Food Friday: Summer Bounty

We are suddenly overwhelmed by the burgeoning of our half dozen tomato plants. We planted them early in May in the raised garden bed on the side of the house, where they would get lots of afternoon sun. We also planted a row of zinnia seedlings in the front, and another line of hollyhocks behind them, thinking the hollyhocks would provide a colorful background wall, planning ahead for my Instagram feed. We hadn’t planned on Nature running its own headstrong course.

Because of the serendipity of a week of rain, good soil, an attentive neighbor who watered when we were out of town, and a practically weedless growing environment, the tomatoes and the flowers are now enormous. In the two months since they were planted, the tomatoes have spread their wings and fully occupied the small enclosed space. There seems to be competition among the plants to see which can grown the tallest first.

And then there are the tomatoes. The tomatoes are coming in waves. In spurts, in drips, in rivulets, and in quick succession. I promise you, all I did was go out and coo at them a couple of times a week, and now they are the sorcerer’s apprentice of fruit. We have a bowl full of crimson orbs on the kitchen counter, another six or seven resting on the window sill as they ripen, and a bulging paper bag waiting to be delivered next door.

I thought we overplanted last year, when we had tomatoes, beans, peppers and basil all elbowing for space. This year the basil farm lives on the back porch, and we gave up on peppers and beans altogether. The tomatoes are rushing to the sea. The tomato cages are listing under their weight. Now it is time to get practical in the kitchen.

Yesterday I had my first tomato sandwich of the season, thinking fondly of Harriet M. Welsch, (a.k.a Harriet the Spy) the eleven-year-old snoop and scribe who carried a tomato sandwich to school every day. Living below the Mason Dixon Line as I do, I am supposed to slather on the Duke’s mayonnaise – but Hellmann’s is what was on hand. I dusted the slices of juicy tomato with a little Maldon salt and some black pepper and enclosed all that deliciousness between two slices of Pepperidge Farm bread. The result: nectar of the gods. And today I will repeat the process. But that only uses up one tomato. I need to think exponentially.

The eager beavers at Food52 have gone a wee bit overboard, I think, with their tomato sandwich variations:

Thursday night we had Tomato Pie.

On Friday night, which is Pizza Night, we will be grilling some Big Love Pizzas. The dough is rising in a big bowl, and there is plenty of basil wafting in the breeze on the back porch.

Big Love Pizzas

1 pound tomatoes, you can eyeball this, depending on how many people you are feeding – because if you need more, you know where to go.
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella

Pizza dough
Flour, for dusting
2 bunches of fresh basil leaves, torn
Garlic – at least 1 clove for each pie

Seed and chop tomatoes

Oil and then heat up the grill – we used a gas grill which has 3 bars, using the 2 outside bars. The fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds. We lowered the heat once the dough was on the grill.

Divide the pizza dough into 2 and roll it out.
Oil the side that goes on the grill.
Toss with care onto the grill.
Grill for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip with tongs.
Cover the cooked surface with tomatoes, garlic, pepperoni and mozzarella, drizzling it with a little oil.

Close the top of the grill to let the cheese melt.
The dough will rise, and when you start to smell burnt bread it is time to take it off the grill, about 3 minutes.

Add the roughly chopped basil just before serving.

Experience matters. We discovered that it is easier to combine the oil and garlic and tomatoes in a bowl first and then distribute that mixture on the pie. Lots of burned fingers resulted when putting all the ingredients on by hand.

And since it is Friday night, a celebratory glass of wine, please.

Don’t forget you can always whip up a batch of bruschetta, or make a panzanella salad, too.

We seem to have made an initial dent in our ever-growing stash of tomatoes. It looks like it is going to be a nice, long summer of fine eating.

