|Cooking up a way to help make a difference|
Creating memorable moments is one of our favorite parts of our work. Whether that is creating a unique dish for a couple’s wedding or executing the perfect bat mitzvah, we take pride in creating those moments within our community. We are fortunate to be able to assist Dr. Abzug as he hosts Camp Open Arms, a weeklong summer camp for children with limb differences in Monkton, MD. Since 2015, he has put on this annual camp with the goal of providing children with the opportunity to reach their potential and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
The camp gives children with brachial plexus injuries and other limb differences an opportunity to experience recreational activities in a supportive environment for the children and their families. During the week-long camp, children, ages 4 to 18 enjoy creative activities and adventures with their peers to build confidence, strength, and long-lasting friendships. This year, the camp is anticipating over 40 children from at least 6 different states. The camp even provides free lodging to out of state families.
Our team is able to help enhance their experiences by sponsoring a cooking class each year taught by our chefs, where children learn to make various items such as pizzas, crepes, cookies and cupcakes. We love being able to share cooking skills and empower the campers by helping them to make delicious bites.
Camp Open Arms is funded solely by the generosity of those who recognize the need for such an experience. If you’d like to make a gift to Camp Open Arms and help ensure that this inclusive, unique opportunity remains available for children who have limb challenges, please visit ummsfoundation.org/openarms to make a difference in a child’s life today.
Meat the Hamburger
The globalization of cuisine through trade, immigration, and travel over the past six centuries allows specialty courses of a specific country to be found in all corners of the world: East Asia’s sushi roll, Italy’s pizza, and Hungary’s goulash, just to name a few. While America has quite a few dishes to its name, being a melting pot of culture, an indubitable pillar of its culinary edifice is the hamburger.
The history of the hamburger begins in the 19th century in Hamburg, Germany, where minced meat between two pieces of bread was a cheap and common dish among the working class, but to mince the meat was incredibly arduous with limited technology. That is, until Karl Raiz invented the meat grinder in 1842, which expedited the meat grinding process to a point of efficiency that had never been seen, thus making it a commercial hit in Europe. The timing could not have been more perfect, as the Great Immigration wave of 1880-1920 brought hardworking European immigrants and their beloved sandwich to America, which was experiencing its “Golden Age of Beef”. The demand was so high that beef production evolved into an intensified American industry by the beginning of the 20th century, with numerous livestock farms popping up all over the country, and cowboys and farmers suddenly becoming the most in-demand workers. As a low-cost, low-effort dish, the hamburger quickly shed itself of its German roots and became an American culinary staple.
Not only is it a staple because of its permanent position on an All-American summer cookout menu, but also because its history is representative of the immigrants and ingenuity that built America into the competitive complex it is today–the credit for who first sold the sandwich on American soil, however, remains hotly debated. Louis Laffen of Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut has the official credit from the Library of Congress, and is still in operation today over one hundred years later. That does not quiet some in Texas, as well as those back in Hamburg, Germany from staking their respective claims on the hamburger’s invention.
While the origins of the hamburger remain a messy business, its simplicity and accessibility as a dish leverages its unparalleled impact on American industrial culture, and has also made it the perfect building block for creative, culinary liberties. Toppings have become more abstract over the past century, ranging from macaroni & cheese to an entire fried egg. Even the bun has been substituted for lettuce, aptly named the Lettuce Burger–a popular item on In-N-Out’s menu. Then there is the Sushi Burger, a fascinating clash of East Asian and American cuisine where the rice substitutes the bun, and instead of lettuce, tomato and cheese, there is seaweed, salmon, and avocado.
So as you bite into a burger at your cookout this summer, remember that what you’re tasting is the result of a century of scientific innovation, smart industry moves, and the taste buds of both immigrants and Americans alike–a considerably complicated history for a dish we take for granted in the States!
Rancho Meladuco has us wanting to set up a daily date with their dates! Dried to perfection with an irresistible caramel flavor and excellent texture, these giant, organic dates make for the perfect party shareable, or even a gift for your host–they cannot be beat. Or…can they? Say you want this incomparable date flavor, but on top of an ice cream, or pancakes? The Just Date Organic Date Syrup, sincerely created by “A Doctor & Mom” is all dates, and nothing else–”the better sugar”, as Rancho Meladuco puts it.
Rhea’s Liquid Sunshine, an apt title for a product that is the perfect, tangy concoction of lemon, salt, peppercorns, cumin, coriander, and bay laurel. We champion this as a perfect pantry addition, as it can brighten up all types of dishes in your kitchen, add radiance to your rubs for fish and meat, or infuse its incandescence with your favorite vinaigrette for a sublime summer salad. If you’re looking to acidify your dish, and your pantry, we suggest you bask in Rhea’s Liquid Sunshine.
