Archive for ‘Local Matters’

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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October 7, 2010

A Vegetarian Dinner to End a Vegetarian Day

Some days our family goes all veg, but it’s almost always by accident.  It’s not until later in the evening when we think over what we ate that day do we realize it’s done.  Meals like the one we made tonight are the main reason for it.  We sometimes just don’t miss the meat.  Food this good will satisfy anyone.  Today’s 10 minute homemade ricotta cheese and a perfectly poached egg contributed to the lovely feeling of abundance to the meal.  Thanks to Miss Whisk for the original inspiration for this dish.

Fresh Ricotta, Roasted Vegetables and Rossi Pasta, serves 2 (plus 1 three-year old)

1 baby eggplant, diced into 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 large Roma tomatoes, diced into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Olive oil, salt, pepper

3/4 c fresh ricotta

Scant 1/2  pound fettucine (we used Rossi’s Parsley and Garlic)

3 eggs, poached for two minutes

1 T chopped fresh basil

Mix the eggplant and tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper and spread in a roasting pan.  Roast on 400˚ for 30 minutes or so. 

Poach your eggs (bring water with a splash of vinegar to a low boil, crack the egg into a small bowl, swirl the water with a spoon and pour the egg in the center of the water, cook for two minutes, remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a towel). 

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  While it’s cooking, add the roasted veg to a small sauce pan, along with the ricotta and two ladlefuls of pasta water.  Stir to create a sauce.  Drain the pasta,  divide between warmed pasta bowls, top with the sauce, a poached egg, the fresh basil and perhaps a further crumbling of the ricotta.

The only non-local ingredients in this post were the olive oil, salt and pepper.  For complete sourcing, please see the Farms and Producers page.

Playlist included De L’alouette, by Columbus-bred funk-soul-brother RJD2.

October 7, 2010

Warm Local Salad for a Crisp Fall Day

I love salads for lunch.  Not the dried iceberg-purple-cabbage-shredded-carrot kind.  Salads with some personality: seasonal vegetables and a well paired salad dressing are the bare minimum of requirements.  Today’s lunch was a take on an original recipe from Jamie Oliver.  God love that man for all he’s doing to change the way people eat. 

Since we had some beautiful purple bell peppers (love!!!) from Honeyrun Farm, it was easy to make them the star.  The peppers were paired with a mix of greens from Honeyrun, too, and that were dressed with a simple vinaigrette that was spiked with cumin.  

Warm Stuffed Peppers with Cumin Dressed Greens, Serves 2

2 small purple (or any color really) bell peppers, cored, seeds removed

1 large Roma tomato, chopped

Small handful of fresh parsley and basil, chopped

2 slices ten grain bread, toasted (or similar)

1 clove of garlic, paper removed

Three generous handfuls of fresh salad greens

Olive oil, salt and pepper, mustard, cumin, local honey

Heat oven to 350˚.  Mix 1/2 to 3/4 of the chopped tomato with the chopped herbs.  Reserving the rest for garnish.  Sprinkle mixture with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.   Stuff each pepper with half the tomato mixture, place in a baking dish and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Toast the bread slices.  When done, give each slice of toast a quick rub with the garlic clove (toast acts as a nice grater).  Mix the dressing with two to three tablespoons oil to one tablespoon of vinegar, whisk in a teaspoon of vinegar, a heaping teaspoon of cumin, and a drizzle of local honey.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Dress the greens.

Plate as shown above.

The only non-local ingredients in this dish, were the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.  For complete sourcing see the Farms and Producers page.

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.

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