“In this world of uncertainty and woe, one thing remains unchanged: Fresh, canned, pureed, dried, salted, sliced, and served with sugar and cream, or pressed into juice, the tomato is reliable, friendly, and delicious. We would be nothing without it.”
– Laurie Colwin

Food Friday: Metropolitan Ice Creams

It is shaping up to be a hot summer. Which is a good thing. It gives us something to reflect upon fondly when we are scraping ice off our windshields in February. Mr. Friday and I will remember the week we just spent vacationing in New York City, where the heat was hellish, the sidewalks were soft and sticky, and there was an endless parade of cooling, delicious summer ice creams forever strutting before us, beckoning us, luring us with chilly, sweet siren songs. And as good tourists, we obliged by eating as much ice cream as we could.

July is National Ice Cream Month. Thus our gobbling up ice cream was not only good manners, it was patriotic. Since we missed this week’s ticker tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes for the U.S. Women’s National Team’s victory lap, I’m glad to say we celebrated the international competition of ice creams with gusto. Cautionary tale: since coming home, I have taken my plump little self back to the gym every damn day. But it was worth it.

On our first day in New York we ambled over to the west side, up on the High Line, and under the hulk of The Vessel, the new M.C. Esher-like landmark built for photo ops and tourist initiations to pedestrian challenges. The Vessel stands in the once industrial Hudson Yards, where Long Island railroad cars are stored before they make their return journey. Now there is a sleek urban mall with hideously expensive residences which rises above the trains, in a city that already has much of the world’s chic and pricey shopping. Take heart – not every shop is as tony as Neiman Marcus or Cartier. In the lower level you will find the bustling populist world of José Andrés’s Spain.

Our first steps into Andrés’s Mercado Little Spain fed us right into colorful whorl of people, murals, maps, small plates, hams, breads, wines, food cases, and this display of ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. I could not think of anything more divine than these cubic feet of frozen delight. For a more detailed description of this Iberian food paradise, please read Rachel Sugar’s New York Magazine piece:

I admire José Andrés’s World Central project where he and his people feed folks who have been stricken by natural disasters. His good work is a lesson to us all. And so I felt justified in supporting him by buying an extravagant ice cream sandwich – before meeting friends uptown for dinner. (Mr. Friday, in the meantime, scarfed down a large plate of paella, in case you wondered.)

Another day of walking the Museum Mile found us battling Stendhal Syndrome: an overwhelming, heart-stopping abundance of gawping and wonder. What can you do? Why not have a gelato or two? After a morning spent in the Planetarium, whizzing around the universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and mingling with dinosaurs, the great blue whale and a few grizzly bears at the American Museum of Natural History, we strode across Central Park, and into the Mecca of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We walked with the Egyptians and sallied into the American Wing to pay obeisance to my favorite painting, John Singer Sargent’s Madame X. The only thing to do after that humbling experience is to find ice cream. As the crush of humanity to get into The American Wing Café was unbearable, we perched on some uncomfortable chairs wedged into the Chinese porcelain collection in The Great Hall Balcony Café and spooned up some fortifying gelato. There must surely be a special place in heaven for the inventors of ice cream! Grazie molto!

On our last night we got gussied up and strolled around the Lincoln Center complex, sad that we had not booked tickets for My Fair Lady. Instead we watched little girls in tulle tutus chasing each other around the spouting fountain, while member of various orchestras rushed by, clad in black, hauling their instruments across the marble plaza. Then we ambled north to our restaurant, Café Luxembourg, for a final night of cosmopolitan living. I had a French 75 cocktail, which is always best when served on a silver tray by an obliging waiter.

Mr. Friday had Wellfleet oysters and classic moules frites; I had steak frites, because there was not going to be any frite sharing, I can promise you. But we did split an adorable serving of profiteroles, which were made with ice cream, and not the crème pâtissière we had expected, and it was a sweet and cool way to end our vacation. Tired and happy, heady with wine and frites and sweets. We loved New York.

(And thank you very much, Chef Andrés, for this helpful culinary hint:”Buy the best quality sorbet or ice cream from a local ice-cream maker. It’s the perfect ending.”)

