Archive for ‘Farms’

June 20, 2011

Strawberry Week | Panzanella Salad

This past weekend, Cherub and I, along with some Slow Food Columbus members and friends descended upon Schacht Farm Market for the last weekend of you-pick strawberries.  I left with ten pounds.  Ten pounds.

I knew there would be jam, cobblers and desserts in store, but I wanted some for lunch.  And it wasn’t like I had to worry if there would be enough.  There were obviously plenty.

I quickly cobbled together a strawberry panzanella salad that just hit the spot after a morning’s work of picking.  It didn’t hurt that we had a bit of past its prime ciabatta that made the base. And growing the in back yard is plenty of basil, parsley and mint.  I sliced up some green onions I’d picked up at the farmer’s market, although I do prefer and adore red onion in this salad.  As for a dressing, a generous drizzling of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, few twists of pepper and a pinch of salt are all you need, lemon if you have it.  And of course the berries.  Lots of those.

Strawberry Panzanella Salad, Serves two (plus a little four year old)

2 c slightly stale bread, cut into large cubes (I used ciabatta)

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May 8, 2011

Mother’s Day at Pleasantview Farm | Asparagus with Shallots

Mother’s Day afternoon was spent just how I wanted it: out at a gorgeous farm, with good food, family and friends.  Pleasantview Farm is twenty miles outside of Columbus, but feels a world away.  The farm is quiet with vast expanses of meadow and sky.  A working organic dairy farm, it is home to a great many head of beautiful dairy cows and their adorable offspring.

Since it was a potluck, I brought along an easy asparagus salad that was drizzled with a mustard dressing just before serving (a Ball jar works great for this).  It was an easy, no fuss day.  Perfect for Mother’s Day.

Asparagus Salad with Shallots, serves plenty at a potluck

2 pounds asparagus, stringy ends removed

1 thick slice of pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice

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February 17, 2011

It’s Really Just An Excuse | Buttermilk Pancakes

So with all the crème fraiche lying around, I was bound to make some more butter, and with that comes the buttermilk and with that, well, Cherub wanted pancakes.  I can’t say no to her sweet little face.  Well, I can sometimes.  OK, a lot of times.  But today is a yes kind of day.  So fresh buttermilk pancakes for lunch?  You got it little sister.

And for me?  It’s really just an excuse to eat more butter.  Besides, Warren says it’s good for me.

Buttermilk Pancakes, inspired by James Beard’s recipe in American Cookery

2 c all-purpose flour

1 1/4 t baking soda

1 t salt

3 T sugar

2 c buttermilk (homemade, if you can)

3 eggs, seperated

2 t vanilla

1/4 c butter, melted

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.  Whisk together the buttermilk, egg yolks and vanilla.  Add and mix well with the dry ingredients.  Beat in the butter and mix until smooth.  Beat the egg whites until they have stiff peaks, then fold into the batter gently.

Ladle the batter into a hot pan or griddle and cook until the edges of the pancake are just starting to dry, most of the bubbles on top have popped and the bottom is golden brown.  Flip and brown the other side.

Serve with all that Snowville Creamery butter and some good Ohio maple syrup.  Speaking of which, fresh batches of syrup will available March 5th at Flying J Farm at the annual Maple Sugaring event.  Bring the kids for a demonstration on how syrup is made and stay for a pancake lunch.

Playlist included Thirteen, by Big Star.

 

 

January 31, 2011

Obsession with Breakfast Continues | Chicken and Waffles

It seems to me that I’m going through a breakfast phase.  Eggs at most meals, bacon at dinner.  This is good for the winter.  It’s cold, it’s comforting to have maple syrup on the table.  It reminds you that the sap will be rising again soon, tapped by our friends the farmers.  Rising sap means spring can’t be too far off.  Tell that to the ice storm that’s supposed to be coming through tonight, but I digress from my pretty story.

