Archive for September, 2011

September 28, 2011

A New Southern Favorite | Green Grits

I am currently hoarding the last of my Nora Mill Granary yellow speckled grits.  These stone milled grits are honestly the best I’ve ever tasted.  My favorite way to make them is with half stock and half Snowville whole milk; then stir in a few pureed greens, anything that’s seasonal, even lettuces are lovely.

And do I need anything to go with them?  Not really.  But if you have a bit of a fresh ham that you’ve brined and baked, that’d go just beautifully.

Green Grits, Serves 4 to 6, Inspired by original recipe in Jamie’s America

2 c stock, chicken or vegetable, preferably homemade

2 c whole milk, Snowville, if it’s available in your area

September 26, 2011

Things I Like | Green B.E.A.N. Delivery

I love local businesses.  I love local produce and groceries.  I love this idea.

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery (the BEAN stands for Biodiversity, Education, Agriculture and Nutrition) is a grocery delivery company that serves Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.  I truly admire their dedication to support local farmers and artisans in the area.  Their produce bins are chock full of local stuff from local folks (now realize, we do have a winter around here and the bins do reflect that come December).  Most recently they featured a really fantastic farm, Rock Dove.  And I have, quite honestly, had some of the best bacon in my life from these guys.

The small produce bin that landed so cheerily on my doorstep recently included plenty of fruits and veggies for our family for a week or so.  Heirloom tomatoes from Northridge Organic farm, a lovely bag of clearly organic greens, jalapenos, green beans, carrots, onions and plenty of fruit.  A lot of it local, but some from further away (I’m almost sure that we just can’t manage a great crop of flame red grapes here in Ohio).

I really loved how most all the fruits and veg were contained in brown paper lunch bags instead of plastic ones.  It gave me the feeling that everything was carefully hand packed with thought given to how things would best travel.  And I know, it’s better for the environment, too, isn’t it?  Bonus points.

Minimum orders start at $35, although you can order a $28 bin and supplement it with groceries like Snowville milk and that fantastic bacon to get it up to $35.  Just about any staple you could need you can find in their virtual aisles.  And orders can be made as rarely as every two weeks.

I can see giving this as gift to new parents, or people that perhaps just need the gift of time.  It’s certainly something that made my (much busier than usual) week easier.

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Playlist included Listen to Your Love, by Mona.

**Green B.E.A.N. Delivery gave me a free bin to review.   But of course you know that Persephone always says what she thinks, even if she’s been given something for free.  My opinions are, as always, my own.

September 23, 2011

Lowcountry Crush | Shrimp and Okra Pilau

My friends and I have been kind of fawning over Sean Brock, chef and owner of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina.  Add to that that he was a James Beard Award winner in 2010.  And Bon Appetit named Husk best new restaurant this year.  Sean lives and breathes local.  And he’s just so cute.

And he loves pugs.

I am smitten.

I was so happy to see that he was featured in September’s Southern Living and that he gave up some great recipes.  I made his Lowcountry Shrimp-and-Okra Pilau for dinner tonight.  Fabulousness in a bowl, really.  Plus, Cherub’s first experience with okra was a successful one thanks to this recipe.  I used some local Schmidt’s Bahama Mama smoked sausage as well as the okra I picked up at the Worthington Farmer’s Market.  Don’t be afraid.  Okra is delicious, even when unadorned and not fried.

While you do simmer this dish for about 30 minutes in the middle, you can use that time to clean up the kitchen.  Because who has time to cook?  You do.

Wine pairing: Chateau Bonnet 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon – Muscadelle.

Playlist included Police Dog Blues, by Hugh Laurie.

September 22, 2011

Farewell, Summer Garden | Gazpacho

Every so often you run across a recipe that begs to be made just as is, such as Spanish maestro José Andrés’s recipe for gazpacho.  Not a more perfect dish than this can be found to send summer off into its nine month hiatus.  Celebrate all that we are losing before the clock strikes 5:05 a.m. tomorrow.  Well, perhaps this post is a bit late for that, but rustle up some of these ingredients this weekend for a quick, albeit belated, goodbye.

I used some gorgeous, juicy yellow tomatoes from a Green B.E.A.N. Delivery box along with peppers and cucumbers from my back yard.  All gone now.

Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.

Playlist included Quiet Town, by Josh Rouse.

September 19, 2011

An Ohio Casserole Classic | Johnny Marzetti

Food trends come and go.  And ideas, ingredients, or dishes that you might think aren’t exactly cool, always seem to have a way of coming back around.  Being thrifty and using offal and off cuts is fashionable.  It’s hip to garden again.  The values of my Gran are suddenly in vogue.  How charming!

My friend John loves Columbus, loves food and thought it would be great to celebrate Johnny Marzetti with a collection of blog posts from local Columbus food bloggers.  I was so pleased to be included in the crowd and to learn about this dish, not being a Columbus native.  I assured John I’d never heard of or eaten this dish before.  But now what truly fascinates me is that there is a version that made its way to the Rio Grande valley of Texas, a stone’s throw away from where I grew up.   And as it turns out,  it’s something that my Grandma often made for Sunday dinners and potlucks.  I knew it as Macaroni Crunch, but many others knew it as Johnny Marzotti.  Maybe this is the sort of unspoken influence that food has on our lives.

Here’s my version of this Ohio and South Texas classic.  I’ve put my own spin on it by using heirloom tomatoes, fresh mushrooms and peppers from my back garden.  The result is a fresh take on the already entirely delicious French’s-fried-onions-canned-mushroom-soup-and-canned-tomato version with which I grew up.  And somehow, I think Grandma might be proud.  Proud of my garden and my thriftiness and my comfort in the kitchen.

September 7, 2011

Curds and Whey, Two Ways

Something has been stirring in me to make some more ricotta.  It’s so easy, you know every ingredient that goes in it (milk, salt, lemon), and there’s such satisfaction in making your own cheese.  I have, however, been distressed every time I’ve made it that I have so much whey left over after the curds separate out.  I mean honestly.  The cows at Snowville are such beautiful productive girls, how could I carelessly dump half of that milk down the drain?

I happily came across this great recipe for whey crêpes that are the most delicious ones I’ve ever had that weren’t made by a French person.  They are staggeringly good. 

September 4, 2011

My New Favorite Dessert | Krema Buckeye Blondies

My sister-in-law can bake.

These blondies are her latest creation and chock-full of wonderful, local-to-Columbus ingredients from Krema Nut.  They’re perfect for back to school snack and equally great for the beginning of football season.  These will be devoured almost instantaneously at any tailgate you bring them to, I daresay even a Michigan one.

These are fabulous.  Just like my SIL.

Krema Nut Buckeye Blondies, makes one 8 x 8 pan

Preheat oven to 350/360F, lightly butter 8×8 pan

Mix:

1 c flour

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