Posts Tagged ‘eat local’

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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Yeah, what she said

I knew there was a reason other than her scrumptious looking meals that I like Kim. It’s because of days like today when she says what I tried to say a couple months ago. But so much better.

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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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Still no progress on the Italy recap front – I finally decided to go ahead and upgrade my Flikr account and figured out how to add a slide show here, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’m targeting Saturday as the day to deal with photos. So look for my recap of Milan and Genova on Sunday.

In the meantime, it’s been  nice to get back to doing some cooking. While I was gone, we got our 1/2 pig from the butcher. Now our freezer is really full with veggies, fruits, chickens, beef and pork. Wow – good thing we’re omnivores! Our dinners this week are almost all around 90% local. We’re not as committed for breakfasts and lunches as we both like our coffee and not much else in the mornings. And for the moment we’re taking local fruits, cheeses and breads in our lunches, but eating other non-local favorites to round things out. Oh well, we both have our biggest meal at dinner time so we’re continuing to focus there…


On Sunday night I roasted one of our nice big roasting chickens, a 3.5 pounder. I brushed it with olive oil, salt and pepper (not local) and roasted it in the oven. On the side we had smashed potatoes and steamed carrots (local) with butter. Everything but the olive oil, salt & pepper were from within 100 miles.

Monday morning, I took the rest of the chicken, carcass and all, and put it in the crockpot to make stock. I added carrots, onion, turnip greens and water and cooked it on low all day long. When I got home, we pulled out the bits and picked out the chicken meat. We made a nice chicken noodle soup by sauteeing leeks, carrots and turnips in a bit of the stock. Then adding back the chicken, fresh stock, some fresh herbs and salt and pepper. We finished off with some egg noodles (non-local but from the pantry). On the side we had a salad of local greens, cucumber (green house) and radish. Yum! The soup also became Tuesday dinner and lunches, and I’ll freeze the rest of it tomorrow. Everything but the salt, pepper and noodles came from within 100 miles.


Finally, tonight we had our first bites of our pig, from now on known as Herbert. We had pork chops rubbed with fresh rosemary and thyme and cooked on the grill. On the side we had braised Brussels sprouts tossed with bacon, garlic, thyme, cider vinegar (non-local) and honey. So good. I can only continue to look forward to eating more of Herbert with glee! All the ingredients, including Herbert, came from within 100 miles except the salt, pepper and cider vinegar.


In other news, I’ve now set up my own grow operation in my kitchen. Mike is concerned that the neighbors may report us for growing pot, but I’m not sure that we really need to worry. A few months ago, my mom (hi mom!) sent me an Aero Garden. But since it was still prime growing season it’s been hanging out under my desk ever since.

Now that the dark is upon us, my herb pots are struggling. And I’m not good at having indoor plants seeing as I tend to kill them off quickly. So tonight after work I set it up and plugged it in. It included the sets for the herb plants and apparently we’ll be ready to start cooking with them in about 6 weeks.

Hmmm. I’m torn as on the one hand it seems slightly off to grow herbs under a light for the winter. On the other, it’s only taking two CFLs to work. And it’s got to be better for us and the environment than using dried herbs trucked in from 2,000 miles away. Right? Anyway, I’m really looking forward to having fresh herbs to cook with all winter long. And when the herbs are done, it seems that we can order replacement plugs and grow either salad greens or tomatoes instead. What fun!

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I know, I know. You all want me to tell you all about Italy. But between the jet lag and the need to return to real life I haven’t even had time to look at the photos, much less start to write about the experience. And tonight I’m off to a going away party for my good friend Shannon (she and her hubby are moving to London) so it won’t be happening then either. So, please be patient, I really can’t wait to talk about it – just not yet.

What I can wrap my head around is two new great local sources that I found. We’re participating in the Local Thanksgiving Challenge this year. My mother-in-law is gracious enough to host and to let me change the game for the year. I’ve found most everything we need, short a turkey as I keep finding them but no one will confirm that I’ve got one, so right now our bird is coming from California.

But what we were lacking was a local source for flour for pies, breads, etc. There’s a lot of wheat grown in Washington, but mostly the soft white that is made into cake flour, not the hard red that is used for most other types of baking. And even the soft white is hard to find as most of it is exported out of the state / country. Imagine my delight when I found Bluebird Grain Farms out of Winthrop, Washington. They grow hard red wheat, soft white wheat, Emmer and Rye in the Upper Methow Valley and mill it themselves. While they’re still 250+ miles away, it’s a heck of a lot closer than Montana.

