Blog Archives

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 4

DSC_4028

Week four, cooked and consumed already during our One Local Summer.  Husband was home again this weekend, so I was happy to step aside and let him take charge of the kitchen!  The vegetable supply is really starting to diversify since so many farmers start seeds early, so we already have zucchini and snap peas available.  The meal is a veal chop marinated in vinegar, salt and pepper, cider, and cilantro then grilled with some cheese on top.  On the side are grilled carrots, snap peas, and zucchini and some more cheese (because there can always be more cheese), paired with a nice leafy green salad tossed with some olive oil and vinegar, and a glass of homebrewed cider.  The cider we had here actually finished off a 5 gallon keg we’ve been nursing for over a year now, but fortunately we have the next batch ready to go, made from apples picked at my grandparents’ home some four hours west of where we live.  Since the apples followed us on a trip we would’ve made anyway, I include them into local summer since their “food miles” didn’t count as just transporting food.  We crushed and pressed the apples into cider ourselves, gave the juice some yeast, and let it do its thing.  The resulting cider came out tart and dry, just how I like it, so while I’m a little sad to see this keg go, I’m also eager to see how the second batch tastes!  Anyway, enough about the cider, the meal was a nice way to cap off the long holiday weekend since this was Monday’s dinner before husband left again for the week.  Hopefully he’ll get in one last OLS meal before heading out on a long stretch for work, and then it’s all on me!  I may have to entice some guest chefs to visit and contribute (read: beg friends to cook for me) during the summer.

Ingredients:

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 18a

DSC_8304
Yep, still playing catch-up on posts, but I’m almost caught up.  This is the last meal husband made before heading out to work.  It’s basically veal parmigiana with squash, a salad, and a bowl of peaches and raspberries.  The veal was breaded with flour and a little cornmeal, double dipped in buttermilk, and fried up in a cast iron skillet with lard.  The sauce we had made from local tomatoes in a large batch and had plenty left around for this dinner.  We added sliced squash to the sauce to cook up as a side to the veal, and finished off the whole thing with a glass of Pinot Noir.  A pretty substantial meal for a One Local Summer dinner, and every bit of it delicious.

Ingredients:
Veal – Birchrun Hills
Blue Cheese Dressing – Birchrun Hills
Cheese – Birchrun Hills, Equinox
Tomatoes – Clover Hill Farm
Buttermilk – Maplehofe Dairy
Lettuce – Charlestown Farm
Raspberries – Our Garden
Peaches – Our Tree and North Star Orchard
Wine – Sandcastle Winery
Squash – Jack’s Farm
Flour – Mill at Anslema, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Cornmeal – Mill at Anslema
Lard – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Non Local – Salt, pepper

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 10b

DSC_8075

Still another catchup post, but I think as of next week I’ll be back on track.  This week, even though the husband was home, I contributed a good bit!  We have a basil plant that’s gone wild and before it bolted, I thought I’d gather up the basil and put it to good use as basil pasta and pesto.  I blenderized the basil with some whey leftover from a batch of cheese the husband made earlier that week, olive oil, and a small amount of non-local pine nuts, then combined that mixture with flour to make the pasta (1 cup flour to 1/4 cup liquid).  The meatballs were part veal, part pork with onions, chives, basil, and some salt and pepper, baked in the oven.  Then grilled zucchini and a cucumber salad finish the meal along with a glass of mead (technically a pyment) from the Sap House Meadery in New Hampshire.  Okay, that’s not entirely local, but it did follow us home from vacation and didn’t take a special trip to get here, so I’ll allow it!

DSC_8081

For something special this dinner, we made dessert with leftover milk from the waffles last meal, honey, and raspberries from the bush in the yard.  Paired it with a raspberry mead from Moonlight Meadery (another followed-us-home mead from New Hampshire).  It was the perfect end to a lovely evening!

Ingredients:
Zucchini – Clover Hill Farm
Basil – My Garden
Cheese – Birchrun Hills, Equinox
Ground Veal – Birchrun Hills
Ground Pork – Countrytime Farm
Cucumbers – Clover Hill Farm
Onion – Clover Hill Farm
Flour – Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Mill at Anselma
Milk – Camphill Kimberton
Honey – Baues’ Busy Bees
Raspberries – Our Yard
Raspberry Mead – Moonlight Meadery
Pyment – Sap House Meadery
Non Local – Pine nuts, salt, pepper, olive oil, homemade vinegar

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,