Stone House Cakery & Cafe
Because everyone loves dessert!
My husband, Dean, and I have a long line of bakers on both sides of the family, so starting Stone House Cakery & Café was a natural. We actually started the bakery in 2009, out of necessity, after he had an accident and I lost my job. I had to find something to do to keep my sanity.
Everyone seems to be health conscious these days, but sometimes they still want to treat themselves to a delicious dessert. When they do, they want it made with the best and most natural ingredients. That’s what we try to offer at Stone House Cakery & Café with our cakes, pies, sweet breads, cupcakes, jams, jellies, rolls, bars, donuts and brownies. We use unbleached flour with no processing chemicals and pure vanilla in our baked goods. We bake everything fresh every day. If you have a special party, birthday or wedding, we can also make and decorate the cake.
Our business has grown, and we now participate in four farmers markets each week and operate a store-front bakery in Taneytown. We’ve recently hired several employees – one to help with baking, one to make sandwiches and one to decorate cakes for weddings and parties. The sandwiches are something new and we make them out of our own bread and with high quality meat.
I love unusual old recipes and some of ours date back to the 1800s. Our ‘creeping crust’ cobbler came from Dean’s great-grandmother. We changed the name because people didn’t seem to like it, but it came from the way the cobbler is made with the batter on the bottom and fruit on top and the crust creeping up over the sides. Dean’s mom used a family recipe for real minced pie, which isn’t at all like the stuff you buy in a jar. Hers was made from real meat, suet, spices, fruit and lots of liquor. Most people use bourbon but she liked to use port wine. I also have my mom’s recipes for peanut butter fudge and pound cake that came from her great-grandmother. When Dean’s mom passed, she left two huge boxes of recipes that I’m still trying to go through. Sometimes customers tell us about an old family favorite recipe and we’ll try to recreate it.
I hope our business is about more than just selling a product. We feel a commitment to our community and try to support other sustainable farmers, buying our fruit, milk, buttermilk and cream (from grass-fed cows using no hormones) and cage-free eggs from local farms. And we supported the Carroll County Economic Development mentoring program this summer, bringing in three students who wanted to learn about baking. We want to keep the tradition going into the future.
If you need to satisfy a sweet tooth, stop by to see Lois at the HCGH Farmers Market on Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m.
Lois Trout is co-owner of the Stone House Cakery & Café.
The Farmers’ Market Chef wants to be “well” and “wise” at the Farmers’ Market—and after I bring my fresh produce home! Luckily, the Glenwood Branch just had a visit from Karen Basinger, an educator with University of Maryland Extension. She taught a class on home food preservation to a group of about 14.
This is a great time of year to buy and enjoy fresh local vegetables and fruits. With good, safe food preservation practices it is possible to enjoy your produce long into the winter months. Karen was here to teach us the why and the how of canning, freezing, and drying. She explained how microorganisms that cause illness—like listeriosis and botulism—can grow if food is stored improperly. And the quality of your food will be compromised if you don’t destroy the enzymes that cause spoilage.
It’s important to use the appropriate preserving method. Low acid foods like green beans and corn require the high temperatures of a pressure canner while high acid foods like pickles can be processed in a boiling water bath. It is important to have the right equipment and to be sure it is in good working condition. At Karen’s office in Ellicott City she can test your pressure canner to assure you it is safe to use.
Maybe you don’t want to heat up your kitchen with the canning process. Freezing veggies and fruits usually requires only a quick dip in boiling water to destroy enzymes and the food is ready to chill and freeze. Be sure to use bags, boxes or wrap that is designed to keep the air out of your frozen food. You don’t want to be disappointed in January!
Drying may be the oldest method of food preservation. With a dehydrator (or your oven if you don’t mind wasting a lot of heat) you can make bright colored, chewy fruit leathers, meat jerky, dried tomatoes, and many other space-saving treats.
This is only an overview—a teaser to make you curious. To learn more, attend some of the University of Maryland Extension “Grow It, Eat It, Preserve It” workshops. The food preservation workshops are offered through the summer—if you miss this year’s watch for announcements about next year’s workshops. You can contact Karen Basinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-313-1908.
Karen also had a list of “Farmers’ Market Dos and Don’ts” – some of my favorites are:
Do bring a cooler with ice to help keep your produce fresh while you run your other errands
Do keep control of your kids and pets
Do go early in the day
Do get to know your vendors
Don’t sample anything that isn’t labeled as a sample
Don’t pinch, squeeze, drop, or peel anything you aren’t going to buy
Don’t buy more than you can use, and
Don’t forget you can always come back next week!
See you at the Farmers’ Markets!
© Dmitriy Shironosov | Dreamstime.com
“Food is a powerful arsenal against disease,” says Lynda McIntyre, R.D., L.D., an oncology nutrition specialist with Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Consuming plant-based foods, which are rich in antioxidants, helps to protect the body’s cells from damage and decrease your risk of cancer.”
