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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:

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 22

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Husband is at it again for this installment of One Local Summer.  It was more like a One Local Fall sort of day – gloomy and rainy – so soup it is!  The soup is a chunky potato leek soup since we happened to have all those things on hand and husband is truly the soup master.  He somehow manages to make everything work well together in one pot whereas I tend to make disasters that skirt the line between edible and fodder for the garbage disposal.  We used up the last of the pretzel rolls from the freezer and paired the roll with some mustard seed gouda made from local milk.  Top the whole meal off with a glass of cool cider and we have a filling and warm dinner for an icky day.  This may be the last of the meals for 2015 seeing as there was a vacation happening during the time the last three OLS posts went up, but fear not, we’ll be back next year!

Ingredients:
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Egg – Deep Roots Valley Farm
Butter – Spring Creek Farms
Honey – Baues Busy Bees
Cider – North Star Orchard
Leeks – North Star Orchard
Onions – Clover Hill Farm
Potatoes – North Star Orchard
Garlic – North Star Orchard
Cilantro – My garden
Milk – Birchrun Hills for homemade cheese
Whey – frozen from cheesemaking using Birchrun Hills milk
Non Local – mustard seeds, salt, pepper

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 21

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Husband has returned home and cooked up this classic summer meal – a pulled pork sandwich.  A good part of this one was a long time in the making.  The sauerkraut was made months ago, fermented from fresh cabbage in a huge stoneware crock.  The pickles were started a month ago and came out as terrific sour pickles.  The buns were made last year and pulled from the freezer.  The cider in the glass was also made last year and was just kegged and ready to drink this past month.  The only thing new on the plate is the pulled pork which cooked up in the crock pot all day with some cider, peppers, onion, vinegar, and tomatoes, and came out DELICIOUS.

Ingredients:
Cabbage – Jack’s Farm
Pork Butt – Countrytime Farm
Cucumbers – My Garden
Peppers – Steer Vegetables
Tomatoes – My Garden
Onion – Clover Hill Farm
Cider – Fermented from apples picked at my grandparents’
Buns:
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Egg – Deep Roots Valley Farm
Butter – Spring Creek Farms
Honey – Baues Busy Bees
Non Local – Salt, pepper, spices, homemade vinegar