Paper Source, a stationary and gift shop located at Annapolis Towne Center, recently debuted a “Giving Plate” ($39.95). The idea is to gift the plate (preferably laden with tasty treats), in hopes that your recipient will pay it forward to someone else. In theory, your gift could touch dozens of people as the plate makes its rounds through families and friends. It makes a perfect hostess, teacher or cookie exchange gift, and makes a sincere statement on “the Reason for the Season.”
While purchasing the Giving Plate at Paper Source might be quick and convenient, we like the idea of personalizing something similar at Clay Bakers in Annapolis or Easton or Pottery at South River Colony in Edgewater. Plan in advance: your art might require a week or more for firing in the kiln.
Fill your plate with a variety of sweet and savory treats. Try one of the following recipes—all from local cooks.
A small, light and buttery cookie dusted with powder sugar
From chef, trainer and woman extraordinaire Frances Vavloukis
- 1 lb. sweet butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 TB brandy (optional)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 4-5 cups flour, sifted
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 packaged powdered sugar
- Cream butter. Add sugar, beat until light and fluffy
- Add egg yolk and beat thoroughly. Add vanilla and walnuts (if using)
- Add flour, a little at a time, until dough is soft and pliable.
- Form into little crescents or balls.
- Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1” apart
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned
- Spread newspaper or brown paper on the counter top. Cover the paper with waxed paper. Spread a little powdered sugar over the surface.
- Remove cookies from oven and immediately move to the wax paper. Immediately sift powdered sugar over until each cookie is covered completely
- Let cookies cool completely.
Serve in cupcake papers
You will need a pizzelle griddle or iron for this recipe, available at Sur la Table, Williams Sonoma, Target From the Larry Olmo Family
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of anise or fennel seed
- Melt butter, stir in sugar, add eggs then flour and anise or fennel seed and blend until batter is smooth.
- Heat the pizzelle iron, and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each circle on the iron. You may need to experiment with the amount of batter and baking time depending on the iron.
- Bake for 20 to 45 seconds, or until steam is no longer coming out of the iron. Carefully remove cookies from the iron.
- Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar if desired.
Rocky Road Cookies
A sweet and fun treat from the fabulous book Sweet Envy by Seton Rossini. Including the book with your Giving Plate would be the pièce de résistance!
Makes 12 cookies
- 2 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 3 egg whites (slightly less than 1⁄2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3⁄4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 3⁄4 cup chopped walnuts
- 6 large marshmallows, cut in half with kitchen scissors
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with liners or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, salt and espresso powder.
- Mix in the egg whites and vanilla until smooth and no lumps remain. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts, stirring until fully incorporated and dough is gooey.
- Use a cookie scoop to drop round balls of dough on the baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches between cookies. Press a marshmallow half firmly into the top of each dough ball.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the marshmallows are nice and toasty on top. The cookies will look shiny and cracked. Cool slightly before eating.
Chocolate Heaven in a Cookie
A flour-free, gluten-free treat that is a favorite of everyone here at FFF.
- ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3 cups confectioners’ (10x) sugar
- ½ ts sea salt
- 3 cups walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped (toast at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden)
- 4 large egg whites
- 2 TB vanilla extract
- Mix the cocoa powder, sugar, salt and walnuts together for about a minute in a stand mixer set on stir. Add the egg whites and vanilla, set the mixer to medium and mix for 2-3 minutes or until completely combined and glossy.
- Scoop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or in a convection oven at 340° for 11 minutes.
- Let cool briefly and sift powdered sugar over, if you prefer.
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So-o-o-….it’s been awhile. I have been writing like mad for GreenBook, (GO ON! go give it a LIKE for me!) and will talk all about that ASAP. Right now I am thinking about a conversation I recently had with someone I’ve only spoken to over the phone.
In this phone call, I mentioned an article I recently wrote for Capital Gazette newspapers. It covered Family Friendly Dining. Originally inspired by a “Best Of” list I saw in a large regional paper that listed only 1 ONE!!! place in a 40 mile radius of where I live, I was motivated to write it because I wanted to showcase all the really wonderful places the kids and I go, not a single one of which is a chain, and very, very few of which are those sorts of places so devoid of creativity and any connection at all to a childhood palate that the line cook is forced to turn out PB&J with carrots as the Main course on the “kids menu”, or grilled cheese on the Specials day.
Let me say it here: I am so over the “Kids Menu”.
Get rid of it!!! Out! Gone! Boring! Terrible nutritionally! Gross! Cheap! Panders to the kids! Dumbs food down to the lowest denomination. Patronizes children’s ability to be flexible, creative, healthy, good eaters! D.O.N.E!
Well, this person I was speaking to vehemently disagreed with me. They LOVE the one place I didn’t include. They think it is so cool kids can write on the walls and that hot dogs are a hot item on the menu there. They are one of those people more than a little irritated when they hear babies crying, toddlers tantruming or kids fighting in a restaurant.
But guess what folks: we all acted like that at some time in our lives, and our parents made us get over it. Eventually, we all have to learn how to behave at the table, whether that is at home or in a restaurant. I am not going to sacrifice my taste buds and my desire for a decent meal to my children’s poor behavior. Full stop.
Here’s the fact of the matter: I am not going to pay good money to stuff my kids full of unhealthy, gross shit that would cost me a fraction of the price to serve them at home.
But 10 is an impossibly short list. Here are a few others I had in mind.
- Wild Country Seafood, Eastport (Best fresh seafood right off the boat and wonderful place to picnic)
- Pirate’s Cove, Shadyside (Such great memories here. Chesapeake traditional with gorgeous sunsets, docks, plenty of parking)
- Adams Ribs, (now Adams TapHouse & Grill) Severna Park, Eastport and Prince Frederick. BBQ. Man that stuff is so good, so filling, and I love the way that place SMELLS! The Kent Island location is too sterile for me. I like the old school Prince Frederick location best.
