Love it or Hate it?

Last Summer after setting up a She Creates Union Pop-up at Yarnorama, Emma clasped her hands together and exclaimed, “Now’s the perfect time for some Marmite!” I can honestly say that’s a sentence I’d hear before and am likely to never hear again, for that matter.

I had a taste of hers, and while I kinda liked it, it wasn’t until I saw it on the shelves at a store that I decided to grab a jar and try it for myself.

Since March I have been eating this sticky, dark brown spread on buttered toast on the regular. I’ve recently expanded my repertoire to include toast with Marmite and cheese. Fancy, I know.

Not sure why I have all of a sudden I have a taste for it, but there you are.

The packaging is so great, and it’s marketing campaign even better. “you either love it or hate it.”

PS. Speaking of spreads, try this Tex-Mex twist on a classic.

Ashley Dahlke: The Five Question Interview

Ashley Dahlke is known around here as The Cookie Farmer. Her stunning cakes and luscious cookies have become kinda famous and sought after for special occasions and community events. She is a trained pastry chef and lives near Elgin with her husband and a farm full of pigs, goats, chickens, and vegetable gardens.

Her latest venture, a 2nd Saturday Pop-Up Bakery, has been put on hold until restrictions on public congregating and flour shortages ease up.

Until you can get your hands on one of her cookies, follow her Instagram for daily dose of life on her small farm.

1. Why did you move to the Bastrop area? 

I moved to the Bastrop area with my husband to have some space. We had first moved from Alaska to Round Rock and couldn’t handle being on top of everyone else! We were able to find some land and start our little homestead in Bastrop County. 

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

The fact that there is so much more to learn and experience compels me to spend my time creating. There is a learning experience in everything and if you can create something beautiful at the same time that’s just a bonus! 

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

1.Having a sense of community is invaluable.

2. Pottery! (during my baking hiatus)

3. How to start a hobby farm and just how many buckets and hoses you need. 

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Currently making gluten free almond chocolate chip cookies, as I type actually. Reading Braiding Sweet Grass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Listening to Fair Folk podcast by Danica Child.

5. Cake or Pie?

Cake forever!! 

The Cookie Farmer on Instagram @ashley_dahlke

Pantry Raid

I was bragging a couple weeks ago about my superhero power in this blog post so I thought I’d better demonstrate said powers.

This recipe is in heavy rotation March thru September at Chez Vee*. It’s simple, fresh, protein packed and bright. The ingredients are flexible, not only to your preferences, but to what you have on hand.

Also, I guess this is really two very simple recipes.

Tuna & Chickpea Salad

5 oz chunk white albacore tuna (chunky is best, but any tuna will work)
15 oz can chick peas or cannellini beans (drained)
1/2 of a red onion (chopped)
extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1-2 lemons (bottled is fine)
Chopped Parsley (curly or flat-leaf, also fresh arugula or spinach are great)
Salt & Pepper

Directions

I a bowl, mix the chick peas, tuna, red onion and parsley with a glug or two of extra virgin olive oil and as much of the lemon juice your heart desires. Salt and pepper to taste. If serving with a salad with feta, you may want to go easy on the salt.

Serve with toasted pita, naan, flatbread, crackers, or whatever you have on hand. Or nothing, if you’re into that kinda thing,

This salad is also great as a pasta salad… just add cooked pasta (orecchiette and cavatappi are perfect) and adjust oil, lemon and seasoning. Arugula and spinach make this version even better.

Greek Tomato Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber (peeled, I sometimes leave a little stripe of skin, and sometimes scoop out seeds)
Fresh tomatoes (any kind, just sliced close to size of cucumber if not cherry)
1/4 red onion (chopped)
feta cheese (crumbled or chunks, cotija will work too)
chopped parsley (see above)

Directions

Toss all of this lightly in a bowl with either store bought greek dressing or a homemade vinaigrette. This can be as simple as some extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar or lemon juice shaken in a jar.

Rule of thumb 1:4 1 part vinegar; 3-4 parts oil

You may add fresh or dried herbs and maybe a smidgen of dijon mustard. You just want it to taste bright.

Note: I’d like to make it clear that while the Greek dressing pictured above is just fine, John the Greek Original Salad Dressing is better… but requires a 42 mile round trip. Full disclosure, I usually use store bought dressing for this salad.

Lagniappe

My friend Rachel gave me a Zyliss Herb Mill for a wedding gift and I love using it for this recipe because just hold it over the bowl, cram leaves and stems into the little hooper, give it a few cranks and it comes out just perfect for this, or for a gremolata or chimichurri. I’m not a fan of one hit wonders in the kitchen, but this tool is a favorite.

Note: Zyliss does not make this model fashioned after a french mouli anymore, but there are similar new products out there.

Norpro Deluxe Garden Parsley Chive Herb Mill 
Stainless Steel Herb Mill

Or you can treat yourself and find a beautiful vintage Mouli Parsmint on eBay or Etsy.

* Chez Vee is the nickname we gave our home. We’re dorks.