“What’s the use of a great city having temptations if fellows don’t yield to them?”
― P.G. Wodehouse

Food Friday: Road Trip!

It’s time to claim your fair share of the back seat. Clamber in, and be ready for quality family time. You are going to get along with your brother and no, you cannot roll the window down again. It is too stinking hot. We will get there when we get there, and not a moment sooner. Did you go to the bathroom? Do you have a book from your summer reading list? Batteries charged? Let’s go!

When I was a child we seemed to spend every summer driving up and down the eastern seaboard visiting Civil War battlefields. My father was an elementary school teacher, and had the summers off, and we were his malleable minds. Every moment was a teaching opportunity. We were grist for his mill. The best time he has was spent at the dining room table, unfurling the AAA map, plotting our routes, and showing us everything that we would be seeing. He would have loved Google Maps!

My mother was a complete bluestocking. Everything one needs to know could be learned from reading a book. Somewhere she had developed a romantic notion that picnic lunches were homemade fried chicken, hard boiled eggs and brownies, with Dixie cups of lemonade from the Skotch Kooler to wash it all down. The lunch was best when packed in shoe boxes, everything wrapped in crinkly, unmanageable waxed paper. The March girls must have had a fried chicken picnic luncheon with the Lawrence boy once, passing little paper twists of salt and pepper for the eggs. I haven’t been able to find the literary precedent. But that is what my mother thought was a good meal for a family vacation.

But when you were driving to Gettysburg from Connecticut, the brownie was gone before you reached New Jersey. The waxed paper was probably tasting delicious along about Princeton. We couldn’t pull off the interstate into a handy dandy McDonald’s then. The closest we came to fast food was an elegant evening meal at a Howard Johnson’s. Ah. Peppermint stick ice cream. Divine.

My own children fared a little better. They had McDonald’s. And an obsessive compulsive mother who loved all those cute little carcinogenic plastic boxes for Cheerios, Capri Sun juice pouches, yogurt in tubes, string cheese sticks, apples, oranges and grapes. I must have been like Charlie Brown’s friend Pigpen, with a trail of plastic recyclables following us at all times.

Things have gotten better here in the twenty-first century. We now have adorable containers that won’t kill us – I am a big fan of stainless Bento boxes. Mom is laughing at me, for using nice, safe brown, waxed-paper bags. And the snack foods are better, and easier to assemble. I won’t be sweating away in an un-air conditioned kitchen, frying up a batch of homemade fried chicken the night before our trip, and I reluctantly toss those shoe boxes into the recycling bin instead of creatively repurposing them as adorable little lunch boxes. I still call the window seat, though.

To pack up in cunning containers:
Popcorn – pop your own for heaven’s sake
Protein bars – but I won’t tell if you toss in a couple of Snickers bars
Bananas – be sure to get rid of the peels ASAP! Nothing worse than old banana smell in your car!
Carrots – excellent nutrition, easy to hurl at your brother
Grapes – ditto
Peanut butter crackers – Ritz and Peter Pan, simplicity itself
Pistachios – get the red ones and see whose fingers get the most disgusting
Trail mix – you can do this yourself, too
Cheerios – tried and true!
Slim Jims – you must have a disgusting boy in that car
Cheetos – because you are on vacation
Cookies – because you know you want some yourself
Reusable, leakproof water bottles – PBA free, of course

Civil War battlefield alternatives:,28804,2006404_2006095_2006204,00.html,28804,2006404_2006095_2006026,00.html

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
― Mark Twain

Drive carefully!

Food Friday: Farmers’ Markets

Here we are on the very first day of summer! It starts at 11:54 AM EDT today, Friday, June 21, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Are you getting ready to celebrate? School is out, the summer reading list is varied and full of challenges and delights, the shady front porch beckons with its welcoming wicker chairs and the creaky glider. Tomorrow is Saturday, a day chock-full of potential. Who wants to sleep late when it is summer vacation, and the farmers’ markets are in full swing and in all their glory?

