Monday, August 30, 2010

Eve's Garden Cafe and Tea Room

We took the scenic route home from Ashland through Jacksonville and the Applegate Valley.  We happened upon Eve's Garden Cafe and Tea Room and decided to stop and have a late lunch/brunch.  The garden was lovely and the food was excellent with generous portions, always a plus in my husband's mind.

I ordered the Spinach, Feta and Bacon Quiche and it was perfect.  Tasted like they had just pulled it out of the oven.  The crust was flaky and not too thick.  I am always a bit leery of ordering quiche as it is often baked ahead and then reheated in a microwave, making for a soggy, steamy crust.  This was definitely not nuked.

My husband had Lori's Scramble, a combination of eggs, asparagus, avocado, cheese, and tomatoes and he gave it a big thumbs up.

Lori's Scramble with a side of toast

I love the handkerchief window accents.

The Applegate Valley is a lovely detour from Interstate 5.  You connect back up at Grants Pass.  If you're going that way, don't miss the chance to stop by Pennington Farms and pick up some agave-sweetened jams and preserves or one of their freshly-baked pies.  I bought a jar of their Fig Conserve, which is divine spread over the top of a block of cream cheese and served with crackers.

Breakfast at Summer Jo's

Pecan-crusted French Toast 
stuffed with dried apricots and mascarpone
with real maple syrup

Well we didn't make it to Summer Jo's for an anniversary dinner (29 years!!!) but we did stop in for breakfast on our way to Ashland.  I had the French toast pictured above with a glass of lavender lemonade.  Both were outstanding and I'm going to try duplicating them at home.  Stay tuned.

 Lavender Lemonade

My husband ordered the house-made Corned Beef Hash with two poached eggs on the side (which he topped with a generous grinding of pepper before I could take a picture.)

I never tire of eating at Summer Jo's!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Garden Girl Co. at Norm Lehne Garden and Orchard

Norm and Cinda's daughter-in-law, Wendy Lehne, opened Garden Girl Co. this summer, creating value-added products using the Lehne's fresh local produce.  The list of artisan jams is enough to make anyone's mouth water: Loganberry-Tart Cherry, Marionberry-Peach, and Raspberry-Rhubarb, to name a few.  Wendy also makes salsa, pesto, and spiced hazelnuts.  And then there are the baked goods!  Muffins, old-fashioned pies, breads, and cookies and many are gluten-free!  Baked fresh daily right there on the farm.

Non-food products include unique garden benches and all-natural applewood pruning chips for grilling or smoking (no, the chips themselves are not for smoking--you know what I mean!)

This is such a fantastic way to expand the family business.  What's next?  Gift baskets for the holidays to send to our family and friends?  A full-fledged cafe with tables overlooking the farm where I can relax with an ice-cold glass of lemonade after I've picked my fill of Norm's perfectly-ripe peaches, corn or beans?  Or how about hazelnut oil???  It's incredibly expensive, hard-to-find, and usually comes all the way from France, but hazelnut oil makes an exquisite vinaigrette.  Wouldn't it be fun to buy it freshly pressed from the Lehne's very own hazelnuts?  You go Garden Girl!

This Saturday from 9-1pm Garden Girl Co. will be having an open house featuring lots of samples of baked goods, jams and specialty ice cream toppings. There will also be an apple wood smoking demo. Take some time out of your day to check it out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Umpqua Dairy Milk Recall

I was just at Sherm's planning to buy a gallon of skim milk and, lo and behold, found out there was a recall of Umpqua Dairy brand and Sherm's brand (which also comes from Umpqua Dairy) milk about an hour ago.  The refrigerator cases were bare except for a few gallons of Organic Valley milk.  The stockboy was directing people to Fred Meyer or Safeway, as they carry their own brands of milk, which do not come from Umpqua Dairy.

You can read all the details on their website here, but this is what you need to know:

The voluntary recall affects the following products purchased on or prior to Monday, Aug. 16, 2010:
• milk, half-and-half and cream with an expiration date of Sept. 5, 2010 under the Umpqua Dairy, Cascade, Great Value, Lady Lee, Market of Choice and Sherm’s brand labels;
• buttermilk under the same brand labels with an expiration date of Sept. 10, 2010, or earlier;
• Umpqua Dairy brand gallon, quarts and pints of orange juice and fruit drink with an expiration date of Sept. 15, 2010, or earlier;
• and any fluid milk product stamped with a plant code 41-62.

Consumers should dispose of any remaining milk, orange juice or fruit drink, or return unopened products for a refund at the retail location of purchase. Ice cream and other dairy products, including sour cream and cottage cheese, are not being recalled. Umpqua Dairy has also established a toll-free hotline for questions and further information at (888) 672-MILK (6455); information is also available at
Note:  This is a voluntary recall.  I use Umpqua Dairy and Sherm's brand dairy products exclusively and will, of course, continue to do so in the future.  I'm sure they are doing everything possible to prevent this from happening again.

Monday, August 16, 2010

More peaches!

