A Day at The Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow

I was lucky enough  to be offered the opportunity to create a demo using some of the produce and products that Countryside Conservancy vendors had to offer.  I had a  a blast cooking for everyone and getting to know the customers that visit the Market at Howe Meadow every Saturday. It was a lot of fun sharing this recipe, especially since the customers were so enthusiastic.  It was great to be able to make that connection with people who are just as passionate as me about the food they eat.

Thank you all for visiting the demo tent and hopefully I’ll be seeing you again soon!

Special Thanks to:

Countryside Conservancy

Mackenzie Creamery

Little Beand and Larder

Avant Garden Farms and Mushroomery

For supplying amazing ingredients to work with.


Herbed Goat Cheese Grits and Eggs

This recipe was made to serve four, but can be easily scaled down to a single serving.



1 Bunch of kale, stems chopped small and leaves sliced in 1 to 1/2 inch strips

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 Medium cloves of fresh garlic, chopped fine

6 oz. Smoked uncured bacon sliced small; lardons (regular bacon works too, just be careful not to over season)

Salt and Pepper to taste


2 oz Fresh thyme sprigs

2 Fresh bayleaves

1 1/2 Cup old fashioned grits

6 Cups water

3 Tb. Mackenzie Creamery Chévre

Salt and Pepper to taste


4 Eggs

Dash of salt plus additional salt for seasoning to taste

1/3 cup Water

Pepper to taste


To start the grits, in a medium sauce pan, add the water and a dash of salt.  Tie together the thyme and bay leaf with butcher string and add to the water; bring to a boil.  Whisk in grits and turn the heat to medium-low, cooking for 15 to 20 minutes and stirring every so often. Finish by whisking in the goat cheese adding salt and pepper to taste. Make sure to remove the herbs from the pot and set the grits aside.


All produce should be washed and dry before eating.  If the mushrooms seem to be a little dirty take a clean paper towel to brush off the bits of dirt. Mushrooms shouldn’t be washed it will water log them and take away from the real flavor of the mushroom.

Begin by rendering your bacon in a large sauté pan until crispy over medium low heat.  Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel. Reserve the bacon fat in a heat safe container.  Let it sit for 30 seconds so that the fond can drop to the bottom of the container, you’ll need this bacon fat in a minute. 

Using the same pan add about an 11/2oz. of bacon fat making sure to avoid pouring in the fond. Heat the fat for about 2 minutes, and add the mushrooms browning for about 2 to 3 minutes. Finish by adding the rest of the vegetables.  If you need to use more bacon fat this is the time to add it. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour 1/3 cup of water into a small non-stick sauté pan adding a dash of salt.  Just as the bubbles start to form crack your egg into the pan.  Allow to cook covered for about a minute over medium heat.  Uncover and baste with the hot water about 11/2 to 2 minutes until the whites of the egg are fully cooked through.  Repeat the same process with the other eggs and season with salt and pepper. To plate, place some of the grits in a bowl, top with vegetables, egg and finally bacon crisps.

Shake, Shake, Shake…..


This method of peeling garlic is great.  The mess is minimal and a lot of cloves will be peeled at once so you can use them for your next recipe. 

What you need:

One bulb of Garlic

Large Mason with a Lid

15-20 Seconds of Brute Strength


Place whole bulb of garlic in a large mansion and screw the lid onto the jar.

Now shake the jar vigorously for 15-20 seconds.

Empty the garlic into a bowl.  The skins should be separated from most  of the garlic and what hasn’t fully separated is easily to peeled.  Use what you need and store the rest in an air tight container for another time.

Have Fun!

What the Kale!


Yep, I went there, but I had to because Kale is just too delicious to leave it out of my repertoire this summer.  This recipe for a Kale and Fuji Apple salad is crisp, bright and full of flavor.  It is surprisingly filling and can be served as a side dish for the barbecue season; or as a main course topped with grilled chicken breast or salmon.   With this recipe I have included a couple of pictures to help you get a better idea on how large the slices of apples and red onion should be in the salad.