Some of you might be lucky enough to live just a stroll or a bike ride away from the market. We have to drive about ten minutes. Last week we decided to have a Saturday road trip, and we drove an hour to try out another town’s market. There is nothing like a little Saturday car ride, with NPR playing softly in the background, as we drove in the sunshine over bridges, past farms and miles of car dealerships, tooling through little towns and hamlets. After one stop for coffee and a Diet Coke, we arrived.

I don’t care if it is 8:30 in the morning, or 3:00 in the afternoon, those wretched kettle corn vendors always stop me in my tracks. Popcorn is such a miracle and a delight, and kettle corn is insidious and always irresistible. Here is my money, give me some fillings, please. This fool soon parted with her cash, and then had the necessary energy required to walk around the couple of dozen white tents nestled under a grove of large oak trees. In the tents were tempting fruits, vegetables, flowers, crafts, live geese and bunnies, organic eggs, jewelry, seafood, and coffees. There was even a live music performance, with a little family jug band: I bet holidays at their house are raucous and joyous events!

We wandered around for a while, saying hello to the many dogs who were behaving so nicely. I fear that Luke the wonder dog might have a little too much energy for such a public outing. The other dogs all seemed inured to the passing variety of people and dogs. There were few surprises for these farmers’ market habitués, as they tagged along with their yoga pants-clad people. An ancient, white-muzzled black lab waddled after its plump, madras shorts-wearing folks. A young springer spaniel struggled to contain himself on a short pink and green leash with its young Lilly Pulitzer family. A mutt (rather like Luke) was sartorial in a pink bandana; nothing makes a dog look more jaunty, I think.

Luke would have leapt at the opportunity to gambol with his fellow dogs, scarfing spilled kettle corn, hoovering up dropped sausage biscuits, and sniffing appreciatively at little girls who walked by with ice cream cones, held temptingly low to the ground. Poor thing. Don’t tell him what he missed.

We stood in one line that snaked out of a tent and around an oak tree for some ears of corn and heirloom tomatoes. Then we found the second longest line for some new potatoes. The farmer told us as he manipulated the digital scale and calculator that he had dug the potatoes on Thursday afternoon. Pretty amazing when there is no middle man! While waiting our turn to pay we admired some produce that was unusual for us – golden beets! Gorgeous! To describe them as jewel-like is not excessively florid.

And then we got in the car, hoping that it was time for Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, as we turned toward Luke and home. We could have saved a couple of hours and just buzzed over to the grocery store to make our produce purchases, but it was a worthwhile adventure to get out and meet the folks who raise and grow and dig our food. It was a sunny beginning to summer.

Now it’s your turn. Go out to your farmers’ market tomorrow and buy some kettle corn, some home-churned ice cream and some heirloom tomatoes. Pat some dogs. And maybe you’ll try one of these recipes for those beauteous golden beets. Happy summer!

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Food Friday: Remembering Betsy Ross on Flag Day

I guess I was actually thinking about Barbara Fritchie. I am forgetting my fifth grade history lessons. Barbara Fritchie, was from Frederick, and the Whittier poem about her is from the Civil War. Betsy Ross, equally sentimentalized and linked to our nation’s flag, was from Philadelphia, where she sewed the first flag, the Stars and Stripes, in 1776. Or maybe 1777. History is a little vague about this Colonial American legend.Move to Trash

I remember reading a fifth grade-level bio about Betsy Ross, where she smartly showed George Washington (who came to her upholstery shop, to personally discuss the flag situation with her) the beauty and economy of motion required to make a five-pointed star, when he and Congress had wanted six-point stars. It was easy to trim a five-pointer out of fabric, which she demonstrated with aplomb. I suppose it is a daydream worthy of a hardworking seamstress.

