One Local Summer 2012 – Week 11

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Sometimes, I impress myself.  I’m not one to really enjoy cooking, which is partly what this whole thing has been about.  I force myself to do this personal challenge of cooking locally all summer long, and it makes me actually cook.  Every once in a while, I really enjoy making the meal because it’s something new and different, and that’s what I’ve got here.  The garden has been giving me ZUCCHINI (all caps, on purpose, because they seem to think they’re watermelons and not zucchini).  Anyone who has grown them before knows that if you neglect the plant for two hours, you end up with baseball bats and that I’m really not exaggerating.  Ours, instead of growing in length, grew in width, spectacularly, and seemingly overnight.  For scale’s sake, that’s a 9″ plate.  The zucchini were really seedy inside, but I sliced them up anyway and once I pulled the seeds out, I had enormous zucchini rings.  Then inspiration hit.  Take zucchini rings, grill, add freshly made polenta (1 cup cornmeal, 3 cup water, boil while stirring until it pulls away from the pan) to the center, bake, flip, top as a pizza and bake until the cheese melts.  And that’s exactly what’s on my plate above – I used blue cheese and caramelized onions for the topping, and the sauce was even made from local tomatoes, courtesy of Jack’s Farm who was selling a big big bag of tomatoes for $6 (there’s another whole pint of sauce in the freezer too!).  I really don’t have a recipe to give you for this, because it’s the kind of thing that is very basic and I’d rather give you the idea and let you go create.

Zucchini Polenta Pizza:
Monster Overgrown Zucchini – My garden
Onion – Brogue Hydroponics
Cornmeal – Mill at Anselma
Blue Cheese – Birchrun Hills
Tomato Sauce – via tomatoes from Jack’s Farm
Non Local – Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil

One Local Summer 2012 – Week 10

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Yup. Ten weeks already! Our garden is finally giving us a whole bunch of zucchini, so I made the best of a pretty insane situation. The zucchini in question is the 8 ball zucchini which grows in a round, softball shape/size instead of the typical elongated shape of a normal zucchini. They’re much more seedy than regular zucchini, but once hollowed out, they’re perfect to stuff with all sorts of good things, which is what I did here.  I know I did this in prior years, but it’s just so easy (and delicious).  The zucchini is stuffed with chorizo, pepper, tomato, onion, garlic scapes, and topped off with a few slices of goat mozzarella.  I had leftover potatoes from last week, so I put those in tin foil on the grill and used them on the side.  Not bad!  And, there were two whole zucchini, so I’ve got a TON of leftovers.  Also, I have a TON more zucchini, if you’ve got any recipes to recommend!

Stuffed Zucchini:
Zucchini – My Garden
Chorizo – Countrytime Farm
Potatoes –  Brogue Hydroponics
Peppers – Brogue Hydroponics
Tomatoes – Brogue Hydroponics
Garlic Scapes – Jack’s Farm
Goat Mozzarella – Yellow Springs Farm
Non Local – Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil

One Local Summer 2012 – Week 9

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This one is getting posted late, but I’ve been busy, honest!  This one was on my own since husband is out to sea for a month.  We’ve got veal cubes with turnips, fennel, and mushrooms on a skewer, and potatoes on the side, all cooked up on the grill!  The skewers are pretty neat – they’re Fire Wires, and are basically stainless steel cables with a tip.  Put the food on, marinate in a bag or bowl, then throw on the grill.  Once the tip has been heated for about 10 minutes to burn off any bacteria, you move it off the grill so that you can pick up the whole wire using the tip that has cooled.  Pretty easy!  I filled up four Fire Wires, so I have plenty of leftovers.

Veal Kabobs:
Turnips – Jack’s Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Potatoes – Brogue Hydroponics
Veal – Birchrun Hills Farm
Fennel – Jack’s Farm
Non Local – Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil

A Letter in Italian

When my grandmother passed away, mom saved a bunch of papers we found in her home.  Among these were letters written in Italian that none of us could translate.  I was in my second year of studying the language and really wasn’t proficient yet.  But, now, twelve years and a study abroad in Italy later, I’ve finally got back at it and have started working on these.  The genealogy research I’ve been doing has paid off as well, since I’ve finally been able to identify everyone in this first letter which is really neat.  I can’t say the translation is perfect – some of the handwriting and nuances of the language can’t be made into a perfect translation, but I think this is pretty close.  If you happen to have any suggestions on how to make my translation better, I’m happy to accept corrections!

The letter is from Angiolina (Ducceschi) Cioletti, addressed to Eugenia (Arcangeli) Innocenti.
Marsilio is Eugenia’s cousin and lived with Eugenia and her children through 1940.
Amos is Angiolina’s husband.

Worth noting, Angiolina uses the word “figlie” when referring to her children, meaning they’re all girls (and census records tell me that they were indeed).  When referring to Eugenia’s children, she uses the word, “figli” meaning that they’re either all boys, or of mixed gender (in this case, one boy and two girls).   She uses the phrase “Vi Fo Sapere” instead of “Vi Faccio Sapere” (I want you to know).  “Fo” is a regioinalism particular to Tuscany.  Angiolina and her husband came from Piteglio, from what I can find, which is in Tuscany.  “Bath Room” is written out in plain English instead of Italian.  Towards the end, she uses the letter z instead of s in Penziero (Pensiero) and Verzo (Verso).  The stamp has been torn off the envelope – grandma was a stamp collector, so it’s possible that this one ended up in her collection, even though she would’ve been 7 at the time this was written.

Haledon NJ 20 September 1928Dearest friend,

I come to write you these few lines on paper to tell you that I am fine. Me, my husband, and my children and so I hope that it is the same with you, your husband, and children. Now I want to tell you that we are together in New Jersey and we’re here willingly, and we’re very happy. We have a house with 5 rooms and the bath room makes 6, and we pay $22.50 a month, cold and hot water, and all the amenities. Also, the place is beautiful for the kids. There is no danger. The house is all fenced in. Also Amos is content with his work. He works every day and brings home $6.50 a day, but he works at night, 13 hours of work, but the work is not as tiresome as in the mines. Especially when he came to work every day at Flinton, Marsilio works all day and I hope that he is still, but we hear that the mines are going very badly. Respond to me. I wanted to write you for a long time, but I never took the time, but I thought about my friends. I have always and will now give my greeting to all of you, your husband and children, from me, my husband, and children. Here I sign, your unforgettable friend, Angiolina, my mother Cioletti. I greet you if you’re ever near to me, it would be nice to have a short walk.

Here is the Address

268 Belmont Ave
Haledon, New Jersey

One Local Summer 2012 – Week 8

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Another meal by the husband, and the last one for a few weeks, unfortunately, as he’s back out to sea.  This one is pretty basic, but I just cannot get enough of those grilled vegetables.  We have a pork tenderloin and then carrots, potatoes, snap peas, and zucchini all tossed into the grill.  The vegetables were cooked toether in the grill wok with some salt, pepper, and olive oil, and the tenderloin was covered in a seasoning blend that isn’t local (Maple Jalapeno seasoning from Cabela’s), but is OH SO VERY GOOD.  Hopefully our little garden will be producing some vegetables soon.  The zucchini plants both have wee little baby zucchini on them, there’s a teeny watermelon, and loads of marble-sized tomatoes.

Pork and Vegetables:
Pork Tenderloin – Countrytime Farm
Zucchini – Jack’s Farm
Potatoes – Jack’s Farm
Snap Peas – Charlestown Farm
Carrots – Charlestown Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Non Local – Olive oil, Salt, Pepper, Maple Jalapeno Seasoning