Showing posts with label farm markets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label farm markets. Show all posts

30 October 2016

Reformation Rolls, Not Unlike Hot-Cross Buns


One of the things I love about community markets, no matter the location, is that they always yield a few surprises.

I've gone shopping for asparagus and ended up with whisk brooms. I've searched for zucchini and discovered far-more-exotic red celery and striped stuffing tomatoes.

Discovering new things is part of the lure for me. It's why I shop at farm markets, from Wisconsin to Paris.

This week's surprise was Reformation Rolls.

Growing up in a Catholic household I'm familiar with Hot Cross Buns, a tasty Lenten staple. On my third trip to France, I became enamored with Jesuits.

I'd never heard of Reformation Rolls, though. Apparently, they are a German All Souls' Day custom. Halloween, it seems, was not traditionally celebrated in Germany, at least not until recently. (It's hot stuff in France, although I've never been there on Oct. 31.)

You can read more and find a recipe here.

I'm a bit surprised, growing up in heavily German-Lutheran Wisconsin, that I'd never heard of this sweet treat.

I'm looking forward to dunking them into my coffee tomorrow morning.

04 August 2012

Introducing...Frugal French Fridays and BlogHer 2013

Blogging about food from my little corner of Wisconsin-almost-Michigan is a continual challenge. For one thing, our growing season is short and fresh, locally-grown produce is generally only available five months a year.

Since becoming a blogger and spending more time in France, I've come to appreciate the importance of fresh ingredients, something my chef father and my grandmother understood but somehow failed to thoroughly impart to me, perhaps because my mother, who brags about not caring about food, likes to open cans for supper. She was the spoiler.

Then I left Madison and the proximity of the legendary Dane County Farm Market. What culinary culture shock! When we moved back to our hometown in the mid-90s, there was not one restaurant that emphasized fresh and healthy. We'd plan an evening out, and drive around looking for a place that wasn't all steaks and burgers and fried stuff. And then go home and make popcorn.

Finally a restaurant specializing in fresh, from-scratch food opened in an old house near the harbor in the late 1990s: Apricot-chicken salad in pita pockets! Portabella mushroom sandwiches! Vegetable stir fries! Soon others began to add locally grown, fresh produce to their menus. Then came a French restaurant and bakery, and the chefs routinely visited local markets and farm stands. That was the Big Turning Point.

Within a year or two several young chefs trained at culinary institutes in larger cities came along and bingo! We were off. Now our community even has a winery.

At the same time, Farmer Lucy took a town with no farm market and through hard work and year-round determination, created an outdoor market from nothing. There was a tough year or two when the city kicked the farmers out of the park by charging them a weekly fee. Fortunately, a sympathetic local merchant loaned the growers his parking lot and the interior of his antiques mall in winter, and bingo again! We were cooking with locally=grown and raised food.

Now we're working to revive the other farm market in our community, which has its own challenges.

But our community is not based on food, so there are few local food makers to purchase additional items from. So I try to eat regionally.

Then there is my own blogger voice. It probably has limited appeal. I'm not a twenty- or even thirty-something blogger. I don't get fashionably snarky and I don't generally use the word "meh" to describe my lack of enthusiasm for something. I like to talk about my grandmother instead. Age has mellowed my sarcasm. I might not be that fun to read. (I do, I am proud to say, have some wonderful blogger friends who have been with me for six years now.)

Now that "rewirement" is so close I can touch it, it's time to take this whole blogging thing seriously. So I've been thinking a lot. And I'm ready to reveal one new change to French Kitchen in America.

Beginning September 1, my Friday post will focus on Frugal French. It might be a low-cost version of a French favorite. It might be a French provincial dish that doesn't cost much to prepare. It might be a dish I conjure up with seasonal ingredients. At any rate, it will be fun, and I invite you to join me for Friday Frugal French Fridays.

Meanwhile, because I want to win a pass to next year's BogHer conference, I'm telling you about this competition. For doing so, my name goes in the hat. Yours can, too.





01 August 2012

At the Market: Produce, Artfully Displayed



The  market in old Cahors is truly a community event where news, gossip and political opinions are exchanged. It's held in the cathedral square but spills over into side streets. Here the streets are narrow and meandering. The market teems with life.

Our own market is not that busy yet, and in its 6th year, not so well established. But the produce is also artfully displayed:

Fresh Onions
Red and Purple Potatoes, with Tomatoes
Peppers, Beets, Onions and Cabbage


12 March 2012

Weighing In, Paring Down

The kerfuffle over the Grand Forks, N.D., reporter who reviewed Olive Garden and then went viral got me thinking that it's been a while since I posted something here.

It reminded me of the time I held Biscuit Mix Baking Day after a snarky locovore made a snide comment about Rachael Ray using Bisquick. A whole lot of bloggers jumped on the bandwagon and we had a lot of fun with it. The recipes they contributed were great. I should point out that this experiment is marking an anniversary of sorts: It was five years ago this week.

Since that time, I have only used Bisquick or its clones once or twice, not because I've suddenly become a food snob, but because a whole lot of carbs have a way of wreaking havoc with my stomach (same with no-carb diets - obviously my digestive system likes balance as much as I do). I look and feel better when I limit carbs.

But I won't hesitate to use it if a recipe I want to try calls for it. Tonight, assembling some book bags to give to the Newspaper in Education book sale here, I (sadly) got rid of a few of those slender cookbooks you find at grocery store checkouts. These were recipes for muffins and items made with Bisquick. It's bittersweet, but I'm getting older and can't eat the way I could 25 years ago.

I've become a bit of a locovore myself in the past five years, joining CSA two years in a row and most summers, not missing a whole lot of farm markets. But I'll never be a snob, and I'll probably to continue to explore some new packaged food in stores. I'm addicted to certain things, like flavored cream cheeses and honey-dijon almonds and some of the interesting things they've been doing to Triscuits (a use for wheat I seem to tolerate well).

Time and space are at a premium these days. So I'm downsizing, looking for changes to make that take the stress from my life.

I've culled other cookbooks from my collection, jettisoning those that are too fancy-schmany or two focused on carbs or sugar. It's a good feeling, paring down. It's going to be an on-going chore for me over the next 2-3 years.

The photo above is from my local farm market CSA box. It's fun not knowing what your box will hold.

A little bit like taking a step towards a new life. You aren't sure what your future will hold.

Stay tuned.