Flag Day commemorates the day that the United States adopted this flag design (maybe sewn by Betsy Ross – her grandchildren waited 100 years before making their claims on the flag’s origins) on June 14, 1777. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day. And so it goes.

I have decorated our window boxes and the pots of unhappy geraniums on the front porch with lots of little American flags. I am waiting for the Fourth of July before I break out the bunting and flag swags. I am also waiting until the Fourth rolls around before I start to bake (or assemble) labor intensive flag-inspired dishes. I think Betsy Ross would agree with me – speed and efficiency are required. And so, instead, tonight Mr. Friday and I will indulge in a couple of Betsy Ross-inspired cocktails. But you might want to be a little splashier with your patriotic gestures, so here are a couple of red, white and blue recipes to get you started.

This first recipe is pretty easy, and colorful. But HUGE! If you are having a neighborhood Flag Day Fete it will be perfect. You can substitute whipped cream or vanilla pudding for the custard. Vanilla ice cream works, too. It all depends on what kind of Friday you have had. Simplify!

Betsy Ross’ Berries
3 pints cleaned raspberries
3 pints cleaned blueberries
Creamy Custard Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
4 beaten eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In large saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, sale and milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil; stir and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir a little cooked custard mixture into 4 beaten eggs; return eggs to saucepan; stir well to blend thoroughly. Stir in sour cream and vanilla; blend well. Remove custard to medium bowl, cover and refrigerate until serving. Makes 3 cups.

In large bowl, gently mix together both berries. Portion about 1/2-3/4 cup berries into individual serving dishes; top each serving with about 1/4 cup Creamy Custard Sauce. Makes 12-16 servings.

Patriotic Angel Food Cake

The Classic Fourth of July Sheet Cake

Betsy Ross Burgers – of course!

Our Flag Day option:
Betsy Ross Cocktail

2 ounces Cognac
3/4 ounce Ruby Port
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Grated nutmeg, as garnish

Shake with ice.


There is another cocktail recipe from Epicurious that calls for a raw egg yolk. Your call – but I am not inclined to try that one.

Betsy Ross (and Barbara Fritchie), we salute you!

‘“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,

But spare your country’s flag,” she said.

A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;

The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman’s deed and word:

“Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!” he said.’

-John Greenleaf Whittier

Big Veggies and Local Support of St. Michaels Farmers Market

Christmas in St. Michaels Board Members. Front Row L-R: Pat Martin, Barbara Rose. Back Row L-R: SMFM, Treasurer T. Dixon, Joan Schneider, Linda Seemans and Ginny Cornwall.

The St. Michaels Farmers Market is honored to announce support from Christmas in St. Michaels. The non-profit market supportslocally producer-only farmers market operations.  Founded in 1998, SMFM provides fresh, locally sourced foods, education and outreach and economic options for farmers and food producers.  The SMFM also participates in SNAP/EBT, WIC, FMNP and Senior Voucher programs. The market is open Saturdays in St. Michaels, at the public parking lot located at 204 S Talbot Street. 8:30-11:30 AM, through November 17, rain or shine.  For more information or to volunteer see our Facebook page at Mailing address: 606A N. Talbot St. Suite 113, St. Michaels MD.

For over 33 years Christmas in St. Michaels has provided resources to assist local non-profit groups enhance the quality of life for residents of the Bay Hundred Community.

Bountiful, Jamie Merida Interiors Announce Move to Gateway to Easton

Jamie Merida with staff

The Bountiful Interiors family of brands has announced the acquisition of a 16,000 square foot building located at the corner of U.S. Route 50 and Goldsborough Street in Easton, just across from The Country School. The property will serve as the new home of Bountiful Home, Bountiful Flooring, and Jamie Merida Interiors. Renovations are well underway and the new location is on track to open in late summer.

