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Monday, September 04, 2006

succotash!

herbed corn & edamame succotash
adapted from eating well magazine [based in charlotte, vt!], summer 2004

1 1/2 cups fresh shelled edamame [i got mine from open heart farm at the shelburne farmer's market]
1 tbs oil [olive or sunflower or whatever your exception may be]
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups corn kernals [about 4 ears]
3 tbs dry white wine [rhubarb could work...when my non-localvore side comes out, i use saki, drinking a bit as i cook] or water
2 tbs cider vinegar
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
salt & pepper to taste

rinse edamame pods well and drop into a large pot of boiling water, cooking for 3-5 minutes, until beans have lost their raw taste.

drain and cool under running water. once pods are cool enough to handle, shell.

heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. add bell pepper, onion and garlic.

stir frequently, cook until vegetables start to soften, about 2 minutes. stir in corn, wine or water, and edamame. stir frequently, cook for about 4 minutes.
remove from heat and stir in vinegar, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. serve warm but i think it's even better cold and leftover the next day.

it looks so much better with red pepper, but i could only find local green peppers in the co-op yesterday. there is some purple basil in there though.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

muffins=true love forever

muffins played a key role in my finding extra special local happiness all month. i like the convenience of the individual serving size. note that my serving size is generally between 3 and 5 muffins.

it took me about a week into the challenge before i realized i was hardly eating any grains thus i rarely felt full and often felt weak. muffins saved my life.
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my top 3 muffin memories:
1. corn muffins [always]
2. keri's maple spice muffins
3. failed fresh raspberry muffins
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corn muffins have been my, well, bread and butter. i adapted the recipe from the angelica home kitchen's southern-style cornbread. i made them first thing in the morning before work or late at night just before bed. i ate them warmed from the broiler smothered in butter and honey or topped with sweet currant, blueberry and honey sauce. i also broke them up and put them in things like soup or baked beans. they are good friends with cheddar cheese as well.

here's the super simple recipe:
1 cup cornmeal [butterworks is the best!]
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour [i've been using white spelt]
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt

preheat oven to 350. oil a 12 seater muffin tin. whisk together cornmeal, flours, and baking powder. in a seperate bowl, combine the milk, oil, maple syrup and sea salt. combine wet and dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, taking care not to overmix. pour into muffin cups [they only fill about 3/4 of the cup, though of course you could make fewer, bigger muffins] and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. please note: i've never timed them so i'm not sure how long they really take. this recipe is actually for corn bread.
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one afternoon i was riding my bike down my street toward downtown when i heard someone yell my name. i turn and look across the street and it's keri. i recognized her long blonde hair first. she was on her way to my house to deliver maple spice muffins she'd made that day. so dang sweet! i put the foil wrapped plate in my bike basket and continued on my way. keri was actually en route to a potluck, but my house was on the way. i think she said she got the recipe from mad river valley localvores, but i'm not sure. here's the one i found [it's actually for a cake]:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk or sourmilk [1 cup milk + 1 tbsp cider vinegar]
3/4 cup maple syrup, grade B
2/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs beaten thick and fluffy
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

preheat oven to 350. in a bowl combine all the dry ingredients. mix melted butter, maple syrup, sour milk together. beat eggs until light and fluffy. add eggs to milk mixture. add milk/egg mixture to dry mixture. pour batter into greased muffin tin [or 13x9x2 baking pan]. bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean again, check the times because i'm not sure. cool on a wire rack.
variation: you can also omit the spices and have a maple cake.
recipe by our own champlain valley localvore, nicole carpenter.
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last saturday i went raspberry picking at adam's berry farm with emily. i came home and made muffins using an old standby muffin recipe. for some reason, they weren't sweet enough and i over cooked them. i'm going to try again today and will keep you posted. in the meantime look at these beautiful berries! and there were so many frogs and monarch butterflies!



sunkissed salmon colored berries!


the muffins weren't a success but fresh berries and cream were at the bbq-turned-dance-party last saturday night.


monarchs


i counted about 18 frogs within about a 3 foot space at the edge of the field.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Last supper.


