Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Zucchini Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping


When zucchini is in abundance during the summer time, you must make this coffee cake! Moist, tender, and delicious full of brown sugar and cinnamony goodness.

Of course you can also shred some zucchini in the summer, then freeze it in food saver bags, or other system allowing the air to be removed to prevent freezer burn. Then in the middle of winter, you could still enjoy this delicious coffee cake. Sounds like a plan to me!

2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium zucchinis)
3 large farm fresh eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar - packed
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup pecans or walnuts - chopped

For The Topping:
1/2 cup additional all-purpose flour
1/2 cup additional brown sugar - packed
1/4 cup additional pecans or walnuts - chopped
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 2-inch round baking dish by coating generously with cooking spray. In a small bowl, prepare the topping by simply combining the topping ingredients together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the oil and 1 cup brown sugar and mix well. Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together the the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just mixed and moistened. Fold in the grated zucchini and nuts.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the topping mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool.


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Freshly Grown Farms and Motor Supply Company Bistro


On one of the hottest days of the summer ... well maybe not the hottest, but it was HOT, we were off again to visit another small local family farm, Freshly Grown Farms, Columbia's Premier Hydroponic Farm, and enjoy lunch at Motor Supply Company Bistro, one of the most popular local innovative restaurants, who source their food from local farms and markets.

A quick drive across Hwy 378 to meet up with another friend, and then play "follow the leader" on some back roads, we suddenly found ourselves in downtown Columbia, in one of the most popular little areas called the Vista. Here local restaurants, shops and nightclubs abound, with something for everyone.

We pulled into the Motor Supply Company Bistro parking lot and were met with complimentary valet parking! Wow, how nice. We gathered our things and left our cars, handed over the keys and headed inside. Since we had reservations, we were greeted and quickly lead to the table all set up for our group on the large enclosed patio! Completely weatherized and climate controlled, it has a brick floor, high open-beamed ceilings and large ceiling fans softly twirling.

Chef Wesley Fulmer is the creative talent behind the scenes at this great restaurant, and the culinary delights he turns out are delicious. Just take a look:

Seared Bavetta Steak over Yukon mash and short beans
with a Crimi
ni Mushroom Bordelaise 
Oven Roasted Creamy Chicken Salad, Applewood Smoked
 Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato on Ciabatta Bread
Carolina Heritage Farms pastured raised pork with Blackberry Barbecue,
over Sweet Potato Puree and Short Beans
Pound Cake topped with fresh Whipped Cream and drizzled with Blueberry Sauce
What a treat and a few of us even enjoyed a cold local brew from River Rat Brewery, the Twisted Lemon Wheat Ale!

From the moment we were greeted and seated, and served by our great server, Kyle, it was outstanding and we will definitely be back. Thank you Motor Supply Company Bistro!

Now we were off to visit Paul and see his hydroponic farm, Freshly Grown Farms. As their lettuce products are sold to many local area restaurants, and featured at Soda City farmers market, we couldn't wait to check it all out.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Roasted Corn Salad


When fresh corn on the cob is in season and abundant, try this Roasted Corn Salad! It goes great with a variety of grilled meats and is the perfect summertime side dish. Sweet and tangy with just a hint of heat and the Dijon Lemon Vinaigrette is light and refreshing, adding the perfect zing.

8 Ears of Corn Husks on
⅓ cup diced jalapeño (no seeds)
⅓ cup finely chopped chives or parsley flakes
4 strips cooked bacon, chopped

1 tbs Dijon mustard
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
¾ tsp ground pepper
½ cup olive oil

Grill corn or roast in the oven. If grilling, turn gas grill to medium high and place corn with the husk onto the grill. Cook for approximately 10 minutes and then turn. Grill for long enough so the corn kernels get some nice roasted color. For roasting in the oven, place in a preheated 350 oven and roast 15 minutes turning from time to time. Corn will not get any roasted color, but will still taste great.

