One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 5

Week 8, meal 5, technically.  I’m not stressing over keeping up with the weeks specifically this year since my schedule seems to be a bit of a mess, and with it just being me at home since the market opened, I find that one meal makes enough leftovers for one person for a whole week (sometimes a little more).  We went through a bit of a chilly and rainy spell in May, so I went in search of recipes that utilized the crock pot as a nice way to cozy up the house while it was dreary and cold.  I stumbled across this recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Chop Stroganoff, and I knew I had the ingredients on hand already, so we had a winner.  I did make a few substitutions, as usual.  We had two huge pork butt steaks in the freezer, so I used those instead of pork chops,  In place of the butter and gravy mix, I used olive oil to quick brown the pork butt steaks, and then just plain water in the crock pot with the mushrooms and a wee splash of vinegar.  After cooking all day, I took a bit of the liquid in the bottom of the crock pot and mixed it with some flour to thicken it up, then added goat’s milk yogurt to make the sauce.  I tend to use goat’s milk yogurt in place of cow’s milk since I don’t enjoy the taste of cow’s milk, and goat’s milk yogurt has this nice tangy flavor to it.  The meal is super simple, and while it doesn’t look like much on the plate, wow was it ever good.  On the side, I had a strawberry and rhubarb tart from my favorite Flour Fairies at the farmers market.  The rhubarb is local, so this one fits in better with the One Local Summer theme.  The tartness of the rhubarb with the sweetness of the strawberries made for a wonderful treat!

Pork – Countrytime Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Mill at Anselma
Non Local – Salt, Olive Oil, Pepper, Homemade vinegar

Universal Yums May 2017

This was such a nice surprise!  My sister-in-law gave me a gift subscription to Universal Yums for my birthday, and the first one arrived in May.  This is a bit of a belated post since I wanted to get the chance to try everything before posting about it.  This month’s theme was Japan, so all the snacks came from Japan.  All of these were new to me except the kiwi gummies (already a favorite), so it was neat to try new things!  I’ll try to go left to right in the photo and descriptions below.  I can’t really assign a dollar value to these since this was a gift, but the novelty of trying new things is definitely worth it!

  • Bourbon Petit Caramel Rice Crackers – These were tiny round rice crackers that tasted a lot like buttery caramel.  They were very sweet and very good, and that little sleeve was just enough without being too much since they were rather richly flavored.
  • Ribon Nama Ume Candy – Inside the sweet, hard candy is a center of salty pickled plums.  I found that I did like the combination of salty and sweet, but the salty inner core was just a little bit too salty for my tastes once the candy was all gone around it.  I liked them better if I cracked open the center and chewed it along with some of the candy instead of letting it melt down all the way to just the center.
  • Everyburger Cookie – Cute little cookies that look like burgers with cookie buns and a chocolate layer in the middle.  This was definitely my favorite item out of the box!
  • Umaibo Teriyaki Burger and Gyutan – These little packets held a puffy cheese-curl textured tube that was flavored with either Teriyaki or “Gyutan” which is apparently beef tongue.  The Teriyaki was definitely teriyaki and Gyutan tasted like a hamburger, and both were really good.
  • Sakuma Matcha Milk Candy – Oh boy, these were so good that I’d actually consider trying to find these again.  The candy is flavored like Matcha tea with milk, and it’s a nice hard candy that makes for a great treat.
  • Kasugai Roasted Nuts Assortment – The information booklet said these were supposed to be a Mame Mix and featured a picture different from the package I received.  I think they’re still basically the same thing from the description though.  This is probably my least liked item from the box since there’s a lot of seaweed involved and I found them much too fishy for my liking.  Even the bits without seaweed still tasted fishy since the seaweed had kind of infused the whole package with the flavor.  But hey, part of the fun here is trying something new, and while I did like the texture/crunchy pieces in here, I just wish it could’ve been made without the seaweed.
  • Rakka Ame Candy – It’s a peanut flavored hard candy with bits of peanuts in it, so I definitely liked these!
  • Kasugai Kiwi Gummies – These are an old favorite I used to buy all the time in a variety of different flavors.  The gummies pack a huge flavorful punch that tastes exactly like kiwi, and the texture is just right.

Overall, this is a fun box to try!  Even the things that I didn’t quite like as much as the others, they were still things I might never have tried without the box, so the experience of trying something new was all part of the fun.  I’m very glad to have received a gift subscription to this one and am looking forward to June’s theme which is Mexico.

Espionage Cosmetics Nexus OP May 2017

This is the second round of Nexus OP, a special, randomly spawning exclusive set of nerdy nail wraps.  The first was Harry Potter themed, so I skipped that one since I’m just not into Harry Potter, but this time around the hints all pointed to Supernatural, so I was definitely in!  This round featured two nail wraps to fit the theme.  They arrived in a gold bubble mailer, and both wraps were inside that shiny gold bag inside the mailer.

