Archive for the ‘eat local’ Category

The New York Times published an article about the seeming increase in E. coli contamination this year. The government has issued guidelines that are supposed to increase meat safety, but are no more stringent than what Tyson Foods is already doing.

If they don’t work the federal government “believes that exposing meat to radiation is a safe and effective way to kill E. coli and other pathogens”. But even the big CAFO’s and meat processors are nervous about trying it, “because of fears that it would make meat more expensive, change the taste and color, and provoke consumer opposition”.

The article goes on to outline the extreme measures that meat processors are going to to kill of the bacteria including acid washes, steam treatments, hosing down the cattle and exploring new antibiotics. It also discusses the fact that the hide is the cause of contamination due to it’s matting with feces and mud.

The NY Times studiously fails to mention that CAFOs and feedlots by their very nature are the cause of the increase in E. coli. The reporter also ignores the opportunity to discuss the advantages, both for human and animal health, of pasture raised beef.

So yeah, let’s fix the problem by washing the cows and irradiating their meat. Because it would just be way too hard to treat them humanely and raise them on the feed and pasture that nature intended.

See the full story here.


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I hope that everyone had a great holiday! As I mentioned, we had a delicious dinner and have really enjoyed the long weekend. We also had many local breakfasts, lunches and dinners this week that I won’t bore you with. And of course, we finally opened our first jars of dill pickles – mmmm mmmm good.

I’m going to keep this brief as we’re going to get a Christmas tree shortly and I need to find the decorations!


The Middle:

With 21 squash in her garage, Anne (Green Leanings) is set for at least part of the winter. After cooking an unexpected local Thanksgiving last Sunday she froze 1/2 the turkey and made stock and soup with the rest. She spent her actual Thanksgiving at her mom’s house with another local turkey and all the sides. And then yesterday she finished off the week by sleeping in and then making a local brunch and dinner.

Continuing her run of local meals in bowls, FarmMom (Children in the Corn) served up ham, bean and vegetable soup this week with a side of biscuits. This week they also enjoyed a casual Thanksgiving with family, ordered chicks and ducklings for spring and offered a tour of her root cellar.

With her daughter home from college, Penny (Penelopedia) ate out more than usual this week. But she still managed a mostly local Thanksgiving. No apologizing for the things you didn’t have time or budget to find! This is a challenge and as such we do what we can, and make up the rest!

Turk-a-leekie soup graced the stove at Valeree’s house this week (Cincinnati Locavore). If you’ve got leftover bird this looks like a delicious and straightforward way to use it up. I might even have to make it myself tonight – although mine won’t be so local as celery doesn’t grow here and I don’t have any leeks on hand. Oh well…


The East:

Kim (Yankee Food) mad a fabulously local Thanksgiving using a wide range of ingredients, she even found New Hampshire wine! They’ve managed to finish off most of the leftovers, with the remainders going into soup yesterday. She included ground cherries on her cheese board – we had these in Florence but no one could tell us what they were in English. So cool to see them pop up on her blog! Now to find somewhere to get them around here.

While most of her meal might not have been as fresh or local as she’d have liked, Peg (Orchards Forever) made sure her contributions were. The pumpkin cheesecake and apple crisp both sound delightful!.

Adding to the local holiday trend, Christy (Farm Dreams) made not only a local Thanksgiving feast, but a lunch as well. The butternut squash soup looks great, as does her herb rubbed turkey.

Ed (The Slow Cook) wins the prize for Turkey dinner I most wish I’d been invited to! His local feast started with a 31 lb. turkey he killed himself and went from there. It included enough dishes to feed an army and it all looked amazing.

Starting with eggs and steak for breakfast, to a full Thanksgiving menu to dessert of apple bread pudding, Wendy (Happily Home) had quite the busy day. Just goes to show that eating a meal that’s 100% Maine is possibly even in the dark days of winter.

With her farm in full swing this year, Danielle (Touch the Earth) managed an almost 0 mile Thanksgiving Feast. From a 17 lb. turkey she raised herself, to stuffing, squash and ciabatta bread, it was an impressive spread. She’s also got a great post up about starting small when it comes to farming.

Nicole (Farm to Philly) offers a great pumpkin creme brulee recipe which sounds like something I should try with the small pumpkin on my counter. Her turkey was a bit dry, but everything else was wonderful. And yes, I agree that while I love the holiday, I’m glad it’s only once a year.