In the meantime mix together the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Cut corn off the cob and place in a large mixing bowl. Add jalapeños, chives or parsley and bacon. Drizzle vinaigrette on top and mix thoroughly. Serve!

Cooks note - the seeded and diced jalapenos are very mild, and not spicy. If you want more "kick" from the jalapenos, leave the seeds in.


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pickled Russian Heirloom Tomatoes {солёные помидоры}

I originally found this recipe via Peters Food Adventures and it looked so good to me I knew I wanted to try it, but adapt it to USDA canning standards.  These Pickled Tomatoes originated in Russia and are a staple in every Russian home, traditionally served with a cheeseboard or with *Plov or Palava!

"Palava, or Plov is traditionally cooked by the man of the house, and is popular for weddings. But we eat it all the time for dinner, usually with dill pickles or with my Salted Pickled Tomatoes which go perfectly with Plov. Cumin, coriander and spices are quite common, but my mum never liked heavy spices and stuck to basics. We grew up calling this dish Palava, which comes from the word Palav (Палав), a Tajikistan word and alternative to Plov – which is the Russian name. It is all just a version of Pilaf, but also known as pilav, pilau, pelau, pulao, pulaav, palaw, palace, palava, plov, palov, polov, polo, polu, kurysh. No one culture really owns this word as there are many names and subcultures to the recipe. My parents were born in North West China, right beside Tajikistan, which is where the influence of the word Palava came from. Plov is the common Russian way to call this dish." (source: Peter's Food Adventures)

I just love these colorful little pickled tomatoes! They are so different from anything I've pickled before and the flavor is amazing. The next time you have some farm fresh heirloom cherry and pear, or yellow tomatoes, do yourself a favor and pickle some. They are delicious.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Exploring Fort Farms - Heritage Breed Pig Farm


On a hot summer day at the end of June, we found ourselves traveling to another local farm to see some unique heritage breed pigs raised by Fort Farms. Since there were 9 of us, we met at a central location, then "followed the leader" to our first stop for the day, The Lenoir Store in Horatio, South Carolina. 

Here we were to meet Edward Fort, owner of Fort Farms, so we pulled up, got out and everyone took a few minutes to explore this historic store! Talk about a walk back in time ...

See short video of the Lenoir Store

The Lenoir Store, built prior to 1878, is a surviving example of the “old general store” and a standing reminder of life before strip malls and modern supermarkets. It is a one-story, weatherboard-clad building on a brick foundation. The gable end metal roof is disguised by a simple false store front. The porch is supported by simple knee brackets and plain square wooden posts. Though the store now has prepackaged goods on its shelves, it maintains the look of the old general store and all of the equipment used in its early days, including an old cheese cutter, a tobacco cutter, ice tongs and penny scales. The store still serves as the local post office, since 1900, and retains its postal equipment installed at the turn of the century. It continues to serve as a focal point of the Horatio community, a small but readily identifiable community above Stateburg in the High Hills of Santee. The Lenoir family has operated a general store in Horatio since before 1808. It is the oldest business establishment in Sumter County. Listed in the National Register July 3, 1997. (Source: South Carolina Department of Archives and History).

What a treasure! It was fascinating, but soon it was time to load up the cars and head out to our destination for the morning ... Fort Farms! We followed Edward down the road a bit, then turned onto a dirt road that meandered around a few curves, and past this enormous field of sunflowers,  until we found ourselves in the pasture with the pigs! 

Everyone piled out of their cars, and introductions were made all around. Edward greeted the group and said " I want to thank everyone for coming today. So many people today have no idea where their food comes from and they, especially children, think their food is manufactured, so it's nice having you here." 

With that he continued to talk about the breeds of heritage pigs he raises, to include Mangalitsa, the Kobe beef of pork, Berkshire, Large Black, Tamworth, and Red Wattles. In the distance we could see some of the Mangalita's with their young, in a nice lush pasture.

