Friday, September 25, 2015

Update: New Location & Market Dates

Maxwell's Pumpkin Farm

Smiling Coyote Farm offers the best in fresh produce, artisan spices, and custom tea blends at the Canyon Farmers Market each Saturday morning from 8:00 am until Noon through October 10th. Now, in addition to the farmers market, select Smiling Coyote spice blends are available in Maxwell's Market at Maxwell's Pumpkin Farm.

Maxwell's opens tomorrow, Saturday, September 26th, and continues through Sunday, November 1st.

Hours are:

Fridays: 5 pm - 9 pm
Saturdays: 10 am - 9 pm
Sundays: 1 pm – 9 pm

Come on out, bring the kids, and have some fun!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Greek Week

Greek food has always held a great fascination for us. In one sense, it's the genesis of "Western" cuisine. In another, Greek food represents a complex fusion of Mediterranean, Mid-Eastern, and Central European cooking. Rustic and simple, unpretentious, Greek cuisine is "real food." We like that.

So... It's "Greek Week" around here. Reading about it, writing about it, eating it, thinking and talking about it.

One, quite enjoyable, activity undertaken: Delving back into The Glorious Foods of Greece by Diane Kochilas. Diane is quite active on television, as a teacher and culinary tour guide, as well as on facebook. Re-reading this seminal work was an immense pleasure.

The Glorious Foods of Greece is a wonderful read for one thing, as are all her books, and Diane's talent as an author is no less obvious than her passion for the subject of Greek food. She tells the story of traditional Greek fare--the kind enjoyed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years--in an epic way. The story, and the food, is both fascinating and quite unforgettable. She keeps pulling you back for more. You won't regret it if you can find a copy.

Some of the foods in The Glorious Foods of Greece reminded us of an awesome Greek culinary experience... Actually one of our top ten food experiences of all time. It occurred in a very small, unpretentious cafe tucked away in the old Oak Cliff / Bishop Arts District area of Dallas, TX and involved multiple courses of authentic and supremely well prepared savory and sweet treats. We still dream about this place.

It's called, simply enough, Greek Cafe and Bakery and the quality, depth, and breadth of the talent here is world class: Phenomenal. Find them on facebook, look them up on Yelp, and, if you're ever in the area, don't hesitate to find them for real. You won't regret it. Really.

There's a Greek cafe not far from us in Canyon, TX, too. Ashamed to admit it but we haven't eaten there... Yet. Maybe later today. Reviews for Helios Greek Grill from locals are quite good and they're on facebook. We're looking forward to trying them out. It would be a fitting way to round out Greek Week.

One reason, as if we really needed one, for "Greek Week" here is the newest addition to our Mediterranean blends with a new herb/spice blend: NĂ³stimo! Greek Blend. It took a while but it's worth the wait.

NĂ³stimo! means "delicious" and this blend dances with the lively herbal exuberance of a Greek festival while keeping just a hint of spicy mystery. It's versatile and can serve as an "all purpose" blend, becoming either simple and rustic or elegant and sophisticated depending on your mood.

We've been using it for grilled or roast poultry, lamb, or beef, in soups, stews, and braises, with fresh young cheeses or feta, and in dishes featuring potatoes, greens, green beans, or spinach. Oh! And, of course, with anything Greek.

Greek Week: A wonderful thing!

Kaly Orexi, y'all.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The look

Ready for the Farmers Market: A recent photo.

Canyon, Texas is a small university town near Amarillo, Texas and Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle. Its renovated 1909 courthouse is the backdrop for the farmers market and our booth.

The courthouse square is alive; an active place. And, especially so early Saturday morning when Smiling Coyote, along with our other vendors, is setting it up for market.

Look for the Smiling Coyote!

This is "the look"

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Update: No Tuesday Evening Markets

Quick update: Change in Market Dates.

Due to a multiplicity of conflicts after the start of the school year for both vendors and customers, the Canyon Farmers Market will not be open on first / third Tuesdays for the remainder of the season.

We've enjoyed the evening markets but the conflicts for those with school age children are understandable and unavoidable. We look forward to being back on the square in the evenings in 2016.

There is no change in the Saturday morning markets. Those dates continued as scheduled through October 10th from 8 am to Noon. We're looking forward to seeing you there!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Market Dates

We expect to be busy this weekend and next week with three Canyon Farmers Market days coming up in quick succession. Markets are held every Saturday morning and in the evening on the first and third Tuesday. Smiling Coyote Farm, along with many other local providers of produce, canned and baked goods, and hand crafted items, is there to share our passion for freshness and flavor.

