Archive for ‘Eat Local Challenge’

August 10, 2012

Local Foods Week | Whey Crepes with Ricotta and Zucchini

It’s the time of year where just about anything your heart desires is available fresh and local here in Ohio.  Farmer’s market tables groan under the weight of melons, zucchini, tomatoes, peaches.  Oh the loveliness.

Local Matters (whose mission is to transform the food system in central Ohio to be more secure, prosperous, just and delicious) hosts Local Foods Week every year.  This year they have so many events from tastings to picnics to special local foods week tours.   It’s kind of a party with produce all week.  Which is awesome.

Cooking with local produce is my personal favorite thing to do this week.

But it’s summer, too, and if you ask me, that means cooking should be just barely above a simmer.  If you’re in the house, lightly sauteed or not cooked at all are methods I can stand behind.

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October 5, 2011

Local Foods Week | Rabbit

 

Sometimes dinner is completely off the grid.  Tonight’s rabbit was an example of that.  Not purchased at a store or farmer’s market, simply gifted to me from generous friends who have local farmer friends.  The dinners, over two nights, could not have embodied the essence of local more than that.

Spot the backyard bunny. No, this was not dinner.

For the squeamish, let me tell you that a beautifully raised, local rabbit might strike you as tasting a whole lot like turkey.  For the more adventurous, it is light, meaty and absolutely delicious.  It is a protein entirely worth hunting down (albeit grocery shopping or the actual in-the-woods kind) to find responsibly-raised meat.

I wasn’t home last night and Hades took it upon himself to braise our rabbit with leeks and carrots and some decidedly non-local French vermouth.  He served it with warm red cabbage, beet and apple salad and a butternut puree.

I cannot begin to express my bitter disappointment at not being home for this meal.

Freakishly, there were leftovers. 

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October 3, 2011

Local Foods Week | Curried Pumpkin

Local pumpkins are now prolific at farmer’s markets and my Whole Foods.  They are tasty, vitamin-packed treasures that are as versatile as you care to make them.  Add in some of the last of my backyard chilies and yellow cherry tomatoes, and you’ve got a dish that’s downright good for you.

Tonight I yearned for some Indian food and so I spiced up a leftover half of roasted pumpkin to accompany the fish I baked.  With the new addition of mustard oil to my pantry and now this dish, I even felt like I might be breaking some sort of law.  And after dinner there was a very distinctive warmth (not spicy heat) in my mouth that couldn’t be attributed to anything but that mustard oil.  Who says cooking is boring?

Curried Pumpkin, serves two hungry people, originally inspired by a dish by Aktar Islam of Lasan

2 t mustard oil (or grapeseed oil, or other oil with a fairly high smoking point)

1 t whole fennel seeds

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October 2, 2011

Local Foods Week | Brining Two Kinds of Pork

I haven’t made a whole lot of pork lately.  I’ve been swooning over spice-rubbed chicken, braising all manner of cuts beef, and grilling plenty of fish.  I think pork needs its due.  I am a big fan, particularly of bacon and pork belly.  It must be the fat.  But what about the old standby favorites?  I think I’ve been shying away from cuts like pork chops and fresh hams simply because, at first blush, seem kind of mundane.

Enter brining.  A great primer, including a simple ratio, from Cooks Illustrated can be found here.  But in a nutshell, this technique of soaking in a salt, sugar and spice “stock,” really livens up the flavor of the more lean cuts of pork and bumps up the much needed moisture.  It doesn’t require any silly flavor injectors and it’s foolproof.   Adjust the flavors and seasonings as you wish and you’ll have a dinner either as familiar or exotic as you want it to be.  Add in some locally and thoughtfully raised pork, mine was from Curly Tail Organic Farm, and the noble pig doesn’t get much better than this.

Basic Brine, make 1 quart per pound of meat

1 qt water

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October 2, 2011

Hooray! It’s Local Foods Week!

I’m excited!  It’s Local Foods Week again.  Coordinated by the wonderful Local Matters, the week is designed to heighten awareness about the benefits of eating local foods (it tastes better! it has more nutrients! it’s benefits small businesses!).  All week long there are fun events and activities for the whole family.  To encourage participation in an already tasty endeavor, there are even prizes for diving into local foods.

This year, I will again be posting locally-focused recipes all week.  Stop in every day for some local flavor!

October 10, 2010

Farewell, Local Foods Week! We won’t forget you.

I’ve reflected on the past Local Foods Week and realized and I learned a good number of things and reaffirmed some of my core cooking beliefs.

1. Local food does not have to be expensive.  Eating seasonally, even if you’re buying produce from a farmers market, can be affordable for just about any budget.

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October 8, 2010

Day Seven: Dinner, Gran Finale, Ode to a Pig

Did you really think Persephone would forget to include a pork dish this week?  O ye of little faith.  Tonight’s family dinner was a symphony of piggy-ness.  The way we all like it.  This pig, trotters and all, was entirely from our friends at Bluescreek Farm Meats in the North Market. 

Milan is the home of La Scala, Inter Milan, and this dish.  Please enjoy the description of the last meal of Local Foods week, and heck, maybe try it out: Bottaggio alla Milanese.   Mangia. 

Persephone’s Local Cassoeula, serves 6

5 oz bacon ends (ours were from Curly Tail Farm)

3 pounds pork spare ribs, cut into two-rib sections

1 pig’s trotter, about a pound, split (just ask)

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