- Saigon Palace, Edgewater (Vietnamese)
- Iron Rooster, City Dock. I haven’t had a sip of the Iron Rooster KoolAid everyone seems to be drinking. My kids go here and still want the pancake and bacon. And it really bothers me that they don’t serve homemade jam!! They have those horrible little packets on the table. I want a crock of homemade butter (maybe even a honey butter for my pancakes too), I want some fresh jam from local berries, maybe in an old fashioned glass jar, and I want some real maple syrup. Not too hard folks! BUT, if you are a family that wants the basics without the mess at home, Iron Rooster is THE place to go. Try the tacos. Not bad!!! I also won’t pass up the biscuits and fried chicken with raspberry jam….
- Kabob House, Edgewater (oh lo-o-o-o-rd. Love it. Sometimes I buy the simple kebabs and fancy them up at home alongside a nice rice pilaf and a quick salad of cucumber and tomato. Super quick and easy weeknight dinner.)
- Davis Pub, Eastport (best chili, fries, burgers, hometown ambiance)
- Boatyard Bay & Grill, Eastport. (they love the kiddos there. Airy, bright. Everyone knows your name)
- Ann’s Dari-Creme, Glen Burnie. (Insane hot dogs. Good gawd the calories, but old fashioned goodness)
- Willie’s Kitchen, Glen Burnie. (old school food and atmosphere, but so fresh, much of it organic, local and rib-sticking wholesome).
- Gary’s Grill, Severna Park. (everyone loves it for a reason. Grab a coupon from several area publications. Dinner and breakfast pricing is great when you have it).
- The Point Crabhouse and Grill, Arnold Listed as “Best Of” on just about every list for a reason. Short, but good menu.
- Deep Creek Marina, (for brunch), Arnold
- Royal Kabab, Gambrills. Pakistani and Indian food. Awesome.
- Royal Karma, off Riva Road. Relatively new Indian restaurant with a great buffet
- Lima Chicken, off West Street and Chinquapin Round Road. As close to Peru as I am going to get any day soon. Definitely NOT the same, but at least the chicken is juicy, the plantains are sweet and the yucca fries are tasty. Try the spicy side sauce. I could drink that stuff!
- Bella Italia, Friendship and West Annapolis locations. This food isn’t different than anywhere else, frankly, but they are just so nice and so accommodating. My daughter once accidentally tipped over a table so they cleaned it up and gave her a piece of molten chocolate cake she has never forgotten. RESTAURANT MANAGERS: its this kind of thing that gets families coming back to you over and over!!!
There are so, so many other great places that are casual enough to bring the kiddos but good enough you don’t mind forking over the cash, but I am not Yelp.
What are your favorites??? Let me know in the comments below.
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Laura Boyd is a local stylist, interior decorator and caterer. Together with business partner Meg Hale, she owns Strawberry Banke Studio, a full-service lifestyle design firm based in Annapolis.
Prior to opening Strawberry Banke Studios last year, Laura travelled to Ireland to attend a specialized course at Ballymaloe, the country’s most famous school of cookery and hospitality.
She arrived just in time to experience an authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration, which she says is fundamentally different than it is here.
“St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is less an opportunity to visit the local pub—though that is fun and popular too– than it is an opportunity to explore the natural and culinary delights that best represent the magic and culture of Ireland”. – Laura Boyd, Strawberry Banke Studio
Laura admits that it didn’t take long for her to became obsessed with the best flavors of Ireland, which is of course is a country synonymous with the color green, mostly for the island’s miles upon miles of grassy fields, made verdant by temperature weather and plenty of rain. “I immediately fell in love with tender spring lamb, hand-smoked salmon, authentic salted butter made from Irish dairy cows, fresh rhubarb and tender spring vegetables like wild garlic and unique, heirloom potatoes. “I think I ate smoked salmon with butter on homemade bread every single morning I was in Ireland,” she laughs.
Laura says an authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration should forego the heavily processed or overcooked dishes so frequently associated with the Americanized holiday and instead include artisanal and traditional foods that better represent the pastoral farms and plentiful waterways of Ireland.
“When I consider St. Patrick’s Day, I think of delicious flavors that fit perfectly into a more sophisticated menu Stateside”, Laura said. “I imagine a light brunch that marries the fresh flavors of spring and soft reminisces of Ireland”.
The Strawberry Banke rendition of St. Patrick’s Day showcases traditional Irish foods presented with a creative twist and a dash of the Southern flair Laura and Meg are known for. “We would go beyond typical mashed potatoes, Shepherd’s Pie or Beef Stew and instead focus on dishes that use simple, farm-fresh ingredients and deliver a lot of flavor. The brunch buffet would be styled with bountiful springtime flowers and on-trend lettuce ware, in all shades of green, of course!” Laura said.
It isn’t difficult to transform your own favorite St. Patrick’s Day flavors into simpler, more authentic and even healthier dishes. For example, The Full Irish is a large platter of heavy, gut-lining flavors and traditionally includes mushrooms, tomatoes, blood sausage and a fried egg. It is the perfect start to a hard day on the fields or at sea, but maybe not the best preamble to a celebratory sampling of St. Patrick’s Day drinks. “I wanted to elevate elements of The Full Irish and also to make it into a single portion that wouldn’t be overwhelming or filling”, Laura said. “This strata includes all of the essential ingredients of an Irish breakfast in every bite”.
Proper Irish Breakfast Stratas
(Recipe from Laura Boyd)
Serves 8 individual portions
6-8 thick slices challah bread
Kerrygold butter (enough to butter each slice of bread)
1 lb savory sausage and/or or bacon
1 1/2 cup shredded Irish Cheddar cheese (Colliers, Kerrygold, etc)
6 farm fresh eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk (or 1 cup milk with 1 cup cream)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup of mushrooms
1 cup grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
- Brown sausage or bacon. Remove from pan and add onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes and salute until tender (remember to season with salt and pepper). Let cool. Chop sausage and//or bacon into bite size pieces.
