Tag Archives: food

Kickoff 2021 with Plot Against Hunger & FOUA

21 Feb

Arlington FOUA is the new official home for the Plot Against Hunger program! Formerly part of the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), Plot is a network of private home, community, and school gardens that raise fresh produce during the year to help feed our neighbors. Due to the pandemic, AFAC saw a significant increase in the number of clients needing food assistance and had to shift resources to focus on its core mission of providing free groceries to Arlington families in need in 2020. Along with growing food, Plot also supports a network of pantries that distribute the produce to clients in Arlington and parts of Alexandria. Here’s our full press release about the transition.

The Plot Against Hunger program will be a collaborative effort managed by FOUA that includes Arlington Virginia Cooperative Extension, Marymount University, Master Gardeners, Master Food Volunteers, food pantries, and individual gardens and gardeners. 

In addition to seed distribution events for participating gardens, we’re starting off the year with a big kickoff week of online events, some distanced demonstrations, and even some surprise giveaways. Here is more info, including a link to registration. If you’d like to get involved in Plot, you can contact me here or through the FOUA web site.

Please also observe my newfound design skills with this bangin’ promo poster.


A Black Eyed Pea Story (with recipe!)

4 Jan

Happy new year! Did you know that it is thought to be good luck to eat black eyed peas (a subspecies of cowpeas) on New Year’s day? I grew black eyed peas for the first time this past summer.

Late summer brought some jerk beetles to my cucumber and squash plants. Farmer Russell advised pulling the affected plants and replacing with black eyed peas ASAP. They’d help fix the soil, and then I’d be able to compost the plants and dry and eat the beans. They all sprouted within three days, and grew FAST. I tied them to the lattice that I used for the cucumbers.

photo-jan-04-11-45-36-amThe some pods were 7” long, though most were about 6”, with about 10-12 beans per pod. I let the pods stay on the plants and dry on their own before picking them. I wound up with about two cups of dried beans. I stored them in a jar with one of those silica desiccant packets.

I had rice and black eyed peas for dinner on New Year’s day. I made everything in my small crock pot and used chicken stock (salt free) that I made and pressure canned in August. Very happy with the results!

This made about 2 servings.photo-jan-04-11-55-14-am

½ cup dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight in water
½ medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups chicken stock
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Brown rice, prepared according to package directions
Green onion, chopped, or fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Drain black eyed peas, then add to a small crock pot with onion, garlic, stock, salt, and pepper. Set to low and cook for 6-8 hours until beans are tender. If you have excess liquid when beans are finished, you can add it to the brown rice when cooking. It will add some extra flavor.
Serve beans over brown rice and garnish with green onion or parsley.

My Tastiest Challah Recipe

17 Aug

This is my basic challah recipe. I found one online that I liked, and, over the course of about a year, I’ve tweaked it to make it my own. Photo Jun 17, 7 34 29 PM

Makes 2 loaves

1 tsp. honey
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast (not rapid rise)
½ cup oil
¼ cup honey
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs*
3 ½ to 4 cups flour (plus additional for sauce, if needed)
1 beaten egg for final egg wash.

(*2 eggs + ¼ cup apple/fruit sauce. Will need to add additional flour.)
(1 tsp cinnamon)
(sesame seeds or poppy seeds)
(1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or ¾ cup raisins/currants)

Dissolve honey in 1 cup warm water, sprinkle yeast on top, and let stand for 10 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t REALLY foamy, it’s stale. Use a new packet.)

Combine yeast water with oil, honey, salt, eggs (and fruit sauce if using, may need to add an additional tablespoon or two of flour) and half of the flour in stand mixer with dough hook. Beat for 1 min on low. Stir in remaining flour. Dough should be on the stickier side. Cover dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Knead on low 6-8 minutes in mixer, adding flour as needed. Dough should be smooth and elastic.

Knead in cinnamon by hand in 2-3 additions if using. Knead in chips or raisins/currants if using.

(If you’re not using a mixer, combine all ingredients and turn out onto a floured board and knead by hand for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed. Err on the side of sticky. You do not want a dry dough.)

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray or wipe with olive oil, dump dough into bowl and spray/oil top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Punch down, cover and let rise again until double, about 45 minutes.

Divide dough in half, making two loaves. Divide into even strands and braid as desired, fastening ends securely by tucking under. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm part of your kitchen until double, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with seeds, if desired. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes, until golden brown, turning the cookie sheet once if your oven is uneven. (If making 2 smaller challahs, baking time will be about 25 minutes.)

Photo Jun 17, 7 06 05 PM Photo Aug 12, 5 23 56 PM









Photo Aug 05, 5 34 12 PM Photo Aug 12, 7 49 17 PM

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