While all of Burlap & Barrel’s spices offer a world of flavor, their latest addition, Mama O’s Dehydrated Kimchi is a standout, with its punch of spice and irresistible crunch. Burlap & Barrel collaborated with Mama O’s, a company founded by a son who just wanted good kimchi from his mom, because they know kimchi best and make it the traditional way. It’s a great snack and works well in many traditional and non-traditional ways. We continue to admire the work the Burlap & Barrel is doing. They are not just a group of spice enthusiasts, they are sustainable farmer enthusiasts. By committing to purchasing solely from these farmers that bio-dynamically and organically grow their spices with traditional techniques, they develop relationships with and between farmers all across the globe that seek only to boost their respective businesses, and also educate their buyers on the importance of sourcing and buying ethically.
Harriet’s Reading Picks: Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine by Olia Hercules Olia Hercules’ Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine is a warmly informative, loving look at the almost forgotten kitchens, or litnya kunia, of Ukraine, and the cherished recipes created in them. Summer Kitchens was first published in Great Britain in 2020. Hercules, a London-based food writer, grew up in Kakhovka, a small town in southern Ukraine, and desired to bring attention to the “practical and dreamy places” that are litnya kunia, which mainly resided in the home gardens and orchards of all Ukrainians alike. She was concerned that they would not survive much longer, and her prescience was frighteningly accurate, given Ukraine’s current struggles, which earns an even deeper appreciation for these pages, fighting to keep the tradition alive.
Ukraine is a vast country with diverse geography and coveted ancient rich soil called chernozem, or “black gold.” It is known as the bread basket of Europe, and the current war has, more than ever, highlighted its global impact on the world. The summer kitchens were used year-round: in the summer, so there’d be no additional heat in the house, in the fall for preservation, and in the colder months to prepare for winter feasts. A large masonry oven called a pich was the centerpiece of the rustic kitchen. Focusing on this unique Ukrainian building, Hercules records the cooking traditions of her cherished homeland. No waste, seasonality, and local sourcing are central to the operation of the litnya kunia.
The sizable recipe book contains seven chapters that feature engaging personal essays, recipes with thorough headnotes that make the case for Ukraine as a global culinary force, and beautiful photography. The recipes cover a lot of ground: curative broths, dumplings, lots of vegetarian and preserved foods, meats, fish, and enticing desserts like bilberry donuts.
Summer Kitchens concludes with the memories of Ukrainians Hercules personally reached out to, which leaves the reader with a special, personal narrative. The responses have intriguing titles, such as pitting cherries with a hairpin and snakeskins and dried chicken stomachs. These accounts are, to Hercules, “letters like time capsules bursting with warmth and the bittersweet longing that Ukrainians call tuga…they read like love letters to Ukraine, its kitchens, families, and childhoods.”
Chef Vitas (and his Aunt Dana)
Editor’s note regarding oysters in the summer months:
The saying ‘months that end in R’ really no longer applies to today’s oyster harvest.
In the early 1900’s people LOVED oysters. A LOT. People in New York would consume nearly 80 lbs. of oysters per year, per person. When you compare that today’s 15 lbs. of total seafood per person average, that is huge.
New York stripped Long Island Sound of all their oysters and went to the Chesapeake Bay. Millions of pounds of oysters were being shipped from Maryland to NYC on railroad cars. While on this long journey, these oysters were not refrigerated. People started getting very sick from the oysters, especially in the summer.
Nowadays, we have excellent refrigeration and the oysters are safe to eat year around. The new saying is ‘every month has an R in it, because we always have Refrigeration’.
With the development of triploid oysters that are used in farming we are in an even better place for eating oysters year around. These oysters don’t breed, so the meat stays plump all the time.
So let’s enjoy:
Ingredients:25 fresh, local oysters (rinsed, scrubbed & shucked)1 lemon, juiced6 garlic cloves, minced1 large shallot, minced
pinch of salt1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped1 1/2 stick butter1/2 loaf white bread, cubed without crust
Method1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with a large sheet of foil.2. Lay shucked oysters onto the baking sheet.3. In a large sauté pan, melt butter and add garlic, shallots and a pinch of salt. Once they begin to sweat, add the cut scallions and cook for 1-2 minutes.4. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan to stop the scallions from cooking.5. Place bread cubes in a large sealable plastic bag.6. Chop parsley to make it course and then combine with bread crumbs, mix & shake.7. Pour butter mixture over the top of the shucked oysters evenly and then sprinkle bread crumbs over the top.8. Put in the oven for 15 minutes (or until the bread is golden brown and butter sauce is bubbling.)9. Remove from oven, allow to cool & enjoy!
Click here to print the recipe.Summer Fun
Picnic perfect with Classic. Enjoy an American classic with hot dogs and hamburgers or take your taste buds to the beach with a Chesapeake Boil including Crab Hushpuppies and Tomato & Watermelon Gazpacho. Have a look at our picnic menu – our full service options can be altered to a Classic To Go event perfect for a corporate or social event.
Give us a call: 410.356.1666 or e-mail us to start planning a tasty summer celebration.
Many thanks to Megan Pitz for her contributions.
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August 1, 2022
August 2022 Newsletter: Sizzling Summer