Markets are held on the square in Canyon, TX just south of the 1909 courthouse along 5th avenue between 15th and 16th streets. It's lovely location--classic small town America. If you're familiar with the area, it's held along 5th avenue between Sayakomarn's Restaurant and Palace Coffee Company.

We highly recommend both of the locally owned businesses mentioned above. Sayokomarn's, in our opinion, serves the best plate of food in town. Our favorite is the Spicy Panang--usually tofu but sometimes chicken. Palace Coffee is the best coffee house in the US. Yes, really. Just go there. You'll see.

You can find the Coyote at the Market:

* This Saturday, September 12, from 8 am to Noon.
* Tuesday evening, September 15, from 7 pm to 9 pm.
* Saturday, September 19,from 8 am to Noon.

We produced a fresh batch of Holiday Blend 2015 yesterday (Thursday) so we should have plenty. We'll also have a limited quantity of Pumpkin Pie Spice--you don't want to miss that. The Bird Rub, one of our newest offerings, is well worth trying out with your next grilled or roasted chicken.

Preserves and apple butters made with both our Holiday Blend and Pumpkin Pie Spice are available at the Market from Sheri's Country Cupboard, and Conant's Country Kitchen. You should give both a try--we can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Yep, you need to get out. Come play with the Coyote.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Holiday Spice Talk: Pear Preserves, Apple Butter and Coffee Creamer

"Yes, we do," we replied.

The question put to us was from a fellow vendor at the Canyon Farmer's Market a week or so ago, "Do you take special requests?"

Pear Preserves and Apple Butter

Custom herb / spice blends are a pleasure to create. Whether we process to your specifications, use a classic formula, or a create a unique blend together, we are passionate about our spices and providing you with the freshest, best quality blends imaginable.

And, we provide "bulk" amounts of our bottled blends, on request, as well. Our Holiday Blend for canning and baking is especially popular this time of year.

One of the fringe benefits of creating custom blends is getting to taste the results. Old Fashioned Pear Preserves from Sheri's Country Cupboard, and Apple Butter from Conant's Country Kitchen are two recent examples.

These are just delicious. The blends are used with great care creating subtlety and enhancing, rather than overpowering, the flavors of fresh apple and pear. These are not the flat, one-dimensional pablum found on most grocery store shelves. This is art.

You can taste these as well. Both are available at the Canyon Farmers Market. Open Saturday morning from 8 am - Noon and on first and third Tuesday evenings from 7 pm - 9 pm.

Shoot us an email here if you're interested in bulk or custom blends:

Coffee Creamer

A customer the other day mentioned using our Holiday Blend in a unique way. They make their own coffee creamer. That's a good idea since most of the ingredients in commercially available creamers are chemicals.

We Googled around a bit and found out that homemade coffee creamer is a "thing." There are lots of recipes on do-it-yourself sites and blogs around the web. 

Since we don't use cream or creamer in our coffee, we're not qualified to pass judgement on the winners and losers. But we do like the idea of adding Holiday Blend 2015 to yours if you are so inclined. Good idea, indeed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

No Refrigeration Needed

Most of us who keep and cook with fresh herbs have, at one time or another, pulled a damp, slimy, grayish black mass of something that was once basil from the refrigerator. With one simple trick, that will never happen again.

We discussed how to store and keep fresh herbs fresh previously in "Keeping it Fresh." This post is specifically about one of our very favorite fresh herbs (basil) and how to keep it absolutely vibrant in your kitchen.
Fresh Basil
The basil in the photo above looks as fresh as if it were picked today. It wasn't; not at all. It was picked over a week ago and it should last another week if we let it. But we probably won't. We'll use it before then and enjoy it tremendously.

When we sell basil at the Canyon Farmers Market, we cut the stems, wrap the stem ends in paper toweling, and keep the stems damp in just an inch or so of water. The reason we do that is so, when customers get home with their basil, it's easy to keep it fresh. Very easy.

That's the trick to keeping basil fresh until it's wanted--read the last paragraph above again if you missed it. The trick is just to treat basil like you would cut flowers.

Stem ends cut and wrapped
Just place fresh basil (stems freshly cut) in a little water--just enough to keep the stems damp but keep the leaves dry--and put it out on the countertop, shelf, or window sill. Keep it out of drafts (too drying) and away from direct sun or extreme heat. No refrigeration needed!

We really like to wrap the stem ends in a little paper towelling. It helps keep them evenly moist, keeps things bundled nicely, and helps keep the leaves out of the water.

That's it. Simple.

Not only is it a beautiful thing to see in the kitchen, you'll love the aroma. Basil incense. Enjoy.