I’ve ordered a selection of both red and white wheat flour, rye flour and their old world cereal mix. I can’t wait for it to arrive to give it a try. Now we’ve sourced most everything we need, excepting things like sugar, oils and the dratted bird of course. Too bad I can’t talk anyone into cooking a goose instead…

Thanks to Saara, I also just discovered the Starving Farmer Popcorn Co out of Quincy, WA (just over 150 miles away). He grows only Japanese White Hulless Popcorn in 2 lb. bags. Saara swears that it pops up nice and light. Since he also includes instructions for popping it in the microwave, he’s probably my new hero. I love popcorn,  but the microwaveable bags give me the heebie-jeebies. And we don’t own an air popper. Yay for caramel and cheese corn this winter. I ordered 8 bags since the shipping cost was the same as one. So if you’re on my Christmas list, act surprised when you get your bag of kernels.

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I’m in the middle of downloading the approximately 1400 photos that I took in Italy – thank goodness for digital, I can’t imagine what it would cost me to process that much 35mm film… I don’t have a specific meal to report, but suffice it to say that we ate some of the most fabulous in season pastas, fruits and meats that I’ve had in a long time. Oranges with the leaves still on the stem, fish caught that morning, tomatoes fresh off the vine and pasta made with local chestnut flour.

It was an amazing culinary journey. Of course we also saw beautiful countryside, historic chapels and cathedrals, medieval alleys and rugged coastlines. But what really struck me was the food and the wine. And more on that later.

Now for a look at what everyone else has been cooking up around here for the challenge.


The West

 Anita (Married with Dinner) explored the locavore dining scene in San Francisco with specific reviews of three options and links to many more. In addition to two dinners out, they managed three dinners at home including pan chicken with mushroom sauce, steak and potatoes and pasta. Can I come eat at your house Anita?

Taking flattery to the highest level, Donna (Chocolate Crayons & More) copied Kim’s week 1 menu of burgers and fries. It all sounds so good that I may have to follow suit and make my own version next week. Her adorable son Andrew made his own local meal to share with the family. 

Eating local sounds like a great idea, but how can the average American family possibly make it work? Katherine (Dirt to Dish) explores these questions and more, along with inviting comments on your key challenges and ideas.

Laura (Hello, Sunshine) had a busy week, but local meals included squash, zucchini, apples, pears and more. She also mentions that she feels better when she’s eating mostly fresh local ingredients, and that the connection between food and health becomes even more obvious when she’s eating out more – good point, Laura.

Honey baked lentils with a side of tutsoi were a delicious local meal for Ellen (Daily Grind) and her family. She also found a source for local popcorn kernels during a visit to the pumpkin patch. Now she’s battling the flu – hope you feel better soon, Ellen!

Melinda (Elements in Time) continues to impress me with her commitment to home grown foods. Her photos from this week are amazing, as are the details of where the food is coming from and the sheer variety of things they’ve been growing. Although Melinda, if you get yourself a couple of backyard hens, you can add fresh eggs to your 0 mile ingredients. They’re funny, friendly and pay they’re rent in eggy goodness…

With a busy week, Halloween and a new magazine to devour, Katrina (Kale for Sale) counted a simple potato dinner as her local meal of the week. As a die hard potato lover, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. She also posted a reminder to contact your state representatives about the still not so impressive farm bill before it comes up for vote – thanks Katrina, I sent off another round of emails this morning.

Sarah (Skagit Foodshed) inspires me with her lunches and dinners full of local ingredients and links to their sources. I think I just found 3 or 4 new sources that I wasn’t aware of before – so glad that she’s so close by. And for the record, I’m pretty sure that your Kirkland ham isn’t the worst thing ever – after all, you put it to such good use that it went further than they ever expected.

Thanks to her husband and son’s fishing adventure, Jennye’s (Wool Fairy) fish stew is a SoCal feature. And the beautiful handmade bowls? So jealous. Sorry to hear about the tomatoes. I had to throw out a jar of apples just before I left because I kept hearing this metallic ping every five minutes or so – turns out it was the jar lid popping…

Marcia in Wyoming made Grilled Chicken Pizza, noting that it has become a “staple” in their household. Toppings include – homegrown/homemade pesto, homegrown red onions, re-hydrated dried homegrown green peppers, solar dried homegrown tomatoes, homegrown grilled chicken breast,  mozzarella and Parmesan cheese (darn – not homegrown).  She tried a new crust this time using mostly home-ground wheat. She used her new grain mill attachment for the Kitchenaid mixer and bought some Prairie Gold hard white winter wheat from Wheat Montana – at Walmart of all places!  She’s also planning to grind corn from the “excess” sweet corn she dried.


