One Local Summer 2018 – Meal 1

Well, here we are with another One Local Summer coming upon us.  My local farmers market has already switched from their winter every-other-weekend schedule to every-weekend albeit still at the shorter, winter hours.  Last year, I dropped off blogging after Meal #7, but there were still local meals being made since it’s become a habit.  This is now year number TEN of One Local Summer for us and every year there’s something new to try – new recipes, cooking methods, etc.  But ten years is something pretty amazing.  The whole idea behind One Local Summer is that you make one meal a week during the summer using ingredients sourced from local farmers and growers.  The result is that you reduce your carbon footprint by using fewer “food miles” (instead of getting lettuce from California at hundreds of food miles, you get it from the small, family-run farm five miles down the road), and support hardworking local farmers and growers closer to home instead of large corporations that aren’t as invested in doing things the right way.  All of the producers at my local market love talking shop, whether it’s about how they care for their animals, their pest control methods, what new vegetables they’re trying out this year, and what works best for our local micro-climate.  Before I go on too much about how amazing my little farmers market family is, here’s the first meal!  I’m going to go on a meal-to-meal basis instead of sticking strictly to week-by-week since some weeks just get away from me, and that’s alright.  I don’t want this to be a huge chore or burden, so giving myself some leeway on busy weeks has proven to be super helpful.

First meal up!  A friend was raving about how awesome the Instant Pot was and while I’d heard about it before, I guess I never quite knew how amazing this little kitchen gadget was.  It’s essentially a pressure cooker and crock pot in one, and the model I have has SO many features, it almost replaces the oven and a good bit of the stove.  Did you know you can make PERFECT pulled pork in a matter of an hour?!  YEAH, I KNOW!  CRAZY.  So, basically, I’m smitten with this thing, and you will pry it from my cold, dead hands before I’d give it up.  One of the neat options is the ability to do Sous Vide cooking since the temperature control holds steady within 5 degrees.  We already had the vacuum sealer gizmo that we use quite a bit, so I found a recipe for Sous Vide fajitas and went to town.  Using bison skirt steak instead of beef, I added garlic, cumin, pepper, salt, and chili powder to the vacuum bag, sealed, and let marinate overnight in the fridge.  I decided on 145 for the temperature using this chart since I tend to like red meat more on the well-done side, and I know bison doesn’t need quite as much heat as cow beef.  I set the timer for 2 hours to be sure it was cooked thoroughly, though I probably could’ve gone for less since the cut wasn’t terribly thick.  While that was going on, I got to work on the flour tortillas using this recipe.  They’re rather easy to make with only four ingredients, but it’s pretty time consuming, and there is a bit of a learning curve with the thickness and getting them on the skillet just right.  I got a little overzealous with the rolling pin and made them larger than my cast iron pan, so in hindsight, I should’ve probably set up the pizza stone on the grill for more space to get them thrown down nice and flat.  Yeah, they ended up a little smooshed and wrinkled at the edges, but do you know what?  The recipe says the wonky-shaped ones taste better, so, I’m just going to stick with that.  Once the bison was about done, I loaded up the cast iron skillet with olive oil and scallions and then wilted some baby chard on top.  Then I gave the bison a quick pan sear once it was out of the Sous Vide bath, and piled my creation on a plate with some cheese.  To top off the meal, there’s a glass of homebrewed hard cider made with apples from my grandparents’ place that we picked, crushed, pressed, and fermented ourselves.  It’s a true labor of love, and I’m going to be super sad when this keg is empty since we don’t have a batch waiting in reserve.  That’s that for the first meal!  I already have plans for another Instant Pot meal for next week once my fajita leftovers are gone.

Ingredients:
Bison – Backyard Bison
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Chard – Charlestown Farm
Scallions – Charlestown Farm
Lard – Deep Roots Valley Farm
Cheese – Birchrun Hills
Garlic – Hill Creek Farm
Non Local – Olive Oil, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, lime juice

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 17a

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We got ahead of ourselves this week and had two local meals which is of course, never a problem.  Two years ago, I had made something very similar to this when I was home alone, which is why when husband suggested it as something new, I said OH that old thing, been there, done that, completely forgetting that he hadn’t!  So, here we have Philly Cheesesteak stuffed peppers which turned out great.  On the side are french fries with homemade fruit ketchup using peaches from our tree.  Next is a salad with blue cheese dressing and bacon.  Finally, to round out the dinner, Blackberry wine.  The whole thing was delicious and disappeared quickly!  It made for great leftovers too, the mark of a really excellent dinner.

Ingredients:
Peppers – Charlestown Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Onions – Charlestown Farm
Blue cheese dressing – Birchrun Hills
Bacon – Countrytime Farm
Lettuce – Charlestown Farm
Tomatoes – Full Circle CSA in salad, Clover Hill Farm in fruit ketchup
Chip Steak – Backyard Bison
Cheese – Yellow Springs Farm, Goatzerella
Potatoes – Our garden and Charlestown Farm
Non Local – Salt, pepper, olive oil, spices

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 9a

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We’ve gotten rather ahead of ourselves with One Local Summer, so I’m going to double up this week with two posts to get back on track. Sometimes we just cook local meals by default and then I forget what week we’re on and things all go crazy. I figure doing extra local meals isn’t a bad thing and since we made them, I might as well share them! So, here’s a catchup post and in two weeks I’ll be all caught up, I hope.

We dug into the freezer for this one and found a Bison roast. Husband rubbed it down with freshly ground pepper and salt and put it on the rotisserie on the grill. While I realize it may be blasphemous to red meat eaters, the end chunk was cooked nicely well done (brown the whole way through) but was still tender and DELICIOUS. Also cooked on the grill were those skewers with zucchini and tomatoes, covered in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then there’s a cucumber salad with red wine and vinegar, and finally the salad bowl just like every week, with the same mix of greens and vegetables. It all came out great, and we found a local Cabernet Sauvignon to pair with the dinner.

Ingredients:
Radishes – Full Circle CSA
Turnips – Full Circle CSA
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Lettuce – Full Circle CSA
Cucumber – Clover Hill Farm
Tomatoes – Clover Hill Farm
Bison – Backyard Bison
Zucchini – Clover Hill Farm
Wine – Sand Castle Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon
Non Local – Salt, pepper, olive oil, homemade vinegar

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 2

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After last week, I knew that I’d be going with asparagus again.  Not wanting to just grill it again, I found a recipe for bacon-wrapped asparagus.  Well, bacon-wrapped anything is delicious, so this seemed like a fantastic plan.  The result is that the plate looks a lot like the one from last week with a few changes.  What can I say, when something works, it works!  Another salad (MMM GREEENNNSS, said like a vegetarian zombie), grilled mushrooms, that bacon-wrapped asparagus, and a chunk of bison sausage.  Finished off with a cool glass of water to end a yucky hot and humid day, and it was a great, easy, meal all cooked on the grill.

Ingredients:
Mixed Greens – Charlestown Farm
Red Leaf Lettuce – Charlestown Farm
Pea Shoots – Jack’s Farm
Bison Country Sausage – Backyard Bison
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Asparagus – Hill Creek Farm
Bacon – Countrytime Farm
Cheese – Birchrun Hills (honey and sea salt cheese spread)
Non Local – Olive Oil, dressing