“We are thrilled to have found the perfect location at the Gateway to Easton,” said Jamie Merida, owner of Bountiful. “This year is our twentieth anniversary, so we have a lot to celebrate! It was the right time for us to buy a property that is large enough to house the entire company under one roof.”

Once renovations are complete, the building will feature an open floor plan with distinct areas for each part of the business. There will be a large furniture showroom for Bountiful Home, which will include much-needed space to expand the store’s selection of home accents and gifts. Bountiful Flooring will have an adjoining showroom that will allow for an expanded selection of flooring, carpet, stone and tile, and Hunter Douglas window treatments.

There are also plans to build a new mezzanine that overlooks the furniture showroom within the first year. The mezzanine will house the Jamie Merida Interiors design studio.“We’re fortunate that our interior design services continue to grow like wildfire,” said Merida. “We’re currently looking to hire new designers and need much more space for the studio. Adding the second level will really help us maximize the building’s potential.”

In addition to housing the Bountiful brands, the property will be home to Turnbridge Talbot, a new bakery and café by owners Rob Griffith and Chef Steve Konopelski. Konopelski is a pastry chef who has earned a strong local following through his flagship bakery Turnbridge Point in Denton and his many appearances on Food Network. Turnbridge Talbot will offer daily selections of pastries, breads, and cakes, as well as grab-and-go gourmet sandwiches and salads. The café will provide seating and free WiFi. Guests will also have a view of the cake decorating room where Konopelski will produce all of his couture wedding cakes.

“We’ve had customers asking for an Easton location for a long time,” said Konopelski. “We’re thrilled we can tell them that it’s finally happening!” Konopelski said the new location will not affect Turnbridge Point in Denton. “We will continue to offer all the same treats and events at our original location,” said Konopelski.

Merida said incorporating Turnbridge Talbot into the new building made a lot of sense for both businesses. “We love that our customers will be able to grab a coffee and a treat while they shop. And between interior design and cake design, there’s going to be so much creativity happening under one roof!”

Bountiful will continue to operate at its current locations in the Talbot Towne Shopping Center until the new building opens later this summer. Project updates and photos will be shared on Bountiful’s social media accounts and its website,

About Bountiful: The Bountiful family of brands includes Bountiful Home, an award-winning retailer of furnishings, home accents, gifts, and one-of-a-kind antiques and handcrafted items; Bountiful Flooring, a retail store offering flooring, carpet, stone and tile, and Hunter Douglas window treatments; and Jamie Merida Interiors, the region’s premier interior design firm. Located in Easton, Maryland, Bountiful is known for its “traditional made modern” aesthetic. The Jamie Merida Interiors design studio serves clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. The studio’s work has been featured in leading publications, such as Southern Home, Romantic Homes, Home & Design, Chesapeake Views, The Cottage Journal, and House Beautiful. Owner Jamie Merida designs a furniture and home accents collection under the brand Jamie Merida Collection for Chelsea House. For more information, please visit

DrinkMaryland Returns to the Town of Centreville

DrinkMaryland returns to Centreville on Saturday, June 15 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. The market-like event will pop up for the afternoon at Lawyers Row and Broadway. Featuring ten Maryland wineries and nineteen breweries and distilleries, this gathering is an opportunity for
consumers to explore and learn about Maryland-made products.

The 2019 DrinkMaryland event series will pop up in three Maryland cities this summer. Kicking off in Gaithersburg on June 7, DrinkMaryland makes stops in Centreville on June 15 and in North Beach on June 29. Produced by the Maryland Wineries Association and the Town of Centreville, the DrinkMaryland series brings local wineries, breweries, and distilleries together with local artisans, musicians, and food vendors.

Unlike traditional wine tasting events, the DrinkMaryland series is an open marketplace for visitors to explore. Tasting passes allowing the sampling of wine, cider, mead, beer, and distilled spirits are available to buy; though, public entry to these events is free.

