Boston Public Market

Lucky Boston: earlier this year the city got an indoor, year-round farmer’s market housing local and regional vendors of food and farm products in the North End, right next door to the Friday-Saturday Haymarket produce market. HP hit the road a few weeks ago to visit Boston Public Market and we wanted to share a little tour with you here.

Boston Public Market

At the Boston Public Market, farmers, fishermen, and food producers from Massachusetts and throughout New England offer the public a year-round source of fresh, local food and an opportunity to taste, buy, and understand what our region has to offer.

Chestnut Farms raises grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, pork, lamb, goat, poultry, and eggs, in Central MA.

Meat counter at Boston Public Market

Inside Boston Public Market

Stillman Quality Meats is unique in that they have their own meat processing and butchering facility on-site, which spares the animals a stressful truck ride to the slaughterhouse. That translates to more ethical meat, obviously, but also more nutritious meat: the stress of transport and rough handling before slaughter cause the animals to release fear-induced adrenaline, cortisol, and steroids into their bloodstream, which humans then ingest. Yum!

Happy poultry at Boston Public Market

Happy farm at Boston Public Market

More happy beef, pork, lamb, and poultry from Lilac Hedge Farm, also in Central MA.

Happy meats at Boston Public Market

There’s much more than meat at Boston Public Market: produce, nuts, flowers, cheeses, honey, ice cream, doughnuts, beverages, chocolate…

Boston Public Market

Boston Public Market

Boston Public Market

The Kitchen at the market hosts cooking demonstrations and discussions, and non-food health offerings such as yoga and a run club.

We’d already had lunch (lobster rolls at Warren Tavern in Charlestown, a required stop when we’re in Boston), so did not try any of the prepared meals also sold at the Market, but we had a doughnut from Union Square Donuts and it was so good that it was gone before I could take a picture.

Boston Public Market is a phenomenal addition to the community and I look forward to visiting again with an empty stomach!

The Great Locavore Dinner Party Challenge

We all agree (right?) that there are environmental, societal, nutritional, and taste benefits to getting your produce and animal products from local farms, but how many locally-sourced ingredients are actually in *your* average dinner? The always-entertaining Cheenius, Mr.Dr. Cheenius, Butter Boy & Butter Babe (aka the Tiny Twosome), and friends challenged themselves with a special dinner party to see how local their cooking could get. Here’s Cheenius to tell you more…

lakeside dining

Locavores . . . eating local . . . blah blah blah local.  Cheenius and friends decided it was time to meet the challenge head-on and hold a Local Food Only Dinner.  Each guest made something that was primarily sourced from near-by foods, which gave us an interesting menu:

Local beer, wine, and cider (duh)
Baba Ganoush
Deviled Eggs
Tomato Mozarella Salad
Potatoes Au Gratin
Roasted Corn/Black Beans/Peppers/Tomato/Feta Salad
Roasted Potatoes
Blueberry Pie
Peach Honey Ice Cream

(No main dish, but did we really need one?)

local beverages

local caprese

Everything was quite tasty, especially the Potatoes Au Gratin from Butter Babe, and we were having fun (discussing Ebola, etc.) until Cheenius ruined it with . . .


She and Mr.Dr. Cheenius made everyone score their dishes as follows:

  • Grown or made yourself = 3 points
  • Grown within 50 miles = 2 points
  • From anywhere in VA = 1 point

It was a weighted average, so you had to consider the percentage each ingredient made of the whole dish, and then multiply by the point system, and then add them up.  All this on a Friday night?  Ridiculous.

corn, tomato, avocado, bean salad

local blueberry pie

Obviously Cheenius, with her own garden and eggs, won, but she graciously bestowed jars of local honey as prizes to the 2nd and 3rd place winners.  One lucky guest also won for most local human (if you count Northern VA as Virginia).

Good times, may have to make it an annual event!

Cheenius’ Big Day

Everyone loves a guest post from Cheenius! Thanks, Cheenius!

With a name like Cheenius, you’d expect someone who really knows cheese. But frankly, Cheenius has been more of a cheese dabbler than anything else. Sad. So, you can imagine her excitement when she sourced some local goat milk and decided to hold her very first CHEESE DAY!

First, somewhat sleep-deprived from the anticipation that accompanies Cheese Day Eve, Cheenius got up early to pick up the goat milk. The friendly goat owner provided Cheenius with not only a gallon of fresh milk, but some chevre and extra milk for tasting. Cheenius even got to meet Lavender, the goat who provided the milk!


