PawPaws, Tomatoes and the KSO

First off, we have quite a few tomatoes, so your BLT fix awaits! When a BLT is just right, juice will run down your hand on to the plate (and maybe on to your shirt), the bacon will shatter salt-sweet, and the tomato will bloom inside your mouth. Pat Smith of Kirklin Farms is, at this time, able to pick enough to take care of us. How long they last depends on the weather.

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Sam DeLoof
Summer is Ending and the Last Pop-Up Supper

And it is ending on a sad note. As of now, there aren’t any truly fabulous tomatoes. There are some pretty good ones, but the weather has taken its toll. Let’s hope that this is not the new normal.  Recapping Pat Smith’s (of Kirklin Farms) experience, the spring was so wet she couldn’t get into the field to transplant the tomatoes she had started and they stayed in the greenhouse and became pot bound and leggy. 

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Sam DeLoof
More Summer Goodness

It's here, all the great food of summer. I have heard reports of really good corn this year so get cracking! Get out there and get some either directly from a farm or farmers market. Forget about grocery store corn (unless that's the only choice in which case it is better than none) Of course the Kalamazoo Farmers Market has a great selection of corn and all the other myriad of fruits and vegetables of this time of year. Eat it or cook it the day you buy it, when it is creamy and tender.

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Sam DeLoof
Good Summer Food on the Way

Guess what? I saw my first two Heritage tomatoes from Kirkland Farms last Saturday. So we know that very soon we will be serving BLTs. We only serve BLTs when we have beautiful, fabulous, tasty tomatoes. So from sometime next week until shortly after the first frost you will be able to get the magic combination of Sarkozy Oatmeal Bread, Pat Smith Heritage Tomatoes, and Carlson Farms Bacon.

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Sam DeLoof
Gazpacho and Our First Pop-Up Supper

This heat is going to stay for a while so we are serving cold soups at lunch time starting with everyone’s old standby, Gaspacho. My theory is that when the tomato arrived in Andalusia, it was added to their traditional bread soup consisting of bread, olive oil, garlic and water. Everyone who tasted it said “We’ve been waiting hundreds of years for this!” and it became an instant hit. Anything that good, spread quickly around the world or at least to Michigan.

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Sam DeLoof
Lion's Mane and Farmers Market

Look what I found at the Farmers Market! It is a Lion’s Mane mushroom grown by Dan Owens of Bankson Lake Farm. While Dan has a farm in Lawton, these were grown in the basement of his home on Oakland Drive. The large one is a two pound beauty!

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Sam DeLoof
Michigan Strawberries (and Whipped Cream)

Now that strawberries are coming in, that makes it Biscuit Season! If you bought an already baked biscuit from us (which we wouldn’t let you do), by the time you carried them home, they would be STALE. Perfect biscuits need to be eaten as soon after they come out of the oven as you can get them on your fork!

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Sam DeLoof
Art Hop, Toast and Jams and Ciabatta

Here’s something new  -  and sort of old   -  and new. We are making ciabatta again! We stopped making it quite a while ago because when we moved to the new store, we just couldn’t it right. It would have huge holes in the center.  We still get some of that, but we think we have solved that problem ……….. most of the time.  Ciabatta is a new bread incarnation, created by an Italian Baker, Arnando Cavallari, in 1962. Introduced to the United States in 1987, it has quickly spread around the world. Cavallari developed it to have a bread for sandwiches to replace imported French baguettes. Being such a recent development, look for lots of variations as bakers around the world adapt it to their cuisines.

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Judy Sarkozy
New Crop Hazelnuts

Just as the glorious end of the late summer produce fades, a new treat comes on the scene. New crop hazelnuts. Our hazelnuts are always really good because of the way our supplier handles them. They come from Freddy Guys Hazelnuts in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. This orchard is owned by Barb and Fritz Foulke and they store the nuts in the shell. They shell and roast them twice a week.

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Circa Design
Tomato Custard and Fall

Fall gets me crazy. So much to taste, so much to process, and so much beauty lost between our fingers as we try to save the bounty. We can't save much of it no matter how frantically we try, but surely it will come again. Oh if only we could feel confident that it would. In the mean time, it makes us feel so right with the world to put food up, even if it is only one batch of freezer jam.

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Circa Design
The Embarrassment of Riches

It is the amazing abundance time of year. When the last of the Summer Sunshine spills onto your kitchen counter as ripening tomatoes, the last of the summer squash, the first of the winter squash, and corn demanding to be eaten now, the egg plant and peppers competing in their astonishing beauty contest. Watermelon intrudes with it’s sweet remembrance of hot, unbearable days. All of them demanding your attention. Too much of everything, you freeze instead of can, you can only eat peaches outside or over the kitchen sink because their juice runs down your arms as you suck their wonderfulness out of the skin. The bounty retains it’s magic leaving the stain of tomato seeds on the front of all of your shirts.

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Circa Design