The Middle:

Chessa (Maybe Local) made portabello stroganoff with a side of roasted roots. And doesn’t it look divine? The week also included ratatouille and apple crisp. Glad to hear that the end of your CSA hasn’t created too much of a crisis.

With brunch, fresh pasta with marinara, roasted chicken breasts, chicken and noodles, cottage ham and butternut squash soup, Anne (Green Leanings) had a busy week of eating local! I look forward to hearing what squash soup version you like best – I’m partial to my recipe for curried butternut myself. And yes, the broccoli worms are creepy!

It’s one of the biggest carrots I’ve ever seen, and yellow to boot! Farm Mom (Children in the Corn) cleaned out the last of her garden and made an amazing veggie stew using the carrots and the last of the summer squashes. She added skillet corn bread on the side to round it out.

Penny (Penelopedia) made Butternut Tostadas for her meal this week. They sound, and look, amazing. Definitely something to try if you’re hoarding squash in every spare corner right now…

Culinary students – they just make me jealous because they’re meals are so much prettier than mine (and I’m sure better tasting!). Daniela (Culinary Student) made an impressive Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup this week using all ingredients from the local Farmer’s Market. With the start of her weekly produce delivery, she’s looking forward to making “real” meals in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to more drooling.

Taco potatoes with a side of steamed broccoli brought a smile to Valeree’s (Cincinnati Locavore) face this week. It was apparently so good that it disappeared before the camera could be found.


The East:

Though she’s out of onions, Kim (Yankee Food) isn’t panicking yet. She’s got plans for finding more on her trip to Concord this week. She’s found a local source for brick oven bread, and put her first loaf to good use. Her raisin bread french toast sounds so good that I’m trying to figure out if there’s a morning I can make it this week!

Caroline (A Rowhouse Kitchen) shared her local meal with friends this week. Their menu included roast chicken, beets, acorn squash and local cupcakes. The friendship that started with a common interest in local foods, continues to grow. She also froze pumpkin, making me certain that I need to get on this so we can have pumpkin pie for turkey day!

Christy (Farm Dreams) made pork and fiesta cabbage en escabeche wraps for her meal this week, they look delicious. She also shared her thoughts on the summer and fall CSA that they participated in.

While his plans for a fall menu of spit roasted chicken were thwarted, Ed (The Slow Cook) found everything he needed for a final summer menu. Roasted poussin, sweet potato salad, fresh okra… the sweet tastes of summer somehow visiting him in October. May every fall meal be so sweet. Also be sure to check out his stories of Butternut Squash Soup and homemade ketchup.

With the morning darkness upon her, Sarah (Cucina Bella) joins the challenge with two local meals this week. A quesadilla with caprese salad for dinner and a breakfast of scrambled eggs, local sausage and toast. Welcome Sarah!

With two whole days to spare, Wendy (Happily Home) made a 100% Maine meal of broccoli quiche, potato latkes and applesauce. She also made bread the day before, and comments that the Maine flour she used is probably from farther away than the Vermont flour that she usually uses. As she notes, sometimes it’s about regional local, not artificial border local.

Danielle (Touch the Earth Farm) had another crazy week, but even so managed to make an almost 0 miles dinner of spinach and herb frittata and salad. She also made mini pumpkin muffins (with her own pumpkins) and deviled eggs for a home school group Halloween Harvest Farm Day. She even managed to find time to make green tomato salsa, pickles and chutney with the last of her tomatoes.

Steak and hookers – now that’s a menu that grabs your attention. Nicole (Farm to Philly) discovered Hakurei turnips during her CSA shift this week and decided to try them out. She enjoyed her new discovery (reportedly quite good) with a rare steak and sauteed mushrooms.

After finally finding a local source of flour, Jasmine (40 Shades of Green) made a butternut squash and camelized onion galette this week. Not only does it sound good, it looks fantastic – I can certainly understand why it was hard to wait for it to cool.

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