Spotlight On | Sweet_ness 7

I'm a sucker for a great coffee shop. Combine an inspiring space with strong coffee, tasty food and friendly faces, and you've got a total winner in my book. At Sweet_ness 7 in Buffalo, NY they've gone above and beyond to achieve that atmosphere. Ornate victorian-style ceilings soar above you. A gigantic industrial table sits in the middle of the room, able to seat nearly 20. Shelves line the wall behind the cafe counter. And the food is excellent. When it comes to breakfast, they're our staple--Luke and I are especially in love with their egg sandwich! Give me a homemade oversized english muffin layered with egg, melted cheese and sliced tomato and I'm a very happy girl. Add a big mug of black coffee into the mix and all you'll hear from my side of the table are happy sighs for the next 10 minutes. 

The other thing that makes this cafe so winning is its not-so-trendy location. Buffalo's west side has suffered from disinvestment for the past few decades and the surrounding neighborhoods have fallen into major disrepair. This beautiful space gives me hope for a really bright future, both for this area and Buffalo as a whole. So props to Prish Morgan, owner of Sweet_ness, for moving such a SWEET little shop into an area that needed some love! Here are a few photos I snapped on Friday when Luke and I popped in for our usual.

 

homemade | Summer Kohlrabi

 Yesterday Luke and I went to a mid-week market at Atherton Mill, just outside of uptown Charlotte. I love this market. We bought locally roasted coffee, homemade black bean salsa and garlic pickles, local squash, garlic, and kohlrabi. I had never tasted or cooked kohlrabi before, and the farmer admitted he hadn't either! However, his wife had sent him with a stack of recipes (printed from Cooks.com, mine is slightly adapted) which he helpfully gave to me, wishing me well. Earlier today I prepared the kohlrabi for us to eat with our dinner.

I had absolutely no idea how to prep it, so I took some photos of the process in case you'd like to try it yourself. Simply peel with a vegetable peeler or a knife (I used my favorite paring knife), cut in half, and slice thin. Some sites recommended I slice the kohlrabi like matchsticks. I'd like to experiment slicing it differently for future recipes.

Looks a little like green apples, tastes a bit like broccoli. Such an interesting veggie! The recipe instructed me to saute it with butter and add flour and milk to create a sauce. We ate it as a side dish alongside spaghetti with homemade pesto sauce and a simple salad of romaine, tomatoes, blueberries and our favorite Brianna's poppyseed dressing.

I thought it was pretty tasty, but I definitely overcooked it during sauteing. And it was heavy. I would love to try out a stir-fry type recipe for kohlrabi with olive oil instead of butter and some additional vegetables, herbs and spices. But since I wanted to share the new Nightingale Handmade recipe card, and to commemorate my very first cooking experience with kohlrabi, I've shared this particular recipe below (click to enlarge). Enjoy! 

 


Strawberry Picking & Homemade Jam

Today I went strawberry picking with my mother-in-law, Lola! The end of the season is quickly approaching here in SC, but we were still able to pick nearly 12lbs of the brightest, sweetest berries in the hot morning sun.

As soon as we brought them back to my house we got to work making strawberry jam. **Disclaimer: if you are an experienced canner, please don't laugh at us with our wok and our too-small pots. Lola was gracious enough to agree to teach me to make jam though I lacked proper equipment.**

The first step was washing and halving 4 cups of berries and combining with 1 cup of sugar in a medium-large pot (we doubled it so each of us could take a batch). After letting the mixture sit for 15 minutes, we brought it to a boil, stirring consistently.

Then we added more sugar. LOTS more sugar. Like, 6 cups more! Yikes! Along with a box of pectin, this is what helped the jam stand up. Once we added the pectin it didn't take long to finish the process--the jars and lids had been sterilized and were sitting in the hot water waiting for the jam to be poured in. Once we filled all 9 jars, we lidded them and waited for the seal.

The jam is absolutely delicious. I can't wait to share with friends and family and eat large amounts of peanut butter and homemade jam sandwiches. This was actually my first canning experience, but it was so easy I can't wait to do more. I have plenty of strawberries left--some already stashed away in the freezer to enjoy long after the season is over--so I'll have to think of other things to make with them. Until then, I'm going to enjoy them with cereal and yogurt and pop them like candy. 

**Disclaimer 2 If you're going to can without proper equipment, be aware that you might make a huge mess and at one point fill your house with smoke. Bear in mind it's all worth it in the end.**

 

Monday Morning Delivery

This morning I awoke to a wonderful treat. Very early this morning, while we were still fast asleep, the milkman came and delivered fresh milk and eggs to our house. I don't know how much more old-timey delight and whimsy could be packed into that sentence. Just typing it out made me want to squeal a little bit. Really, how fun is that? I have to thank Charlotte Fresh (via this article) for letting me in on this little info nugget that has already made my life exponentially better after just one delivery. Last night I was so excited to put out the metal milk cooler (which, to my knowledge, was left out for the milkman by my mother-in-law's family in Maryland when she was growing up) and this morning the first thing I did was run outside to gather the goods.

 

This morning, this is what I peeked out the front door and found...

 

Luke and I immediately ate some cheerios and banana with the fresh milk, which came from the Homestead Creamery in VA. It was delicious. Later on in the day, I drank a glass of the milk, and I haven't done that in over two years. The delivery service is provided by Lakeview Farms right down the road in Fort Mill, SC. My order came to $12.33, which included a quart of milk, a dozen brown eggs, a flat delivery rate of $3.00 and a $2.00 deposit for the glass milk bottle (I'll get it back when I return the bottle).

 

And with that, my week began quite well.