Fuji Apple and Kale Salad

2 Fuji apples, core removed and sliced thin

1 Small red onion sliced thin

2 Bunches of kale de-stemmed and torn in bite size pieces

1/2 cup Golden Raisins


4 tsp Brown sugar

1/2 TB Whole grain mustard

1/2 TB Fresh thyme, finely chopped

1/3 cup Apple cider vinegar

1 cup Olive oil canola oil blend

1/2 TB kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Make sure to give your produce a rinse before you begin. 

In a large mixing bowl combine sliced red onion, apples, golden raisins and kale and store in the refrigerator.  Next, in a mason jar, combine brown sugar, whole grain mustard, thyme, cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.  Place the lid on your mason jar making sure that it is secure and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds or until emulsified.  Grab the mixing bowl from the fridge and add the vinaigrette.  Toss with a pair of tongs or with your hands; making sure that hands are washed before you toss.

Allow the salad to marinate for 15 minutes.  Before service give the kale salad another toss to redistribute the vinaigrette and you’re good to go. 


Sliced Red Onion


Sliced Fuji Apple

Another use for SauerKraut

Now a days sauerkraut has a new face.  It’s not just a floppy, opaque cabbage accompaniment  that you top a brauts with any more.  There are all sorts of new brands popping up in grocery stores now, some krauts are made from beets, or are curried.  There’s a revival of the Kimchee a Korean version of sauerkraut and  each one of these, although all throughly spicy, has their own unique flavor profile depending on who you buy from.  Small batch, local and chock full of all those great probiotics you really can’t go wrong with this product.  And with so many different kinds of kraut out there getting creative with how you use it has gotten a lot more fun!


One of my favorite brands is Cleveland Kraut.  Their kraut is delicious, crunchy, and you get more kraut and less brine with their product.  There are also a variety of krauts they offer, so, check them out at Heinens,  or you could order from them online as.  Click here for the link to take you to Kraut Heaven!  You’ll find this recipe on their site as along with other ways to use their product.

Here is a recipe that I came up with using their GNAR GNAR.  It’s a spicy twist on a Bloody Mary and since their kraut is fermented the old school way there are plenty of probiotics to help cure that hang over.



Gnarly Mary Mix

2 Large stalks of celery; thinly sliced

2 Cloves of garlic; crushed and skins removed

1 oz. Yellow onion; finely diced

3 oz. Gnar Gnar

1/2 tsp. Lemon zest

Juice of one lemon, minus the seeds

1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp Prepared horse radish

1/2 tsp Celery seed

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

24 oz. Good tomato juice

1 1/2 cups Vodka

Breaking down the first three ingredients will allow a better blended product. In a blender  purée the first ten ingredients. Using a rubber spatula scrape the ingredients to the bottom of the blender and add about 8 to 10 ounces of tomato juice.  Blend until all ingredients are finely minced.  In a large pitcher add the rest of the tomato juice and the purée you have just made and stir.  Store over night to let the ingredients meld. Stir the vodka into the pitcher the next day. Serve in tall glasses over ice with a stick of celery.

Leftover Coffee

If you’re like me, sometimes you get a little over zealous about your morning cup of Joe.  I have an idea of how much coffee I’m going to consume and sometimes what I drink will wind up being a lot less.  So, I found a solution to make use of that extra coffee that is left. 

Coffee Cubes!

All you need is an ice tray and your freezer. 

Take whatever coffee you have left over, making sure that it has cooled, and pour the liquid into an ice tray.  Freeze and you could use them in a couple of different ways. 

They’re great for iced coffee drinks if you don’t like your coffee being watered down by regular ice cubes.

Add a couple of coffee cubes, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract to a blender and blend to create an delicious frozen treat.

Finally, you can also add a little coffee flavor to a bbq sauce recipe for a new twist. 