A couple days ago I made agnolloti, stuffed them with roasted carrots and stuck them in the freezer. I really like making pasta. It takes maybe 45 minutes or so, makes a bit of a mess. But I like eating pasta so making it is fun. I tend to screw up the first two rows of agnolloti when I make them until I get the hang of it. I make it from Keller's French Laundry cookbook so I don't do the whole "make ravioli and call it agnolloti" thing you see on the interwebs. Of course, I also don't really know what I'm doing so it could all just be crazy.

Anyway...Last night, around 9 or so I took them out.


I wanted to sauce them with this curry emulsion thing from the cookbook. Never really done something like that before so I figured it would be fun. It was. The sauce uses creme fraiche, heavy cream, scallions and curry, and of course a stick of butter.

When the sauce is done it's tossed with the agnolloti and served. Garnished here with chops of scallion that has been blanched in a big pot of water (I forgot to add lots of salt to the water but it still helped the little guys get green).

I got a little sloppy as I was scooching them onto the plate so it's a bit messy, sorry Keller.


Overall it was pretty damn tasty. The curry emulsion was very very subtle; not like take-out Indian food. So the warm curry delish was then contrasted with the clear taste of the roasted carrots in a pleasant and delicate way. Yum. And I still have more agnolloti in my freezer.

g-lo

Thursday, August 31, 2006

up we step

1. First things first: Can we give angelica and mr. ben and big ole clap on the back for a fantastic blow-out on Friday night? If that's not local goodness, then I don't know what is. (*Unless it's bumping into your local friends in front of said pizza palace in the wee morning hours. You know who you are).

2. In lieu of many separate conversations about the potential social/economic/enviornmental impact of our "study", I'd like to plan a post-challenge sesh to hash out some of the "where do we go from here" questions. How about Viva Espresso? How about Tuesday, September 12th? Or Wednesday? Or Thursday? I work until 5:00, so it may have to be cocktails instead of caffine. Vices any which way are fine with me.

3. I have ignored multiple requests for recpies. Why? Because I'm a lazy sloth. In no particular order:

PHOEBE-TINI (or, if you're feeling particularly friendly, Phoebtini)

I. Simmer equal parts blueberries (frozen or not) and strawberries (frozen or not)and 1/4 c chopped fresh basil with 1 TBS - 1/4 c sweetener (I think honey is a little less abrasive)
> or any other fruit you're partial to
II. Mascerate fruit until it forms a syrup. If you've got the equipment and time, force the mixture through a sieve or food mill and reserve the juice.
III. Remove your chilled martini glass from the fridge.
IV. Drizzle 1/4 c. syrup along the edge and into the base of your glass.
V. Top with a healthy amount of VERMONT WHITE vodka (or other in-state liquor)
VI. Garnish with a full basil leaf and consider yourself the luckiest bastard this side of the citrus line.

PHOEBE'S BLUE AND PINK BUCKLE

I adapted this recipe from the GOURMET's blueberry and nectarine version:

For the topping
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits (Flack Family Farm)
1/3 cup honey (Shelburne Farms)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (Champlain Valley)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the batter
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened (FFF)
2/3 cup maple syrup (Shelburne Farms)
1 teaspoon vanilla (i didn't have this, but if you did, you could add it...)
1/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (Champlain Valley)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs (Shelburne Farms)
2 cups blueberries, picked over and rinsed (Pelky's)
2 peaches, pitted and cut into 1-inch wedges (Shelburne Orchards)

Make the topping: In a small bowl blend together the butter, the honey, the flour, the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. The mixture will be VERY sticky, and form kind of a paste. Stick this in the fridge.
Make the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 2-3 quart baking dish or 10 x 2 cake pan.
In a small bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and the maple syrup and beat in the vanilla. Add eggs one at a time. You'll want to integrate the eggs slowly so that your mixture stays light and fluffy. It's best if the eggs are room temperature. Fold in your dry ingredients until just barely mixed. Fold in fruit.

Spread the batter in your dish. Distribute topping in teaspoon-sized dallops over top of cake. Bake the buckle in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean and the topping is crisp and golden. Serve the buckle with whipped cream, if you've got it.

4. Choclate party, anyone? I'm thinking a flourless chocolate tart, or individual chocolage bombs. I imagine we'll need mucho red wine. I'm thinking a Malbec or a great Pinot Noir. And of course, some espresso to cut through that chocolate.