The Purloined letter enjoyed two Thanksgivings. One with friends, and a second local one on Friday. They started the feast with pumpkin soup cooked in the shell for lunch. Then followed it up with a full blown turkey dinner and a crustless sweet potato pie.

Sophie (Locavores) hosted a Thanksgiving that was a mix of local and “worldly” foods. For being only 3 months into her efforts as a locavore, I think she did a pretty good job of finding local fixings in CT.


The West:

In lieu of a Thanksgiving recap, Anita (Married with Dinner) posted a review of local shopping options in her area. She discusses who’s doing what and who isn’t doing anything as far as sourcing and signing local foods.

While still battling a cold, Donna (Chocolate Crayons) still managed to work a variety of local foods into her Thanksgiving menu. Her efforts included making her own sparkling grape juice to rave reviews.

With slimmer pickings and fewer farmers, winter has come to Seattle and Laura (Hello, Sunshine) is feeling just as much as I am. Her meals this week were mostly local salads for dinner and home made juices in the morning.

Making the most of her CSA bounty, Ellen (The Daily Grind) shared a mostly local Thanksgiving with friends and family. She also enjoyed some no knead bread both for turkey day and after. I actually found the recipe through a link on her blog earlier this week – thanks Ellen!

Remember the 38 lbs. of tomatoes that Melinda (Elements in Time) harvested? Frost a couple days later at least means she won’t have any more. While her Thanksgiving wasn’t local, at least she had pumpkin pie from her own garden for her birthday – Happy Birthday Melinda!

While the timing didn’t fall into place exactly as she hoped, Katrina’s (Kale for Sale) local Thanksgiving met with rave reviews. She even managed to convert more than one Brussels sprout virgin to the love.

Jennye at Wool Fairy celebrated local with a potato sorrel soup this week. The recipe actually calls for leeks, but since none were at hand she used the sorrel instead, to cheers from her kids. I haven’t been brave enough to try sorrel yet, but maybe I should.

Marcia in Wyoming sent in two meals this week:

Stuffed chicken breasts: Homegrown chicken breasts stuffed with chopped apples (from that zucchini trade again!) shredded cheddar cheese and Italian flavored bread crumbs, cooked in a butter/white wine sauce.

Calibacitas: Homegrown frozen sliced zucchini and yellow summer squash, homegrown frozen chopped green bell and chili peppers, chopped onion from  the root cellar, homegrown frozen corn, homegrown minced garlic all cooked in a little olive oil/butter mix and then topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

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Pucker Face

Remember the dill pickles I made back in September? Well, we finally cracked the first jars open this past week. And they’re just as good as I remember from my childhood. My whole life, this is what pickles are supposed to taste like. Crisp and clean with a rich flavor and so sour that they almost make your face pucker. Yum!

Of course Mike thinks that they’re too sour and is requesting that I tone them down a bit next year. But this is a man that also likes sweet dills (gross) and bread-and-butters (ewwww) best of all. So I’m not sure how much weight to give his request. I think what I’ll do is make some for me and some for him. Pucker and Puckerless dills if you will.

Once we finish off the opened whole pickles and the spears, we need to try the hot dills and the bread and butters before we can call it a complete success. However, these were so easy to make, so much easier than I remember, that if you’re looking for a recipe to try as your first foray into canning, I’d highly recommend pickles. Of course, if you don’t like sour dills you might want to tone down my recipe with a little sugar…


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I won’t bore you with a long list of where our ingredients came from or how far they traveled. But suffice it to say that we had a mostly local, very delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Things that weren’t local that made it to the table? Black olives, organic chicken broth, dried sour cherries, sugar, salt, pepper, Montana flour, Oregon wine, an extra California turkey and some other odds and ends. Everything else came from within 100 miles and it was all fabulously in season.

Our menu?

– cheese, salami and crackers
– dill pickles (homemade) & black olives
– 11 lb. free range organic Heritage turkey  (local)
– 13 lb. free range organic broad breasted white turkey (California)
– traditional bread stuffing
– sausage, apple, sage and caramelized onion stuffing
– mashed yukon gold potatoes
– cheese broccoli souffle
– arugula / spinach salad with hazelnuts
– cranberry / sour cherry chutney
– wheat “no knead bread” (1/2 local, 1/2 Montana)
– the best homemade gravy I’ve ever had
– cherry pie
– apple pie
– homemade vanilla ice cream

The most interesting parts of the menu were the turkeys, the cranberries and the no knead bread, so those are the only parts that I’ll expound on.