WHO: Maryland Wineries Association, Town of Centreville, attending public, and media

WHAT: DrinkMaryland: Centreville

WHERE: Lawyers Row & Broadway, Centreville, Maryland 21617

WHEN: Saturday, June 15, 2019, 12:00-5:00PM

Members of Maryland Wineries Association and participating vendors can be scheduled for interviews through Jim Bauckman.

Food Friday: Green Garlic

Are you enjoying the bounty of spring vegetables and fruits? Are you rhapsodizing poetical as you cavort around the farmers’ market, gazing affectionately on new asparagus, young beans, tender strawberries and brilliant, jewel-like radishes? Have you found your way yet to the shrine of green garlic? You must search until you have achieved the bliss that comes with spring and young garlic.

There are some notable folk who do not enjoy garlic, and keep it off their menus and out of their kitchens, these poor sad, misguided creatures. The Queen, for one, cannot abide garlic. Which is why, perhaps, that at the grand state dinner at Buckingham Palace this week, this was the menu: steamed fillet of halibut with watercress mousse, asparagus spears and chervil sauce, followed by the meat course of Windsor lamb with herb stuffing, spring vegetables and a port sauce. There were no double cheeseburgers. There was no shrimp scampi. It looked as it it was delightfully bland mélange of locally raised meat and produce, without a trace amount of garlic.

Enjoy the tender, young green garlic while you can. It is deelightful. And it is not like the truculent garlic we depend on in the winter to get us through the long cold nights without Jon Snow. We need that strong, reassuring garlic in our spaghetti sauces and our beef bourguignons and garlic roasted pork chops with winter vegetables. We need heaps of garlic in the winter. But now, as we trip into summer, something lighter and more merry is in keeping. Something like the smell of onion grass when the lawn has just been mowed. Something ineffable, like the scent of warm tomatoes as you walk past the tomato patch, sneaking a peek at the burgeoning zinnias, whispering encouragement to the nascent sunflowers. We are not coping with the oppressing heat of summer just yet. Our dog still likes lying in a liquid puddle of buttery sunlight. We are enjoying the emergence of fireflies. Life is good.

I, for one, could live on this garlic bread. My apologies to Her Majesty. This is sheer genius.

I expect that this recipe will send out plenty of scented warnings, so any errant Windor-Mountbattens who are wandering by my house will keep on their royal way: Thank you, Martha.

And in case you want to explore more garlic avenues all year long, here is a handy dandy garlic cheat sheet:

“Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime…Please, treat your garlic with respect…Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screw top jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”
― Anthony Bourdain

Mid-Shore Food: Jordan Lloyd Takes Over Eagle’s Cafe

It’s not often that you hear of people going out of their way to have lunch at a golf course. But then again not many golf courses have chef Jordan Lloyd taking over the Eagle’s Café at the Hog Neck Golf Course. Featuring a new and tempting menu which ranges from pulled pork BBQ sandwiches to pasture-raised beef burger, there are two things hungry clients can count on: they’re going to get an affordable, delicious meal and, as much as possible, the produce will be locally grown and raised. That’s because Lloyd is passionate about both quality and the farm-to-table model, and he has a plan to show others in the food and hospitality companies how it can benefit both the community and local economy.

The idea probably began when he and wife Alice opened Bartlett Pear Inn Restaurant in 2009. “We never intended on being a farm-to-table restaurant,” he says. “We never thought of this as a concept. This was just our way of life. We wanted to open up a really great restaurant, and I was always taught that the way to do that is through providing the highest quality available. We do that by making sure we know where our products are coming from, and we make sure that they’re at the freshest peak value that they can be.”

But running a successful fine-dining eatery that only had 30 seats, was not making financial sense and in 2016 they decided to close the restaurant while continuing to operate the Inn. The lessons learned, however, were invaluable and ones he felt he could teach others to do. They included: how to create superior food, how to hire quality management, how to incorporate fresh local produce, and how to create the right atmosphere to attract clients who appreciated quality service. He turned his focus to Hambleton House, LLC, the contracting and consulting company he and Alice formed when they first went into business. Through Hambleton House, Jordan Lloyd would use his vision to transform the hospitality and food business, all while supporting the local economy.

