Summer’s end and a fantastic recipe with homegrown tomatoes?

I view Summer as a precious gift!  Why does it go by faster than any other season?  Does it seem to anyone else that the kids start school earlier and earlier each year?  Summer is my favorite season!  I love everything about it, the warmth, the extension of daylight, the fresh local food, the kids being home.   My fretting about Summer’s end begins around, about the 4th of July.

You might be wondering, what the heck this has to do with “cupcakes and sprinkles”?  Maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with the bakery, but we’ve been reminded of the season’s end a lot lately.  Our normally “happy go lucky” visitors come in looking sullen, contemplating the return home and back to the “grind”.  Our youngest customers, including our own children appear obviously dismayed by the thought of school days, homework, projects and schedules. What happened to the days when Summer vacation started at Memorial Day and lasted through Labor Day weekend?

This Summer, in particular, seems to have vanished.  Owning a  business in a resort town, the tourist season is obviously the busiest and we’re not complaining.  Plus, “time flies when you’re having fun”!   Our children, my niece and our parents have helped us more than ever this season, working in the kitchen, at the counter, setting up at Farmer’s Market and serving during Art Strolls.  We’ve had an absolute blast!  It’s awesome owning a business and priceless watching your family take as much pride in it as you do.

Not to be a total “downer”, of course there are many exciting things to look forward to in Berlin this Fall and Winter…Fiddlers Convention, Octoberfest, Victorian Christmas and 2nd Friday Art Strolls.  Heck, in my humble opinion, September and October are two of the best months to be on the shore.  The weather and water are still warm, the monster crowds and traffic are gone, the crabs still running.  We also have exciting, new sweets and savouries that we’re working on and “rolling out” this Fall and during the holidays.

When experimenting and testing new recipes, Summer gives us the best possibility of using homegrown, fresh, local ingredients.

Tomato Pie

Super Easy and Delicious

This season we have great farmers and gardeners provide us with some of the best tomatoes I have ever eaten.  We’ve made them “every which way, but loose” and one of our favorite recipes is a savory Tomato Pie!  So to conclude my rantings of Summer’s end on a positive note, I’m sharing this super easy recipe for all to enjoy!  Savor every last day of Summer and all of the “gifts” it has to offer.

Tomato Pie

one prepared pie crust (I would give you Shelly’s recipe, but she would kill me.)

4 large tomato

1/2 cup good mayonnaise

1-1/4 cup parmesan cheese

fresh herbs to taste

Slice tomatoes, place on paper towels and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Let rest for 30 minutes.  Prepared pie crust, prick and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese on bottom of pie crust.  Place drained tomatoes in circular pattern on top of cheese.  Add remaining cheese to mayonnaise and add chopped fresh herbs to taste.  We love the combination of basil and oregano, but you can use creative license here.  Spread this mixture on top of tomatoes and bake pie in oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.   Prepared side salad, open a bottle of wine and dinner is served!

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Buy Local…the Challenge!

Baked's Berlin T-shirt

Buy Locally in Berlin

There is a challenge in our area to go one month purchasing local food and product without buying from sources like chain supermarkets and warehouse stores.  We have accepted this challenge personally and professionally and can attest to the fact that the term “challenge” is appropriate for this project.  The fact is, some things are easier to purchase locally than others.  No matter, the fact is buying local has significant advantages whether you are interested in higher quality ingredients, stimulating the local economy and/or reducing your “carbon footprint”.

It began when Christie McDowell, owner of the Good Farm in Berlin, challenged herself this very same way last Summer. “The goal I set was to buy as direct from the producer as possible and buy nothing with preservatives or any unnecessary additives,” McDowell said. “I found the gaps in local food options, what you can get and where you can get it. I bought some of the healthy options at Ocean City Organics in West Ocean City if farmers’ markets didn’t have something”.  Bryan Brushmiller, owner of Burley Oaks Brewery which is preparing to open it’s doors on August 12th, was inspired by McDowell’s project and has joined forces to expand the challenge.  Brushmiller himself purchases rye, hops and barley from local farmers for use in his handcrafted brew.

Shelly and I have always been committed to purchasing as much locally as possible.  Not because it’s the new “buzz word” for marketing, but because it just simply seems, to us, to be the right thing to do.  When you purchase locally, ingredients are fresher and higher in quality, you stimulate your local economy and because “the goods” are not transported from hundreds of miles away, the “carbon footprint” is reduced which helps Mother Earth.

Owning a business and having to purchase product in bulk poses significant difficulty with some vendors.  Dairy has presented a challenge, although local eggs haven’t been easy to purchase on a bulk scale either. Ironically, several egg producers in the area have committed all of their product to the Whole Foods Corporation. Go figure, the “big boys” who also promote buying locally are preventing the small businesses from doing the same.  Unbleached and unbromated  flour is a whole other story.  On a positive note, fruits, veggies, beef, poultry, seafood, coffee, cheeses, honey, soaps, lotions, crafts, jewelry and of course, all natural DESSERTS, BREADS and BEVERAGES are no problem!

This challenge is raising awareness in our community and identifying the gaps, that together, we can work to fill.  Brushmiller and McDowell want anyone raising food or fishing locally who want to promote their wares to contact them at www.burlyoak.com and at www.wegrowgoodfood.com.