"Our pigs eat an all-natural diet, and a variety in food is important for their nutrition. They graze on native plants, grasses, and forage seasonal nuts and fruits. They dig for tubers, grubs and insects, providing essential nutrients. We supplement their diet with our feed of wheat, high-oleic peanuts, and barley.

In the fall, a selection of our finest pigs are finished for about a 45-day period on a diet of acorns and chufa, producing a nutty, delicious meat flavor.  A mile-long corridor of white oak trees provides thousands of acorns, and they root the chufa tubers planted beside them.

Our pigs receive no routine antibiotics or artificial supplements.  They grow at a slower, more natural rate, 8 months to a year, producing a pork product that is superior in flavor and better for you."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Luscious Blueberry Turnovers


A couple of years ago I found this great EASY recipe for puff pasty from Flour Me with Love and I've been making them ever since. The recipe is easy to follow and simplifies the whole tedious puff pasty process into one very simple to follow recipe.

These Blueberry Turnovers use that simple puff pastry recipe and homemade blueberry pie filling, or fresh homemade pie filling, and is amazingly delicious! Luscious flaky layers of sugary pastry filled with sweet and tangy blueberry pie filling = a flavor burst in your mouth!

Puff Pastry
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (sticks) cold butter
1/2 cup sour cream

Use Homemade Blueberry Pie Filling
Or to make it fresh:
3 tbls. Instant Clear Jel or cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbls water, to seal pastries (optional)
*If you use cornstarch, you'll want to dissolve it in cold water, rather than stir it into the sugar.

To make the puff pastry: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Add the cut butter slices and using the paddle blade, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles large crumbs. Mix in sour cream just until the dough begins to come together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board, and quickly knead it together.  Roll out into a 12 x 13-inch rectangle. Fold down the top half of the dough then flip up the bottom half so they overlap. Now fold in each side until they meet. You should have a nice neat square.  Dusting work surface again with flour, roll it out one more time repeating the folding. It will look much more uniform this time. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or dough can be frozen at this time.

To make the filling: (skip this step if using already canned homemade blueberry pie filling). Mix the sugar and Clear Jel till well combined. If you're using cornstarch, mix it with enough cold water to dissolve. Add the sugar mixture to the blueberries, tossing to combine. Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon (and the cornstarch/water mixture, if you're using cornstarch).

Heat the mixture in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring, till the berries soften and fall apart. The mixture will be thick and jam-like, even though it doesn't really warm up much; this will take under 5 minutes. If you use cornstarch, cook and stir till the mixture bubbles and thickens. You can prepare the filling up to several days before; cover and refrigerate till you're ready to use it. You can also do this in a microwave; heat till the berries soften, then stir till they fall apart and the mixture thickens, like jam.

To assemble and bake: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the chilled dough into a 16" square. Cut 4 or 5 -  4 1/2-inch rounds. Re-roll the dough scraps, and cut 4 or 5 additional rounds, as many as you can get out of the scraps.

If desired, for a tighter seal, brush two adjoining edges of each circle with 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water.

Place about 2-4 tsp filling slightly off-center in each square. Fold the turnovers in half. Press the edges with a fork to seal.

Place the turnovers on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray or lined with parchment to catch any spills. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're a deep, golden brown; you will see some of the filling beginning to ooze out.

Remove the turnovers from the oven, and cool on a rack. Serve warm, or at room temperature. For a really decadent treat, serve with a side of vanilla bean ice-cream.

Yield: 8-10 turnovers

Strawberry pie filling
Cherry pie filling
Caramel Apple Jam


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Blackberry Chipotle Glaze


I nabbed the original recipe for this from SB Canning, and made a few adaptations to make it my own. This Blackberry Chipotle Glaze is tangy and smoky with a pretty good zing of heat! It would be great on grilled chicken, pork chops, ribs, or even lamb chops.

We were tasting it with spoons dipped in it before I even put it in the canning jars. YES, it is that good and husband approved. He can't wait to get grilling with it.