HCGH Oncologist Nicholas Koutrelakos, M.D., agrees, also noting that “eating fruits, vegetables and grains that contain beta carotene and vitamin C can help prevent cancer-causing carcinogens from forming and help to reduce obesity and heart disease.”
“I encourage patients to ‘eat the rainbow;’ in other words, eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants,” says McIntyre. “Try to consume seven to eight servings of fruits and vegetables each day (three servings of fruit/four servings of vegetables). A serving size is a half cup, and you should try to eat at least one cup at every meal.”
Add Color and Spice To Your Diet
- Foods that are orange and dark green (high in beta carotene): spinach, mangoes, carrots.
- Oranges! One orange contains every anti-cancer phytochemical that has been discovered. Part of the power of the orange is in the zest – adding it to salads increases the nutrition density of that food.
- Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli and kale (four to five times per week).
- Vitamin C-rich foods daily: strawberries, citrus, mango, bell peppers, kiwi.
- A variety of fruits and vegetables – not just one color – but three to four colors.
- Plenty of fiber: 30 grams per day from whole grains, whole wheat, beans (kidney, red, lentils, garbanzo, legumes) and peas.
- A combination of foods. Certain foods can maximize nutritional impact when combined. Foods containing beta-carotene, combined with certain fats, bolster nutrition. For example, carrots dipped in hummus and sautéing spinach in olive oil increases the absorption of the beta-carotene. When we combine foods that contain iron with those containing vitamin C, the absorption of iron is increased. For example, a spinach and strawberry salad.
- Foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids. “Our bodies do not make these,” says Dr. Koutrelakos. “They have great nutritional benefit and are only found in foods that we eat, such as fish and beans.
- Herbs and spices (dried is acceptable and has more concentrated antioxidant benefit):
- Turmeric and curry are healthy additions.
- Cinnamon: Just a half teaspoon has as much antioxidant properties as a half cup of raspberries. Add cinnamon to everything you can think of – cereal, apples, coffee – and it will increase the nutrition density of your food.
- Thyme and oregano are powerful antioxidants – just a half teaspoon provides a lot of health benefits.
Beyond Fruits and Vegetables
- Eat lean protein: turkey breast and chicken breast. You can include lean red meat once a week.
- Your cooking method is important. Keep it “slow and low” temperature whenever possible. Be careful when grilling not to char.
- Marinades with lemon and rosemary or wine and beer help to decrease cancer-causing agents in grilling.
- Limit alcohol intake to three to four times per week.
- Exercise/activity is as important as diet. Studies have shown that people who are sedentary and obese are at a higher risk of getting colorectal cancer. Obesity also can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
- “Maintain a normal body weight. Seventy percent of my patients are overweight,” says Dr. Koutrelakos. “That is directly related to cancer. I am seeing cancer in younger patients, too, who are eating the wrong foods and foods that are too high in fructose (sugar) resulting in an increased body mass index (BMI).”
- Keep fat intake low. High fat intake can increase your risk of developing some types of cancers.
We all remember that special food our parents used to feed us when we were sick as kids. As adults, it seems reasonable that those same comfort foods would help us feel better as adults, but many times that is not the case. In the new age of gluten-free, anti-inflammatory, plant-based, low GI, diets all promoting health and anti-cancer benefits however, how are we supposed to know what’s right for us when we are sick?
We all know that one of the major side-effects of chemotherapy is nausea. This can lead to loss of appetite and weight loss at a time when you need those nutrients most. A healthier diet can help with those tummy troubles. Either way you look at it, a healthier diet can lead a cancer patient down the road to a faster recovery.
Some changes will be obvious. Processed and pre-packaged foods, the red velvet cheesecake at your favorite restaurant, are almost certainly bad. Others may not be so obvious. Multiple sources list vegan diets as optimal, but this is up to the individual. Cutting back on red meat is a start as many tend to find it has a metallic taste after treatment. Non-animal proteins such as beans and nuts will be easier to digest. Vegetables are going to be the most important food group for cancer patients, specifically leafy greens. Easy to digest whole grains are also important.
With all this knowledge, there are definitely some foods you can, and should, still eat.
Still not feeling great? Chemocare
has some great advice for how to prevent nausea and continue eating when you need those nutrients the most. My personal favorite for stomach problems is eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of two or three big ones.
Did you know coffee is available at the Howard County General Hospital Farmers Market? Every Friday, the Cosmic Bean Coffee Company provides a variety of flavors and blends. Owner Rob Haroth gives us a brief tutorial on coffee.
A great-tasting cup of coffee goes through many steps before it reaches your cup. Growing high-quality coffee requires patience, since it can take up to five years for a coffee tree to mature and produce its first beans. “Beans,” by the way, aren’t really beans. They are seeds of the coffee cherries and each tree produces only enough cherries for about one pound of roasted coffee per year. The cherries have to be processed to remove the surrounding fruit and protective layers to get to the beans, which must then be cleaned and classified by criteria that include size and color.
