the market — but maybe a visit this weekend to one of our many markets would be more fun! Each one has a personality, and it’s worth a trip to discover which you are most simpatico with. While you’re there, splurge on some pastured eggs and discover the difference. You can also pick up some cheese, as more and more great cheesemakers are bringing their wares, and some pastured meats, as well.
Recipe of the Month
Summer camp has brought together fantastic teachers and eager kids, who’ve learned to make spectacularly delicious food. Chef Charlie Vollmar, who also teaches many adult classes at the kitchen, explored savories, sauces and sweets with his Fundamentals group. A universal favorite was his mango-blackberry upside-down cake, which was as delicious as it’s beauty suggests. My only suggestion is trying Kent mangoes rather than Hayden, since their flavor profile is similar but they are less fibrous. I will post Charlie’s original recipe intact, however!