There are numerous Farmer’s Markets in Ventura County – on Saturday alone there are four different markets all within driving distance of each other. Starting in Ventura, you have a medium size Market on the corner of Santa Clara and Palm Streets. (See my previous post in January of this year)
Another local Saturday Market in Ventura County is the one in ‘Old Town Camarillo’. This one is different from the other markets available in that it is sponsored by the Camarillo Hospice and a portion of all sales goes to this cause. The Camarillo Market is a Certified Market and is probably the largest one in the County, maybe only equal in size to the Thousand Oaks Market.
At the Camarillo Market you will find produce vendors, flower vendors and food product vendors. There is also a booth for Kettle Corn, Tamales, and Coffee. You can buy Olive Oil, Hummus and Flat Breads, and best of all, ‘Old Boney Mountain’ Hot Sauces and Grotto Dust. The Old Boney Products are produced by Jeff Losey who own the company and has named it for ‘Old Boney Mountain’ which can be found in the National Recreation Area in Newbury Park and which also can be seen from his property.
My favorite produce vendor is Underwood farms which also goes to the Thousand Oaks Market. If you miss a market day and need fresh produce, you can also go straight to the Underwood Farms in Somis and/or Moorpark, both of which are in Ventura County.
Shown below are some unusual varieties of well-known Vegetables. The Romanesco is a form of Broccoli but is certainly much more fun. Since it almost looks like a Castle, I have used in Children’s Cooing Classes when there was a ‘Kingdom’ Theme involved. Next is my favorite type of Cauliflower – Purple and Yellow or Golden. It is probably just my imagination but I do think the colored Cauliflower, especially the yellow one has more flavor than the white. This may be true because there certainly has to be more Carotene in the yellow variety and carotene does provide flavor.
Next is the Purple and Green Cabbage which is not unusual in itself, but these are so fresh and so beautiful that you cannot help purchasing them and running home to use them.
Another produce vendor that you will want to stop at is the Tomato Booth from Beylik Farms. They have Orange Tomatoes, Red Plum Tomatoes and Japanese Tomatoes. The winter variety are grown in Green Houses, but they taste as good as if they were grown outdoors.
In addition to Underwood and Beylik Farms there are numerous other Produce Vendors. There are also booths selling artisan Greens such as Kale and other Greens. One of the offerings that I love is the booth that sells Sprouts of different varieties. I especially like the Sunflower Sprouts which are great on sandwiches and in salads. Then we have the fruit vendors, selling Apples, Oranges and other Citrus fruit in addition to Strawberries (fresh picked the same day as being sold from local fields.
One of my favorite vendors is ‘Old Boney Mountain Hot Sauce Products’. Jeff Losey, who is the owner and CEO of the Company donates his profits to organizations such as the Camarillo Hospice, Wounded Warrior and Newbury Park High School Football Team. Old Boney Products are named after ‘Old Boney Mountain’ in the National Recreation Area in the Santa Monica Mountains located in Newbury Park. Jeff and his family can view Old Boney Mountain from their home where the Peppers are also grown.
There are also at least two flower vendors – one sells live plants (this particular vendor goes both to the Camarillo Market and the Thousand Oaks Market. Every Fall right before Thanksgiving, I buy my Pansy Plants from them. The price is right and the plants are beautiful. (Living in Southern California with hot summers, the Pansies do not survive beyond late Spring, so I have to replant them every year. In addition to the Pansies, they also sell Orchid Plants and other shade plants. *** There are other vendors selling cut flowers to take home to enjoy.
Last, but not least, are the prepared food vendors. One sells freshly baked Artisan Bread Products. Normally I will make my own Challah and other Egg Breads but this past Saturday I had not had the time to do so and wanted to make French for Breakfast on Sunday so I purchase a Brioche from this vendor. It was very expensive ($10.00) and cost about 5 times what it would cost me to make it (not counting my time) but it was well worth it. It was delicious and made not only great French Toast but excellent sandwiches as well.
Another Vendor sells Tamales, another sells different varieties of Hummus and Flat Breads and of course Kettle Korn. If these aren’t enough, there are also booths selling handmade crafts, such as jewelry, shell items, wood items, etc.