- Mix eggs and milk (I like to pour some of the mixture into a glass measuring pitcher for easy pouring into the ramekins – remember to season egg mixture with a few pinches of salt and pepper).
- Butter slices of bread and cut slices into 1 inch cubes.
- In individual ramekins, place a layer of bread cubes and top with a bit of the onion, mushrooms, tomatoes and sausage/bacon. Top with a layer of shredded cheddar. Repeat with another layer of bread cubes, vegetables, meat, cheese, etc. until the ramekins are full.
- Slowly pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread until it appears that all the bread has soaked up mixture (like bread pudding, you may need to push down the layers a bit to ensure each layer of bread has soaked up the egg). Add more bread, etc. if needed to fill to the top.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill ramekins on a sheet pan overnight if you want to plan ahead. If not, let the ramekins sit for at least 20-30 min before baking. Bake at 325 until a knife comes out clean and egg mixture is cooked all the way through. Tops should be golden and bubbly.
Hot Potato Cakes with Irish Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche
(Recipe from Darina Allen’s “Ballymaloe Cookery Course” Cookbook)
2 lb unpeeled potatoes
2 oz butter (I use Kerrygold for everything)
2 oz flour
1 Tbsp chopped herbs (chives, parsley or lemon thyme – or a mix of all)
half & half or whole milk
seasoned flour (for breading before frying)
4 oz. smoked salmon
freshly snipped chives
clarified butter for frying
- Cook the potatoes in their skins, pull off the peel and mash right away, adding the butter, flour and herbs. Season with lots of salt and pepper and add a few drops of whole milk or half & half if the mixture is altogether too stiff. Mix well. Taste and correct the seasoning.
- Shape into 1″ thick potato cakes. Dip in seasoned flour (flour with salt and pepper).
- Fry the potato cakes in clarified butter until golden brown on one side, then flip over and cook on the other side, for about 4-5 minutes – they should be crusty and golden.
- Serve on very hot plates.Top with a dollop of creme fraiche and slivers of good quality smoked salmon. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.
No authentic Irish-themed brunch should be without soda or brown bread, grassy imported butter and good quality smoked salmon. Each of these ingredients is ubiquitous and indigenous to Irish food culture. “ We used Irish Kerrygold butter both in the classroom and for guests at Ballymaloe, and I use it in my cooking here as well”, Laura said. Kerrygold can be found Stateside at most groceries. You can make your own bread, but you might have better luck finding it at a local bakery or restaurant. Try Great Harvest or make a special request at Killarney House, Galway Bay or Pirate’s Cove in Shadyside.
Of course, one can’t forego proper tea and scones for any Continental-style buffet. Laura said the scones in Ireland aren’t the heavy, cakey sort found in America: “Irish scones are light and ethereal little fluffy pillows that rely on fresh cream, Irish butter and Irish flour,” Laura said. “You may not be able to exactly replicate an Irish scone with American flour, but this recipe is very close”, she added. The recipe here is the one used at Ballymaloe. She added rhubarb and strawberry butter for seasonality, but says you can substitute other berries and compound butters. The Irish use Barry’s Tea, a blend of Kenya, Rwandan and Indian Assam leaves with a tan color and strong flavor. You can find it at Irish Traditions on Main Street in downtown Annapolis ($7.99/box, 80 bags).
Mummy’s Sweet Strawberry and Rhubarb Scones
(Recipe from Ballymaloe, flavors adapted by Laura Boyd)
Makes 18-20 scones using a 3 inch cutter.
2 lb plain white flour
pinch of salt
2 oz. caster sugar (very fine sugar – can be found in specialty baking sections)
3 heaped teaspoons teaspoons baking powder
6 oz butter
3 organic eggs
15 fl oz milk, to mix
3 Rhubarb stalks (chopped finely)
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, finely chopped
organic egg wash (1 egg with a splash of water, beaten)
granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- Sieve all dry ingredients together in a large wide bowl.
- Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour and rub in the butter.
- Add the chopped fruit (I like to lightly toss mine in a little flour first to absorb some of the moisture. Separate fruit from excess dusting flour before adding to the bowl).
- Make a well in the center. Whisk the eggs with the milk, add to the dry ingredients and mix into a soft dough (do not overtax! Just until the dough forms).
- Turn out dough onto a floured board. Shape into a round and roll out (I like to use my hands and gently pat it out) until it is about 1 inches thick (the less you touch or smash it down, the softer and fluffier they will be!). Quickly cut out rounds with a floured cutter and put scones on baking sheet.
- Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake in the over for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on wire rack. Serve split in half with homemade jam, honey butter or a blob of whipped cream.
Finish your brunch with an Irish coffee. A strictly traditional Irish Coffee relies on brown sugar and whiskey stirred into dark coffee. Strawberry Banke’s version tops that rich drink with a dollop of handmade whipped cream infused with whiskey. “The cream adds comfort and a subtle flavor boost to the elegance of the coffee and brings a bit of both elegance and fun to the brunch”, Laura said.
For a bunch of traditional Irish recipes like colcannon and such, you can visit this post from last year.Feel free to share...
I have a grand announcement to make: I am officially a blogger for Naptown Locals, the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Visitors Bureau blog site. Super exciting! I am honored to be considered and thrilled at the opportunity.
My first post for them hit this morning. My assignments was to come up with a comprehensive list of all the restaurants I could find in AACo that happen to have fireplaces.
The list is long. My first blog post was 1,643 words. My goal was 500 MAX. I had to cut. The only way to do that was to ax any descriptions and stick to a list. Here it is, barebones but confirmed. I can tell you, proudly, that in all my research I didn’t find a single list as comprehensive as my own.
I am a one-stop shop.
Below is the longer version, which might give a little more insight to anyone wanting fireside dining. The list is alphabetical. Notice that your favorite fireplace is missing from this list? Please leave a note in the comments.
