Monday, August 24, 2009


Well, it was an eclectic weekend I’ll say that. Thursday evening found this old biddy back over at 750ml introducing another good friend to the place. This weekend they were serving up PGA Wines. Who knew the PGA had their own label? Once again the flight was 2 whites and 2 reds and again I found the whites just so-so, but the reds were quite good. I bought a bottle of each to give as holiday gifts this year to some co-workers whom I imagine may appreciate the mingling of decent wine and golfing. While we were there a thunderstorm hit and the power went out for a few minutes. It was so quiet and cozy watching the rain beating down on the windows and pavement outside while we were tucked in with a great glass or two of wine and appetizers. What better location to ride out a storm?


Friday evening I volunteered to help out at Barkitecture – a fund raising project on the grounds of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. Local architects had designed oversized dog houses and they’ve been on display over the summer. Friday they were auctioned off for charity. My task was to sit with a shelter dog at one of the houses and help direct people as they made their way around the exhibit. My goodness….talk about a mismatched couple! Jackie (my assigned Jack Russel mix pup) was very anxious since it was his first day out after being in quarantine for a month. He was a friendly dog with lots of energy and very vocal. And not accustomed to being on a leash either. He barked and lunged at every dog that came by and constantly pulled at his leash as is evidenced by all the bruising on my arms and legs today. This cat person should have known better than to be matched with a dog for the evening. Lessons learned and all that. Meanwhile, it was hard to turn down an opportunity to do something good for One of a Kind Pets, they are a great group of people with a heart-felt mission.

Saturday evening was a volunteer gig out at Crown Point Ecology Center. If you’re not familiar, CP is an organic farm run mostly by the Sisters of St. Dominic of Akron. In 1997, Crown Point began to grow produce for distribution to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. Over the last 8 years, Crown Point has donated more than 140,000 lbs of organic produce to the Foodbank. Crown Point also began a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in 1998. This program has grown from 20 families in 1998 to more than 70 families this growing season.

The fund raising event this weekend was to help financially sustain the farm in it’s current mission. About 300 people attended and our volunteer group provided check-in and auction checkout services as we have for the past 5 years. The food served to the guests was all from the farm – beet salad, bbq chicken and ratatouille. Thanks to the energy of Sr. Marguerite who helped keep us on track when issues turned up, the task went fairly smoothly.

Sunday afternoon was all about wedding gift shopping for a daughter of two of my best buddies. Kristen and Jeff get married next weekend out at Stan Hywet – it should be lovely but let’s just hope it doesn’t rain.

So it was a busy weekend hitting a variety of fun things. By Sunday evening I was very tired and decided to relax by spending some quality time in the kitchen. Last week while perusing my favorite baking web site (King Arthur Flour) I found a recipe for these decadent looking brownies with a browned butter caramel frosting. This had been an experiment for them after discovering smoked salt in their kitchen and playing with it. While the brownies are really very good – the only interesting part came with the topping made of chocolate and almonds sprinkled with a pinch of smoked salt. The salt lends a bit of a twist to an otherwise regular (albeit very good) brownie bar but I don’t think there’s enough of it to really get the flavor they were going for. Next time I’d like to add the smoked salt to the caramel process to further incorporate the flavor into the frosting. Here is a link to the recipe if anyone else would like to try these out.

I have had my smoked salt in the cabinet for quite some time and hadn’t really used it for much except fish once in a while. It never occurred to me to bake with it. KAF suggests sprinkling it on fruits (melons, etc) so I tried that with a fresh cantaloupe on Sunday and it was delicious. By the way, I purchased my smoked salt from the Daybreak Lavender Farm out at Pine Tree Barn in Wooster although I’ve seen it elsewhere including the shop in Hudson that sells all-Ohio items and I’ll assume it’s for sale at the boutique located next to the farm out in Ravenna. And of course it could be purchased on-line from Daybreak at

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