After Cheenius gathered her mostly-willing Dad, Aunt, and Uncle, goat milk shooters were downed and the work began.

goat milk shooters

We assembled the ingredients, and then discussed our battle plan: One Day. Two Cheeses. We wanted to attempt a simple paneer and then if we weren’t demoralized and/or cranky, move up to a slightly more advanced feta.

cheese ingredients

cheese tools

For the paneer we basically just heated up the goat milk, added lemon juice, let the curds and whey separate, salted, and then squished it for awhile, and voila! Very-bland-but-edible cheese!!

cheese chemistry


kneading the paneer

applying weight to the paneer

[ed: there’s cheese under there. took me a sec.]

frying the paneer

Paneer-fortified, and feeling pretty darn confident, we were now ready for feta. We went with Tinkling Springs whole cow’s milk for this attempt, and then hit some tedium: a lot of chemistry, heated discussions about the best way to maintain a temperature of 88 degrees, and then long periods of just waiting.

heating the milk

Luckily, we filled the waiting periods with games of pool or Bananagrams, so no time was actually wasted. We did realize that we should have started the feta earlier, since to stick with the recipe Cheenius had to stay up late to salt the feta at the right time. We were also a little disappointed that for all that work we only got 4 turds of feta (only 2 shown; Cheenius is not an idiot, she know how to count turds).


The next day we bounced out of bed to try the perfectly salted feta, and it tasted like . . . FETA! Evidently our 5 degree temperature swings (yeah, whoever won that argument about temp control didn’t actually “win”) weren’t enough to upset this very forgiving cheese. Cheenius plans to try freezing some to see if she can make bigger batches in the future and get more turds for the same amount of work.

The unexpected bonus to the experience was that two Cheese Day byproducts, the whey and the extra goat milk, were made into Whey Bread and yogurt. Yum!

yogurt and whey bread

All in all, Cheenius was ecstatic that she finally got to live up to her name, AND she got to boss around her family for a whole day. Thank you Family! Special thanks to our goat milk provider, S.S., along with Ricki Carroll’s cheesemaking kits, and Gianaclis Caldwell’s book, “Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking.”

One last thought to leave you with, as HP always says: Remember, you’ve got a friend in cheeses!

Confessions of a reformed pescatarian

Greetings, confidants.

As you know from reading about my juice cleanse epiphanies, I have been thinking about reintroducing meat into my diet. I’ve determined that beef is my gateway drug of choice: my metaphorical gut does not want chicken, and I won’t argue with my gut (and, interestingly, chicken is the meat I gave up first when I started quitting meat back in the day), and my psyche is not ready for pig.

I knew that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right and make sure my beef was from a local, grass-fed, humanely-treated cow, so I visited JM Stock Provisions, a new local/organic/happy meat butcher in town, for an expert recommendation.

The butcher was a font of information about the benefits of eating grass-fed (including that grass-fed beef is the easiest meat for a vegetarian’s system to handle?) and talked me through a few different cuts before recommending a flat iron steak from Timbercreek Organics. I left with a lovely little 2-person steak and very specific cooking instructions to pass on to Mr HP, my trusty steak chef and staunch carnivore, who was not familiar with the cut. I was encouraged to see this article, titled “The Flat Iron Steak: Is it really the best cut of Beef?”

flat iron steak

meat-raw meat-pan

Cooking instructions were:

  • preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • salt and pepper both sides liberally
  • heat oil with a high smoke point (rapeseed oil was recommended; we used butter) in a pan to high heat
  • put meat in the hot pan for 3 minutes
  • flip over and put into the oven for a few minutes
  • remove meat to a plate with a foil tent to rest and reabsorb juices for 10 minutes
  • cut the meat against the grain and eat

meat-cut meat-cooked

I was in charge of the side, and tried a new recipe: Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream Sauce. I omitted the tallow/lard–baby steps here, people. It was SO good. Make it.

meat-zoodles meat-meal

The verdict: Steak tastes good. There were some chewy gristly bits–of course–that grossed me out, but the flavor and overall texture were pleasing enough to make me want to continue my beef experiment. I tried to keep tabs on my energy levels and athletic performance over the following couple days, and can’t really say I saw impressive physical effects from the protein punch, but I did feel happy and energized and healthy. I should make a graph.