Saturday morning, Cherub wanted waffles.  Being the loving, indulgent mother I am – don’t snicker derisively, you – I set to doing it right after a large cup of coffee away.  Curses that we were out of butter.  No matter, it seems.  Mr. James Beard himself says waffles are just delicious with bacon fat.  Well, certainly!  Now before you go shaking your head and saying, “How can a loving mother feed her child bacon fat!?!”  It’s really very easy.  You just don’t do it every day.

So a good batch of waffles were sitting in the fridge, leftover, insisting that something to be done with them.  Chicken and waffles is the obvious choice.  But I wasn’t about to serve fried chicken with those bacon-y waffles, although that would have been divine.  I opted for a lighter version, a pan seared chicken breast.

I do go for the bone in, skin on version, as it makes for a tastier, moister breast.  It’s easily de-boned before serving, takes all of about 15 seconds, really.  You have fifteen seconds, don’t you?  And if you want really, good, fresh chicken, stop by North Market Poultry and Game.  They have the very best here in Columbus, bar none.

The best way to cook a chicken breast (or two) is to season it generously with salt and pepper and sear it in a 10-inch pan that’s got some good (and hot) olive oil in it.  Let it brown very well, skin side down first, then flip it over and brown the other side as well.  Add in about a cup and a half of chicken stock, a sprig of thyme and a clove of crushed garlic, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to cook fairly slowly, turning and basting the chicken until it’s done.  Twenty to thirty minutes or so should do the trick.  Also by this time, your stock should be just about reduced to nothing.  Snug up the curved sides of the breast to the sides of the pan to get a good last bit of browning on them then pull them out to rest a few moments while you toast the leftover waffles and heat up the syrup.

To serve, remove the bones from the chicken (and the skin if you must) and slice.  Place on top of the waffle.  Add a slice of bacon or two if you want some extra protein.  Drizzle generously with maple syrup and cross your fingers spring comes sooner rather than later.

Playlist included Radioactive by Kings of Leon.

December 21, 2010

Locavore Dessert | Caramelized Apple Cranachan

It’s snowy and cold here in Ohio.   Perfect Christmas weather.

But don’t let that weather preclude you from making something deliciously local and in season.  At the Greener Grocer in North Market, you can pick up the three or four ingredients you need for this simple, luscious dessert.  In fact, it makes a fantastic Christmas pudding because it’s dead simple.

This is a Scottish dessert.  And Scots know that when it’s cold, a wee bit of whisky will warm you up.  This cranachan is essentially whipped Snowville Cream mixed with local honey and a bit of good bourbon whiskey.  Do your level best not to eat the whole bowl straight.  Instead, this time of year, top with a sliced local apple  that’s been caramelized in a bit of butter and a sprinkling of toasted rolled oats or spelt.

Ohio River Valley Cranachan, Serves 4

2 apples, cored and thinly sliced (I used ones from Hirsch Farm)

2 T butter (you can make your own with Snowville)

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December 16, 2010

South Texas Locavore | Mushrooms on Toast, Poached Backyard Egg

I am so happy to have a friend who is raising beautiful chickens.  Her name is Mylene, and her urban “farm” in a North San Antonio neighborhood produces all manner of vegetables and flowers, and as of November, the little jewels that star in this dish.  Upon arrival, I found her chickens happily pecking around Mackey Farms, softly clucking their pleasure.  Cherub had a fantastic time following them around and tempting them with deep green leaves of kale, like chicken catnip.  I had fun holding them and watching them.  It’s like an avian version of an aquarium.  But make no mistake, these birds aren’t a quirky diversion.  Just like the vegetables in her beds, they’re there to put food on her family’s table.

I will never, ever turn down a few fresh eggs.  I will honor every ounce of the effort that chicken gave to produce that egg and eat it with all the reverence of a holy meal.  So when she offered me five, including one that was laid while I visited, I knew exactly how I would use them – mushrooms on toast.  It’s a true bistro classic, elevated here by earthy Texas mushrooms and, of course, those transcendent eggs.  It’s a simple, humble dish – you can have it for lunch, you can have it with your tea.  Please, I urge you, try it.