Take a trip out here next Saturday (or whenever you happen to be in town) and enjoy the wares at the Old Town Camarillo Farmer’s Market.
Baking is one of my favorite things to do and during the Winter Holidays I make Gingerbread Houses and I teach other people how to make Gingerbread. This past December, in addition to my classes I baked and built four different houses. One for the Cancer Support Community’s Holiday Boutique, one for a sample for my class, one for home and one as a gift. There are two ways to bake the houses – one is to cut out the pieces from the unbaked dough and the other is to bake the dough first before cutting out the pieces. The advantage of the second method is that the pieces will all fit together without additional trimming after the baking process. The disadvantage is that there are going to be a lot of sections of cookie that will not be big enough for any house, except for the chimney and how many of those do you need? Now we do love to eat the leftovers but when there are a lot of leftovers, you can only so much.
As I said, Baking is one of my favorite things to do, but another one of my favorite culinary activities is to turn leftovers into new products and that is what I did with the leftover Gingerbread pieces. I pulverized them to a fine crumb in my Food Processor and turned them into a Waffle Batter. If you like Gingerbread, then you certainly will like Gingerbread Waffles. Here is how I did it.
- Break up the leftover Gingerbread pieces into sections that will fit in your Food Processor that has been fitted with the Chopping Blade. Use the Pulse Button to break up the pieces into small pieces and then turn it on to finely chop the Gingerbread pieces. You should end up with a medium to fine crumb.
- Measure the Crumbs – 2 cups of Gingerbread Crumbs will make enough waffles for 3-4 people.
- Use your Food Processor (do not wash out the bowl) or a large mixing bowl. Beat 3 Eggs until well mixed and then add 1 1/2 cups Buttermilk and blend together.
- Combine the Gingerbread Crumbs with 1 1/2 cups of All-Purpose Flour, 1 tsp. Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger and 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda. Add to the Buttermilk/Egg mixture and Pulse, just until mixed. If doing in a bowl, with a whisk, just mix until the Ingredients are blended – DO NOT OVER-MIX! (Over-mixing Waffle, Pancake or Muffin Batter will make the product tough.
- Stir in 1/4 cup Melted Butter.
- Heat your Waffle Iron until the indicator light tells you the Iron is hot. If necessary, lightly oil or spray the surface of the Iron.
- Pour approximately 1/2 cup of Batter on each section of you Waffle Irons Grids (this will vary, depending on the size and shape of our Waffle Iron)
- Close and Bake until the steaming stops. Keep the baked Waffles warm in a low oven until you are ready to serve them.
- Serve with Fruit Compote and or Maple Syrup and melted Butter. The Waffles in the Feature Photo are served with crisply cooked bacon.
- For the Fruit Compote,I melted about 2 Tbsps. of Butter along with Brown Sugar (2-4 Tbsps.). I then added pitted and halved Cherries, Blackberries and fresh Pineapple pieces. This will work with just about any fruit – Apples are great with Gingerbread as well as Bananas, Mango or Papaya.
And this is how you use leftover Gingerbread to make Waffles! As a convenience, I have also listed the ingredients below.
2 CUPS Gingerbread Crumbs
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups Buttermilk
1/4 cup melted Butter
Baking is one of my favorite Kitchen Activities and I especially love making bread and the Winter Months are the ideal time to do it. Not only will the result be a delicious product but your kitchen and your home will be warm with the fresh fragrance of baking bread and the communal warmth your family will feel when sitting down to the table and enjoying freshly buttered bread with their meals.
I love to watch the dough raise up and the smell of freshly baking bread is indeed heavenly. When a fresh loaf comes out of the oven your taste buds perk up and your mouth waters for a slice of that hot, buttered bread!
One of my favorite type of breads is Ciabatta. Ciabatta is Italy’s answer to the French Baguette. It was created in 1982 to stop the influx of French Baguettes into Italy. The Bakers there were afraid that the use of the Baguette would hurt there business. Ciabatta is a crusty bread with a chewy inside texture. It is fairly simple to make, although it does take a little bit of time but if you do spend the time, the dough is so nice and easy to work with it is actually fun, not work to make this bread. And when you eat it with melting butter it is so good you can practically swoon over it.
