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One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 6

Meal 6 in week 9!  I actually cooked this on Saturday right after the farmers market, having come home with my head full of ideas thanks to the kind folks at North Star Orchard.  You see, I was gushing over how pretty the rainbow chard was and how versatile the leafy green is since it’s the best of celery and spinach in one plant, plus, THOSE COLORS.  We chatted for a bit about the myriad of ways to use this gem of a plant, and how great is it that farmers take the time to extol the virtues of their vegetables and offer recipe ideas and cooking advice?!  Well, a quiche is just one of the ways to use chard, so the second I got home, I set out to make a late breakfast for myself.  I like using recipes since I need a good guide when I cook, so I found this one that included a cornmeal and flour crust for the quiche.  I replaced the shortening with lard, because lard, and again instead of milk, I used goat’s milk yogurt.  Chard replaced the spinach, and I sautéed the chopped stems with spring garlic, garlic scapes, and scallions.  Instead of swiss cheese, I used blue cheese fresh from my first Collective Creamery cheese CSA pickup.  I cheated a little and just pressed the crust into the pie dish instead of rolling it out, saving myself the trouble of washing the rolling pin and mat, but that worked out just fine since the crust came out nice and crispy, and the dark roasted cornmeal I used kicked the flavor of the whole thing up a notch.  On the side are three asparagus spears wrapped in culatello, topped with a bit of Red Cat cheese (because always cheese), and a wee little fried quail egg.  The bowl in the back contains fresh strawberries drizzled with our own honey, and I’m not ashamed to say I polished off a whole pint of strawberries in one sitting because they were FANTASTIC.  There’s also a mug of non-local (but absolutely necessary) cold brew coffee.  I also now have a whole bunch of quiche leftovers, so there’s breakfast for the week!

Ingredients:
Asparagus – Hill Creek Farm
Eggs (Quail and Chicken) – Deep Roots Valley Farm
Cheese (Red Cat & Blue) – Birchrun Hills
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Mill at Anselma
Dark Roasted Cornmeal – Mill at Anselma
Lard – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm
Rainbow Chard – North Star Orchard
Culatello – Countrytime Farm
Garlic – Charlestown Farm
Scallions – Jack’s Farm
Garlic Scapes – Jack’s Farm
Strawberries – Jack’s Farm
Honey – Our Beehives
Non Local – Salt, pepper, olive oil

One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 1

This is going to be my NINTH year of One Local Summer which is pretty incredible.  Last year, I ended kind of abruptly at week 13 after we found out that my dearest girl-dog, Mattie, had a fast-growing, incurable cancer and was given two weeks to live.  She made it 5 more weeks post-diagnosis, but it’s safe to say that she became my top priority at that point in time, and One Local Summer just didn’t seem that important when pitted against the pup’s health situation.  After she passed, my heart was broken, and really, still is.  I spent more time with her than I have with my husband who is out to sea for work more often than he’s home, so it’s been incredibly difficult to deal with the loss of a beloved pet, confidant, and the best, most earnest listener ever.  Her brother is still around, but he’s always been a more aloof sort of dog whereas Mattie would take every opportunity to weasel her way onto your lap (yes, all 50 lbs of her) to beg for head rubs or just to curl up and snore her happy little face off.  She was my little peanut and I miss her tremendously.

That’s a long way of saying we had a loss in the family, and I couldn’t focus on much else since I was grieving.

(and now that I’ve probably made you cry… moving on…)

In case you’re not familiar with One Local Summer, the idea is that you make one meal a week using only ingredients found locally which serves to reduce your “food miles” by using food grown and raised near home instead of across the country.  It means that your food uses less fuel to get to your home, reducing your overall carbon footprint.  It also means that you get to know your local farmers, purchase from local small businesses, and support local agriculture.  Getting to know the people who grow/make/raise the food I eat has been such an incredible experience over the past nine years – I joke that our local weekly farmers market is my farmers market family, and they’re a wonderful group of people that I enjoy seeing every week!  I’m going back to the meal-by-meal format instead of doing set weeks.  Let’s face it, some weeks get away from me, and rather than feel stressed to cook and blog about it when I’m just out of time and energy, this gives me the option to double up some weeks, and give myself a break other weeks if I need it.

I kind of can’t believe it’s been nine whole years of this already.

Our market went to regular summer hours at the beginning of April, so I figured I might as well start this thing off at the same time, even though it’s a month earlier than the usual start of our market summer season.  The market is still on in the winter on an every-other-week schedule since a lot of producers grow in hot houses.  There’s not all that much available at the beginning of the season in terms of vegetables – lots of leafy greens, but not too much else – so the earlier meals end up being a little simpler.  Well, not this one!  I found a recipe for baked empanadas that had a great, easy recipe for the dough that was basically just lard and flour, so I knew I could do that locally.  For the filling, I deviated from the recipe and decided on veal, spinach, scallions, and cheese curds and it was PERFECT.  Really, you could fill the dough with just about any combination of veggies/meat/cheese/etc and get creative with these, so I may re-visit this recipe later.  I made the filling and dough the night before so they had enough time to chill and then assembled them the next evening.  It’s a bit more work than I usually put into a One Local Summer dinner since I don’t necessarily enjoy cooking (a girl’s gotta eat though), but the result was well worth the extra time!  I added some mushrooms and cheese curds to round out the plate since hey, mushrooms and cheese curds, who could say no?!  The wine glass features mead I made from honey from our hives, so that was an extra special treat.