Mushrooms on Toast with Poached Backyard Egg, Serves 2

4 cups of fresh, local mushrooms, diced.  I used 2 cups of crimini and 2 cups of shiitake.

1 shallot, finely diced

2 thick slices of the crusty bread of your choosing.  I used a buttermilk sourdough.

Vermouth, a splash

1 leaf of Texas sorrel, cut into ribbons, for garnish

1/2 t butter

olive oil, salt, pepper

2 beautiful Mackey Farms eggs

Coat the bottom of a large frying pan very generously with olive oil, and heat until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms, allowing them to sear, about 3 minutes.  Deglaze with the vermouth.  Then add the chopped shallots and turn the heat to medium-low.  Season well with salt and pepper, and stir regularly for another 3-4 minutes.  This is a good time to make your toast.

Now poach the eggs for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes in simmering water – long enough from the white to be firm, but without cooking the yolk through.

Add the butter to your mushrooms and give it a stir to incorporate

Spoon the mushrooms onto your toast, and top it with the egg and a tiny sprinkle of sea salt.  Garnish with the sorrel ribbons.  There is no doubt you will enjoy this.

Playlist included Maybe Sparrow, by Neko Case.

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December 12, 2010

Pearl Farmer’s Market | San Antonio

“Back when I was growing up, there were no farmer’s markets in San Antonio.”  This should be said using your grumpiest old person’s voice.  For my recent visit I wanted to know: where can you get local produce?  Is there a Slow Food chapter?  What restaurants are doing local sourcing?  Where can a food nerd like Persephone get really excited?  Crickets.  I realized I had to get my old Texan-do-it-yourself attitude and figure it out for myself. 

I had heard that there was a farmer’s market at the old Pearl Brewery, so we headed there Saturday morning with the full intention of spending 15 minutes making a quick round.  I was not expecting to see that old lot and building transformed into a vibrant space being used simultaneously for a morning farmer’s market and a tamale festival

Walking in, I passed il Songno and was lured by the views through tall windows to the kitchen where the chefs were making pasta, into its entryway to study the menu.  When I come back to San Antonio, this eatery run by James Beard nominated Andrew Weissman, will be tops on my list. 

We wandered towards the market and passed the Twig Bookshop (where Cherub was just in time for story hour).   The covered alleyway had vendors from Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, and Sol y Luna Bakery.  We walked a bit further into the open courtyard that overlooks an extension of the Riverwalk and hit the motherlode.  Dozens of farms all from a 150 mile radius with everything from vegetables, to pecans to grass-fed bison, to yard eggs, and heritage pork.  I wept just a little bit.  It’s here.  I am so happy that San Antonio has this.  Now every visit home will include a trip to Pearl on either Wednesday afternoons or Saturday mornings.

The fact that Pearl is anchored by a CIA campus (one of only three in the US with the other two being in Napa and Hyde Park) says to me that San Antonio has made a real committment to food.  It is not just bar-b-que and enchiladas anymore.  I’ll say it again: not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Demeter made enchiladas yesterday and I’ll be posting her recipe for the enchilada “gravy” in the next few days.  And as I write this post, Zeus is smoking a brisket.

 To wrap up the trip to Pearl, we stopped at the demo tent where Steven McHugh, executive chef at the three-week-old Lüke, was sampling his Bluebonnet organic greens salad with Humble House baby blue cheese (HH is a vendor at Pearl), cane syrup dressing, spiced pistachios and candied beets.  We talked local sourcing, which he is very passionate about, and who’s doing it in San Antonio.  Turns out there’s not too many, but it’s growing.  I told him we’d be by later in the afternoon for lunch and I can say easily, it was the best meal (outside Demeter’s enchiladas) I’ve ever had in San Antonio.  I’ll do a post about it in full, complete with pictures, a bit later.

I’m having fun down here in San Antonio.  You should come.

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