So let’s go through the actual steps of making Ciabatta (the complete recipe is at Recipe for Ciabatta
- You have to make a starter that is called a Poolish. The best time to do this is the night before you plan to make the bread as it has to proof for at least 10 hours.
- Once the Poolish is proofed, add the Olive Oil and mix it in with a Dough Spatula, if you have one; if not, then use the next best tool that you have – perhaps a Wooden Spoon.
Then you add the remaining ingredients and knead the Dough; a standing Electric Mixer fitted with the Dough Hook is the best to go but if you do not have one, then just make use of your Elbow Grease and knead the dough by hand.
Finish making the Dough and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.
Next comes the fun – stretching and folding the Dough to develop the gluten. This is a four step process, although you can shorten the process by eliminating any of the subsequent stretching and folding turns. (If you do this, your bread won’t have the true Ciabatta texture – somewhat like the texture of sour dough but without the sour taste) I figure that if you are going to make the Ciabatta and if you have the time, it is well worth it to go through the whole process and not eliminate any of the stretching turns)
A – Flattened Dough before Stretching
B – Bottom and Top Folds (fold from the side closest to you)
C – Sideways Folds – fold from the right side to the middle and then from the left side over the right side fold
D – Complete fold – cover and let rest 20 minutes before flattening and folding again
Once the stretching process is finished, then you allow the dough to rest for another 50 minutes before placing it on your baking sheet for baking. The Dough can be made into a loaf or cut into rolls – whatever you do, unlike most yeast breads, do not flatten the dough – just gently transfer it to your greased and floured (use cornmeal or Semolina on the pans) baking sheets.
In the photo below left, the loaf is on a Pizza Paddle and below right, the loaf is on a Baking Stone.
The traditional way to bake Ciabatta is to place it on a greased and floured pan and bake it in the middle of the oven with a pan of water on the rack under. The steaming water helps to give the bread its chewy crust. The Baking Stone is an alternative way to bake the bread. It still comes with a nice crusty exterior.
Unlike most of the rest of the country, Sunny Southern California offers its Farmer’s Markets all year long.
One such market is the Ventura Farmer’s Market which takes place on Saturday mornings. I made a trip out there from Thousand Oaks (about 30 miles) because I needed to purchase Eggs from my favorite Egg supplier (Canyon Meadow Farms). I usually purchase the eggs from them at the Thousand Oaks Farmers Market but from the week before Thanksgiving until the week after New Years, the Thousand Oaks Farmer’s Market gets displaced because of the Holiday Season. ( The space they use is needed for parking at the Mall).
One of the Vendors at the Ventura Market included sold California Produced Olive Oils which were made from olives grown in Northern California. Their stock included sizes from pints to gallons and gift packs including cooking oils and bath and body soaps and oils. I purchased a Gift Pack of a variety of oils which ranged from mild tasting to a very strong olive taste. I am a lover of Olives and Olive Oil and I think the stronger the taste the better. I think the recipient of this gift will feel the same way. Pictured below are some of the Oils that were being sold.
When you have Olive Oil, you start thinking about Salads and the fresh lettuces and other produce that were available were irrestible. They were bright green and purple and many other colors. The lettuce was perfect for Salads and I could not resist buying several bunches. I also purchased Chinese Spinach from Underwoods Family Farm Booth. Underwoods have two locations, one in Somis on the 118 and the other in Moorpark right off of Tierra Rejada. When Ik want fresh produce, I do not have to wait for the Farmers’ Markets, however it certainly is a little bit easier for me to purchase my produce at the Oaks Farmer’s Market when it is open. Unfortunately, it is not open during the Christmas Holiday Season.
Some additional Vegetables that were being sold were Leeks, Onions, Garlic and a variety of fresh Herbs which I love to cook with!
