One Local Summer 2011 – Week 17

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Gnocchi!  This was my first time ever making gnocchi, and I think we did alright!  It was pretty simple – boil about 1lb potatoes for an hour, or until tender, then rice or mash or make them smooshy and non-lumpy as best as possible, add about a cup of flour, shape, dust with flour, and then boil until they float.  Husband worked up the sauce from our own tomatoes canned this year, a load of peppers from the garden (SO MANY PEPPERS THIS YEAR), an onion, and some Ground Bison.  This is really my idea of comfort food, and it fit the bill.  Most of the ingredients came from a farm stand we passed on the way home from a trip to Lancaster, and I neglected to get the name of the farm.  Suffice to say, they weren’t shipped in from California, but from just a county away.

Gnocchi with Bison Sauce:
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Mill at Anselma
Potatoes – Lancaster Farm Stand
Bison – Backyard Bison
Tomato sauce – My Garden
Onion – Lancaster Farm Stand
Non Local – Spices, Salt, Pepper

One Local Summer 2011 – Week 16

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Okay, there’s always a bit of summer where I fall apart and neglect posting these to the blog. They’re all cooked and whatnot, but between guests and vacations, things fall by the wayside. Anyway, I’m finally catching up, and need to do a little bit of get-ahead in preparation for the upcoming vacation to Scotland (WOOOHOO!). So, I’ll still be covering all the weeks, just not cooking while we’re not in the country, but still cooking for one meal a week. Not sure that made sense! This one was a lazy breakfast but was still super delicious. Pancakes from an old favorite recipe, and bison bacon that turned up to be WOW DELICIOUS. Pretty simple, but really satisfying.

Pancakes and Bacon:
Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm
Egg – Mountain View Organics
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Mill at Anselma
Bison Bacon – Backyard Bison
Maple Syrup – Miller’s Maple
Non Local – Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Sugar

Eurotrip 2011 – Brussels

Rome > Siena > Florence > Venice > Munich > Brussels > Amsterdam

 

March 24.  We got up early and caught the 7:23 am train from Munich to Brussels, transferring at Cologne (Koln) and arriving at 2:30pm.  It was a long trip on the train, but all first class again with meals and everything.  The ride from Cologne to Brussels was via Thalys and it actually had wifi available, even if it was spotty and unreliable.  Hopped a cab at the train station to our hotel for 10 Euros.  The hotel, Hotel Van Belle, was a very last minute booking and the only thing we could find that wasn’t over $200/night.  The reviews said it was in a sketchy area, and it was, but thankfully there was a shuttle bus than ran from the hotel to the downtown area throughout the evening.  It was safe enough, but I don’t think I’d stay there again – while going to sleep one night, we heard a girl outside the window yell, “Stop!  GET AWAY FROM ME,” in perfectly clear English.  Needless to say, we PacSafe’d our bags in the room and lashed them to the heaviest thing we could find.
That out of the way, the hotel is literally around the corner from the Cantillon Brewery, also called the Musée Bruxellois de la Gueuze (The Brussels Museum of Gueuze).  The tour was self-guided but there happened to be a tour group there as well, so we sort of lingered around to hear the speaker.  The whole process is absolutely amazing – we brew our own beer and this is just totally opposite everything we learned as brewers.  We’re taught to sterilize and sanitize everything and that an infection in the beer is bad.  Making lambics and gueuze in the traditional method means pumping your wort up to the attic and letting it sit overnight to capture wild yeast and bacteria, maybe even a few spiders and bugs.  Really!  The photo on the right, top is the cooling tank where the wort rests overnight.  Then the beer is put either in stainless steel fermenters or barrels and left to do its business of fermenting for a year or five.  Then it’s bottled (Lambic), or added to fruit (Kriek when it’s cherries), or blended together (1 yr old + 2-3 yr old barrels) to make a Gueuze.  The resulting brews are sour and can vary widely from batch to batch.  These folks are more interested in doing things the right way rather than mass production and what they make is absolutely incredible.  The tasting at the end was the highlight, and I’m super glad we can find it here as well.
Something of interest to note, Belgium is known for its beer, and throughout Brussels, I don’t recall seeing a single instance of Bud or Coors or any commercial beer.  Not once!  Who needs that swill when you’ve got the world’s best beers?
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It was getting late, so we went into the downtown area and had a few beers at Bonnefooi – it was rated pretty highly.  The staff was really nice, and they had a decent selection of brews.  We ended up at Le Fiacre (near the Bourse) for dinner.  I had Rabbit, Flemish style, and it was amazing.  Not something I’d normally eat, but hey, we were on vacation right?  We also saw the Manneken Pis (peeing statue) – it was definitely smaller than I thought, only about two feet high, but nonetheless hilarious.  He even gets costumes if there’s a local holiday or special event going on, but he was bare naked when we visited. DSC_7380