Luscious Suncrest peaches are ready at Lehne's. They are open until six tonight or get here at 7:30 tomorrow morning for the best picking.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Delicious Turkey Meatballs

Beth and Kerry Olson of B & K Natural Farm in Sutherlin (541-459-0830) sell ground turkey, as well as whole chickens.  I bought a pound a few weeks ago when I was picking up my chicken order and came up with this meatball recipe.  It was a huge hit at our house.

The Olsons will be at Kruse Farms this afternoon delivering chickens and they'll have more ground turkey with them.  You don't have to pre-order the turkey; just stop by and ask for it.

Delicious Turkey Meatballs
serves 4

1 pound B & K Natural Farm ground turkey, thawed
2 slices bread (heels are great here), to be processed into crumbs
1 large sprig of fresh parsley
6 or 7 fresh sage leaves
1 farm fresh egg
½ cup heavy cream (or milk)
¾ teaspoon sea salt
a few grinds of pepper
freshly ground nutmeg (25 swipes across the grater)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil for browning
1 cup water or chicken broth (white wine might be good here, too)
½ cup sour cream

In a food processor or blender, process the bread with the parsley and sage to fine crumbs. In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly, add the cream (or milk), the breadcrumb/herb mixture, the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and onion powder. Stir to blend. Add the ground turkey, mixing thoroughly with your hands (I use rubber gloves because my hands get too cold).

Heat a tablespoon or so of butter or olive oil in a large frying pan. Using your hands or a cookie scoop, shape the meat mixture into balls about 1½ inches in diameter. Brown the meatballs on all sides; remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with 1 cup water or chicken broth (or wine), scraping up any browned bits from the bottom and sides. Return the meatballs to the pan, cover lightly, and simmer for 30 minutes. Much of the liquid will evaporate and concentrate during this time. Remove lid and stir in ½ cup sour cream just before serving. Great over brown rice or egg noodles.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Peach Pit Baskets

Picking peaches the other day reminded me of my Uncle Reggie and the peach pit baskets he made for me.

Uncle Reggie is from North Carolina and has the most beautiful southern drawl, so soothing and calming and peaceful, it's impossible to feel tense or stressed around him.  I could listen to him tell stories about his childhood all day long. 

I became fascinated with a peach pit basket he showed me years ago, so, of course, he made me one.  On subsequent visits he has graciously made one for each of my children.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Nectarines at Paris Orchards

I just ate the most deliciously sweet and juicy nectarine!  If I were on Twitter, I would tweet about it (and I would also tweet about the two cute little neighbor boys around the corner from my house who are selling lemonade right now and tell you to go buy some--kinda watery, but I can never resist a kid's lemonade stand).

My dad has been telling me all week that I need to get out there and get some nectarines because they are soooooo good this year, so I stopped by to pick "just a few" on my way home from the farmers market.  Anyone in my immediate family knows that I can never pick "just a few" of anything; I came home with eleven pounds!

Aside from fresh eating, nectarines are great for drying because you don't have to peel them.  I'm thinking a nectarine sorbet might be in the works later today, too.

Paris Orchards is at the end of Curry Road, almost to Singleton Park.  A sign shows you where to pick; another informs you that "Shiny is green.  Dull is ripe."  You weigh and pay on the honor system at the roadside scale and money box.  You won't see much fruit at first, but if you're willing to climb the trees or get on the ladders they have available, there are still beautiful nectarines to be found on the higher branches.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lehne's is now open for picking

Today was opening day at Norm Lehne Garden & Orchard.  A friend and I showed up just after 7:30 am to pick Red Haven peaches.  They don't actually open until 8:00 am, but we were the second in line waiting our turn to get into the orchard.  By the time Norm unlocked the gate there was a line of a dozen cars behind us.

Norm said (in last night's email) that it was going to be a light crop.  I think the entire two rows were picked clean within a half hour.  I forget how many pounds Cinda weighed for me, but counting the six peaches we have eaten since I got home (Kevin and I had big, juicy bowls of them and I made us each a Peach Lassi for breakfast) and the six I gave away to my dad, I picked about 60 peaches.  Perfect Peach Pie is definitely on the menu for Sunday dinner!

I also picked enough yellow wax beans, Romano beans, slender zucchini, crook-neck squash, and red beets to keep us in fresh veggies for a few days.

Slender Blue Lake beans

Norm says Suncrest peaches will be ready in a week and a half or so.  You can sign up to get on his email list if you check out his website.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sunflower Bread

 Loaves proofing.

I made nine of these sunflower-shaped Semolina Bread with Apricots and Sage loaves yesterday.  The recipe is from the original Amy's Bread, by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree.  The fresh sage in my garden was getting out of hand and this was a delicious way to use some of it up.  It made the house smell like Thanksgiving while they were baking, as sage is a key ingredient in my cornbread dressing.

The finished loaves.

The sage and dried apricots make an unusual and very tasty combination.  Every time my husband walked through the kitchen last night, he would pull another "leaf" off the loaf on the counter and pop it into his mouth.