Gearing up for Clean Water Week

  SmithsunsetPhoto by CBF Staff.

In just three days, Marylanders will gather in Easton to celebrate clean water...will you be there?!

"With clean water plans being developed now in every Maryland county," CBF's Senior Land Use Policy Manager Alan Girard says, "we wanted to host a series of events to help people see and hear what's going on locally to meet the Bay's pollution diet. People connect with the Bay in different ways, so it was important to provide a variety of programs that suit different tastes."

And indeed "variety" is the word to describe it. From film previews to poster competitions to concerts and panels, Clean Water Week offers something for everyone. Participants will also learn about what's being done nowand what else we could be doingto chart a new course forward for reducing water pollution in our rivers, streams, and Bay.

With a dozen sponsoring groupsincluding Adkins Arboretum, Easton Main Street, Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, and Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancyand well over two dozen additional supporting organizations, Clean Water Week is truly a community event.

"People care about clean water, and these events are a chance to show just how much healthy waterways mean to our families and livelihoods," says Girard. "It's a chance to celebrate bringing back the health of our rivers and the Bay and show state and local decision-makers just how strong community support really is for actions that can make our waters fishable and swimmable within 10 years."

—Emmy Nicklin

Clean Water Week is fun for all ages—and admission is free, with refreshments served most nights. Celebrate bringing back the health of local rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay with music, film, art, and educational programs throughout the week. Plus, learn the latest on ways to make our local waterways clean and healthy again. Visit for more details, download the Clean Water Week flier here, and mark your calendar today!

Here's a quick line-up of what to expect:


Gearing Up for the Season's Best Beach Party

When's the last time you danced in the sand? Things here are really starting to gear up for next week's big fete! Our fourth annual "Bands in the Sand" beach party is next Saturday, June 13th.

Here at CBF we work hard -- but we sure know how to put on a party! BITS, as we call it in the office, is great beach party with excellent food, drinks, live music, and a live art auction. This year enjoy the wicked reggae of S.T.O.R.M. and dance to the rollin' rock of Misspent Youth. Misspent Youth's mix of classic and modern rock is more my style, but I checked out S.T.O.R.M.'s website and their video "Hola, Hola" hooked me, hooked me.

One of the (many) fun things about Bands in the Sand is you don't need to drive there. Have a boat? You can anchor off the beach and we'll ferry you in. 

Tickets are $100 each and proceeds support CBF's education, restoration, and advocacy programs.

No one wants sand in their shoes at a beach partyYou can check out pictures from last year's party on CBF's website. Then get some friends together, order your tickets, and prepare to leave your shoes at the dock and chill out on the beach! 

We hope you can join us!

Bloggers: Blog for the Bay on Earth Day!

3460803551_9939887938 Call it Earth Day for foodies.

There's an online party going on for Washington, D.C. foodies today and you're invited. In it's description, "Blog for the Bay" states:

"Please join local food advocates on Earth Day and help rally District foodies to support clean water in the Chesapeake Bay. To participate, simply post about the Chesapeake Bay (a favorite memory, favorite place to eat crabs, best crab cake recipe, anything!) and include a link to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s petition urging the EPA to quit delaying action to help save our Bay. Please mention “Blog for the Bay” in your post and link to hosts and" Check the post for more details.

Tiki Turkey Winning Recipes

On the Road with Chesapeake Local BountyDebbie Buchannan's Carrot Cake

We were as stuffed as that big ol’ turkey after Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Tiki Turkey Local Potluck. Here are the winning recipes with some visuals to go along:


Favorite Dish with Local Ingredients
Marcy Damon's Vegetarian Lasagna
Her dish received votes under best Local Dish, as well as best side dish, but it was a close call -- she only beat Woody’s Holly Beach Farm Goose Stew by one vote. 


Best Side Dish
Allyson Ladley's Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  Allyson’s dish also received votes under the best dish with local ingredients. 


Best Dessert
Debbie Buchannan's Carrot Cake 
Debbie’s cake was not only fantastic but also decorated wonderfully. (She used carrots in her cake but we suggest the very seasonal local pumkin or squash). She won by a landslide but the runner up was Rob Schnabel’s roasted pears & goat cheese – which also received votes under the best dish with local ingredients and was created on Emeril Green’s "A Local Thanksgiving"


Vegetarian Lasagna

Butternut, Spinach and Hazelnut Lasagne

(modification of Gourmet Dec. 2001 recipe)

Serves 6.


