Posts tagged ‘eat local challenge’

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!

November 3, 2010

Locavore | Gretna and Strawberry Salad

Those local strawberries from Crum Strawberry Farm are all gone.  The same goes for the beautiful arugula and salad mix from Honeyrun Farm.  They both went quickly this week between Hades and I into this surprisingly seasonal salad that also features Blue Jacket Dairy‘s Gretna, a Halloumi-style cheese (so local! so delicious!).  Blue Jacket recommends that you slice the Gretna and brown it quickly on both sides in a hot frying pan.  But for this salad, I prefer to allow slices to completely melt and go all brown and thin and lacy, then spread it on a toasted piece of artisan bread.  The cheesy crispy toast is the perfect foil to the spicy arugula and the last of the sweet berries.

Gretna and Strawberry Salad, serves 2

10 to 12 medium strawberries, hulled and quartered

4 or 5 quarter-inch slices of Blue Jacket Dairy Gretna

2 slices of good quality artisan bread, toasted

2 very generous handfuls of mixed salad greens, including arugula

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, good quality French Dijon mustard, salt, pepper

Heat a small nonstick frying pan over medium heat; spread the slices of Gretna evenly in the pan.  Allow to melt completely flat and begin to brown and fry.  Divide the cheese between the two slices of toast and spread to coat evenly.  Return to the pan, cheese side down for a few second to brown a bit more if you like.

In a large salad bowl, mix four tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of balsamic, one tablespoon of honey, one teaspoon Dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste.  Add in the greens and toss to combine.  PK tip: don’t dress the salad too early, just before serving, no one likes wilty, soggy lettuce.  Divide between two large plates, top with the berries.  Snug up the cheesy toast along side the salad.  Say farewell to fall and summer.

Playlist included The Writer, by Ellie Goulding.

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.

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