After taking on a couple of DC-based restaurants. Lloyd invigorated their recipes, changed their menus, and trained new staff. The reshaped businesses picked up new customers and rave reviews. With those accomplishments under his belt, he began looking for something local that fit the scope of his dreams. It appeared when Nauti’s, the new seafood restaurant project at the Ferry Point Marina, asked him to oversee and design their kitchen operations. Despite that project being currently on hold due to permit issues, other opportunities arose as his successes became known.

The next venture was the retirement community, Londonderry on the Tred Avon. Lloyd redesigned their menus, hired a chef, and brought in Chesapeake Harvest to provide some locally sourced foods to the restaurants. Chesapeake Harvest, part of the Easton Economic Development Corporation, connects farmers to the consumers (both wholesale and retail) through an online farmer’s market that Lloyd helped create. “The carbon footprint impact with Londonderry buying local is huge, he said. “That’s thousands of dollars a year in the pockets of local farmers.” But his excitement didn’t end there. “The residents were coming to me saying, ‘Jordan, ever since you started cooking here my feet don’t swell. Ever since you started cooking here, I don’t have headaches like I used to.’ I mean, we are making real nutritional impacts with food. In the past, if their feet were swelling, they may have taken medicine. Now, it’s being helped with good nutritious food.”

Which brings us back to the Eagle’s Café at the golf course. Right now, Lloyd says, they’re able to tap into the best of what is available locally. “The café is serving Hummingbird Farm tomatoes. It has Bramble Blossoms Farm lettuces. It has Shi-Mar Farms pork shoulder. All available like good local products at a concession stand.” Affordable, locally sourced, flavorful food, served in a beautiful setting excellent has led to some fantastic feedback from clients. “It was just a matter of resetting the facility with products and a nice menu,” he says. He’s equally proud that the ‘amazing foundation of employees,’ despite all the changes, are enthusiastic and want to remain with the café.

And that’s the whole point Lloyd feels. “If you’re bringing in Hambleton House you are bringing in a company that has a constant pursuit for higher quality. We will be relentless for that pursuit because we believe that’s what makes great businesses great. The quality that they execute and that quality is not just food and beverage, but it’s also in its people and its atmosphere, and it’s in its presentation. So, it’s quality across the board is really our pursuit.

Next on their client list is Pope’s Tavern in Oxford. “I’m there to set them up with a business plan,” Lloyd says. “Really good food for sure, but on a consistent level that the staff on-site can execute consistently with quality and with understanding. For example, if they’re ever having trouble with a particular soup, I’m either going to work extra hard to train them on making it correctly, or we’re just going to change it to something easier for them to execute.”

Lloyd also sees Hambleton House’s mission as being an incubator for other businesses. Starting June 1st, Amanda Cook, a world-class pastry chef and baker will be moving into the area and starting a wholesale baking company at the Bartlett Pear Inn kitchen. Lloyd, looking at the future, doesn’t discount a storefront retail situation, but for now, the focus will be to support her on the wholesale side.

Not surprising, Hambleton House’s reach has extended beyond the restaurants and cafés. As part of a task force, Lloyd has been meeting and working with Maryland Delegates and Senators to create a state level bill called Maryland Food for Maryland Institutions. The goal of this proposal is to mandate that a percentage of all food procured by state institutions be bought from in-state farms. “Imagine how this impacts the farmers in our area,” Lloyd says. The bill is expected to become law within the year.

Stay tuned. There is much to be done and much that Jordan and Alice Lloyd would like to accomplish. “I would say our mission as a couple and as community participants is that we really do care. We care a tremendous amount about the success of the community and anything that we can do to support the efforts of our community business leaders or community aspects, we’re 100% there.”

Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.

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