Mint to Be

Mint is an herb with a flavor all to itself . It is strong, cool and refreshing which is nice since it’s starting to get warm in Ohio. Now a days there are all kinds of varieties that you can buy.  There’s your generic mint, which is great for making jam or using in a sauce that compliments grilled meats.  Then there are varieties that have aromatics of ginger or pineapple; they make a great addition to mojitos. Sometimes I like to dry it out to make tea which is a great pick me up if I’m feeling a little groggy.  Other times throwing a sprig of fresh mint in an ice cold glass of water on a hot summers day is just as refreshing.  However, it is “mint” to be used there are a couple of tricks that I‘ve learned that will help to extend the life of your herb. In this tip I am sharing my favorite way to store mint.  

mint in a jar

To store your herb cut the ends off of the mint as if you were preparing flowers for a vase.  Then grab a mason jar and fill it with water, about an inch.  Next, place your freshly trimmed mint in the mason jar, cover with a plastic sandwich bag and place in the refrigerator.  It lasted about 7 days in the fridge and if the water gets cloudy, which it will, just discard the old water and add new.  Storing mint this way is easy and makes it really accessible for any application.

mint in ice water

I hope you like this tip and are inspired to have many refreshing mojitos this season.


When Life Gives You Meyer Lemons


It was freaking cold, gray, and raining on and off all day.  The Akron Cleveland area was slowly transitioning into Spring and I was caught in the ugly part of that transition. I had plenty of errands to run and the last stop on the “to do list” was grocery shopping, which was also the highlight of the day.  Walking into the store, much to my chagrin, I was welcomed by a table of Meyer Lemons on sale.  I was inspired and couldn’t resist the opportunity so, I immediately snagged some of my own even though I had no idea what I was going to make.  A few days later and  the result of that happy meeting was a recipe for Lavender and Meyer Lemonade.  It was refreshing and light and I hope you enjoy this recipe with the anticipation of warm weather. 


Lavender and Meyer Lemonade


1 cup Sugar

5 cups Water

1/2 tsp. Good Vanilla Extract

1 cup Freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

Zest of 7 Meyer lemons

1 Tb. Dried Lavender

Butcher String

Coffee Filter

Small Sauce Pot


Ice Optional

Zest lemons with a microplane or the zester side of a box grater.  Place in a coffee filter along with the lavender and secure with butcher string.


On the stove in a small sauce pot combine 1 cup of water and 1cup of sugar and cook until slightly thickened to make a simple syrup.  About 3-5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and place your little bag of zest and lavender in the syrup and allow to steep for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, slice the lemons in half reserving one half for garnish. 



To juice your lemons us a reamer or a pair of closed tongs being sure to use a mesh strainer to separate the seeds from the juice.  This should yield about 1 cup.


Pour the  juice, four cups of water, vanilla extract and the lavender simple syrup into a pitcher and stir until well blended.  Slice the Meyer lemon half into coins for garnish.  Store in the fridge to enjoy throughout the week or add ice and serve share with friends and family. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.


Support Local Lady Butchers!

Delicious, nitrate free, anti-biotic free and the ingredients are sourced right here in your own back yard.  That is what what Melissa Khoury and Penny Barend are all about and are dedicated to bring you the best of what Ohio has to offer in artisanal charcuterie.

Bacon Marmalade

These lady butchers are the talent and brains behind Saucisson, a butchers boutique that is soon to find a home right Cleveland’s Slavic District.  They sell everything from cured meats and tasso, to classic terrines and bacon marmalade (which I enjoy on rye toast with eggs).  Since the start their business in 2013, it  has quickly blossomed and now they are in process of building out their own brick and mortar on Fleet Ave. 


Photo by: BurkleHagen

  They are an inspiration to me and I was fortunate enough to meet these two ladies at the CCLK just as I was starting my personal chef business, Fire and Ash. Starting a business isn’t easy and when I met them I was already running into hiccups. They could have easily ignored me and made no connection.  And I would have understood because they were a start-up and were already very busy and successful. Instead they  chose to connect. They took the time to say “hi” and encouraged me keep following my ambitions.

Right now they are seeking funds to continue to build out their shop. You can help support their dream at KickstarterLocal support matters so please join me in supporting two very talented individuals.

Sunday Sausage and Eggs

Sometimes going to the farmers’ market can be a little daunting.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the music and it’s great for people watching. Plus there are always artisans selling cool pieces and an abundance of produce to take home from all the local farms.  However, sometimes there is a little mystery as to how to use and prepare all the amazing ingredients your local farmers’ market has to offer. 

