Posts tagged ‘Local Matters’

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 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!

May 22, 2011

French Groceries | Marché Central, Nancy

I was at a Slow Food Columbus meeting recently and overheard someone mention how many other cities have one central market, whereas Columbus has many scattered farmer’s markets.  Farmers market season is truly gearing up here in Columbus and today’s lovely weather reminded me how beautiful the central market in Nancy was when I visited last month.   The Nancy market had everything from freshly butchered whole lapins, to the famous Bresse chickens, diminutive Periwinkles, tiny glass pots of tangy, fruit-laced yogurts, and tender white asparagus the exact length and thickness of a baby’s arm.  I loved how the fresh herbs were displayed and kept fresh in cascading water fountains.  Here are a few of my favorite photos.

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Playlist included C’est la vie, par Coralie Clément

November 26, 2010

The Official Persephone’s Kitchen Holiday Gift Guide

The turkey coma is fading, the leftover turkey carcass is simmering on the stove for stock, and now you can start thinking about what to do about your holiday gifts.  ‘Tis the season to be giving!  Perhaps you’ve got a friend or family member that loves all things food, or all things Ohio or all things fabulous. 

Persephone is here with a trusty list that’s sure to have them smiling.  Here are some of the things that will be wrapped and given to our nearest and dearest this year, whether it’s under a tree or lovingly pressed into the welcoming hands of a hostess with a houseful of merrymakers.

For the Baker

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November 12, 2010

Dine Originals Week | Basil

BasilPersephone’s Kitchen was closed tonight.  Basil presented a really extensive Dine Originals Week menu, with four courses no less, for $20.  Having not had the chance to dine there before, but hearing good things, this week seemed the time to give it a go.  I’m glad we did.

A snug little restaurant right between Surly Girl Saloon and The Attic on High Street, Basil was already filling up early.  Seating groups from two to ten while I was there, the waitstaff was quick to take orders and even quicker with delivery of our dishes. 

I tried both the Tom Yum Ground Chicken and the Tom Ka Ground Chicken soups.  Both were very different and both were served very hot.  The Tom Yum was spicy and flavorful with lime and lemongrass.  The Tom Ka was a light coconut soup with a lovely fresh, almost piney balance from the galangal root. 

Our appetizers were the cucumber salad and the vegetable tempura.  The cucumber salad had a very light mirin dressing with grated carrots, red onion and cilantro. It was a cool interlude between hot soup and our main courses.  The vegetable tempura batter itself was a bit heavy but very, very delicious.  The vegetables were tender but not mushy, the tempura crispy and the clear Thai vinaigrette a perfect dipping partner for the vegetables.

Hades chose the Thai curry with salmon and I had the basil over rice.  His salmon was flaky and the coconut curry was a flavor I would bathe in if I could: creamy, sweet and savory all at once.  The basil over rice was ground chicken with lots of Thai basil, green bell peppers, sautéed in a spicy brown sauce.  I have a thing with spicy: if it’s going to be done, it needs to not be over done.  You want to be able to taste the other flavors in your dinner.  You don’t just want straight hot, you want a balance.  You want to be able to pick out the basil or the bell pepper, not just be sweating bullets, sniffing a lot and saying, “Whew, this is hot.”  And you know what?  This was balanced.  I had them make it with a medium amount of spice and it was just right.  Spicy without being overpowering. 

For our fourth course we were each given sweet little pink coupons to be taken next door to The Attic vintage shop to be redeemed for a Bakery Gingham cupcake.  The perfect sweet ending.  And kind of a cool little store with a mix of vintage and new, a few gifts; one I’ll need to stop in again to truly get a feel for what they’ve got.

Basil has some finesse.  I enjoyed dinner and wouldn’t mind stopping in again soon.  You got another day to get your dine on.  Get going!

November 4, 2010

Dine Originals Week | November 2010 Menu Previews

Dine Originals Week starts this Monday, November 8th and runs through Sunday, November 14th.  Truly, this is one of the best times of year to visit one of the 53 independently owned and arguably best restaurants in Columbus.  At all 53 you will find specially designed three course meals for $10, $20 or $30.  Perusing this year’s preview menus, I’ve staked out a few (just a few, really…) that I’m wanting to try.  Give a click to any of the restaurant names below to link to the proposed menus.

For $10 you can sample of the tremendous fare at Tasi for lunch, lose yourself in a dreamy, sugary collection of six pastries from the elegant folks at Pistacia Vera or enjoy real New York-style deli fare at Katzinger’s.  Or head to Bodega, one of my favorite bars (Persephone has favorite bars, I just realized this.) for an inexpensive dinner.  These are all for ten bucks, people.  Get out there!

For a bit more at $20 a person you have a wealth of choices.  Dinner at Columbus Brewing Company is a good choice, especially if you opt to try some of Eric Bean’s (CBC’s skillful brewmaster) new beers while you’re there.  The Sticke Alt and the Winter Warmer are two that would pair pretty well with this week’s menu.  Or for a warm, cozy dinner head to Figlio, for a great menu with several choices for each course.

For $30, you’re really starting to get into some serious culinary fireworks.  I stalk the folks at Skillet (they know I do, it’s a friendly kind of stalking…) for menus such as the one Chef Caskey has proposed for this week’s dinner.  I also will admit to kind of a restaurant crush on Rigsby’s Kitchen and G. Michael’s Bistro, both have really luscious looking menus.

And for absolute fun, for the love of Pete, head to Surly Girl Saloon.  For $30 you get dinner for two!  And they have a choice of menus: a little bit trashy or a little bit classy.  I think I’m partial to the trashy side of things.  Anyplace that serves Frito Pie as an appetizer and ding dong cupcakes for dessert is ok in my book.

To top it all off, dine out next week at these wonderful places because a portion of the proceeds benefit the educational programs run by Local Matters.  Eat good, do good!

Have fun next week, kids.  See you out there!

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