Happy feelings chart

The above graph represents the increase in happy feelings toward steak, zoodles, and avocados I experienced following this meal. I’ve been making zoodles like mad and adding avocados to EVERYTHING.

Lessons learned: The best meat is local, humanely-treated, hormone- and antibiotic-free, grass-fed, free-range, etc, etc, etc, happy meat; everyone needs a julienne peeler for making zoodles; and avocado makes any dish better.

My favorite recipes right now

Obviously all my readers come here for the recipes, so I thought I’d share my two favorite recipes of this winter. They are both quick and easy to make, healthy, and really delicious. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

  1. Spinach and Chickpeas. Mr. HP and I had this simple dish at MoVida in Sydney last month, and it was our favorite of all the creative small plates we tried–and we tried many. (Second favorite: the flan. So good.) The menu listed the ingredients, which we noted for later research: chickpeas, spinach, garlic, cumin, paprika, sherry vinegar. Plugging those into Google yields many hits, and some background (from the Boston Globe):

    In the Andalucia region of Spain, writes Jeff Koehler in the book “Spain: Recipes and Traditions From the Verdant Hills of the Basque Country to the Coastal Waters of Andalucia,” spinach and stewed garbanzo beans (as they’re called there), are popular tapas fare. Traditionally, crusty bread is pounded with toasted garlic to make a paste, which is stirred into the dish.

    The recipes Google showed me seemed very similar, so I picked Mark Bittman‘s version. I omitted the bread, and when I didn’t have paprika on hand I doubled the cumin, which works–but it’s better with paprika. I recommend a bit of salt, too.

    This was dinner tonight:
    Chickpeas and spinach

  2. Peanut Butter Vegetarian Chili. Again, Google comes up with many search results for peanut butter chili vegetarian, but you need look no further than the first hit.  I’ve made this Peanut Butter Vegetarian Chili from Eating Bird Food several times now to rave reviews among family and friends. It’s healthy, filling, and the flavors work so well together–you don’t taste the PB or cocoa powder. Apparently I didn’t take any chili pictures but those on the recipe page are prettier than any I’d take anyway. It’s a great winter dinner!

In closing, here are some sheep:



Pescatarian no more.

I voluntarily ate half a piece of this for dinner last night:
chicken - before

(after it was cooked)

I’ve been mulling it over for a while now: perhaps if I got more protein I’d see improvements athletically and in my daily energy levels. I am loath to add to the million eggs I eat per week, and for whatever reason I don’t cook fish very often. Experimenting with chicken seemed logical, if I could get past my meat-related issues.

Saturday morning at the City Market we stopped at the Tall Cotton Farm table, our attention caught by their heritage Thanksgiving turkey advertising (is it really October already??), and left with some pastured chicken breasts for the Grand Chicken Experiment.

chicken - after

It had been about ten years since I ate chicken. Since becoming a pescatarian, my thoughts on the ethics of eating meat have evolved to the point where I have no theoretical problems with the consumption of happy (humanely treated, pasture raised, drug free), local (the farmer is accountable to the customer, and the environmental impact is small) meat. But chicken was (oddly?) the first to go when I initially quit meat, and my memories of its taste and texture have not mellowed over time, so I was nervous.

To go with the chicken, I made a hearty rainy day soup based on a Curried Butternut and Red Lentil Soup recipe, adding a ripped up bunch of Red Russian Kale leaves (locally grown, purchased at Feast) and leaving the skin on the butternut.

butternut lentil soup

Coincidentally, I had just read about Red Russian Kale in this review of the Crazy for Kale cookbook when I was browsing the produce at Feast, so I HAD to add it to my soup, and it was a great addition. Even Mr HP, who usually doesn’t appreciate it when I go off-recipe, raved about the soup.

How was the chicken, you ask? It was… ok. The taste was nice (and not how I remembered it at all!), but the chewier-than-fish consistency will take some re-getting used to. I’ll keep at it. Energy and strength gains TBD.

Local food, lovely lodging in Salem, MA

On a recent trip to Salem, MA to visit family, I was fortunate to stumble upon Scratch Kitchen in my quest to escape (what I assumed would be) crappy, uninspired food in the touristy downtown area. Scratch Kitchen

…is a quality driven restaurant with a focus on regional and local farm fresh ingredients. We feature house smoked meats & homemade bacon, breads, condiments and pickles.