For squash filling

1 large onion, chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

1 lb. fresh spinach

1 cup hazelnuts (4 oz), toasted , loose skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel, and coarsely chopped

For sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 cups milk

1 bay leaf (not California)

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

For assembling lasagne

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (2 cups)

1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 oz)

12 (7- by 3 1/2-inch) sheets no-boil lasagne (1/2 lb)


Make filling:

Cook onion in butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, garlic, salt, and white pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, sage, and nuts. Cool filling.


Chop spinach into pieces, steam in saucepan or frying pan until wilted. Place in colander and gently press spinach with paper towels to remove excess moisture. (Spinach does not have to be completely dry.)


Make sauce while squash cooks:

Cook garlic in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a stream, whisking. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Whisk in salt and white pepper and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. (Cover surface of sauce with wax paper if not using immediately.)


Assemble lasagne:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss cheeses together. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass baking dish (or other shallow 3-quart baking dish) and cover with 3 pasta sheets, leaving spaces between sheets. Spread with 2/3 cup sauce and one third of filling, then sprinkle with a heaping 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times, beginning with pasta sheets and ending with cheese. Place all spinach in single layer. Top with remaining 3 pasta sheets, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.


Tightly cover baking dish with buttered foil and bake lasagne in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let lasagne stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Cooks' note: · Filling and sauce can be made 1 day ahead and kept separately, covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before assembling.


Pumpkin or Butternut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 1 three layer cake


2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

4 eggs

2 cups pumpkin or cooked and mashed butternut squash

1 cup chopped toasted nuts or chocolate chips (optional)


1/2-1 cup butter

8 ounces cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 box (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking pans.

In a medium bowl, combine first 5 ingredients- mix well. Combine the next 4 ingredients and beat into the bowl with the dry ingredients. If using stir in nuts or chocolate chips.

Bake 350* about 45 min.

Icing: Mix butter, cream cheese, vanilla and confectioners sugar. Beat well.

Ice when cake has cooled completely.


Rita Calvert

"On the Road with Chesapeake Local Bounty"

      ... a multi-media mix of abundance

Oysters Sound So Good

Came across two good audio pieces on Virginia oysters.

EDFT_1729_lg WMRA newswoman Nancy King reports "there is a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered bivalves." Interesting piece on what some VA oystermen are doing with oyster aquaculture.

Virginia Public Radio's With Good Reason serves up a tasty program about the reason to be optimistic for Chesapeake Bay oysters to make a comeback. "Chefs, oystermen, conservationists, oyster-lovers, and poets Nikki Giovanni (Virginia Tech) and Tim Seibles (Old Dominion University) all weigh-in about the legend and allure of Crassotrea virginica."

You can weigh in on the comeback of the Chesapeake oyster by responding to CBF's Action Alert urging the Army Corps of Engineers to support alternative 8A of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on native vs. non-native oyster introduction in the Bay. Alternative 8A supports restoration and aquaculture of the native Chesapeake Bay oyster. You can find out more about the draft EIS on CBF's website.

Butternut Bounty for Thanksgiving (and some special news)


Before I tell my farm visit tale, I want to let you know Homestead Gardens is holding a Farmers Market Holiday Outpost every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Food products—not crafts or greenery—are being sold from local producers. I'll have the luscious Chape Creamery and Chery Glen cheeses plus Chesapeake Fields delectable snack, which is also extremely healthy (but you can keep that a secret.) Bonaparte Breads is also there with irresistable almond croissants, breads and soups. Around the very cool miniature train display is seating and often there is live music. It's quite a festive destination in itself. Come and hang out!


While scouting and exploring for a future farm tour, I had the pleasure of experiencing some of the beautiful winter produce from the largest organic farm in Maryland—One Straw Farm. Lovingly tended by Drew and Joan Norman since 1985, One Straw Farm supplies families, restaurants and wholesalers with the finest certified-organic produce. Joan has also initiated the Faith-Based Initiative with her CSA. She now services eight churches in the Baltimore region. Joan presented me an entire case of my favorite squash which led to every conceivable recipe I could create and test!