Turkey | Leggy vs. The Traveler:


For reasons that we don’t really need to go into, and that I’m tired of explaining, we ended up with two fresh turkeys and decided to cook them both. “Leggy”, shown on the right above, came from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm and was local, organic, free-range and a heritage breed. “The Traveler”, shown on the left, was an organic, free-range broad breasted white from Diestel Farms in California. I didn’t think to ask whether they were toms or hens.

Since we cooked them both, we prepared them slightly differently, so the side by side taste test wasn’t exact. We rubbed Leggy with salt, pepper and olive oil and let him rest for 4 hours before roasting. The Traveler was brined for 4 hours the night before. The two were roasted side by side in the oven until done – about 5 hours – basted with butter at regular intervals.

And wow, they were both good! Mike and I both preferred Leggy, my sister in law (hi Kris!) preferred The Traveler, and everyone else was undecided. Things that were obviously different? Leggy has a more prominent breast bone and less breast meat. He also was less compact even though they both weighed about the same amount. Finally, the muscle fibers in Leggy’s breast meat were longer, more tender, and tasted more like “Turkey” to me.

In the interest of full disclosure, Leggy cost me $5 per lb. and The Traveler was $3 per lb. To me the extra money was worth it to help preserve heritage turkeys and to support a local farmer that believes in sustainably raising poultry. But if you can’t get your hands on one I’d say that the Diestel was almost as good.


Not a lot to say here, except that I used a new recipe for these that combined dried sour cherries with the cranberries. The recipe also added a hint of rosemary and substituted brown sugar for the traditional white.

Recipe at Roux Seattle


No Knead Bread


This was the first time that I’d tried this. But I have to say that it really is as easy as it sounds. I made my loaves with 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 unbleached all purpose white flour. The bread turned out light and airy with a crispy crust. Definitely worth the minimal effort. I plan to keep practicing my bread and make this again soon!

Recipe at The Steamy Kitchen


A parting photo from the day – the hens enjoying the scraps from my prep work. Once nice thing about all the rain we’ve been having? The grass is finally green again. Note the missing feathers on Lucy (black) and Agnes (white) – they, plus Pru, are all wishing the weather would warm back up or their feathers grow faster!


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until we have turkey, two of them actually. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and has been since I was a little kid. I’ve been in charge of the pies for my family since I finished my first home-ec class in 7th grade. And I’ve been told that I make really good pies. The irony of course being that I don’t like pie. Ha!

So, after work I came home and picked up the produce from the Saturday market. Then I drove down to Lake City to pick up the heritage turkey that we got through Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. It weighed in at only 10.5 lbs but it sure is pretty. Then I stopped at Central Market for the rest of the supplies that we needed: butter, frozen pie cherries, eggs, sausage, bread crumbs, etc. These were all local. Our exceptions so far are chicken stock (organic), dried pie cherries (bulk organic), celery (in MIL’s fridge), salt/pepper, olive oil, and a few other spices. Oh, and that 11 lb. organic free range turkey I picked up.

Turns out that we’re going to cook two birds for various reasons, mainly having to do with the fact that we all like turkey. Plus this way we can do a side-by-side taste test of organic free range birds, one heritage and one broad breasted white. We’re also doing two different types of stuffing just for fun. Now the challenge is figuring out how to get them in the oven at the same time. Oh well, luckily that’s Sharon’s, Mike’s mom, problem not mine. ;-)

Sharon is roasting the birds and making the stuffing, potatoes, gravy and brocoli souffle. I’m spending my morning tomorrow and Thursday making no-knead bread, apple & cherry pies, cranberries and salad. Plus I’m making my mom’s famous Danish pastry recipe so that we can indulge on Thursday and Saturday morning. Sooo one of my favorite parts of any holiday.

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I’m a bad blogger. Or at least I played one this past week. I cooked a number of local meals, including an informal Sunday dinner for friends, but wrote about none of them. On Sunday we had meatloaf, mashers, broccoli and salad – all of it made from local ingredients. I used my favorite meatloaf recipe again – man is that good! Monday night was steak from our local cow with sauteed Brussels sprouts. Wednesday night was breakfast for dinner – bacon from Herbert, fried eggs and toast with jam. Thursday night we made mediocre penne with pesto. The pesto was great (Thanks Mia!), it was the penne that was poor. As much as I think whole wheat pasta is good for us, I just can’t make myself like it…

Then I spent the weekend doing some sourcing for Thanksgiving. I spent 90 minutes at the U District farmer’s market on Saturday in the pouring rain. There was a pretty good turnout of vendors and shoppers, considering the shitty weather conditions. I was able to get broccoli, spinach, arugula, potatoes, apples, onions, radishes, rosemary, carrots, roasted hazelnuts and cauliflower for Thanksgiving.

