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 2017 – Meal 7

This one was actually made on June 12th, but lazy blogger is lazy (there’s a theme around here).  I decided to go wild and make my own pasta when I realized that my basil planters were getting out of control and needed to be thinned out anyway.  I already had mushrooms in the fridge, and went and added sauteed broccoli rabe and roasted beets onto the plate to add a little more vegetable to the carbs.  Pasta is actually pretty easy to make – my go-to recipe involves 1 cup of flour to 1/4th cup of liquid which can be anything from pureed roasted beets to plain old water or an egg.  Having the fancy Kitchen-Aid pasta attachment means there’s no kneading either, just fold, process through, refold, repeat until you get the right springy consistency.  It probably takes me all of 5 or 10 minutes to be honest!  The clean-up can be a little bit more involved since flour goes ev-ery-where (I’m the tazmanian devil in the kitchen, really), but it’s just so much better than the boxed stuff, even if it is more work.  For the pesto sauce, I used basil, a little bit of olive oil, water, garlic scapes, and some clover cheese from the Collective Creamery Cheese CSA delivery, all pureed with the stick blender.  The mushrooms and broccoli were sauteed together in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and a little splash of homemade vinegar.  The beets were roasted with olive oil and salt.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go back to the tray of beets and polish them off later because it’s really easy to finish three beets when they’ve roasted down to sweet, delicious little bite-sized snacks.

Ingredients:
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Basil – My Garden
Garlic Scapes – Jack’s Farm
Beets – Jack’s Farm
Broccolo Rabe – North Star Orchard
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Garlic – Charlestown Farm
Cheese – Valley Milkhouse
Non Local – homemade vinegar, olive oil, salt

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 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!

Ingredients:
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