Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bean-E-Fit Fundraiser for Weekend Backpacks for Homeless Kids

Bean-E-Fit is the first fundraising event for Weekend Backpacks for Homeless Kids. The event will feature Baltimore’s top chefs and their signature “bean” dishes as well as beverages and light music. Participating chefs include those from: Iron Rooster, Linwoods, Tio Pepe, Regi’s American Bistro, CafĂ© Hon, Wicked Sisters, The Elephant, The Food Market, Simply Elegant Catering, Fazzini’s Taverna, Whole Foods, Saval Foods, Hoffman and Company, Cypriana, and Zeffert and Gold Catering.

Weekend Backpacks for Homeless Kids provides backpacks with healthy food for the weekend for hungry homeless children and their families. All proceeds from the event benefit this program.

September 11, 2017

Mt. Washington Mill – Dye House
1340 Smith Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21209

$50.00 per ticket
Tickets can be purchased by calling 410-358-0181.

Weekend Backpacks for Homeless Kids mission is to provide nourishment to foster academic success for vulnerable youth in Baltimore City. In March 2015, Weekend Backpacks for Homeless Kids began filling 18 backpacks for Tench Tilghman School in Baltimore City. Currently, they are filling over 180 backpacks per week. To learn more about Weekend Backpacks for Homeless Kids, visit

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Peach Upside-Down Cake

One of Baltimore's old-fashioned bakery specialties is a yeast-raised cake topped with sliced peaches. My Mom would buy slabs of peach cake often in the summer months; she and Grandma seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. I, on the other hand, was not a fan. The cake was too bread-like and the moist peaches created a slime-like ooze that coated the top of the bread. Bleh. But I had extra peaches and Mr Minx wasn't interested in peach pie. I briefly considered making a peach tart tatin when I recalled an image I had seen on Instagram earlier in the week. Peach upside-down cake.

I used a no-fuss recipe for pineapple upside-down cake that I had made a few times in the past, I just swapped peaches for the pineapples, skipped the maraschinos, and used brown sugar in place of the toffee chips. A little cinnamon sprinkled over the peaches added a little sweet spice.

It's terrific for dessert, or with coffee for breakfast or a snack.

Peach Upside-Down Cake (adapted from Tate's Bake Shop: Baking for Friends)

3 large or 4 medium peaches
1 1/2 sticks salted butter, 4 tablespoons sliced, 8 at room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plain nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350°F.

Peel the peaches, cut in half, and remove the pit. Cut each half into thin slices and set aside.

Melt the 4 tablespoons of sliced butter and pour into in a 9" square pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter evenly. Overlap the peach slices in straight rows (three should fit nicely) and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon. If there is any peach left over, chop it up and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and 8 tablespoons of room temperature butter with an electric mixer set to high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, followed by the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the yogurt in 2 equal additions, mixing until just smooth after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Do not overmix. Stir in the chopped peach, if there is any. Spread the batter evenly over the peaches in the pan.

Bake until the top is golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the inside of the skillet to loosen the cake. Place a serving plate over the skillet, and, using pot holders, invert the skillet and plate together to unmold the cake. Serve at room temperature.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Flashback Friday - Black Bean Ragout

flashback friday graphic
This post originally appeared on on March 21, 2013.
I cook most weekends and sometimes I just don't feel like dealing with meat. Especially if everything we have in that department is frozen into a giant block in the freezer. That's when I turn to canned beans, which we usually seem to have in great quantities. My favorite is black beans, which I find to be very versatile. I've used them to make hummus, veggie burgers, and even beans and franks. This time, I was feeling especially lazy and decided on a simple ragout of beans and tomatoes, flavored with chipotle.

We had a huge jar of pickled red bell peppers in the fridge; I had bought them by mistake, thinking they were an unusually-reasonably-priced jar of regular roasted peppers. The sweet vinegar tang of the peppers worked perfectly with the beans and tomatoes, and I didn't really need to use very much other seasoning, apart from salt and pepper and a bit of smoked paprika to reinforce the smokiness of the chipotle.

I topped the ragout with poached eggs made with Kenji's technique, as seen in this video I posted the other day. They were pretty gorgeous, as evidenced by the photo above.

Black Bean Ragout

1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 canned chipotle in adobo, seeded and minced
1 15oz can chopped tomatoes and their juices
2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped pickled red bell pepper OR 1/4 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper OR 1/4 cup chopped fresh raw red bell pepper + 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar + 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper

In a 2 quart saucepan, cook onion in olive oil and a pinch of salt over medium heat until the onion is translucent and just beginning to brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle, tomatoes, beans, red bell pepper, and smoked paprika. Stir, raise heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover pot, and simmer until beans are very tender, about 45 minutes. If there seems to be too much liquid left, turn the heat up for a few minutes to allow it to evaporate. Smash mixture with a potato masher until it's a very chunky puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top each serving with a poached egg or two, or eat as a side dish. Makes a nice burrito filling, too.

Serves 4

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Farm to Chef 2017

If you've never attended a Farm to Chef competition, you're missing out on a good time. This year's event will be the 8th annual, and I can say from experience, the food gets better and better every time. Last year's contest was so dynamite, I had a hard time choosing a favorite dish.

Farm to Chef 2017 will be held on Monday, October 2, from 7:00pm - 9:30pm at the B & O Railroad Museum at 901 Pratt Street. Tickets can be purchased here. If you sign up by September 5, "early bird" tickets are $90.00 per person, after that, the cost goes up to $110.00. Attendees must be 21 years of age or older.

100% of funds raised by Farm to Chef goes to TasteWise Kids. TasteWise Kids, including their flagship program, Days of Taste, educates children about the relationship between food, farm, and the table, and the benefits of fresh foods. Last year's event had record attendance and raised well over $34,000!

If you need enticement, here are some images from 2016.

Chef's Expressions & One Straw Farm Pork Tortelloni filled with pork and ricotta topped with eggplant zalook and a frico chip  (WINNER Savory Dish Second Place AND People's Choice Best Dish First Place)

Copper Kitchen & Whistle Pig Hollow Toluca green chili chorizo, smoked egg, tomatillo salsa (WINNER Best Savory Dish First Place AND People's Choice Best Dish Second Place)

Elkridge Club & Prosperity Acres Smoked Goat Taco

Ida B's Table & Rettland Farm Pork Neck Osso Buco

Laurrapin & Third Way Farm Beet Dumpling

 Alma Cocina Latina & Three Springs Fruit Farm Watermelon Wagyu

Woodberry Kitchen & Grand View Farm Chicken Sausage Banh Mi

Alexandra's American Fusion & Prigel Family Creamery Sweet Pumpkin Lassi

The Charmery & Baltimore Orchard Project "Grow A Pear" - Brandy poached pear ice cream, pear bread pudding, pear-amel sauce (WINNER - Best Sweet Dish First Place AND Best Farm + Chef Pair)

The Corner Pantry & Cherry Glen Farm Banoffee Bar - goat cheese shortbread, banana cream, goat cheese caramel, caramelized banana, goat cheese tuile  (WINNER Best Sweet Dish - Second Place)

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