March 25.  This was our full day in Brussels.  The breakfast at the hotel was a huge spread.  We locked up our things again in the room and walked to the park for the
Musee royal de l’Armee et d’Histoire Militaire (The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History).  On our walk, because Brussels in the political capital of the European Union, we saw a few police-led motorcades and areas that were blocked off or secured with razor wire and such.  We literally spent the whole day at the museum – the complex is HUGE – and only saw about 2/3rds of the museum.  There are a few photos to the right, but honestly, they had every single weapon, uniform, manual, equipment, machinery, etc that was ever, EVER made.  The top photo is the airplane hangar where they still do restoration work on parts and planes found in the countryside.  Below that was another hall filled with weapons and uniforms.  Then beyond that, there was a modern warfare hall about the same size that dealt only with WWI and WWII.  It included a mock-up of a 1940’s kitchen, bunker, and I just can’t quite describe the scale of how HUGE this place is.  Even if you’re not terribly interested in military history, it’s a marvel just to see the scale of the building and collection.  When we left around 3pm, the park was scattered with people toting six-packs or wine bottles, enjoying the sunny spring afternoon.  Places I could live?  Yep, check.
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We took the subway back to the center where we saw the Chocolate Museum with a demonstration by a Belgian Chocolatier (photo at right).  LOTS of samples of chocolate from all over the world.  We also did the Brewer’s Museum at the Grand Palace and had another beer sample.  There were stops for proper Belgian Frites (french fries) and Waffles smothered in as much Nutella as you could handle.Then we stumbled across Moeder Lambic.  There were 34 beers on tap with an incredible selection of Lambics, Dubbels, and all sorts of mind blowing beers.  There were bunches of little places like this – it was sort of like a coffee shop with people sitting around drinking a beer, relaxing with friends, doing work on laptops, etc.  We then went and found dinner at Le Cirio.  Doug had a traditional Flemish meal called Waterzooi which was sort of like a local version of chicken soup, but more incredible.  He also got his favorite beer, a Rochfort 10, to end the trip to Brussels.  Next stop, Amsterdam! DSC_7425DSC_7417DSC_7433

Slideshow of photos from Brussels

One Local Summer 2011 – Week 15

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I managed to miss the farmers markets this week, but I did make it to Kimberton Whole Foods to grab a few things. It’s SO nice to have them nearby since they sell some of my local favorites and a bunch of local produce. I saw golden beets and just had to figure out something to make with them.  I settled upon a modified beet and goat cheese galette.  The crust is 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour and 2/3 cup goat’s milk yogurt.  That’s it!  Then inside are some beets, dehydrated tomatoes, red onion, zucchini and chevre.  I did this one open in a pie plate, but used the other half of the dough to make a classic galette.  All the vegetables have to be cooked before going into the dough, and then cooked together at 400F for about 30 minutes.  It’s really pretty simple – while the dough is chilling in the fridge, the vegetables are being cooked, and then it’s time to roll the dough and throw the whole shebang in the oven.  It turned out DELICIOUS and the beets cooked up perfectly.

Beet & Goat Cheese Galette:
Chevre – Shellbark Hollow Farm
Golden Beets – Lancaster Farm Fresh
Red Onion – Lancaster Farm Fresh
Tomatoes – My Garden
Zucchini – My Garden
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Mill at Anselma
Non local – coconut oil