DSCN1233So let’s get back to cooking winter squash—specifically butternut along—with an outstanding recipe inspiration for the holidays. Originally conceived by Bon Appetit magazine, I wanted to tweak the style to represent more of the Chesapeake Region’s bounty.  We’ll be consuming it for Tiki Turkey Day, the annual Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s staff Thanksgiving meal. This year the “Best Dish Competition” will feature recipes made with as much local product as possible. Let’s see if my favorite recipe gets the prize. 

And yes, we’ll publish all of the winning recipes.

PLUS: I ‘ll be posting another Butternut (or pumpkin or even sweet potato) recipe I created as soon as I test it one more time!

Butternut Squash Gratin With Local Goat Cheese And Pecans 

8 to 10 servings

Squash is often sold already peeled and seeded, making this recipe even easier.

3 1/2 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium), peeled, seeded, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (8 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

coarse kosher salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided

3 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)

1 1/ teaspoons chopped fresh sage

5-ounces soft fresh goat cheese ( about 2/3 cup)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 cup pecans coarsely chopped

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add sliced leeks and chopped sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until tender but not brown, about 15 minutes. Coat 11x7-inch baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Spread half of leek mixture over bottom of prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of squash and half of cheese. Repeat layering with leeks, squash, and cheese. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour cream mixed with curry powder evenly over gratin. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake uncovered until gratin is heated through and cream is bubbling, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if previously chilled).

TO GO: This gratin is a good choice for transporting because it travels well. Either complete the dish at home (wrap it tightly to keep warm) or wait until you get to your destination to add the cream and nuts and then bake.


Have some fabulous beta carotene!




Posted by Rita Calvert. Rita is a chef, educator, and writer and a founding member of Buy Fresh Buy Local Chesapeake Region. Visit her website On the Road With Chesapeake Local Bounty.

Oyster Dressing and Other Bountiful Recipes

When CBF's Oyster and Fisheries Scientist Tommy Leggett got tagged to appear on the Emeril Green show, we were all pretty excited. Emeril brought Tommy and his fresh Chesapeake Bay oysters to the show's kitchen in the Whole Foods store in Fairfax, VA. Now, fresh from Emeril's website, here is the recipe for Emeril's Chesapeake Bay Baked Oyster Dressing, just in time for Thanksgiving. For more tips from Tommy and Emeril, view the video.

CBF's Clagett Farm also got it's own feature on another episode of the show, Bounty of the Harvest. Emeril gave CBF seasonal employee Gail Taylor and Buy Local afficiando Rita Calvert tips for cooking when you have so many vegetables you don't know what to do with them all.

Emeril's Chesapeake Bay Baked Oyster Dressing

Tommy Leggett (wearing the hat), CBF's oyster and fisheries scientist in Virginia, cooks oyster stuffing with chef Emeril Lagasse. Cameras film the scene at Whole Foods Market in Fairfax, VA, for the cooking show, Emeril Green. Yield: 4 to 6 servings (about 5 cups)
(With assistance from CBF's Tommy Leggett, photo right)

2 dozen shucked oysters, with their liquor
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup water
4 cups cubed white bread
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Drain the oysters, reserving 1 cup of the liquor. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, and cayenne. Saute‚ for about 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the bay leaves, garlic, and parsley. Saute‚ for about 1 minute.

In a mixing bowl, combine the bread mixture with the oyster liquor and enough water to moisten.

Add the moistened breadcrumbs to the vegetables in the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the oysters and the Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix well and remove from the heat.

Oil a 9 X 11-inch baking pan and pour in the mixture. Top with more Parmesan and bake for about 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden brown.

Remove the bay leaves and serve hot.

This recipe was originally featured on the A Local Thanksgiving Episode of Emeril Green, Lagasse's original series on Discovery Channel's Planet Green network, courtesy Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.