We believe in helping our regional and local producers in showcasing their efforts to the best of our abilities in creating dishes that let their hard work stand forward. We also offer a fine selection of craft beers and wine.

The weather was perfect for sitting at one of the small outdoor tables, but the never-ending procession of roaring, souped-up motorcycles on the adjacent road (is this a thing in Salem??) drove us indoors.

Scratch Kitchen dining room

We enjoyed our brunch dishes: a little basket of cornbread that was so good we ate it all before I could take a picture; squash and red pepper quiche; and a big, bacony breakfast sandwich with potatoes. One warning: Scratch Kitchen doesn’t have a full liquor license, so they make their Bloody Marys with sake. Mr. HP, an optimistic sake disliker, nervously tried one sip of his and immediately exchanged it for a mimosa.

Scratch Kitchen brunch

Scratch Kitchen proudly displays the long list of local farmers and vendors they source their ingredients and products from–including eggs, meat, dairy, produce, beer, and wine–and seasonal produce they are featuring. They also make their own bread in-house and it is delicious.

Scratch Kitchen local food list

While in Salem we stayed, via Airbnb, at the House of Four Gables. The guest lodging is a basement apartment with a comfortable bed, a full kitchen and bathroom, and a backyard to die for.

House of Four Gables

Dale was a gracious host, answering all our questions on Salem activities and beaches. The price and value of this rental absolutely cannot be beat. From their Facebook page:

Enjoy amazing views from this charming lower level 2 room apartment in an 1885 Victorian Home. Located in Salem Willows, a mile from downtown Salem, it offers a fully equipped kitchen with granite countertops, stove, refrigerator and microwave, a recently renovated bath and large bedroom with queen sized bed. TV, internet and cable are also included.

If you are looking for lodging in Salem, I highly recommend contacting Dale on Airbnb.


Big Ben & Chicken Little

Hello from London! Monday puzzle: can you find the theme in the following images?

London Poultry

Buying Poultry

London Poultry

Buying Poultry

London Poultry

Buying Poultry

London Poultry

If you were clever enough to figure out the puzzle, you’re clever enough to donate to the Kickstarter for BuyingPoultry: will take the guesswork out of choosing the most high-welfare and sustainable products. Our free buying guide—available via the web and on your favorite mobile devices—is going to list every poultry producer and poultry certification (organic, free range, cage free, etc.) in America, and will tell you how they treat their animals. With you will be able to see who’s best and who’s worst in the United States, and who’s best and who’s worst in your local grocery store. We’ll list what each company can do better and make it easy for you to add your voice to the cause.

Most people eat chicken without knowing that poultry endure the worst conditions of all food animals. Help BuyingPoultry get the word out by supporting their campaign, and help yourself find ethical poultry in your area!

Buzzy’s Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Mulberry Crumble Surprise

Guest post from our favorite backyard farmer, Buzzy! Thanks, Buzzy!


Readers of Haute Pasture know how much Buzzy enjoys local food, with of course the pinnacle being food from your own backyard.  Buzzy noticed her mulberry tree was fruiting, so she picked a few and made up a recipe to try:

Buzzy’s Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Mulberry Crumble Surprise

cup of mulberries
honey (Buzzy feels like it’s technically not sugar if you’re a beekeeper)
4 packets of Stevia
Gluten-free flour (That’s the mystery!  It’s unclear whether the unmarked flour in Buzzy’s pantry was rice or teff or something similar.  Can you feel the drama building??)

Take two ramekins and fill the bottom of each with 1/2 cup of mulberries.  Drizzle a little bit of honey on top.  Separately, mix the butter, stevia, and mystery flour until you get a crumbly consistency.  Sprinkle on top of each ramekin and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Result:  A very subtle berry crumble with just a hint of sweetness.  Quite tasty!  Not sure you can improve on perfection, but using almond flour and adding finely chopped pecans could make this into Buzzy’s Hall of Fame.


Week 2 Part II in Halifax. Road trip!