Well have no fear, Ash is here.  With this series of recipes called “Sustainable Eats” I want to show you how to prepare a  simple meal for four people while remaining on a budget.  The ingredients should cost a total of $20 or will fall under that budget. Although pricing is usually consistent it can vary a little from week to week and from vendor to vendor.   I will be sure to list the farms that vendors that I purchased from that week along with the Farmer’s Market that they are selling their product.  The only rules are that you have to have 7 ingredients always on hand.  Your staple list is as follows Kosher Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Yellow Onions, Garlic, Canola Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar (I like Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother) and  Honey. 


Sunday Sausage and Eggs

“ Sustainable Eats”

Warning!!! This is a hardy breakfast and after eating this meal you will probably need a nap. It is Sunday though so I think it will be alright. This meal came in at a grand total of $18.65 and will require a little prep the night before. 

What and Where

Although vendors are subject to change everything here was purchased at the Farmer’s Market at Howe Meadows.

Red Basket Farm

3 lbs Russet Potatoes  $3.00

1 bag Rainbow Swiss Chard  $5.00

Teahills Farms

Chicken Brats    $7.65

Peters Creek Farm

1 dozen Poulet Eggs $3.00

Total cost per person: $4.66



2 lbs Potatoes 

1 1/2 cup Yellow Onion, thinly sliced

1 Tb. Garlic finely chopped

1 cup Swiss Chard packed; cut roughly in 1inch pieces

1 package Teahills Farms’ Chicken Brats

1 dozen Pullet Eggs (3 eggs per person)


Salt and Pepper to taste

 The Night Before

Always be sure to wash fresh produce, give your swiss chard and potatoes a good rinse with cold water.  Make sure to pat you swiss chard dry.  Add the potatoes to a pot where they will be fully submerged in cold water.  I used a 6qt stock pot for this part and made sure to salt the water with 1/2 Tb Kosher salt.  Bring the water to a boil and allow the potatoes to cook until  fork tender but not falling apart.  This should take approximately 10- 20 minutes depending on the size of the potato.   Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow to cool enough for you to handle.  Cut the cooled potatoes in about 1/4 inch thick triangles.  They don’t have to be perfect.  Place potatoes in container in the refrigerator and allow to cool before covering. 


You can also, prep the onions, garlic and swiss chard the night before storing them in separate containers in the refrigerator. 



In the morning…..

Pre heat oven 350℉

Chicken Brats

Heat a 10 inch oven safe sauté pan  over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.  Lay your brats down in the pan with no oil.  The brat should sizzle as you lay it down be sure not to move it so that you can get a bit of caramelization.  Once it is caramelized you should be able to easily move the sausage and flip all your brats.  Add an 1/8 of an inch of water to the pan and place in the oven.  Sausage will take17 to 20 minutes to cook through.  You’ll know it the brats are done when the juices run clear and the inside is no longer pink.

While your brats are cooking you can start to prepare the breakfast potatoes and eggs.


Breakfast Potatoes

In a large skillet place 2oz of oil and heat over a medium high flame.  You can test the to see if the pan is ready by adding a potato. If it is rapidly sizzling add the rest of you spuds and season with salt and pepper.  Do not disturb and allow to brown for 10to 12 minutes.  Add you onions and garlic and flip you potatoes.  Turn down the heat to a medium flame and continue to cook until onions and garlic are translucent and potatoes are warmed through.  Turn off potatoes and stir in swiss chard at the end.  The heat should slight wilt the chard.   Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

At this point check and see if the brats are done.  Once done turn oven to warm and place you the breakfast potatoes inside to keep warm as well. 


Scrambled Eggs

This part of the recipe can be adjusted as needed.  If not everyone is going to eat 3 eggs for breakfast you don’t have to use a dozen eggs.

In a large bowl beat eggs, 3 Tb. of water with a whisk or fork until blended.

Heat 1 oz. of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Pour in eggs.

As eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan  using a heat resistant rubber spatula. This will begin to form large soft curds. Continue cooking – pulling, lifting and folding eggs – until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  You don’t have to stir constantly.  Remove the eggs from the heat and set aside for plating.


On a platter fan out your brats, layer on your potatoes and top with eggs.