For years now Strawberries have been grown year-round in Southern California. The varieties differ from season to season, but the taste of our locally grown berries is delicious and sweet no matter what time of year they are grown in. Even though I had recently purchased several boxes of Blackberries at our local market I still couldn’t resist the Strawberries that were on display. I only bought one box however, just for eating out of hand.
All in All, it is worth a trip to your local Farm or Farmer’s Market to get fresh, delicious produce, especially if it is grown without chemical additives and pesticides! Most of the Vendors at the local Southern California Markets have become Certified Organic Farmers which means that they do not use chemicals!
SO, LOOK, SHOP, COOK & EAT!
Below are the directions for the common method of roasting your turkey. Following is the overnight method. I have done the overnight method for over 20 years and the turkey comes out juicy, tender and delicious. An added benefit is that you don’t have to rush to get the turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving morning. One note though, this method is good if you are going to have an early dinner, say by 3 PM. If your Thanksgiving Dinner is going to be in the evening, then follow the traditional method.
Also, most recipes will tell you to roast the turkey with the breast side up – if you do this whatever fat and juices (and there won’t be much) will drip down to the bottom of the bird and into the pan. If you roast your turkey, breast side down, the juices from the dark meat (and there will be plenty) will drip into the breast. Just turn it over 1 hour before completion to brown the skin.
- Remove giblets and wash turkey inside and out.
- Rub with Olive Oil or Butter and a combination of sage, white pepper and paprika (garlic optional), inside and out.
- Stuff if desired. Close the openings to keep stuffing from falling out.
- Truss turkey by tying together the legs and wings.
- Place on roasting rack in pan, breast side down.
- Roast at 325 degrees according to the time table on package.
- One hour before it should be done, remove from the oven and turn the turkey over, breast side up.
- Return to oven and continue roasting until the breast is brown and the turkey is done. (175 degrees on meat thermometer)
- Allow to sit at least half hour before carving. (This will set the juices)
- Follow directions 1 through 5 above.
- Place in oven set to 200 degrees just before going to bed. (Preferably, not before midnight.
- About 1 ½ hours before serving time, increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees and follow steps 7 through 9 above.
Mrs. Cubbison’s Stuffing Mix
Sauté all or some of the following in ¼ lb. Butter:
Diced Onion (at least one)
Several ribs of celery, diced
You can also add a peeled and chopped apple, a little curry powder (about 3 Tbsps.), raisins or nuts and a couple of beaten eggs.
Do not add any liquid as the dressing will absorb moisture from the vegetables and the turkey.
DO NOT PUT THE STUFFING IN THE TURKEY until you are just ready to cook it.
REMOVE ALL THE DRESSING FROM THE TURKEY AFTER IT IS ROASTED. (If the dressing is left in the turkey, food poisoning can result)
Since Thanksgiving is almost here, most people are probably already purchasing their turkeys and storing them until the big dinner. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare a safe Thanksgiving Meal.
- Wash your hands before and after handling raw Turkey.
- Keep raw turkey wrapped and separate from other foods to eliminate the possibility of cross contamination.
- Don’t return cooked turkey, or any food, to a plate or container that held raw turkey.
- When finished preparing turkey, clean all working surfaces with a solution of one part bleach to four parts water. Leave solution on surfaces for 5 seconds before rinsing well with cold water.
- Cook turkey until juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a fork.
- Cook turkey at 325ºF until the internal temperature of the thigh shows 185ºF on a meat thermometer. The dark meat takes longer to cook than the white meat.
- Never leave cooked or raw turkey at room temperature for more than one hour. Refrigerate it promptly because bacteria that can make you sick grow quickly at room temperatures!
Note: These guidelines apply to all poultry products
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and while everyone is trying to think of ways to use the turkey leftover from the Holiday Dinner how about different ways in which to use Pumpkin. Pumpkin itself, does not taste particularly good but when you add spices and sugar and cream and eggs it turns into something wonderful. Here are a list of recipes featured in this blog that you can try for your own Thanksgiving Dinner or for Breakfast or Dessert on Thanksgiving Weekend.