Seraphim – This is a glossy nail wrap with a glow in the dark accent.  The design has Castiel with his signature trench coat and tie on one wrap and his wings on the rest.  The glow in the dark accent has a little piece of pie and print that says, “Where’s the pie?”  Honestly, these are perfect for a Castiel themed nail wrap!  I do wish the trench coat wrap was one or two spots down (to fit a smaller nail) since the size it’s on is one of the sizes I usually skip.  I can still trim it down to fit another nail without sacrificing the design, so it’s easy enough to make it work.

Sigils & Wards – Another glossy nail wrap with glow in the dark accents, but this one features a bunch of sigils and wards used in Supernatural.  The background is a black to burgundy ombre and the design is printed in white that also glows in the dark.  It’s one of those subtle nerdity designs that I love.  You wouldn’t know these were Supernatural related unless you recognized some of the symbols.

The cost of the Nexus OP is $25 plus shipping.  If you’re already a subscriber to the monthly Nexus shipments, you get 50% off which for me, brough the total to $16.50 including shipping.  Each nail wrap usually costs $10 on the website (I think it’s $12 if it’s a licensed design), so as a subscriber, this was well worth the cost!  The regular monthly Nexus is fun because the themes are wide-ranging, but the OP themes are going to be fandom-based, so it’s a neat bonus to add on to the regular subscription.  I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for the next time the “Golden Glow” activates on the EC website!

One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 4

See, I knew I was going to get behind on these, so while this is meal 4, it’s technically week 7.  Things have been a bit crazy, so while I haven’t had time to put together exclusively local meals, most of what I eat while the farmers market is in full swing ends up being local since that’s where I do the majority of my grocery shopping.  Anyway!  This is a bit of an ambitious dinner for me, but it’s a pretty awesome one, if I do say so myself.  The centerpiece is the banh bao, a Vietnamese pork bun.  Husband came across these on his travels for work at one point or another and we figured the recipe had to be fairly easy – meat and a hard-boiled egg in a dough wrapper.  We found a recipe online and made a huge batch a few years ago.  They freeze and reheat surprisingly well, but it definitely is quicker work with two people.  For this version, I made my own self-rising flour using the ratio here, making a 3 cup batch of flour.  The original recipe calls for milk and sugar, so I substituted in 1/2 cup honey and 1 cup of goat’s milk yogurt to keep it local.  My flour is also a whole wheat flour, so they didn’t come out perfectly white like the traditional banh bao, but that’s just cosmetic anyway.  The filling consists of a hard-boiled quail egg, scallions, and ground pork.  I even took half the batch and added a few cheese curds just for fun.  The quail eggs are a new offering from our farmers market poultry vendor this year, and it’s neat to be able to use quail eggs instead of quartering a chicken egg.  The poultry vendor’s two girls are raising the quail and running the whole quail egg operation on their own, so supporting the next generation of farmers as well as two young girl entrepreneurs sweetens the deal!  Going around the plate, next we have sliced, roasted cheesy asparagus.  I picked the bigger asparagus lot at the market, sliced them on a mandoline slicer, then tossed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and topped with cheese.  Into the oven at 425 for about 8-10 minutes, and voila!  The cookies may not be made with local ingredients, but they are from a farmers market baker.  Supporting local business is part of the One Local Summer equation, so while it’s a bit of a cheat, it’s chocolate chip cookies, how could I not?  In the glass is some more homebrewed mead to finish out the meal.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Mill at Anselma
Quail Eggs – Deep Roots Valley Farm
Ground Pork – Countrytime Farm
Scallions – Jack’s Farm
Cheese – Cheese curds and Fat Cat from Birchrun Hills
Asparagus – Hill Creek Farm
Cookies – The Flour Fairies
Honey – Our Beehives
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm
Non Local – Salt, pepper, olive oil, baking powder

One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 3

This is late to go up on the blog by about three weeks, but here’s meal number 3 for this year of One Local Summer.  Husband was back briefly for the weekend, so I set him straight to work in the kitchen, as you do.  He’s far better at improvising a dinner on short notice and working with the ingredients at hand while I always feel the need to plan things out and have a recipe in order to cook.  It’s a pretty basic sort of meal with a meat, vegetable, and salad, but I can assure you it was anything but basic!  The pork butt steak was seasoned with just salt and pepper and cooked on the grill.  The collard raab was done up in a cast iron skillet with scallions, spring garlic, and a little bit of vinegar.  On the side is a simple salad with radishes, the radish greens, and the remainder of the Mâche topped with olive oil and homemade vinegar.  We ate outside on our new deck since it was a stunningly perfect spring evening and a nice way to enjoy a One Local Summer meal!

Mâche – Jack’s Farm
Radishes – Charlestown Farm
Collard Raab – Charlestown Farm
Pork Butt Steak – Countrytime Farm
Scallions – Jack’s Farm
Spring Garlic – Jack’s Farm
Non Local – Olive oil, salt, pepper, homemade vinegar