5. We are so blessed, in so many ways. See you all on Friday.

pho.ebs

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

slippery slope...and local hope

i have not been posting regularly at all these last few weeks. which is right in line with the last two weeks of the eat local challenge for me as well. i have been unable to resist homemade chocolate zucchini cake at work. and while traveling in michigan i bought a box o' cookies at whole foods and was unable to restrain myself. fell into the ol' habit of eating 4 at a time, say 4 times in one hour. and suddenly i fell down a big ol' slippery hill and could only stop rolling completely in the comfort of my own kitchen.

on one hand, i feel some guilt. mainly because i set out to fit into parameters that, in the long run, i am not up for fitting into. on the other hand, i feel nothing but inspired, amazed, and energized by food and friends and seasons and sharing and connecting.

things i plan to maintain beyond the august eat local challenge:
*
cooking nearly every day [reducing my processed food consumption BIG TIME]
*
noshing on homemade snacks [corn muffins, granola, popcorn, local fruit...]
*
curbing my refined sugar intake [and feelin' fine!]
*
enjoying blueberry, pear, and rhubarb wine [hey i still want a phoebe-tini]
*
using local flour and corn meal exclusively
*
using local dried beans as much as possible
*
buying the local applesauce even though it's not the organic applesauce
*
picking lots o' blueberries
*
making new things like crackers and tortillas
*
using honey in baked goods
*
calling producers to get the scoop on sources
*
eating local tempeh more often than non-local tofu
*
hosting awesome bbq-turned-dance-parties
*
sharing it all with my friends!
*
over the next few days i'll be catching up on my recipe posts. and then we'll all have to lay down some plans for cookbook creating!

thank you, seamonsters, for being so totally awesome & rad.

late research

surfing the web tonight, found a couple of interesting local food things in VT.

there is a tea company in waterbury that grow & make their own herbal tea blends (and they also sell other non-local teas) - vermont liberty tea

and i just read about an all local diner in quechee gorge (used to be in barre). has anyone been to this place? - farmer's diner

yum yum....

peace,
greg

npr local foods podcast discussion

hey guys,
my brother passed this on to me.
interesting discussion with brian halweil & jennifer wilkins.

download an mp3 of the broadcast here

brian halweil has written a book called 'Eat Here:Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket'. looks like a good one.

peace,
greg

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Some things I'll miss once the challenge is over.

As we grind into the final days of the Eat Local challenge I figured I might make a list of things I'll miss. Sort of the inverse of the "little gripes" we've all been doing/having throughout the challenge. In no particular order:


  1. Some food-centric gathering of friends every every week

  2. Bowden Valley Rhubarb Wine

  3. Mandy's Herbal Tea

  4. Getting really excited to wake up early and drink... peppermint tea at that place in the Old North End

  5. A good excuse to grill every night

  6. Using lots of honey and maple syrup instead of processed sugar

  7. Thinking about cooking again (I haven't been living up to my foodie self for about four years)

  8. That blueberry wine that tastes like a Cabernet

  9. The excitement about finding out some small local producer I hadn't heard about before



How about you? What will you miss?

g-lo

Monday, August 28, 2006

Potato Salad

Boil some potatoes.

Put some some rhubarb wine on the stove, reduce it in half.

While those things are boiling away, chop up a little shallot...


and scallions.





So tasty I could almost eat them. The scallions are from the Co-op. Who knows where they were grown but they were local. The shallots came from Craig's garden. You don't know how happy I am to have shallots in the house.

The potatoes are done. Time to take them out and chop them.



Then like so. You want them to be in firm little chunks that won't turn into mashed potatoes.



Do not be tempted to put potatoes that will just turn into mush into your salad. If you are like me, you can snack on these potato shmushes while you finish the salad.



Put the survivors in the bowl.



Remember those tasty shallots and scallions?



Throw them in the bowl, mix. But be gentle with it. No mashed potatoes.



Remember that wine your reduced by half? If you're like me you drank the other 3/4 bottle of wine just as soon as the chopping was done, in which case you might not remember. Here's a reminder:



Pour the wine in gently, like so:



Then put in some olive oil too, stir gently gently!



Hmmm. What else can I do?







And.... the finished product.







If you had a chance to taste it, let me know what you'd do different next time. Thanks. g-lo