And yes, I know this was submitted just in time for a weekend that is supposed to hit 60, but I checked Accuweather today, and we have at least 3 more weeks of 30’s, 40’s and freezing overnights to make a fireplace sounds damn nice.
A short note: almost all the restaurants below do not accept reservations, but do take your name for priority seating. Most places are friendly enough that they will try to honor a reservation if call as far in advance as possible.
Adam’s Ribs is a favorite for locals because it is so comfortable and friendly, and because of delicious staples like juicy burgers, amazing barbecue and cornbread that you simply can’t put down. The white brick fireplace here mingles seasonal warmth with the smell of roasting meat, making the atmosphere feel a little like home.
Check the restaurant’s website and Facebook page for daily specials.
921 Chesapeake Ave. Eastport/Annapolis
The fireplace at Blackwall Hitch is within steps of a long, ship-shape bar and an intimate concert space, making it the ideal place to curl up with a handcrafted drink and great music. “The Hitch”, as it is referred to by locals, is renown for a broad menu defined by Chef Zachary Pope’s dedication to fresh ingredients and emphasis on simple but classic gourmet technique. It is also popular for it’s location just across the Spa Creek Bridge from downtown Annapolis, a large parking lot and a topside patio with views over the Severn River all the way to the Bay Bridge.
Classic and comfortable leather chairs, available on a first-come, first-served basis, surround the Hitch’s fireplace, which is usually lit all day in cold weather. The fire puts out a lot of heat, so is sometimes extinguished during crowded concerts.
The Hitch always offers a variety of drink and food specials and has an incredible Happy Hour featuring $6 small plates. You can find specials on their Facebook and Twitter feeds.
400 Sixth Street, Eastport/Annapolis
The lone French outpost on Main Street in downtown Annapolis, Café Normandie is beloved as much for its Steak Frites as it is for the cozy gas fireplace that commands the center of this hospitable auberge. Tables and booths are close enough to enjoy the heat of the fire, and of course are popular as well. Patrons can request reservations if they call a few days ahead of time. Passersby can look for a small sign on the front window indicating if the fire is on.
185 Main Street, Annapolis
Consistently mentioned for excellent service and dependably delicious food, Carroll’s Creek is also recommended for a stunning view across Spa Creek toward downtown Annapolis and the United States Naval Academy. The fireplace here anchors the lounge area, accessed via the front door and a sharp left turn opposite the receptionist desk. Comfortable sofas define the fireplace, which is lit most days for lunch and dinner. Enjoy drink and food specials during Happy Hour.
410 Severn Ave #100, Eastport/Annapolis
Popular for a long, wide view across Spa Creek, Chart House is the best place in town to view sailboat races by day and stars by night. Both events are made even better by a roaring fireplace, located in the lounge area. Seating and tabletops are available near the fire, but is available on a first come, first served basis. Chart House offers a superb menu for Happy Hour with drink specials that range from $3.25 to $7 and small plates you might not want to share!
300 2nd Street, Eastport/Annapolis
What could be better than breakfast any time of day, especially when it means entrees like fried chicken on house-made biscuits with raspberry jam or homemade tarts the size of a plate? Iron Rooster is a little over a year old, but already has lines out the door because there is no better place in town to enjoy bacon AND beer.
The fireplace is in the upstairs dining room. Surrounding tables have a fine view over Market House and City Dock. Reservations are accepted on weekdays. Weekends are first-come, first-served.
12 Market Space, Downtown Annapolis
Jalapenos hails itself as an authentic Spanish restaurant with a dash of Mexican flair. Located in a strip mall in Parole, the locally owned restaurant is a bastion of Old World flavor and decor. The menu features a large selection of tapas and the bar makes the best sangria in town.
The gas fireplace at Jalapenos is right in the center of the main dining room. Surrounding tables can enjoy the warmth of the fire, and occasionally local musicians or even flamenco dancers. The restaurant does accept advance reservations for seats near the fire, which is lit all day in winter, but relies more on priority seating and a first-come, first-served policy.
85 Forest Drive, Parole/Annapolis
Killarney House specializes in traditional Irish fare and hearty dishes like Shepherd’s Pie, Fish & Chips, potato boxty, salmon and a variety of soups and stews. Most dishes are made from scratch, including authentic brown bread and traditional soda bread. The huge fireplace here is in the rear of the dining room, where it is surrounded by four tabletops.
Fireside dining reservations are accepted, but the hostess recommends doing so as far in advance as possible. Priority seating is available during busy times. Killarney House has great dining specials and features a popular Prime Rib ($25.99) on Friday and Saturday night.
584W Central Ave., Davidsonville
Middleton Tavern has, in its 276-year-old history, been host to America’s most revered leaders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and James Monroe. Members of the American Revolution and Continental Congress were known to frequent the tavern, which has been continuously owned from 1750 until now, although records show occupation as early as 1740.
Located at the foot of Main Street, kitty-corner to City Dock, Middleton’s is admired by locals and tourists alike for classic Chesapeake fare, an extensive selection of raw oysters and a friendly bar.
Middleton’s has four fireplaces: two in the downstairs dining area, and two in the private space upstairs. Tables near the fire are much coveted by patrons in the know, but the restaurant tries to accommodate special requests and priority seating.
2 Market Space, Downtown Annapolis
Sports fans in particular enjoy this casual neighborhood bistro that specializes in pub fare like burgers and wings, huge sandwiches and made-from-scratch entrees and desserts. Large screen TVs define the bar space, but the local owners have made a point to create a family-friendly atmosphere in the dining room. They are also dedicated to buying fresh and local whenever possible; in fact, most produce is sourced from the Eastern Shore and the majority of the menu is made by hand in-house.
The fireplace here is currently under renovation, but should be ready to go by the third week of February. It is usually lit all day, or until the restaurant becomes crowded, at which time it is just too warm. Mother’s accepts reservations on weekdays and for parties larger than six; otherwise, seats near the fire are available through Priority Seating.