I also scored a heritage breed local organic turkey for our holiday meal. Unfortunately it’s only 10 lbs. So we’ll be cooking a second bird from California to get us up to 20 lbs. Oh well – just means we can have two kinds of stuffing and season them slightly different. It’ll be a side-by-side taste test!

And Saara, thanks for the info on what to do with the Sunchokes. I’m hoping to find time to do them justice this coming weekend…


The Middle:

Anne started her week with a trip to the winter market for greens, eggs, squash and onions. She cooked local that day, having breakfast for lunch, and pork chops, scalloped potatoes and spaghetti squash for dinner. She followed it up with a lovely local meal on Wednesday, doctoring up some frozen pumpkin soup and serving with the last lettuce salad of the season and fresh bread. Hope you’re feeling better Anne!

Chessa (Maybe Local) continues to impress me with her vegan vegetarian cooking. Her meal this week, while including a lot of well traveled spices, was built on a foundation of local ingredients. The first meal included cumin-lime tofu, dumpling squash and coconut creamed spinach. The second was black bean cutlets, broccoli and delicata squash. Finally, she wrapped up with a homemade vegetarian black bean sausage.

FarmMom (Children in the Corn) served a local meal of beef stew and homemade whole wheat bread. Wow, did that look good! She also posted two recipes for sweet potato bread and for her whole wheat bread.

My mom joins us with her first recap. After all the wonderful food we ate in Italy, she came home and made a truly American comfort food dinner of pot roast made with chuck roast from 1000 Hills Ranch, grass fed beef, roasted with local potatoes, carrots and onions from the farmer’s market. We added organic bread from the local bakery with organic local butter. Dessert was apple crisp with local apples but I must admit the brown sugar, cinammon and oats were not local.  Later in the week, she made my (apparently) famous Smothered Pork Chops with Cider and Apples.  Alas the herb folks at the farmer’s market have given up so her herbs were fresh from the grocery store but from a local source.  Flour, oil, pepper and bay leaves were not local.  She topped it off with mashed potatoes, yukon gold from market and slices of fireside apples from a local orchard. Wine was from Italy because she couldn’t resist a good chianti classico for a cold autumn nite.

Penny (Penelopedia) has a new blender and made good use of it this week making smoothies for breakfast. Her “official” meal was a squash, carrot and ginger soup (also using the blender). She served it with cheese sandwiches made with local bread, Wisconsin cheddar and local butter. To make it even better, she shared it with two dear friends.

To prove she’s not a vegan, Daniela (Culinary Student) made a simple roast chicken this week. She made it my favorite way – stuffed with a lemon and rubbed with rosemary. She served it with roast Brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes. Yum!


The East:

In the midst of planning her mostly local Thanksgiving, and visiting the winter holiday market, Kim (Yankee Food) managed to make cheese and then use it in an eggplant bake. She used her own canned tomatoes in a garlicky, oniony sauce. Then she baked the white eggplants, place them on her sauce and topped them with fresh basil and cheese. With a side of carrots, it looks amazingly good!

Christy (Farm Dreams) served barbecued chicken breast with salad and roasted winter veggies. Makes me dream of summer…

Ed (The Slow Cook) treated his friends and in-laws to a wonderful dinner of braised pork shoulder, salad from the garden, braised kale with onions. He also made sweet potato and swiss chard mash as well as pumpkin brulee. For hor d’oeuvres there were radishes and  bruschetta with caramelized mushrooms. Also, if you want to see a turkey from start to finish, check out his post on Where Turkeys Come From.

Even with her 100% Maine restriction raising it’s head again, Wendy pulled off  two all Maine lunches. The first was a happy hodgepodge of grilled cheese, homemade potato chips (recipe please?), sloppy joes and pickled Brussels sprouts.  The second was individual pizzas. Happily she’s also added 1/4 of a local Maine cow to her freezer. Also be sure to check out her anthology of pictures matching hens and eggs, and her almost all Maine meal.

Celeriac soup and celeriac apple slaw were Beth’s (Sustainable Food Blog) dinner of choice this week. She’s got my respect as celeriac is one thing I haven’t been brave enough to try. She added apples to the soup to give it some extra sweetness and complexity. I may have to try it.