Ingredients:
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Lard – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Cheese Curds – Birchrun Hills
Veal – Birchrun Hills
Spinach – Charlestown Farm
Scallions – Jack’s Farm
Mead – Our Beehives
Non Local – Salt, olive oil

One Local Summer 2016 – Week 5

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I actually have TWO this week for One Local Summer, so I’m jamming them into one post instead of splitting them into two.  This week was husband’s final week home before going out to a ship for quite a long while, so he took advantage of the time home to cook up a storm.  This is me, not complaining.  First up!  A house favorite, biscuits and gravy with a side of yogurt and strawberries and of course, coffee.  We made our biscuits with lard – I have no idea where the recipe came from, but if I find out, I’ll add a link – and they come out so delightful.  We had the buttermilk for the gravy and it felt like it would be a slight not to include it in the biscuits as well.  The flour is probably my favorite part of this.  We actually have an old stone mill locally that buys their wheat from PA farmers and then mills it with a gigantic water wheel just a few minutes down the road.  They sell it, along with cornmeal, to help fund the mill’s educational programs and it’s SUCH a delight to have locally grown and milled wheat available to us, not to mention the historic aspect of the fact that it was ground in a mill that’s 250 years old!  In order to make the meal just a little more healthy, we added the side of strawberries and yogurt.  The coffee?  Not local, but I dare you to tell me that I can’t have it with breakfast.

Ingredients:
Lard – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Sausage – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Strawberries – Hoagland Farm
Yogurt – Seven Stars Farm
Buttermilk – Maplehofe Dairy
Non Local – Coffee, Salt, Pepper

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I did mention this was a two-fer, right?  Second local meal for the week features ribs with grilled vegetables, a cucumber salad and CHEESE.  The ribs were cooked in the slow cooker first and then given a quick roast in the oven with our own homemade fruit ketchup using tomatoes and apples from the farmers market and peaches from our own tree.  Pretty sure this is the same recipe we used from the Ball Canning Book for the ketchup.  The veggies on the side were carrots, snap peas, and zucchini.  Then there was the classic cucumber salad – cucumbers soaked in vinegar making not-quite-pickles, but a nice refreshing not-lettuce sort of salad for the side.  Then there’s the CHEESE – I believe that’s all Birchrun Hills cheese between Fat Cat, Red Cat, and some Clipper.  REALLY a good dinner – the ribs were absolutely perfect and it was a nice way to end a stormy evening.

Ingredients:
Ribs – Countrytime Farm
Cucumbers – Jack’s Farm
Zucchini – Jack’s Farm
Snap peas – Jack’s Farm
Carrots – Charlestown Farm
Cheese – Birchrun Hills
Non Local – Homemade Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 19

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The weather turned crisp and cool over the past week, and I decided it was time for chili!  Usually husband is the chili master, but the pork shoulder was on special sale at the farmer’s market, so I went for pulled pork chili done up in the crock pot.  I used the remainder of the leftover tomato sauce, added some spices, onions, and peppers and let the whole thing simmer for hours until the pork fell apart.  I added some beans towards the end, and topped the whole thing off with blue cheese and a biscuit from that biscuits and gravy breakfast.  A juicy asian pear on the side and a glass of homebrewed cider, and we have a meal!  It was just the thing for a cool evening.

Ingredients:
Buttermilk – Maplehofe Dairy
Pork Shoulder – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Lard – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Flour – Mill at Anslema, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Asian Pear – North Star Orchard
Beans – North Star Orchard
Onion – Jack’s Farm
Peppers – Clover Hill Farm
Cider – Homebrewed from apples picked at the grandparents’ house
Cheese – Birchrun Hills, smoked blue
Non Local – Spices, salt

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 18b

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The husband isn’t terribly fond of mushrooms, so what do I do when he’s gone?  Put mushrooms in ALL THE THINGS!  There are only a few foods that he’s not particularly fond of including mushrooms and fennel most notably, which happen to be two of my favorite things.  If fennel happened to be in season, it would be in this meal, but I had to settle for making a galette with mushrooms, onions, chorizo, and blue cheese.  I added a half an asian pear to the side, a salad with blue cheese dressing, and a glass of homemade cider.  We actually pressed and brewed that cider ourselves using apples from the house where my grandparents lived.  We have no idea what variety the apples were, but the trees gave up an incredible harvest last year and made for a tart, dry cider that’s exactly how I enjoy them most.  For the galette crust, I used a recipe from here that uses yogurt, substituting honey for the sugar.  I also added a tablespoon of lard instead of milk to help lighten the crust since goat’s milk yogurt is rather low in fat in comparison to a cow’s milk version.  It came out not quite flaky enough, which means more lard next time!  All in all though, the spice from the chorizo, paired with the onions and mushrooms came out incredible and I’m super happy with this one!

Ingredients:
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Cheese – Birchrun Hills, Smoked Blue Cheese
Dressing – Birchrun Hills
Onions – Jack’s Farm
Tomatoes – Full Circle CSA
Lettuce – North Star Orchard and Charlestown Farm
Cucumbers – Our Garden
Asian Pear – North Star Orchard
Chorizo – Countrytime Farm
Lard – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow
Flour – Mill at Anslema, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Honey – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Non Local – Salt, Pepper