969 Ritchie Highway, Arnold (between Annapolis and Severna Park)
Located on the West River in southern Anne Arundel County, Pirate’s Cove offers stunning sunset views and a classic American menu anchored by fantastic steak, seafood and salads. The property has two fireplaces: a smaller gas fire in the cozy lounge and a wood burning fire in the main dining room. Both are lit from late morning until close, and are truly a cozy spot to while away the cold weather. The lounge in particular is a romantic spot for it’s intimate layout, proximity to the bar and excellent local music.
4817 Riverside Drive, Galesville
Pusser’s is a Caribbean outpost in downtown Annapolis, where locals appreciate the flavor and heat of the menu as much as they do Dark & Stormy’s from the bar. Located alongside Ego Alley, Pusser’s has a waterside dining area and large picture windows that make boat-watching an afternoon pastime. The gas fireplace here is set in a beautiful hand-carved mantel.
Located in the Annapolis Waterside Hotel, 80 Compromise St., Annapolis
The stone mantel of the fireplace at the Sunset Lounge in Glen Burnie is large and old-fashioned, fitting in perfectly with the comfortable, casual ambience of the room and the classic Chesapeake menu. The restaurant receives frequent accolades for its rendition of Cream of Crab Soup and is known for some of the best Crab Cakes in town. Tables near the fire can be reserved, but be sure to call in advance.
625 Greenway Rd SE, Glen Burnie
Located in the basement of Reynold’s Tavern, 1747 Pub is the oldest tavern in town. The fireplace here is original to the building, and is located in what was formerly the kitchen.
1747 Pub features an eclectic menu of small plates alongside hearty comfort food like mac-n-cheese and classic English fare like Shepherd’s Pie and fish-and-chips.
7 Church Circle, Annapolis
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CSA’s remain a wonderful way to connect with farms and fresh food. This year there are a couple of major changes in the local CSA scene. Craig Sewell will no longer offer a CSA through his restaurant and cookery school, A Cook’s Cafe. Also, I have been unable to contact Ivy Brand, so I am not sure if that CSA is still offered.
Here is a list of everyone else I was able to contact to confirm they are active and ready for enrollments. One exception to this list is Bear’s Honey Pot, which recently opened in Gambrills. I was not able to get firm details from their office, but I know that they have a great program in place.
Agriberry is an all-berry CSA based in Virginia and operated by Annapolitan Susan Noyce, whose family owns Agriberry farm. Susan brings her strawberries, raspberries, jams, jellies, honey and other fruits and vegetables to Annapolis once a week.
Open Enrollment through April
Membership Pricing: $600/ 20 weeks
Various local pick-ups sites beginning in May. See website for details.
Full Share: $25/week $541/season
Small Share: $18/week $391/season
22 week season May-October
Various local pick-up sites including Tuesday, 4-6:30 PM, Tastings Gourmet Market, Clocktower Plaza, 1410 Forest Drive, Annapolis 21403
Maryland Sunrise Farm CSA
CSA deadlines: Rolling Enrollment
Membership pricing: $575 Full Share
Thursday pickup, 4:30-6:30 pm,
Maryland Sunrise Farm, Dairy Lane, Gambrills, MD
Oksana’s Produce Farm
CSA includes fresh vegetables, raw fermented vegetables, fresh bread, jams and honey. Pricing is noted on website.
Summer CSA: 24 weeks- May-October
Fall CSA: 5 weeks – October-November
Locations for Thursday pick up:
- Anne Arundel County Farmer’s Market at Riva Road 3:30pm-6pm
- Rutabaga Craft Juicery on Annapolis Street in West Annapolis 3:00 PM -5 PM
- Kent Island Farmer’s Market on Romancoke Road in Stevensville 3:00 PM-6PM.
PolyFace Farm Buying Club
Polyface is not a traditional CSA. It is a buying club where you can choose a variety of farm-grown products from the Salatin family’s Poly Face Farm in Virginia for weekly delivery.
No membership fee, no minimum order.
Deadline is 3 days before the pick up
Delivery Locations: Home on Baltimore/Annapolis Blvd and other AACo locations.
To order: www.polyfaceyum.com
See website for products and pricing, pick up times and seasonal delivery dates.
Friends & Farms
Year-Round operations with rolling enrollment.
Ability to opt-out or pause service at any time.
Prices vary: one person ($48/week), two ($62/week) or four ($94/week); also vegetarian ($60/week), lean protein ($68 or $106/week) and protein and dairy only ($46/week) options. If customers choose a monthly or quarterly subscription, the weekly cost of their basket decreases.
Friday Afternoon (1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) • Annapolis:
UUC of Annapolis, 1920 N. Lawrence Ave, Annapolis, MD 21401
Friday Afternoon (3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.) • Severna Park:
St. John the Evangelist, 689 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, MD 21146
Friday Evening (6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.) • Crofton:
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, 1800 Seton Drive, Crofton, MD 21114
24 week season, May-November
Delivering to in private residence Edgewater and to Anne Beth’s at 46 Maryland Avenue in Annapolis on Wednesdays and Fridays from 3-7pm.
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Last year my GI doctor told me to try going off all legumes. Here is why that is horrible news: peanuts are legumes, and the classic PB & J is my all-time favorite food. Well, chocolate chip cookies may be my ALL all-time favorite, but it would be safe to say that PB & J is a staple in our house.
My doctor’s recommendation was bad news beyond lunch–the legume family includes beans and peas. I can forego peas–easily. But I eat beans several times a week. I figured anything was better than my poor tummy hurting all the time though, so I gave it a go.
Rather than giving up my beloved peanut butter, I turned to other nuts butters like cashew, macadamia and almond. All of which are ridiculously expensive. So I figured I would try buying bulk nuts and making my own. Nuts and seeds aren’t indulgent–they are healthy fats that our bodies require to perform, feel and look good.