When cooking or baking with Pumpkin be sure to use the Sugar Pie Variety. The larger Pumpkins do not lend themselves to baked or cooked recipes.
DOUBLE DUTY PUMPKIN WAFFLES
PUMPKIN MUFFINS made from the
Easy to do, just add a little more flour.
The Ravioli can be made with Pumpkin or Butternut Squash or any Squash of your choice. The dark leaves on top of the Ravioli are Sage.
The Pumpkin Pie in Pecan Crust looks dark, but it is actually not burned. In this case, the oven was too high and it baked at a much faster pace than it should have. Luckily I took it out before it was actually burned. Everyone loved it and it was gone by the end of dessert time.
To make the Pumpkin Pie in a Pastry Crust, use the same filling recipe as the Pie in Pecan Crust. Simply substitute a pastry crust of your choosing.
For the ultimate dessert try my pumpkin-cheesecake recipe
Apple Bread & Muffins: Use the Apple Bread Recipe to make Muffins as well as Bread
Pies: Apple Pies can be made as a Double Crust Pie or as a French Apple Tart
Apple Sauce: the Apple Sauce pictured is not a true Apple Sauce. The Apples have been juliened, not pureed. This gives more texture and flavor. This version of Apple Sauce is good as a condiment with Ice Cream, Cereal or on top of cake. To make the Sauce, peel and seed the Apples and then cut into Juiien strips. If you have a food processor, use the 6 x 6 Julienne Blade to cut them. Place Julienne Apples in a saucepan that is large enough to hold them along with Brown Sugar (minimum amount), some Water or Apple Juice and cook until the Apples give up their moisture and the resulting mixture is of the viscosity that you want. If you do a large quantity pack into sterilized canning jars and seal with caps and rings. Place in a kettle and cover with water to at least 1″ over the tops of the jars and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from the pot and turn upside down on a clean dish towel. Turning the jars upside down will insure that the lids will seal. If you use a pot with a rack inside that can be lifted out, this will be the safest way to remove the jars from the hot water. Let stand upside down until cool. Turn right side up and tighten the lids. Store in a cool dry place. Apple Sauce is great with Pork, Poultry and Seafood dishes.
Tarts: An easy way to make delicious, beautiful tarts is to have on hand some Puff Pastry Sheets. Peel and slice your Apples and then place on Puff Pastry that has been cut into a circle or square, whichever you prefer. Place the prepared Puff Pastry on a baking sheet – if you have Silpat, use that or just put the pastry on the ungreased baking sheet.
Layer the Apples on the Puff Pastry, being sure to leave about 1″ uncovered all the way around.
Sprinkle a little Sugar and Cinnamon on top of the Apples. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the edges have puffed up to form a rim and are a nice dark golden brown.
Remove from the oven and brush the Apples with Jelly that has been heated to melt it down to make it brushable.
Once the Jelly has set up, your tarts are ready to serve.
Use your Apples for eating, baking or cooking. Have fun and enjoy!
Do you have an Apple Tree that is a mass producer? Or do you have friends with Apples that they are trying to get rid of? If the answer to either question is yes, then here is what you can do with them. If the answer is no and you need to purchase apples, you can still use the recipes below. For convenience the recipes are listed in alphabetical order.
To make the Apple Braid you will need Puff Pastry Sheets – Sliced Apples as prepared for Apple Turnovers, a Baking Sheet and a knife.
- Peel, slice and dress the Apples as for the Turnovers.
- Lay out a large sheet of Puff Pastry (alternatively use Pie Crust) on a pastry board.
- Arrange the prepared Apples down the middle of the Pastry leaving about 2 inches at either end.
- As pictured, cut the exposed pastry into 2″ strips.
- Lap each piece over the middle, working from side to side. Fold in the ends so that the Apples are completely covered.
- Transfer to a baking pan that has been covered with baking parchment or a silpat sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, brush the Pastry with a beaten Egg White and then sprinkle with Demarara Sugar. (Coarse, brown Sugar)
- Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and is a dark golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before transferring to a serving platter or cutting board.
- To serve, cut into pieces at least 2 inches long. Best when eaten warm and is very good with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream.