Posts tagged ‘local food’

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!

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August 30, 2011

My Favorite Summer Corn | Maque Choux

Although summer corn here in Ohio is some of the sweetest and loveliest I’ve ever eaten, I still can’t help but occasionally add to an already great thing.  Gilding the already golden lily, if you will.  This is an easy, flavorful recipe that I’ve made countless times this summer, because it seems to go with everything.  And left to my own devices, I would eat bowls of this all alone for dinner.  It’s so delicious.

Maque Choux (say mock shoe) is a traditional Cajun dish of braised corn, along with

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June 9, 2011

About Town | Easton Farmer’s Market

Photo credit: Bethia Woolf

I visited Easton Farmer’s Market this afternoon with friend, fellow foodie and owner of Columbus Food Aventures, Bethia.  We were both so pleased to see so many vendors and such a comprehensive market for something so new.  In only its second week, it was a veritable grocery store in the parking lot just behind Fadó and J Crew.  Go figure.

Produce highlights include fresh produce from Rock Dove Farms (from whom I scored fresh shelling peas), Wishwell Farms (which had gorgeous fresh

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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 13, 2010

Dining Out | Lunch at Lüke

South Texas has a long growing season, plentiful meats, feathered and furred game, and lots of space to grow and roam.  Why has it been so hard to find it?  I had an opportunity to meet CIA-trained  Chef Steve McHugh after a demo at the Pearl Farmer’s Market.  He may be planting the flag for San Antonio’s late- blooming local-food movement.  Having grown up on a Wisconsin farm, Chef McHugh knows a thing or two about how great local, fresh-from-the-farm produce can taste.  He sources many of his ingredients for Lüke from vendors at Pearl, all of whom are within 150 miles of San Antonio.  The salad he made at the market, which is on the menu, included Humble House baby blue cheese – some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen – snuggled up next to chili-spiced pistachios and candied beets.  I looked over the menus and decided we would cancel our lunch reservations to eat at the three-week-old bistro, Lüke. 

Lüke, on the Riverwalk, is the new sister to the original in New Orleans.  As a John Besh restaurant, Lüke has definite French Quarter flavor.  But there are menu touches here and there that make you remember you are in South Texas.

We started with cocktails, a French “75” for me and a Sazerac for Hades.

To start, I couldn’t resist the pâté de campagne of wild boar.  Served with watermelon pickles, mustard and a gelee, the pâté was luscious spread on crispy olive oil toasts.  Equally intriguing in terms of a first course would have been the fried Texas quail, which I will be sure to try next visit.

Hades ordered from the express lunch menu, which included a cup of soup.  He wisely chose the shrimp and sausage gumbo.

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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.

December 3, 2010

Open House at Oakvale Farmstead Cheese

Ladies getting a treat of some corn silage (grown on the premises) and alfalfa.

This morning we drove out to Oakvale Farmstead for their holiday open house.  We were greeted exuberantly by Greta, a golden lab farm dog.  I could tell, it was going to be a delightful morning.  Instantly, Cherub was off and running, enticing Greta to follow her around, which she did without hesitation.

Oakvale ships wheels all over the world.

I met with Dena King-Nossokoff to talk cheese and learn a bit more about how they make their gouda.  The farm is family owned and run.  The King family has a herd of about 20 beautiful and happy dairy cows that provide the milk for their very famous Gouda.  Farmstead cheese, by definition, is made on the farm with only the milk of the dairy animals that live there. 

In their cheese house, you can take a look at the cheese-making room as well as choose from many varieties of cheese including gouda rubbed with Barley’s Russian stout.  We took home a chunk of that, as well as some caraway seed gouda that I’ll use for dinner tonight. 

Aged gouda at the top has a decidedly different look than the young gouda (bottom).

Also swoon-worthy is their

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