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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 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

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 2

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Husband was home briefly over the weekend, and thankfully I had thought ahead enough to pull some pork butt steaks out of the freezer.  I suggested we go out for our 12th anniversary dinner, but the man loves to cook, and I have a policy of never saying no to his cooking (any meal I don’t have to cook is a good one!), so dinner at home it was!  The pork butt steaks were given a little time to marinate in some homemade riesling with some fresh cilantro from the patio planters.  That stuff re-seeds itself and springs back every year, so we had plenty of cilantro to work with.  The asparagus was given a rub down with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then both the butt steak and asparagus were put on the grill.  Meanwhile, back at the kitchen, I was tasked with making spätzle.  I kind of did it by guesswork – it’s a combination of flour, eggs, and water (since we had no local milk) until the batter is almost the consistency of a thick waffle batter (thicker than pancakes, thinner than cookie dough).  The spätzle was then given a toss with some spring garlic, cheese, and pepper and plated together nicely with a glass of celebratory spumante.  A really nice meal for a rainy Saturday evening!

Ingredients: