Posts tagged ‘local foods week’

October 7, 2010

Snowville Creamery Ricotta

Remember how I said it was really easy to make butter?  It turns out that it’s also extremely easy to make cheese.  Fresh ricotta can be made at home in about ten minutes. 

There are a ton of recipes out there: ones that call for lemon, ones that call for vinegar, some that call for heavy cream, some that call for whole milk.  The method I used was to bring five cups of whole milk to a boil over medium high heat and stir in juice from a whole lemon.  I added two tablespoons of vinegar instead.  The milk split almost immediately.  Awesome!  I stirred a bit more and poured the cheese into a cheesecloth (what it’s actually for!!) lined colander over a bowl. 

I’ll let it drain in the fridge for another hour or two then use it in tonight’s vegetarian pasta dinner.

The non-local ingredient in this post was the vinegar.

October 7, 2010

Real Buttermilk Pancakes

After making several batches of butter this week (I keep telling you it’s really easy), I was left with several cups of buttermilk. 

Since I had more time yesterday morning, I made a big batch of buttermilk pancakes for Cherub.  I used whole wheat flour from Flying J Farm, home churned butter, Holistic Acres eggs and all that Snowville buttermilk. 

I used James Beard’s recipe from his American Cookery book, but added a little sugar, bumped up the soda just a bit and it needed a bit more flour (all purpose white) because homemade buttermilk is thinner than the cultured you’d get in the store. 

We’re not normally a whole wheat flour kind of a family, but these were really delicious.  They came out fluffy and with a nice texture from the whole wheat.  Cover them with lovely Ohio maple syrup and you’re laughin’.  Cherub devoured them and we still have nice leftovers for school mornings like this one.  You could even freeze them.

Try some this weekend.

Only non-local ingredients were baking soda, salt and granulated sugar.  For complete sourcing see the Farms and Producers page.

October 6, 2010

Simple Supper

Because we had a lovely filling lunch at Skillet, I couldn’t exactly bring myself to make a full on dinner.  Which was fine by everyone.

So for a quick, satisfying meal, I made the old fall standby, butternut squash soup.  It doesn’t have to be filled to the brim with cream, it can be rich and silky with just the squash and some good stock.  Garnish with bacon or don’t; it’s flexible for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Whipped Cream

1 medium to large butternut squash

3 oz bacon ends, chopped 

4 green onions (or a small chopped onion)

2 cloves of garlic

1 T bacon fat, butter or olive oil

3 to 5 cups of good quality (i.e., homemade) chicken or vegetable stock; if you don’t have it, please don’t use boxed stock, just use water

4 or 5 fresh sage leaves, julienned

1/4 c heavy cream

Olive oil, salt, pepper

Begin by peeling your butternut squash.  PK tip: peel it twice.  If you do it once, it will still be somewhat pale and starchy looking.  You want to peel to the nice orange part.  Cut the ends off, cut it in half, remove the seeds and cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes.  Space cubes evenly on a roasting pan with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper, mix with clean hands to coat evenly.  Slide into a 400˚ oven for about 30 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, in a large sauce pot render some bacon (if using).  When crispy, remove to a paper towel and save about a tablespoon of the fat to soften the onion and garlic over low heat.  When the squash is soft (a fork pierces it easily) either add to the pot with the softened onion and garlic along with 3 cups (to start) of stock and use an immersion blender to puree.  If you don’t have one, combine all in a food processor or a blender.  Return the puree to a sauce pan to heat through, adding more stock to thin to the consistency you like.

For a garnish, whip the cream until it’s stiff (but not butter!) and add in the sage and a pinch of salt.  Another – even quicker – method is to use a small food processor or an immersion blender with a whisk attachment.  Super fast whipped cream.  I like that.

To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls, garnish with a generous sprinkling of bacon and a nice spoonful or a quenelle (if you can do that – I still kind of stink at making them) of whipped cream.  Serve immediately as the whipped cream begins to melt quickly.

The only ingredients that weren’t local were the olive oil, salt and pepper.  For complete sourcing, see the Farms and Producers page.

Playlist included Carry Me Ohio, by Sun Kil Moon.  Sounds like falling leaves.

October 6, 2010

“Eat at a Locally-Minded Restaurant”: Let’s go to Skillet!

A great suggestion for one of the things you can do to participate in local foods week is eat at a “locally-minded” restaurant.  So to make sure we touched as many points on the Eat Local Challenge Pledge Card as we could this week, my family visited the cheerful Caskey family at Skillet for lunch today.  Even home-body Persephone loves a good meal out.  

Hades started with the Red Beans and Rice.  Chef Kevin Caskey really nailed the smokey, French Quarter flavor of this creole classic.  Sadly, we dug in too quickly and have no photo to prove its existence.

Mommy told Cherub the grilled cheese was a real winner.  So she ordered the grilled cheese and pumpkin and black bean soup for herself (she’s a very confident three-year-old).    

While we have worked hard to make sure she tries all types of foods with different flavors and textures, I have to say, I was shocked to see how much soup she vacuumed up.  Then I tasted it.  Well, of course.  It’s a fantastic combination: silky pumpkin with perfectly cooked and seasoned black beans.  What’s not to love?

I am no stranger to Flying J Farms beef.  It’s some of the best we’ve tasted.  I had to order the Diner Burger: made with ground beef from Flying J Farm‘s grass-fed and finished cows, on grilled brioche, topped with fontina,  a fried egg and peppery arugula.  The egg still had a delicious thick yolkiness, that  further “sauced” the burger (and my shirt, since Persephone is nothing if not a graceful eater).  It was tremendously good.  But what really set it off was the lovely tomato marmalade.  In a word: finesse. 

Hades ordered the Fried Green Tomato BLT, topped with a fried yard egg, a pretty ruffle of frisee and oo-wee sauce.  Let me tell you: oo-wee, it’s good sauce and a good sandwich.  I think fried green tomatoes can be kind of pain to do right.  And Chef Caskey does them right.  Nice, thick, meaty tomato (you can easily screw them up and make them mushy, not so here), along with thick, meaty bacon made a wonderful fare-the-well to summer sandwich.

Both Hades and I had small sides of different, but perfectly paired, potato salads.  His a homestyle and mine a cold German-style. 

All sandwiches were $9.  Not much for locally sourced, creatively conceived and downright delicious fare.

I really do love this restaurant.  It’s the kind of place that if we go out, which is rarely, we want to go here.  Make sure you visit them this week.

October 5, 2010

Lake Erie Walleye with Spaetzle and Cheese

Another play on a classic today, the eternal combo of fish sticks and mac and cheese. 

While I didn’t fry the walleye, you could.  I seasoned the walleye with salt and pepper, cut a shallow slit in the top of each fillet and stuffed them with a combination of fresh herbs.  Then a drizzle of olive oil and it’s into the oven for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of your fishies.  If you have the time, brown some butter in a pan with a sprig of fresh rosemary for a quick and flavorful brown butter sauce to drizzle over your fish.

Spaetzle is a simple batter to mix up.  I used about two cups (half whole wheat flour from Flying J Farm and half unbleached white flour from prairie Mills) along with 3 local eggs and about a half a cup of milk from Snowville.  You want it nice and thick (like pudding almost) so you can press it through a colander with the back of a spatula over a deep pot of salted boiling water.  You don’t want it running through of its own volition, you need to push it through, otherwise you’ll be left straining out a bizarre oatmeal-looking slop.  (Not that this has ever happened to competent Persephone.)  Each batch of teeny tiny dumplings are done in about a minute.  Lift the spaetzle out of the water with a strainer and place on a clean kitchen towel to drain.

Homemade cheese sauce is a snap to make.  Warm a chopped yellow tomato and some garlic  and add it to the cheese sauce to give a potentially heavy dish a nice touch of freshness.  Mix in a couple of generous spoonfuls of the tomato cheese mixture into the spaetzle that’s been moved to a saute pan to rewarm.

Serve the two together and you might be able to get your kids to try your version every once in a while.  And every once in a while is not a very bad start.

The only items in dinner that were not local were the olive oil and the salt and pepper.  Neat-o.  Complete sourcing can be found on the Farms and Producers page.

Playlist included Superior, by Columbus local Colin Gawel.

October 4, 2010

Weekday Apple Salad

I couldn’t help myself.  In light of Saturday’s article in the WSJ, saying bacon is singing its swan song, I defiantly made a tasty fall salad with bacon ends from Curly Tail Farm.  I can’t help it if it goes so well with fall apples from Gillogly Orchards and sharp cheddar from Ohio Farm Direct and a few spicy mustard greens from Honeyrun Farm.  I. just. can’t. help it.

Combine those ingredients in the quantities you like (I like lots of greens, lots of apples, a little bit of cheddar and a little bit more bacon).  Then dress it in a vinaigrette made from apple cider vinegar, Hays apple cider, olive oil, salt, pepper, and just a drop or two of sriracha.

Cherub ate a local version of mac and cheese: some of the leftover Mrs. Miller’s Homemade noodles from last night’s chicken, along with a quick bechamel (equal parts flour and butter in a small saucepan, heated until bubbly for a minute or two, then whisk in Snowville milk to make a sauce) then add in a few ounces of cheese mixing to melt.  Add noodles to sauce and voila!  Scratch mac and cheese in under ten minutes.

See the Farms and Producers page for complete sourcing.

October 4, 2010

Apple-licious Breakfast

Cherub likes a good breakfast. 

This morning, since it’s gotten a little chilly, I served her some hot cereal.  I couldn’t find local oatmeal, so rolled spelt, from Stutzman Farm made an even exchange.   You can find Stutzman products at the Greener Grocer.  It cooks pretty much like oatmeal, two parts liquid (milk, local apple cider, water, etc.) to one part spelt.  I topped it with carmelized apples (sliced apple from Gillogly Orchard, sautéed in butter from Snowville, with a drizzle of local honey from John E. Egleston and a sprinkling of non-local cinnamon) and a further drizzle of honey. 

The great thing about it, too, is that there’s enough for leftovers.  So before school tomorrow, her healthy local breakfast  is already made.

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