Friday, January 25, 2008

Dark Days Challenge; a frequent visitor to my back door; and I am a Menu for Hope winner!!!

Here is one of our "funny kitties." (We were trying to decide what the cats thought about these strange creatures at the back door, and somehow, "that's a funny-looking kitty!" became the answer. And thus the term "funny kitty" was born.)

I am very excited to tell you all that I was one of the prize winners for Chez Pim's Menu for Hope! Not just any prize, but the droolworthy All-Clad 6-quart saute pan offered by Cincinnati Locavore. I am utterly delighted, especially because a) I never win anything, and b) this item was considered a long shot in the tip sheet. I look forward to many culinary adventures when the pot arrives.

Local eating has been quite good this week. I defrosted two of my three quarts of peaches (oh, why didn't I put up more?!?) and made a peach cobbler for a potluck and peach pancakes for brunch (served with some bacon from Curly Tail, a local organic farm.) I had a few cups of peach juice left from the peaches and it seemed a shame to waste it, so I reduced it and added the remainder of the peaches and a bit of maple syrup, which resulted in a lovely syrup for the pancakes. That was one delicious brunch! Just a little note for myself for next year: don't slice the peaches quite so thinly.

The protein of choice this week (other than bacon!) was boneless pork loin chops. I didn't realize that the package held four, so we had two meals of them. The first was Asian pork (sliced and marinated in a variety of non-local items from the fridge and pantry: lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar) as well as local garlic and scallions. I served it with local romaine-leaf wrappers and shredded carrot (local) and cucumber and cellophane noodles (not local.) It would have been a perfect meal if I had gone a little easier on the fish sauce; it was seriously salty as a result.

For the second appearance of pork loin I marinated it in pomegranate glaze (non-local, and the same bottle from last time), pan-fried it and served it with spaghetti squash, mashed potatoes, and the last of the broccoli.

My current favorite meal features not-local shrimp but local cornmeal, butter, bacon, cheese and scallions. I turn a small amount of cornmeal into creamy polenta (with the help of some butter and Gouda) then fry some bacon and cook shrimp in the bacon fat (shhhh, don't tell my waistline!) before adding the bacon (crumbled) and scallions. A few (or many) dashes of hot sauce, and you have one fantastic meal.

We have another winter market in Worthington this Saturday. The last one was rather insane - only one vegetable vendor with very long lines and very rude people. I still managed to get lettuce, potatoes, onions, scallions, pork chops and bacon, and grass-fed beef (ground and chuck roast), along with a tasty apple dumpling.

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