Here’s is what I discovered: I will NEVER buy nut butters again. I am IN LOVE with the homemade version. The cost isn’t substantially better than store bought because even bulk nuts aren’t cheap, but the flavor is so much better. Also, I can control the salt and oil, and we know how I like to tweak my own flavors, thank you very much.
Making your own nut butter is very easy. Essentially, it involves three steps:
- Buy the nuts (preferably raw).
- Roast them to your preference.
- Grind them to your preferred chunkiness.
- Eat them whatever way you like.
I have a friend who I swear put my almond butter on pickles, and she wasn’t even pregnant. I sampled another friend a jar of macadamia and honey butter to get her feedback and she sent me a video of her spooning it out like it was ice cream.
The great thing about making your own nut butter is that you can tweak it for seasonings. Try kosher salt v. sea salt or table salt; add honey or pure maple syrup, sciracha or chile pepper, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
Don’t be shy to use some of these butters in applications you may not have considered before, i.e. as a spread on grilled or roasted meats. Pistachios, walnuts and pecans are especially nice this way.
- Buy your nuts in the bulk section OR find them seasonally at farmer’s markets. Finding fresh nuts makes a world of difference in flavor. Most of us aren’t able to do that, but if you can source just off the tree nuts, kudos!
- Try to buy whole, raw nuts. Don’t buy dry-roasted, since these are already seasoned.
- When you get the nuts home, roast them yourself. Spread them in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Season to your preference with salt, dried herbs or spices. Roast for 10-12 minutes at 350. Just like with coffee, the flavor of your nut butter will vary drastically depending on the depth of your roast. As you become more proficient at making your butters, vary your roasting times to see how it changes your recipe outcome. Let the nuts cool slightly before you process.
- Add any additional flavorings or seasonings before processing so they are fully mixed in. I highly recommend that you taste the nuts you already roasted for flavor. It’s always easier to add than to take away. If you want a swirl effect, i.e. with honey or syrup, add these at the end or stir in by hand.
- Process the roasted nuts in a food processor or blender. I use my VitaMix. Different nuts require different processing times (see footnote below), but expect about 2 minutes.
- I have found it is best to use about 2 cups of nuts at a time, otherwise the machine really has to work hard. Work in batches until you have as much as you require. The whole nuts should keep well in your pantry, so either buy to accommodate what you will use, or store the nuts and make up batches as you go to keep your nut butter fresh.
- The nut butters keep for sometime in your refrigerator, tightly sealed.
FOOTNOTE: processing times
Cashews require about 2 minutes. I am not a huge fan of cashew butter, because it has such a strong flavor and odor. My health-nut friend Deborah loves it, and she has a great point: it is important to mix up your nut intake, so you get a variety of vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids. I manage cashew butter in smoothies with vanilla and cinnamon to balance it.
Almonds– Sliced almonds take a little bit longer to process and may require the addition of a little oil because they are dry. Whole almonds are naturally more oily, and take about 2 1/2 minutes to process.
Almond butter is good in just about everything- it is by far my go-to replacement for peanut butter. In fact, not to be disloyal, but I think I like it even better than PB. It has a wonderful aroma that makes the entire house smell homey and just a little exotic. It pairs well with everything from honey to spice to syrup and brown sugar and sit well on both sweet and savory dishes.
Macadamias– I may occasionally cheat on my almond butter with macadamia nuts. They are wicked expensive but they are Oh. So. Gooooood. Process for about 2 minutes. Because macadamias are high in fat, the butter will be thin. Chill to thicken. Add it to cookie doughs, strudels or donuts, waffles, pancakes, ice cream, chicken, steamed asparagus….I could bathe in this stuff…seriously. Macadamias pair well with everything from chocolate and coconut to berries, herbs like rosemary or thyme and spices like chile peppers and paprika.
Hazelnuts form the base of that classic chocolate dessert spread (Nutella!!). West Coast folks shouldn’t have a hard time finding them fresh in season. You might have to remove the skins. Roast until the nut is shiny, then rub them between a towel and the skins come off. Process about 2-3 minutes. Mix 1:1 with chocolate syrup to make your own spread. Hazelnuts are also delicious in pastry crusts and mixed into sweets like strudels and cinnamon rolls.
Pecans and Walnuts– both of these spreads are great over meats or even mixed into desserts, but are slightly bitter, so not great for sandwiches or toast. They process in 1 1/2 -2 minutes.
Pistachios are awesome as spreads over poultry, pork or meat, especially roasts and kebabs. The finished spread is very dry and crumbly, and it clumps up a lot when mixing. Process for 3 minutes or more. Add oil if you need a smooth result. Or use the dry spread in desserts like ice cream or layered cake fillings. Pistachio marries well with cinnamon, nutmeg and other eastern spices.
Peanut butter was invented in the 20th century and will never (I hope) go away. Process roasted peanuts for about 2 minutes. Peanut butter is lighter than commercial butters. It is also a little grainier–you can add a TB of organic peanut oil to smooth it out.
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Let me just say from the outset that we don’t watch sports. This does not make us un-American, I don’t think. It does make us a little odd….but you knew that we were already.
When I was younger, living in New York and without husband or kids or a mortgage (can you hear the ball and chain dragging across that sentence?) my friends and I would go out to a club and party all night, dragging ourselves into the door of some parent around 6 AM, who would feed us last night’s dinner and send us to bed. We would wake up in time for the Super Bowl to a house full of family and guests and a feast of football foods.
I do miss those times. I used to love to dance. Why don’t I dance more? In public, I mean.
Anyway, Super Bowl foods aren’t the best for you, but they sure are good. Here are some of my favorite Super Bowl recipes.
A Man, A Can and a Plan
My friend Florence is not a cook, by her own admission. But she has three grown men to feed, and for the Super Bowl, they want foods they can munch on, that stick to their ribs and get them through hours on the couch. This recipe is so good, so delicious, I try so hard to resist it, but I can’t. Actually, it’s not really a recipe–choose the size pan and the amount of ingredients you need depending on your crowd and add on things you like.