Emeril Lagasse and CBF seasonal employee Gail Taylor Visit the Emeril Green website for the following recipes from Bounty of the Harvest, as well as more tips and farmers' market inspired recipes:

(with the assistance of CBF's Gail Taylor, photo left)
Emeril's Smoked Tomatoes a la Rita Calvert
Emeril's Eggplant, Oven Dried Tomato and Skordalia Stacks
Emeril's Carrot, Orange and Fennel Salad with Carrot Juice Dressing
Emeril's Sweet Potato Empanadas with Mexican Style Pickled Cabbage
Emeril's Miso Vegetable Soup with Smoked Tofu

Photo from the Emeril Green website

On the Road With Chesapeake Local Bounty

A Very Clever Local Lunch Menu

Crab_soup_2Melon Salad
Maryland Farm Salad with Crab Louise Dressing
Untraditional Maryland Vegetable  Crab Soup
Sweet Zucchini Bread

We got plenty of crab for this Locally Grown Lunch as not only was it the base for the soup but also graced the salad dressing along with chopped hard boiled egg. It was very ingenious to add the crab to the Crab Louie dressing. You can make the soup at home and use a recipe loaded with seasonal vegetables like corn, baby potatoes and summer squash.

Maryland Vegetable Crab Soup
Makes 1 gallon

3 pounds fresh crab claws
2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups diced celery
3 cups halved baby potatoes
4 cups combinations of corn and diced summer squash
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 pound special or claw crab meat

In a large, heavy bottomed kettle, combine crab claws water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to make broth. Add  tomatoes, celery, potatoes, vegetables cook approximately 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes at a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Leftover soup should be kept in refrigerator not more than five days. Makes about 1 gallon.

Posted by Rita Calvert. Rita is a chef, educator, and writer and a founding member of Buy Fresh Buy Local Chesapeake Region. Visit her website On the Road With Chesapeake Local Bounty.

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On the Road With Chesapeake Local Bounty

As the Wednesday Local Lunch at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation continues during the high harvest, meals have become overloaded with goodness thanks to the participation of Clagett Farm. CBF's farm supplies 75-80% of the produce for this especially popular event. We always hear a clamoring for recipes which can be tough since our caterers, as like most chefs ... cook without them. Claire Owens likes to travel to Clagett Farm in Upper Marlboro herself to pick up the share of produce. This means she doesn't know until arrival what the lunch menu may be.

So I'll publish the all-time favorites as close to our chef's rendition as possible. Keep in mind that the freshest cooking can be impromptu and I hope you'll experiment and use the recipes (and menu) as a lose template.

Dsc01231Local Lunch Menu by Claire Owens

Clagett Corn Chowder w/ Bacon
Classic Greek Salad with Local Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, Red Onion, Feta and Black Olives Served on Saffron Cous Cous
Fresh Baked Local Bread
Local Peaches, Plums and Nectarines with Balsamic Vinegar

Recipe:  Clagett Corn Chowder w/ Bacon
Serves 4

4 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cube
4 cups broth made from corn cobs and husks
2 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 dried bay leaf
3 cups fresh corn cut from kernel
1 cup heavy cream

In a large heavy pot, brown bacon slowly until crisp-7-10 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towel. Add the onion to pot and cook until soft. Increase the heat to medium and add potatoes, corn broth, water, s & p and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then decrease heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the fresh corn, heavy cream and reserved bacon keeping a bit of bacon to sprinkle on top.

WRNR Radio's Michael Buckley Interviews Local Farmers Each Week Dscn2284

As Michael Buckley finished his Sunday Morning Brunch radio show in downtown Annapolis he happened upon the Annapolis FreshFarm Market. There on the water at City Dock were colorful tents tended by friendly farmers who doused Mr. Buckley with locally grown goodies. The idea was born to have one farmer from market appear every Sunday morn for a chat during Michael's radio show, 103.1 FM (7:00am-10:00am).

Chef-turned-farmer, Wes Lanham founder of The Bread Ovens @ Quail Creek Farm, talked to us this past Sunday, August 24, about turning the outbuilding of a formerly grand farm into a baker's dream facility.

Posted by Rita Calvert. Rita is a chef, educator, and writer and a founding member of Buy Fresh Buy Local Chesapeake Region. Visit her website On the Road With Chesapeake Local Bounty.