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One Local Summer – Week 14

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My little garden in the backyard has finally started producing something! After a REALLY disappointing zucchini season – read: Lack Thereof – the garden has made up for things by giving me a ton of cucumbers. I planted lemon cucumbers, regular old green cucumbers, and miniature white cucumbers.  I’ve foisted some off on the neighbors, and have been eating a lot of them fresh out of the garden, but there are still too many.  So, I found a wonderful recipe for cucumber soup.  I doubled the recipe, using three green cukes, two lemon cukes, and two of the over-ripe white cukes that turned bright yellow.  Used cilantro, oregano, basil, and sage from the deck herb planters, plain old water instead of broth, and left out the avocado.  My soup isn’t bright green like the picture in the recipe, but I let the onion get a good carmelization going which contributed to the brownish tinge to the soup.  It’s great both hot and cold, with or without the dollop of yogurt.

Cucumber Soup:
Cucumbers – My Garden
Herbs – My Garden
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm
Garlic – North Star Orchard
Non-local – pepper, olive oil, lime juice, salt, cayenne pepper

One Local Summer – Week 3

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Week three brings us Shiitake Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with a salad covered in Portabella mushrooms.  I really cannot get enough of those crispy spring greens and they’ve been making an appearance at every meal.  The ‘alfredo’ sauce was home made, and while it didn’t come out just like the store-bought stuff, it was pretty good for using only local ingredients.  I probably could’ve added a hunk of cheese to make it more flavorful, but didn’t happen to have any on hand.  I’m a little late getting this one posted (week 4 is cooked and consumed already!), but, better late than never, right?  Here’s the run-down.

Fettuccine:
My basic recipe consists of one cup whole wheat pastry flour, one egg, a teaspoon of olive oil and water to make proper consistency.  Then the good ole KitchenAid Mixer with pasta roller/cutter attachment does the rest!
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Egg – Mountain View Organics
Non-Local – Olive Oil

Chicken:
Chicken was marinated in olive oil, pepper and italian seasoning, then tossed on the grill.
Chicken – Mountain View Organics
Non-Local – Pepper, salt, olive oil

Sauce:
I’m not going to provide the recipe because it didn’t come out right, but I’ll give you a basic idea. Mushrooms and spring garlic were sauteed in some olive oil. Melted butter and added flour to thicken to a roux. Then added milk and goat’s milk yogurt to make consistency.
Raw Milk – Kimberton Hills Dairy
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Spring Garlic – Jack’s Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Non-Local – Butter, Olive Oil

Salad:
Spring Mix Greens – Jack’s Farm
Portabella Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Non-Local – Salad Dressing

One Local Summer – Week 2

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And we’re onto Week 2. So far, there’s not a lot of produce to pick from at the market given that our growing season REALLY gets moving at the end of May into early June. Oley Valley Mushrooms always comes through with fantastic mushrooms – these Crimini ‘shrooms were seriously the best mushrooms I have ever eaten. There may have been one or two that didn’t make it into the pan.  The recipe we used was the Beef Stroganoff recipe from SimplyRecipes.com with a couple of local substitutions made.  We used bison in place of beef, goat’s milk yogurt instead of sour cream, and since we couldn’t find onions at the market just yet, we ended up replacing those with a few leeks and it worked out just fine.  So, let’s start in the back with the bread and run around, clockwise.

Bread:
Bread – Saint Peter’s Bakery.  This was their rustic white bread, which was sweet and super soft.

Beef Stroganoff:
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms.  Crimini mushrooms with this incredible earthy flavor.
Bison – Backyard Bison.  We used a sirloin that we happened to have in the freezer from a few markets ago.

Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm.  The yogurt is tangy and actually made a perfect substitute for sour cream.
Leeks – Hoagland Farm.  It’s a little bit of an odd substitution for shallots, but it worked out well.
Noodles – Mill at Anselma.  The base for the noodles was whole wheat pastry flour from the mill made with wheat grown in Pennsylvania.  This is one find that I’m SUPER proud of and just love that it’s a local ingredient.  I also used an egg from Mountain View Organics and a touch of olive oil.  Then the pasta roller/cutter and KitchenAid mixer did the rest of the work.  These noodles really came out fantastic, arguably my best attempt at pasta yet.
Non-local – Olive oil, spices.

