Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumpkins and Cooking for Fall

The pick of the week is pumpkin. A bright, plump sugar pumpkin from Farmer Dave's. I envision that little piece of fall cored, scooped out and baked, then filled with pumpkin risotto. I usually shy away from the full pumpkin, opting instead for the canned. I've read four or five how-to's on how to make the homemade puree, so I figured I'd give it a try. It's just gorgeous, I couldn't resist.

I haven't done all my shopping yet this week. So far we're just down $15 so far this week: a pound and half of potatoes, 2 bunches of carrots, an onion from Heron Pond Farm; a bag of lettuce, pears and a pumpkin from Farmer Dave's; a beautiful loaf of bread from from the Savory Kitchen. It will go into salads all week, a pumpkin risotto, potatoes duchess, maple-glazed carrots and poached pears.

From one kind of pumpkin to another. I was lucky enough to spend my Saturday evening at the Stonewall Kitchen in York, ME. This wonderland of tastiness is only about a half hour from my home on the North Shore of Massachusetts. I've been wanting to check out their gorgeous flag ship store and take a cooking class at their Stonewall School for a while.

Jim Stott and Jonathan King started Stonewall Kitchen in 1991. They began with a small table at a local farmers' market in New Hampshire. They now own 9 stores and their products are sold all over the country.

Their York store is the flagship. It houses a massive retail store, cafe, corporate offices and the Stonewall School. I was curious, so my mom and I signed up for one of their evening classes. It was called "Autumn Favorites" and it turned out to be an awesome relaxing evening.

Now, the Stonewall School isn't your typical hands-on class. Instead, you're treated to a full meal while you watch the food you're chowing down on, get prepared step-by-step. You can sit back, order a glass of wine or beer, and prepare to get an education.

The menu included Autumn Rarebit over freshly-baked Pumpernickel Bread (heavenly), Baked Beans with an Apple-Rum Crust, Beef Tenderloin with Grand Marnier Sauce, Potatoes Duchess, and an Autumn Spice Cake, served with dulce de leche sauce and ginger ice cream. Hungry yet? You should be, it was amazing.

It's an interactive evening as well. Our instructor Linda Driver took us step-by-step through the dishes, asking for questions and comments throughout. She pointed out little tips and tricks of what to look for as yeast reacted for the bread, to the right amount of crust on the tenderloin. It was a super-relaxing evening, full of a lot of great food and laughs. You get sent home with all the recipes you just watched be created, so you can create them at home. It was a beautiful evening, I'm definitely going back! They just released their Fall/Winter schedule and it looks amazing!

Outside the Stonewall Kitchen in York, ME

Leftover Bits

A few leftover bits from this week. I sadly didn't advance in Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog. Thank you to everyone who voted for Lighter and Local. I plan on still doing what would have been Challenge 2 this week, but on my own - Massaman Eggplant Curry. There are still amazing (and many local) bloggers still in the challenge. So continue to check out their awesome creations and keep voting!

I was absolutely THRILLED to have Lighter and Local featured on website Local in Season this week. My Italian Roasted Tomato and Eggplant soup was shared with their community. Local in Season is an amazing New England website dedicated to better, in-season and local food. Check them out, they're amazing.

I've also been pondering a challenge for all the food bloggers out there for charity. A few years back, several congressmen (including MA Rep. Jim McGovern) challenged themselves to live a week on the equivalent of food stamps. It works out to be about $4.50 a day, or $31 dollars a week. Check out the details here. I think it would be fabulous for local food bloggers out there to take the challenge themselves, blog about it, and hopefully raise awareness and even some money for a local food bank or hunger organization. If you're interesting in maybe helping me organize such a thing or take part. Please email me at Pin It


Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I went to Stonewall Kitchen and definitely want to take a class there in the spring! And congrats on the LIS feature. Jon is doing great stuff on his website!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I went to Stonewall Kitchen and definitely want to take a class there in the spring! And congrats on the LIS feature. Jon is doing great stuff on his website!