Blog Archives

One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 2

Meal two of this year’s One Local Summer is in the books!  We’re still a little short on vegetables since it’s early in the growing season, but there’s plenty of spinach and mushrooms to go around, plus we had a new vendor at the market that had sheep’s milk feta, so the idea for this meal came together pretty quickly.  I found a recipe for a spinach and feta galette here, and with a few modifications, it ended up working as a perfect One Local Summer meal.  I didn’t have ricotta or sour cream, but I did have mushrooms, so I made a small change.  I probably should’ve added a bit more spinach to fill in the gaps, but really, it was fine without it, just a little thin.  I’m going to reveal one of my biggest baking tips here too – for the crust, instead of cutting the butter and pulsing it in a food processor, I freeze my butter and grate it into the flour.  It makes for a more even distribution of butter and a perfect flaky crust every time.  On the side is a simpleMâche salad with olive oil and our own homemade vinegar.  These greens are something I haven’t had before but are buttery and nutty and a real delight next to the galette.  The galette is also great as leftovers, reheated in the toaster oven!

Ingredients:
Mâche – Jack’s Farm
Butter – I think it was Yellow Springs Farm – the farm name isn’t on the label, but it looks like their font/style!
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Feta Cheese –  Day Spring Farm
Spinach – Charlestown Farm
Non Local – Olive Oil, homemade vinegar, salt

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 3

DSC_4023

Moving right along!  I’m a little late posting this (a theme you’ll see as we get into mid and late summer and I just get too busy to blog), but it was definitely made during week 3, I swear!  Here we have my sad attempt at an omelette and roasted asparagus.  I learned that while I make tasty omelets, they’re not very pretty to behold and probably work better as open face egg creations more than properly flipped and perfect omelets.  Presentation is just not as important as the flavor, and I can assure you that this disappeared pretty quickly!  Inside the egg are scallions, spring garlic, mushrooms, goat cheese, and spinach.  On the side is sliced asparagus, roasted with some salt and olive oil, and then given a little cheesy topping for the last few minutes.  You guys, I may never eat asparagus any other way ever again.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great grilled, but roasted?  It comes out so much more tender and crisps a little on the edges which is so wonderful.  Of course, you can never go wrong with putting cheese on top!  I plan on doing this for breakfast a few more times since I still have spinach and goat cheese, but it will probably be more of an unsightly scramble than a nicely plated creation.  Did I mention that I’m a lazy cook?  Oh, and the coffee, not local, but absolutely necessary for survival.

Ingredients:

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 5

DSC_7632

Husband took the cooking reins again and grilled up a delicious dinner.  The veal tenderloin was marinaded in red wine, salt, vinegar, and freshly ground pepper and then cooked on the grill.  The spinach was steamed and seasoned with salt and a touch of vinegar.  The last thing on the main plate is a chunk of blue cheese that rounded out the palate of flavors on the plate.  In the salad bowl are mushrooms and snap peas over a bed of mixed greens, dressed with a mix of red wine, vinegar, and olive oil.  The wine is from Seven Mountains Winery and isn’t exactly local since it’s about 2.5 hours away, but it’s on the way out to my grandma’s house, so we consider it local since it’s a trip we would’ve made anyway, not a special trip just to pick up the wine.  It’s absolutely delicious with hints of honey and a nice, crisp dry finish.

Ingredients:
Cheese – Birchrun Hills, Blue
Veal Tenderloin – Birchrun Hills
Spinach – Jack’s Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Snap Peas – Jack’s Farm
Mixed Greens – Jack’s Farm
Wine Marinade – Paradocx, Barn Red
Wine – Seven Mountains, Dry Riesling
Non Local – Salt, Pepper, Homemade Vinegar, Olive Oil,

One Local Summer 2011 – Week 6

DSC_0232

My, my, how time is flying already.  It’s over a month of One Local Summer meals.  For those of you late to the party, the One Local Summer challenge involves spending the summer (or at least here, our summer farmers market season) cooking one meal a week using only local ingredients with a few allowable exceptions (salt, olive oil, seasonings, etc).  This is my third year of doing the One Local Summer challenge, and I’ve learned so much about my own cooking skills (or lack thereof sometimes), different foods, and new vegetables.  The benefits are many, probably too many to list here, but for me, the big deal is that we can get soo much food locally, without hauling food across the country or even halfway around the world.  I’d love to hear your take on eating locally and what’s important to you, and if you’re interested in participating too!

This week is an amazing Asian Pork Cutlet meal complete with Bok Choy and a little veggie side of spinach, mushrooms, and garlic scapes.  I was SO excited to see garlic scapes this past weekend at our Phoenixville Farmers Market, that I couldn’t help but add them to the plate.  The real big non local item this week was teriyaki sauce, but it was only used in the marinade, so I’m calling that a spice/seasoning and giving it a pass.  The scapes and mushrooms were sauteed with a little butter, and then the heat was turned off, spinach added overtop, and then covered to allow the spinach to wilt.  Meanwhile, just as the pork was nearing perfection on the grill, I dabbed the bok choy with a little olive oil and threw that on the grill as well.  Everything came out so perfectly (or am I just that hungry?), I believe we have a HUGE win for today.  No real recipe with this one, just your basic grilled pork and vegetables.

Asian Pork Cutlet w/ Vegetables:
Bok Choy – North Star Orchards
Garlic Scapes – North Star Orchards
Spinach – Maysie’s Farm
Portabella Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Pork Cutlets – Countrytime Farm
Non Local – Olive Oil, Butter, Soy sauce