Honey Rhubarb Muffin:
Okay, maybe this wasn’t 100% local, but we’ll call it a bonus localish item on the plate.  The recipe came from here and I tried to keep it as local as possible, but with bakery items, it’s just not possible to use pastry flour and get just the right consistency.  A blend of flours (all-purpose and pastry) seems to work out best, and I figure it’s better to stick with that than force the locality issue and get something that’s more like hardtack than a muffin.  We left out the chopped nuts.
Flour – Mill at Anselma.  Split 50/50 with generic all-purpose flour.
Rhubarb – Hoagland Farm.  I remember not liking rhubarb as a kid, but now?  I cannot get enough.  There is chopped rhubarb in the muffin as well as a sort of honey rhubarb reduction jelly sort of spread on top.
Egg – Mountain View Organics.
Sour Cream –  Shellbark Hollow Farm.  Substituted goat’s milk yogurt here again, and it worked fine.
Honey – Baues Busy Bees.
Non-local – Sugar, Canola Oil, Salt, Baking Soda, Vanilla

Wine:
Penns Woods Chambourcin Reserve (2006).  It’s a local winery that we hadn’t had the chance to try before and decided to go for it since they were at the farmer’s market running tastings.  We were not disappointed.

This might just be the best one local summer meal we’ve ever made.  I’m pretty sure it will be going into regular dinner rotation in the future!  Now I want to hear about some other recipe sites that you enjoy using for dinner ideas.  I’m slowly picking through Elise’s Simply Recipes site and am just plain running out of meal ideas.  So, please share your favorites!

One Local Summer – Week 1

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I don’t think farmtophilly.com is doing the One Local Summer challenge again, so I figured I’d just do it on my own for the duration of the summer Phoenixville Farmer’s Market.  This past weekend was the first market for the regular season and wow was it incredible.  There were so many great vendors, and the market was PACKED!  So nice to see.  So, the meal!

Clockwise, starting with the pile of mushrooms..

Salad:
Portabella mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms.  Always delicious.
Mixed Greens – Jack’s Farm.  Crisp and clean.  Perfect.
Blue Cheese – Birchrun Hills.   This blue cheese is incredible and a household favorite.

Bread:
Bread – Sweetwater Bakery.   The ingredients may not be entirely local, but the baking sure is.  This is the first time we’ve tried their bread and we were definitely not disappointed.

Chicken Roulade:
Chicken – Mountain View Organics.  Pounded out thin
Bacon – Countrytime Farm.  Nitrate free, and if you’ve never had nitrate free bacon?  This stuff is amazing.
Mushrooms –  Oley Valley Mushrooms.  Same Portabella’s as the salad, and they cooked up perfectly.
Blue Cheese – Birchrun Hills.  Same as in the Salad.

Non-Local:
We marinated the chicken in  homebrewed beer, garlic, and spices, then added some BBQ sauce (mixed with Tangerine juice, maple syrup, and Good Ole Jack) and some other spices on the outside (paprika, Montreal Chicken Seasoning) while it was cooking up in the smoker.

This was a pretty easy one.  The bacon stayed soft inside the roulade and the fat also kept the chicken moist, not to mention the slow-cooking in the smoker aided as well.  The Husband decided to not use mushrooms in his (blasphemy, I know), but did come up with an excellent BBQ sauce and spiced the outside just right.

I’m so excited for another Local Summer to get started, I’m already planning a whole bunch of meals in my head for the next few weeks until my backyard vegetable garden gets growing!

Jalapeno Poppers

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My two little jalapeno pepper plants were VERY good to me this year. TWO POUNDS OF PEPPERS good to me. The first pound went to jalapeno pepper jelly which quickly became a favorite with the husband. The most recent pound was waiting for me in the fridge since I wasn’t sure quite what to do with that many jalapenos. Someone suggested jalapeno poppers, but since I’m not a big fan of frying and have never really been able to get that whole breading thing right, the idea was pretty much abandoned.  Then I happened upon this recipe and decided to give it a go. The process involves cutting and de-seeding all of the peppers, dipping them in milk, then flour and after a quick dry, two rounds through milk and bread crumbs. It’s time consuming (especially when there are 56 poppers to make), but the result is a PERFECT jalapeno popper. I’m really kind of shocked that these came out so well. Served up with a little sour cream, they make a great snack.  I plan on freezing most of them to save for later since there are 56!