Saturday, June 27, 2009

One Local Summer - Week 4

It's brunch again for week 4! The eggs (look at those amazing golden yolks! Gotta love pastured eggs!) were scrambled with herbs from the garden (sage, parsley and chives) and a little bit of gouda from Oakvale, bacon was from Bluescreek (as usual), biscuits were homemade with whole wheat from Flying J Farm, and strawberries were from our fruit CSA with Wayward Seed Farm. Honey from Barry's Bees (my favorite local honey!) accompanied both the strawberries and biscuit.

Eggs with herbs are my new favorite thing. I found a recipe for eggs with sage in an Anglo-Saxon cookbook (medieval cooking is an occasional hobby of mine), and I thought it sounded amazing - and it was!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One Local Summer - Week 3

This week's meal celebrated our CSA pickup, with braised greens and roasted hakurei turnips from Wayward Seed Farm. The protein for the meal was a chicken breast from Speckled Hen farm, pan-fried and served with a pan sauce (the best part of pan-frying) that was full of winter savory (a truly wonderful herb, like a very mellow rosemary.) The "dessert" was a bowl of fresh shelling peas, gently cooked then tossed with butter and tarragon. Delicious!

Friday, June 12, 2009

One Local Summer - week 2

Friday night has become "use up the rest of the CSA produce so there's room in the fridge for tomorrow's pickup" night. I should have instituted this last year! Since the CSA is very radish- and greens-intensive I am making a special effort to use them all each week.

This week I had a full head of Napa cabbage, a bunch of tiny scallions, and half a bunch of radishes. There was also a package of oyster mushrooms, a head of green garlic, and some lovely goat feta. I was thinking Asian, and cabbage... why not Asian stuffed cabbage? A google search showed me that Martha Stewart had published a recipe, and after a quick glance I tried to drive it out of my mind. I came up with my own recipe, which does have some of the same components as Martha's (and that tip about the rolling pin rocks, I must confess.) I'll include the recipe, such as it is, below. Can't wait to try a vegetarian version of these!

For a side dish I made a salad of radishes and feta cheese, tossed with a little mint and a ponzu vinaigrette. (I keep a bottle of ponzu on hand for citrus emergencies. Good stuff, and citrus and radishes are a good combination.) The feta is from Blue Jacket Dairy, and it is really, really good.

Since the oven was already on, I made a batch of cream biscuits from Alice Waters' book The Art of Simple Food. I substituted local soft wheat flour for some of the AP flour and used local butter and cream. A little homemade whipped cream and the last of the serviceberries made an excellent dessert!

Non-local ingredients for this meal were limited to seasonings, vinaigrette ingredients, baking powder, and the AP flour in the biscuits.

Asian Stuffed Cabbage
1 large head of Napa cabbage
1 pound of ground beef (or pork, or a mixture of the two)
1 small bunch scallions, sliced
1 head of green garlic (stem and head), minced
1 package mushrooms, roughly chopped (I used oyster mushrooms from a local grower, and I can't for the life of me recall the size of the package. 7 oz, maybe? Or 5? I would have used whatever I had on hand, no matter what the quantity. This recipe is elastic!)
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp ponzu or lime juice
1/2-1 tsp of thai chili paste
1/2-1 tsp sesame oil (I actually forgot to add this and drizzled a little on top)
*one egg, lightly beaten
(I didn't actually use an egg, and I regretted it. Learn from my mistake!)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash & separate cabbage (You can finely chop the smaller leaves and add them, raw, to the filling), and blanch the leaves briefly in boiling water. Drain them well, and roll out the center vein with a rolling pin to make it pliable.

Assemble the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, and mush it together with your hands. No really, that's a technical term. You don't want to over-mix it, but you do want it to come together into a cohesive, erm, blob. Since I didn't use an egg, I had quite the chore of trying to get all the vegetable bits to stay inside. You may also notice that I didn't use rice - I really wanted to keep this all local (and didn't want to cook rice anyway.) I planned to use oatmeal as a starchy filler, but I didn't feel like it really needed it. (It did, however, need a binder like an egg. My bad!)

Assemble a vaguely-cylindrical blob of filling, and place it along the vein in the center of the cabbage leaf. Roll it up as best you can, trying to make it as tight as possible. I folded the top and bottom of the lead up, then rolled the sides over. I may do it differently next time. Imagine it is a leafy green burrito and go from there.

Place your cabbage rolls in a pan, seam-side down (I found an 8-inch square pan was perfect) and add about a cup of water to the pan. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes (until the filling reaches 160 degrees F.)

Eat them up, yum. This made 4-5 servings.

And hey, your oven is already on. Why not make some biscuits, scones, or a cake for dessert?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

One Local Summer - week 1

Our meal for week one was brunch, which is possibly my favorite meal of the week. This one featured serviceberry pancakes (more on the serviceberry below) with bacon, early cherries, and of course maple syrup!

The pancakes were made from a mix from Quiver Full Farm (~33 miles) along with buttermilk leftover from making butter with cream from Snowville Creamery (~107 miles.) The bacon is from Bluescreek (~30 miles) at the North Market; maple syrup from Pleiades (~42 miles), and serviceberries and cherries from Rhoads (~42 miles.)

So what, you may ask, is a serviceberry? I'd never heard of them either, but my mom has a painting of a cedar waxwing on what must be a serviceberry tree (I spent my childhood trying to figure out what kind of berry it was. I am all about the berries.) They grow on small trees/shrubs and have a crown like a blueberry, and the taste is a bit similar. They are also known as shadbush, saskatoon, and juneberry (although the name seems to depend on the variety, of which there are many.) The city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is named after the plant (saskatoon is a Cree Indian word); they are called juneberries because they ripen in June, and shadbush because they flower when the shad-fish spawn. There are a few stories about why they are called serviceberries: either they served as a signal that the ground was unfrozen enough to bury the dead, or the blooms were gathered for church services, or they bloomed (in April) when it was finally mild enough weather to travel to church. Or maybe it's because there is a related berry in Europe called "sorbus."

I saw them at the farmer's market on Saturday and couldn't resist bringing home a pint. I've never met a fruit I didn't like, and the serviceberry is no exception. You can eat them raw or use them as you would blueberries in any recipe. They were quite good in pancakes!