Day 4, Friday

Random musings while walking to my trusty internet connection at Paper Chase for morning meetings:

I’ll spare you yet another picture of my view from my desk at PC, where I had multiple Skype meetings with nary an internet hiccup. Lunch: Friday is the International Market at the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market. Legit cool thing, or marketing ploy aimed at the cruise ship crowd? I’m on the case. And… it didn’t really seem any different from the last time I was there, which was not a Friday, except busier, due to the two cruise ships docked outside. Except for the enormous pumpkin, which will be carved [alas, I misread… just on display through] Sunday as part of the Pumpkin Crazy Pumpkin Festival. Pumpkin Crazy Pumpkin Festival

The sign says, “Please refrain from climbing the pumpkin.” Ha! Also amusing: tourists photographing the Samuel Cunard statue in front of the cruise ship. Samuel Cunard

It was incredibly gorgeous outside, so I strolled down the waterfront people watching and targeting Pete’s ToGoGo for a salad and maybe some soup. [I really wanted to stop at a waterfront cafe and have a glass of wine on the patio.] Halifax waterfront

Note to future self: Pete’s ToGoGo is open until 4, but at 3 they break down their salad and soup stations. My sunshine-slowed stroll made me too late for a salad. Plan C: the Nomad Gourmet truck parks on Argyle at lunch… but he was gone. [I really wanted to stop at an Argyle restaurant and have a glass of beer on the patio.] Plan D: leftovers at home. Woe is me. So how did I alleviate my sorrows? Oh yes: Steve-O-Reno's Eight Balls

As fabulous as last time I indulged. Dinner: Tried Brooklyn Warehouse, which won Best Restaurant in the Coast Best Of Halifax awards. Their motto: Eat Local. Shop Local. Visit a Farm. My kind of place! Brooklyn Warehouse

Loved the dark, chill ambiance (they also won Best Atmosphere), and all in my party agreed that the food was delicious, if a bit heavy. We were stuffed when we left, but not too full to stop for a drink on the way home at Jane’s on the Common. Sadly [sarcasm], Jane’s only lets you drink if you’re eating too, so we got desserts, which were fabulous (as were the fancy cocktails). So sad they’re closing at the end of the year.

Day 5, Saturday

All participants of last night’s dinner outing had baaad stomach problems overnight and into the next day. The only thing we all ate in common was the tuna tartare dish at Brooklyn Warehouse. We called to let them know there might be something wrong with the dish, and to see if anyone else had reported similar problems (the person who answered thought not), but, oddly, the manager did not deem our problems worthy of a return phone call. Harrumph. Unthwarted, we bundled our sour stomachs into our trusty weekend rental car and hit the road for Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site about an hour and a half from Halifax, as the crow flies. We took the less-direct Lighthouse Route along the coast, stopping a few times. Peggy’s Cove: Peggy's Cove

Chester Basin, where we had lunch at Seaside Shanty, enjoying local seafood, local Propeller sodas (good for stomach ailments, no?), and a bay view: Seaside Shanty

Mahone Bay, with the fantastic Jo-Ann’s Deli and Market with coffee and amazing cookies, which we partook of; and a deli, prepared foods case, and packaged local food products. Here we began the weekend’s cookie theme, and here is where the winning cookie was consumed: oatmeal coconut. Mahone Bay

And finally, Lunenburg. The weather was ideal and we spent hours wandering the quaint little fishing town and drinking and eating. Recommended Lunenburg establishments: Mariner King Inn, Laughing Whale Coffee–words of wisdom from their site:

Food that is produced locally, or at least processed locally (e.g., coffee) is fresher, arrives with a much lower carbon footprint (due to less fuel burned in transportation) and keeps more money in the local economy. Our current centralized industrial food system is organized to make cheap food and maximize corporate profits – often with little regard for the social, environmental and health consequences for workers, consumers, livestock or the land itself.

…the Knot Pub, and Fleur de Sel, a top-notch, award winning restaurant that focuses on local ingredients and seafood.

Day 6, Sunday

Most of the restaurants and shops we visited were wrapping up for the season, so we were lucky to get to the coast when we did. Reluctant to end our vacation, upon return to Halifax, we got coffee and cookies from Julien’s Patisserie in the Hydrostone Market, which was participating in City Harvest by giving discounts on mochas for checking in on social media sites. After enjoying our treats on a bench in the sunshine, we stopped into Lady Luck Boutique where  Mr. HP bought me two awesome, unique, locally-made necklaces for my birthday!

Hydrostone Market

Continuing on our let’s-not-end-vacation kick: a beer at the Henry House, a visit to the Seaport Farmer’s Market to see the Jack-o-lanterns (but we were a half hour early and nothing was lit up yet for the pumpkin walk), and dinner from Fid’s back-door takeout–part of City Harvest.

Fid Resto Back-Door Takeout

Great weekend of eating and shopping local!