- Spread a block of cream cheese across the bottom of a baking pan
- Spread a can of chili over the cream cheese
- Spread a can of green chiles over the chili
- Spread grated cheese over all of it
- Bake at 350 degrees until it is bubbly.
- Serve with dipper chips.
You could substitute your own homemade chili, you could add fresh jalapeños, sliced green onions, diced red peppers, chunks of avocado, minced cilantro or use Fritos instead of tortilla chips. Cheeses could be cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack, queso blanco, or a mix of all of these.
Grilled Ham Steaks with Pineapple Glaze
For the Glaze
- 4 TB butter
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup rum (dark rum is best)
- 1/3 cup honey or brown sugar
- 1 TB sciracha
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over medium high heat until it starts to brown, just barely. Don’t scorch the garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until it reduces to a thick syrup that coats the back of a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the Ham and Pineapple
- Cut the prickly skin off the pineapple, core it, and slice it into thick rounds, about 1/2 inch or so thick.
- Purchase a black forest ham (Whole Foods Market sells a lovely little Wellshire Farms brand ham for $9.99 or so). Slice the ham into rounds, also about 1/2 inch thick.
- Oil your gas or charcoal grill, and heat it to medium high. Grill over direct heat. Baste with the glaze and cook until you have nice grill marks and the pineapple is just releasing it’s juices.
- Cut into biscuit sized pieces or leave whole. Transfer the ham and pineapple to a platter. Garnish with a little more glaze. If you like, add a little sliced green onion and minced cilantro.
- Serve with fresh buttermilk biscuits, soft rolls, or just as it is.
Chorizo A la Sidra “Chita y Marga”, a recipe from Chef Jose Andres’ mother from the book Mom’s Secret Recipe File
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1/2 lb Spanish Chorizo*
- 1 cup hard cider**
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the chorizo and cook, turning, until very light browned, about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the cider, bring to a boil, and cook until the cider is reduced by half, about minutes.
- Add to salt to taste
- Serve in a small shallow bowl, with really good bread on the side for dipping in the sauce and manchego for a little extra flavor.
*Good Chorizo can be found at Tastings Gourmet Market, Giolitti’s and Whole Foods Market
**If you are using the little cantimpalitos (which I haven’t found in Annapolis, but I did find recently in NYC), then cook and serve whole. If you are using larger, softer chorizo, cut into 3/4 inch pieces on the bias.
Here are some other recipes you might try.
Recipes you can make in a muffin tin—Who doesn’t love bite sized party food.
Things like Pimiento Balls and Onions Rings, made healthier by the Eating Well kitchen
Apps that take 20 minutes or less to make by the folks who make everything seem just…simpler.
Recipes to use up that cartload of goodies you bought because they just sounded so good at Whole Foods Market.
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One of the greatest challenges of our participation in My Peak Challenge is being prepared. Not necessarily with snacks and water bottles and clothes. More with meals. Especially on weeknights, when I am rushing to meet deadlines, get homework done, dash out to our challenge, then get a healthy meal on the table and get everyone to bed at a reasonable time.
I do make meals in advance, but that is a post for another day. 5 times out of 10 I turn to soup.
Speaking of Soup….
Chef Zachary Pope is the executive chef at Blackwall Hitch in Eastport. He’s an average-sized guy with an enormous heart. For the past ten years, Chef Pope and Lea Hurt have organized a special event through their church to raise money for The Lighthouse Shelter. They are both so clever: its called The Soup-er Bowl and it is held every year at Heritage Baptist Church off Forest Drive on Super Bowl Sunday.
Pope and Hurt are just two volunteers in what is a congregation-and- community-wide effort. Pope prepares three soups, members of the Lighthouse Shelter Culinary Education Program serve it, and volunteers from the Heritage Baptist Church, the Naval Academy and other community activists help with everything else.
The public is invited and admission is free, but donations are requested. Lunch includes soup, salad, fresh rolls and dessert. This year Soup-er Bowl will be held Sunday, February 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Since it began in 2007, the annual SOUPer Bowl has raised thousands of dollars for the shelter.
Chef Pope offered me his recipe for Potato Soup, one he says is a big hit at The Soup-er Bowl and at home, and one I will be making this weekend as we prepare for next week’s challenge, when we will need warm energizing foods that stick to our ribs. Hint: it involves squats, sprints and deadlifts (YIKES).
Chef Pope’s Famous Potato Soup: It’s Soup-er
“Potatoes provide some of the easiest, most economical opportunities to re-task menu items. If you are baking potatoes as a side item for a big dinner, bake 3 extra to use the next day in an amazing potato soup”, says Pope. “Most ‘baked potatoes’ are the Russet variety. These brown skinned potatoes are creamy and tasty, but not too starchy or heavy. This recipe is a crowd-pleaser and extremely easy on the budget. Amounts shown will serve three people as a main course soup or four as a side”.
A large stock pot
Immersion blender or regular blender
3 previously baked potatoes diced into large chunks leaving some peel
1 small onion, diced OR 2 medium leeks (dice only the white portion after thoroughly rinsing)
2 C 2 percent or whole milk
1 celery stalk, diced
2 T butter
4 oz. water
Garnishes: real bacon bits, sour cream, shredded cheese and/or chopped chives
Melt butter in stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic, diced celery and onion (or leeks). Sweat (or sauté) the vegetables for about 1 minute until they are translucent.
Add 4 oz. water and diced baked potatoes. Increase heat. Boil (to 212 degrees) until most of the water is gone and potatoes have completely softened and broken down. The potatoes should be almost completely dissolved in the remaining water so that as you add the milk (next), the starch in the dissolved potatoes will strengthen the milk, causing the milk NOT to separate.
Add 2 cups of milk and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and add salt, cracked black pepper or a season all spice blend as needed.
