Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One Local Summer - Week 9

Happy summer everyone! I am home for a few days before heading off to my next tent-related adventure (this time I'll be at Pennsic.) I have managed to hit a couple of markets and picked up some lovely produce - so lovely that I must spend part of tomorrow putting up corn and peaches.

This week's OLS meal was a quick-and-simple one: roasted chicken thighs with BBQ seasoning, corn on the cob, and broiled zucchini (cooked with olive oil, salt and pepper and thyme and dill) topped with a sauce of thinned Greek yogurt and scallions and mint. Chicken was from Speckled Hen; corn from Wishwell Farms in Bellefontaine Ohio (~54 miles); zucchini from Paige's Produce (~41 miles); scallions and mint from my garden (zero miles), butter from Hartzler's Dairy. Non-local ingredients were olive oil, yogurt, and salt and pepper.

We've been enjoying local berries (blackberries, black and red raspberries, blueberries) as well as peaches, apricots, and the occasional plum. I saw melons at the market today but was out of money. I may run off to another market tomorrow in search of a small watermelon and/or muskmelon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Great article on yoghurt

I'm not sure why I spell yoghurt like I do, if I picked it up from British English or it's just the way that I say it. It makes sense to me, even though my spell checker hates it.

Anyway, anyone with any type of interest in yoghurt should hie themselves over to the Saudi Aramco World web page to read the wonderful article entitled Of Yogurt and Yörüks. Yörüks are a nomadic Turkish people. It is a nice look at how yoghurt is made, as well as different types of yoghurt products (including butter and cheese and drinks.) It makes me want to whip up a batch of yoghurt before I head back to Brushwood. I really don't have time for that, but the idea is tempting. I may stop by the local Middle Eastern grocery store and pick up a container of labna (oh, if only it was organic/hormone free!)

I have a subscription to Saudi Aramco World and it is a really fantastic and totally free magazine. There aren't always articles on food, but it is a great source for information on the Muslim world, both modern and historical, as well as related museum exhibits throughout the world.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Top Chef tour!

I should be driving to upstate New York right now, but instead I have to pause here and say: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

The Top Chef tour was in town today, and I managed to get the very last seat in the first demo. We had Hung Huynh and Richard Blais as the chefs, and they were both in the kitchen during the short pair of demos (each did one dish.) Hung made an Asian shrimp dish with cellophane noodles, and Richard made an awesome salad of tomatoes, peaches, scallions, basil, and cilantro with yuzu/Minus 8 ice wine vinegar dressing with mozzarella "scallops" (just cut liker scallops, not seared or anything, and called scallops just to be funny.) They were funny and personable and took questions (I asked Hung about non-salty components of Asian sauces, and he suggested sugar, honey, lime juice, and tamarind juice.) I wish I'd had a question for Richard, since not many people were asking.

So now I am in fan girl heaven. Alas, they did not have the culinary boner T-shirts, or I would certainly have bought one. They had an intriguing pair of bicycle-powered blenders in front of the tour bus, which did not in fact get used while I was there.

While waiting for the demo I sampled a few wines at the Food and Wine festival, and picked up a couple of bottles of (tasty!)local champagne. It was nice to see all of the Ohio vineyards representin'. I also picked up a ton of fruit at the markets today, including red plums (Methley, or something like that), apricots, peaches, wineberries (a bit like raspberries but more tart), blueberries, blackberries (not black rapsberries!) and cherries. I am in local fruit heaven right now, despite my failure to get raspberries and black raspberries.

Friday, July 11, 2008

One Local Summer - Week 8

This week's meal featured meat cakes! Roughly based on the idea from here, my version is basically a flat, round meatloaf (this time I made it with sweet onions and an egg from Elizabeth Telling Farm) which is then topped with mashed potatoes (these were lightly mashed red thumb potatoes, which were a lovely shade of pink) and bacon sprinkles. The meat cake has become a staple in our house, a kind of vegetable-free shepherd's pie, only much groovier. Side dishes were corn on the cob and pole beans with onions. The pole beans were a 0-mile food, right from the garden!

Non-local ingredients were salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and Worcestershire sauce.

One Local Summer - Week 7

This week's designated meal was a main course of BLT's (well, okay, they were actually "BL's" because I don't like tomato on sandwiches) with corn on the cob and zucchini capaccio, based on Eric Ripert's excellent blog recipe at at Avec Eric. The bacon was from Blues Creek, zucchini from Paige's Produce, and corn from... well, I forget the farm's name but it was grown in Circleville Ohio (~40 miles.) Non-local ingredients were olive oil, salt, pepper, and Parmigiano cheese (I had some local Gouda but the dish really called for the imported Parmigiano Reggiano, so I used it.)

I made the mistake of turning the oven on for the zucchini, since my toaster oven only holds so much. Bad choice! I am not touching the oven again until fall is in the air.

One Local Summer - Week 6

I'll be off living in a tent for the next few weeks, without internet access. (I know, the mind boggles!) So I will be posting a few of the meals I have been collecting, to cover me while I'm gone.

This week's meal featured BBQ chicken (chicken from North market Poultry, sauce from City BBQ), green beans (Bird's Haven Farm) with scallions (Just This Farm) and butter (my own homemade!) and potatoes (H-W Farms) with red onions and smoked paprika. Non-local ingredients were olive oil, salt and pepper, and paprika. I made the chicken in the toaster oven, which is currently my favorite kitchen device!

I also *finally* started putting things up. I froze a few pints of berries and some chopped sweet onions (I will not run out of onions this winter! I won't!) In past week I managed to put up a little bit of asparagus and English peas. These were all frozen and vacuum sealed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New market craziness - Columbus Square farmer's market

I ventured over the the new Columbus Square Farmer's Market today, as it is quite close to my house and much closer than the morning market in Pearl Alley (through some weirdness with the city the Pearl Alley Grower's Association doesn't do the Pearl Alley market anymore.) It did, however, require that I miss out on the samosas and chai from Pearl Alley, which is quite a sad thing.

I missed the ribbon-cutting ceremony by a few minutes, but boy was this market packed! There were 4 farmers, Meadow Maid cheese, and a concession truck that was still setting up when I left. The lines for a couple of the farmers, most notably the one with berries and corn (being worked by one person), were extreme. I waited in line for a good half hour for my dozen ears of corn and a cilantro plant. The traffic getting in and out of the area was also really bad, but nothing a slight detour to a different entrance to the area wouldn't fix. (The market is in the lot of a big strip mall/out-lot area. I do not advise using the entrance closest to the market as it was completely congested today.)

Other than corn and berries there were also plenty of potatoes, onions, and summer squash; kohlrabi and cabbage were also to be found, as well as honey and the aforementioned cheese. I hope the market grows and shoppers become a little more savvy - it was clear that many of the patrons were not frequenters of this type of market.

Monday, July 7, 2008

One Local Summer - Week 5

This week's meal was a vegetarian pasta dish. I even skipped the cream sauce this week! Fresh linguine from the North Market met olive oil, roasted grape tomatoes (roasted in the toaster oven with olive oil, salt and pepper), english peas, shitake mushrooms, garlic and fresh basil. This week's salad included cucumbers, plum purple radishes (my favorite radish ever) and more grape tomatoes. Non-local ingredients were olive oil, salt and pepper.

I didn't even miss the cream sauce!