The next step is roasting, which is part art and part science and can have a profound effect on the way coffee tastes. It involves timing and monitoring at two critical points. The “first crack,” a loud popcorn sound, happens at 375° F and the “second crack,” a much faster and more frantic sound, is when you have to decide whether you will pull the beans out to let them cool or continue roasting to get a darker bean. Coffee can go through six phases during roasting: green (before roasting begins), yellow, cinnamon, city, full city, Vienna, French and Italian. In my opinion “full city” is the optimum roast for most coffees. That’s when it has reached its full flavor potential. I think Italian has too much roast flavor that can overpower the taste.
We usually bring 15-20 varietals from around the world to the markets, including coffee from Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Rwanda and more. We also sell a few of our own blends. One of my favorites is called Buddha’s Blend, because the inspiration came while I was at a Buddhist retreat and the coffees I use are from Buddhist countries like Indonesia and Viet Nam. I think Africa is probably my favorite region for coffees. Coffee from Ethiopia is very aromatic with blueberry, apricot and mango notes, and Tanzanian Peaberry has delicate citrus notes and a distinct cocoa flavor with floral hints. It is best when roasted to “city” or “full city.”
It’s good to note that some studies promote the health benefits of coffee as a heart saver, liver protector, diabetes foe and Parkinson’s fighter – so go ahead and enjoy your favorite morning beverage.
With Cosmic Bean Coffee, I really hope to enhance the enjoyment people get from the experience of drinking coffees from around the world by educating them about specialty coffees and the roasting process. I have a lot of interests and I’ve always been an entrepreneur, so some of my hobbies have turned into businesses. About ten years ago I started roasting my own coffee in a small roaster at home. I’d give it away to neighbors and friends and got a lot encouragement to try selling it at farmers markets. Coffee was something I could do part time while still working as a curriculum designer, but now I can indulge my passion for roasting coffee full time.
We know that some folks have small kitchens—maybe a starter kitchen or a kitchen downsized from a big house to an apartment—but they dream of a big country kitchen with room to store equipment to stretch the harvest season by preserving food at its healthy best. It is frustrating to see those beautiful strawberries or bountiful tomatoes and think “I’d love to make jam or sauce but I don’t have the equipment I would need or the room to store it.”
There is hope for the small kitchen–and it doesn’t require a remodel! Howard County Library System has a few books that might help you make the best of your kitchen and will show you how you can make preserves, pickles & sauces in small batches with very little special equipment.
Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins, authors of The Stocked Kitchen (2011), have a “system.” Follow their advice and their grocery list and you will free up lots of space in your small kitchen. They also include a full range of recipes that use only their pared-down list of staples.
The City Cook: Big City, Small Kitchen, Limitless Ingredients, No Time (2010), by Kate McDonough, also advocates a well-planned pantry. She also discusses the equipment needed in a well-planned small kitchen. Her shopping advice is written with New York City residents in mind, but could be applied to our area—we do have access to a rich variety of ethnic and specialty foods. A culinary school grad, McDonough includes over 90 recipes. If you like her book, try her website for more advice and a searchable recipe database.
So, you’d like to put “food in jars”–try Marisa McClellan’s book, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-round (2011). Most of her recipes are designed for boiling water bath canning which can be accomplished with only a pot on your stove that is tall enough to cover the jars you plan to use by 2 – 4 inches. Others of her recipes, like rosemary salt, pancake, bread or cake mixes in jars, homemade vanilla extract don’t require any processing at all.
Pickling is a great way to preserve a bountiful harvest. Andrea Chesman, in The Pickled Pantry (2012), has “from apples to Zucchini, 150 recipes for pickles, relishes, chutneys & more.” Her claim is that not everyone will like a particular pickle, but there is a pickle for everyone. While you are experimenting to find your favorite pickle you don’t want to have to make six quarts at a time so she writes most of her recipes for one quart batches. She also tells about an intriguing technique to preserve the overflow of cucumbers—dehydrate them, store them in airtight bags or jars for up to a year, then rehydrate them with pickle brine when you are ready to use them.
The Joy of Pickling (2009) by Linda Ziedrich has “250 flavor-packed recipes for vegetables & more from garden or market.” This is an excellent thorough book about the art & science—and joy—of making pickles. She even covers pickled apples, pumpkin, oysters and eggs.
To go beyond pickles you might like, try The Art of Preserving (2012) by Rick Field, Lisa Atwood, and Rebecca Courchesne. They cover “how to make jams, jellies, curds, pickles, chutneys, salsas, sauces and more plus recipes to use your creations.” And they also briefly review “the basics” of home canning, of fruit spreads, and of pickles. I really like that they pair a recipe for the preserves with a recipe to make, such as blackberry preserves used in blackberry cheesecake tartlets.
The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader is a classic. The newest edition is from 2002, but classics age well. Another classic is the Complete Book of Home Preserving (2006). Both of these have well-illustrated and complete instructions for all kinds of preserving; from canning to drying to freezing.
These titles are readily available at Howard County Library System. So, no matter how small your kitchen, you can get the advice you need to preserve the harvest—in small batches.