Now, blend the soup to give it a smooth body and help with thickening. If you have an immersion blender, put it in the stock pot and, using slow, small circles, blend until it is mostly smooth, about 3 minutes. I think that leaving a few potato chunks will enhance the overall texture experience.
If you are using a regular blender, exercise extreme caution. Only fill your blender half full to prevent a splash of your HOT soup burning you during this step. Blend on pulse 30 seconds to 1 minute.
After blending, taste again and add seasonings if needed. You can adjust the thickness of your soup with more milk, water or a few pats of butter to add richness.
Garnish with grated cheese, chives, real bacon bits and/or sour cream. Anything you would add to a baked potato would taste great with this soup. Enjoy!
Heritage Baptist is an affiliate congregational partner of the shelter, offering support and resources throughout the year. For more information, contact the church office at 410-263-6680, or see the church web site at www.heritagebaptistannapolis.org
Please forgive me for not writing any MyPeak Challenge (MPC) updates since my original post. I have been ridiculously busy. My days are so full with assignments and new business and now this challenge, and they seem to zip by. Just when I have a moment to write, I look at the clock and see that I will have only a couple of hours to sleep before I have to be up again tomorrow.
Tonight we are warm and cozy while a blizzard blows outside, so I will take the opportunity to catch up.
Our first week of My Peak Challenge was AMAZING.
Really, amazing is the only word I can think of to describe the ambition, excitement and interest that lit up the children’s faces whenever we talked about challenges we could do, obstacles we may need to overcome and ways we could engage the community to make these next few months extra fun.
I have five million ideas churning through my mind about exactly how we might do that, some involving red, curly, Sam/Jamie wigs and others equally insane. I figure the more I tease the children about Sam/Jamie, the more likely they are to come over to my side on admiring his looks.
Although #1 did tell me last night that Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Avengers is “just dreamy, don’t you think”, so I am not sure this will ever happen. Sorry, Sam….They do admire you for your good works, if that makes you feel any better…
We decided early on one that of our official challenges would be trying something new every week. Our first adventure was ice skating. We have been skating three or four times in the past, but have never gotten much farther than hanging on for dear life to the wall. Our challenge was to let go of that wall (literally and figuratively).
It took three visits to the rink, but we all achieved this first Challenge. More importantly, we had THE BEST time doing it.
If I take anything away from our first week of My Peak Challenge, it will be to remember how truly special and necessary it is to have time with your family that is absolutely and totally joyful.
If your family is like mine, you can quickly get caught up in busy schedules, tight deadlines and appointments, petty sibling arguments, incessant whining, aggravating pickiness and a numbing sense of being tired of it all. Our Challenge Time (called a PeakStreak by MPC) was an opportunity to simply be. And to do that with each other.
We laughed, we cheered, we hugged, we held hands. It was magical.
Several things happened during our PeakStreak:
- #1 let go of her incessant quest for making everything exactly equal and fair or in her favor. She didn’t need to be the person In Charge. She was perfectly content being left alone to figure out just how she would let go of the wall and didn’t have time to worry about which kid was getting the most attention.
- #2 had no need to whine or tattle-tell, because he was too busy skating. He let go of the wall quickly and within just a few minutes was trying out spins in the middle of the rink and trying to race me whilst holding on to those horrible crutch thingies.
I say horrible because you bend over to push yourself along with them, and it all seems so nice and easy, and then you stop and try to stand up and you are frozen in place and your back simply won’t move and you wonder if you’ll be able to get off the ice without assistance. And don’t even think about your back the next day.
- I let go of my schedule, my list of To Do’s, my projects and my phone (but not my camera!!) to be completely and totally with the babies. I let myself live with and through them. I relished their smiles and had patience for whatever came. Miracle, that!
Essentially, we reconnected. And we didn’t even know that it was exactly what we needed.
Here are five ways you can find ways to reconnect and to satisfy your craving for deep-down, belly-filled, soul-satisfying time with your family:
Make a Commitment: write it down, schedule it, remind each other of it, talk about it regularly. You don’t have to get into the rationale or psychology of “Why”. You just have to make a time and stick to it.
Be Prepared: one of the hardest things for me personally was to commit to spending those precious hours that are after-school but before-dinner away from the house. We had to speed through snack and homework in order to do our challenge and be home in time for supper, showers and sleep. I found that being prepared was essential, whether that meant having snacks and gear ready to go, or coming up with meals I could ahead of time. There is no way you can relax if you are worried about everything else you need to manage. And if you aren’t relaxed, you can’t let go, push yourself toward your challenge, or have fun.
Put Away All Electronics: my kids didn’t consider me truly ready to engage with our challenge until my computer was shut down and my phone was put down. And guess what? They were absolutely right. If I got my phone out, even for a second, not only was it difficult to put back down, but also, the kids behavior nearly instantly changed and not for the better. It didn’t take long for me to assess that the greatest part of this challenge will be me getting over me and what I perceive to be a priority. That starts with disconnecting from distraction.
Don’t Judge: People are people, and people are different. Let be what will be and take the time to fully observe and appreciate that fact. You can control people as much as you can control the weather, and NO ONE is happy if you try. It’s important to take a step back and let each person achieve in their own way. You will learn so much if you do.
For example, #1 spent 3 hours skating in circles before she had the nerve to let go of the wall. It showed me how anxious she can be, but also how methodical and analytical and independent. And also it made that huge smile and glow in her cheeks and twinkle in her eye when she achieved her challenge even sweeter. So don’t put your own expectations and demands on the event. But do offer lots of encouragement and praise. Not “You are such a great skater” more “You really impress me with your willingness to try something new”, or “isn’t it fun to just laugh together”.
Wrap It All Up: We decided to journal most days of the challenge. We won’t be writing every day, but we will be talking about what we think and how we feel and what we hope to do. We won’t talk about how we could do things better, or how we would change things. We will write about that feeling of togetherness, of joy, and of being a family that has fun.Feel free to share...