Making use of the plentiful mushrooms, Nicole (Farm to Philly) hatched a plan for a delicious gnocchi with mixed mushrooms. It looks so good I can almost smell it. Hmmmm. Good luck with your hunt for local mushrooms secrets, Nicole!

Despite her internet troubles, Jasmine (40 Shades of Green) shared her experience and recipe with squash bake. Her recipe uses both spaghetti and butternut squash and looks like a pan of bubbly delicious goodness. Look here for the recipe.

 Over at The Purloined Letter, dinner was a turnip n’tater n’tbeetroot pie at the request of her son. This is my kind of recipe as there’s no measuring required. Served with a side of okra, it sounds like just the thing to use up some winter veggies.


The West:

Anita (Married with Dinner) continues to impress me with her meals and photos. Of course I’m just generally impressed with her blog, so that’s no surprise… Last weeks meals included zuni chicken & bread salad, pasta alla gianni, chili and carolina coleslaw.

Trying to recreate a long-loved soup recipe from Africa, Donna (Chocolate Crayons) made a “doctored up” leek soup. Her experience again proved that bacon makes everything better. She served it with buffalo grapes and honey dinner rolls. Yum.

Cameo apples have stolen Laura’s heart (Hello, Sunshine) and her ode to them reminds me of how I feel about Honey Crisp apples. “…the perfect apple: tart, sweet and extremely crisp”.

In between enjoying adventures with Grandpa, Ellen (Daily Grind) made two local meals. The first was mashed potatoes with punk rock chickpea gravy, garlicky kale and black bean loaf. The chocolate pudding with tofu wasn’t as great. The second, a roasted acorn squash soup and homemade rolls, even impressed G’pa!

 Melinda (Elements in Time) had a busy week exploring bread, missing carrots and her fears of domesticity. They continue to eat 85 – 100% local for every meal, 7 days a week. I’m so jealous. The pictures are fewer this week due to a camera snafu – but the menus are just as impressive!

Saara (Skagit Foodshed) thought she was holding up my recap, and while I would definitely wait for her if asked, really I was just having a hard time finding the 3 hours that this takes. She decided to show off by cooking on her woodstove this week. Now that takes skill! She made burgers on bagels with sides of sauteed parsnips and ranch beans. She even made the ketchup!

Wishing she knew which farm it was from, Katrina (Kale for Sale) enjoyed the sweetest delicata squash of her life last week. It was so good it needed nothing beyond a touch of salt. Even the cute guy enjoyed it – summing it all up with a “wow”.

Trying to outrace two hungry kids for a photo, Jennye (Wool Fairy) enjoyed a dinner of hardboiled eggs, pugliese bread with goat cheese, and a trio of roasted root veggies (potatoes, turnips and parsnips).

Marcia in Wyoming dropped a note about her chicken pot pie made with home grown carrots, frozen green beans, and onion from the root cellar cooked in butter until soft, then home grown grilled chicken breast cut into small pieces added and homemade chicken stock and cream and some flour to thicken along with seasonings, topped with a crust made with Montana Wheat flour and baked for about 1 hour.  On the side was an apple and cabbage slaw made with shredded homegrown cabbage from the root cellar, diced apples (from the zucchini trade) mixed with non-local mayo, buttermilk, vinegar and sugar. As a side note, she’s anxiously awaiting “butcher day” for the pigs – they are getting huge.  They’re down to just a couple of roasts in the freezer. She notes that she has home-butchered lambs and deer with great success, but pigs are way more work – she did it once and won’t again if she can help it!

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There are times that I’m embarrassed to be an American. Times when it is driven home to me just how far removed from it’s constituents our government has become. Times when I really feel strongly that countries with stricter agricultural guidelines than ours are not only smarter, they’re fundamentally safer.

 Today is one of those times:

PA to ban hormone free milk labeling

This is total bullshit and quite obviously a very deft and sneaky move by Monsanto to keep consumers in the dark about what they’re eating. To keep the average American from understanding just what is being one to their foodsupply by big business and big agriculture. Wonder how much this cost Monsanto? Probably a hell of a lot more than a gallon of local, organic, artificial-hormone free milk.

I work in marketing and communications. To differentiate your product is by definition to imply that others are not as good. And if this is really illegal, or a confusion to consumers, we have a much bigger problem in this country than how milk is labeled.

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