It’s kind of neat how simple a one local summer dish can be, yet how delicious and incredible that simplicity is. We picked up a Bison Delmonico steak from our local bison guy, and folks, let me say that I am not a red meat person. I’ll eat it occasionally, and it has to be VERY VERY VERY well done – brown the whole way through (I realize this is blasphemy to you bleeding steak eaters). Husband managed to cook this steak (1 lb raw) on the grill the whole way through and it was still tender and delicious. The potatoes were thrown in some aluminum foil with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and the squash was sliced and tossed on the grill. All were on different burners at different heat levels and came out just right at the same time. We also had another nice evening for cooking and eating outside, so thanks for that, weather system!
Zucchini are finally coming into season and we’re indulging in ALL THE ZUCCHINI! Husband took the lead on this meal again, cooked on the grill, and we dined al fresco. It’s been so nice that the weather has been compliant for outdoor cooking and eating – we’ve had a relatively nice spring/summer so far. On that plate is a Maple Apple sausage which really was something incredible. The outside was glazed in maple syrup and just perfectly sweet while the inside was savory. Really just the perfect combination. The grilled vegetables at the bottom of the plate are Zucchini, Broccoli, and Turnips, and the salad at the top is Lettuce, Turnips, Garlic Scapes, Spring Onion, and Blue Cheese, tossed with non local Balsamic Vinegar. There is a glass of wine along with the meal as well, a Gewurztraminer from the Mount Hope winery. And, if you notice there, the vegetables take up over half the plate and were oh so delicious. We have a pan for the grill that looks like someone took a hole puncher to a sheet of aluminum and went wild, and it works great for grilling vegetables – everything mixes together and comes out just right. This could also be attributed to husband’s chefly abilities. We did inadvertently agitate the Robin who is nesting under our deck and sitting on some eggs, but apologized profusely to her and allowed her to nest undisturbed for the rest of the evening.
Sausage, Vegetables and Salad:
Maple Apple Sausage: Mt View Organics
Zucchini – Jack’s Farm
Turnips – Jack’s Farm
Garlic Scapes – Jack’s Farm
Spring Onion – Jack’s Farm
Blue Cheese – Birchrun Hills
Broccoli – Charlestown Farm
Romaine Lettuce – Charlestown Farm
Gewurztraminer – Mount Hope Winery
Non Local – Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Balsamic Vinegar
The husband is home again and took over full responsibility for this meal. He went to the farmer’s market and picked everything out and even cooked it too! The chicken is stuffed with spring onions, mushrooms, and blue cheese, served with grilled vegetables. Again, all cooked out on the grill, and served with a local wine, Paradocx’s barn red.
Chicken – Mt View Organics
Spring Onion – Jack’s Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valey Mushrooms
Blue Cheese – Birchrun Hills Farm
Zucchini – Jack’s Farm
Carrots – Jack’s Farm
Wine – Paradocx, Barn Red
Non Local – Salt, pepper, olive oil
The bison vendor at the Phoenixville Farmers Market caught my husband’s eye this past Saturday. We decided on brisket for this week’s meal, and brisket it was. He decided to cook it in the smoker (the temperature is around 200-250 constantly) and lay on the smoke (applewood and hickory) pretty thick in the beginning. It was also coated with a dry rub of a whole bunch of spices/seasonings (some non local, but I think that’s okay). I think it worked out really well – the smoky flavor came out, but the meat was still tender and juicy. The veggies were steamed quickly and tossed with some olive oil.
Bison – Backyard Bison
Sugar Snap Peas – North Star Orchard
Carrots – Charlestown Farm
Cheese – Birchrun Hills (Fat Cat & Matilda’s Summer Tomme)
Sesame Semolina Bread – St. Peter’s Bakery
Maple Sugar – Miller’s Maple
Non Local – olive oil, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, salt
Some of my favorite spring vegetables are finally ready to harvest and I’m just thrilled! This meal features items from vendors at both the Phoenixville Farmer’s Market and the Mill at Anselma Market. This one was all me this week and I found a bunch of fresh vegetables to toss in a creamy, white wine sauce along with a crust of Focaccia and some chicken. The pasta is the same old recipe I use every time I make pasta (1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, one tbsp olive oil, and 4 tbsp water [or one egg if you want egg pasta], add extra water to acheive the right consistency). With the power of our Kitchen Aid Mixer and the pasta roller/cutter attachment, this is really an easy process, and nothing beats making your own pasta. Sometime this summer, I have to figure out how to make flavored pastas by using vegetable puree in place of water. For the wine, I uncorked a bottle of Riesling we brewed up at home. It’s not entirely local, but it was made in our own kitchen, so that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. The sauce didn’t quite thicken and become creamy like I had hoped, but it’s still delicious, and infused itself into the vegetables. YUM. The chicken was marinated in wine and oil and cooked on the grill to perfection. All in all, the meal was REALLY delicious and I’m happy there are leftovers.
Spring Vegetable Pasta
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Mill at Anselma
Chicken – Mt. View Organics
Focaccia – St. Peter’s Bakery
Sun Dried Tomato Cheese Spread – Birchrun Hills
Spinach – Maysie’s Farm
Crimini Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Asparagus – Hoagland Farm
Broccoli – Smith’s Produce
Spring Garlic – Brogue Hydroponics
Non Local – Olive Oil, Riesling (homebrewed!), pepper
Husband was in charge yet again of this one. We’d had a fancy blue cheese wedge salad at a restaurant and thought, hey, we could do this locally. So, a big chunk of lettuce covered in blue cheese, blue cheese dressing, and most importantly bacon, add a slice of bread, and we have a meal. The dressing came out REALLY well even though we didn’t have buttermilk and sour cream, but the yogurt is pretty tangy to begin with, so it worked out.
Lettuce – Jack’s Farm
Spring Garlic – Jack’s Farm
Bacon – Countrytime Farm
Blue Cheese – Birchrun Hills Farm
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow
Smoked Sea Salt – Pureblend Tea
Sesame French Bread – Sweetwater Baking
Riesling – Mount Hope Winery
Non Local – pepper, worchestershire sauce
The husband has returned home and planted himself in the kitchen. I can’t say I mind, when the result is an amazing crock pot meal. He took a Bison chuck roast out of the freezer and threw in all manner of vegetables and fruit that I had from the farmer’s markets and came up with something AMAZING. The bison was SO tender after cooking for five hours and the way the flavors blended together was really a work of art. I think I’m still in a food coma over this one! It was all served over some home made noodles using Whole Wheat Pastry flour and Buckwheat flour from the Mill at Anselma.
Crock Pot Bison Roast:
Bison Chuck Roast – Backyard Bison
Onion – North Star Orchard
Purple Potatoes – Unknown Vendor at Anselma
Apples – North Star Orchard
Noodles – Egg from Mt View Organics, Flour from the Mill at Anselma, Buckwheat flour from the Mill at Anselma
Peppers – My Garden
Wine – Paradocx
Beer – Homebrew Imperial Blonde
Sage – My Garden
Cilantro – My Garden
Basil – My Garden
Non-Local – Spices
Pumpkin, again. Yeah when I get on a kick, I get on a kick, but at least here there are plenty of other ingredients involved. The recipe took a lot of searching – I wanted to use both bison and this little Long Island Cheese Pumpkin I brought home last week. Finally, I came across a recipe for Potato Topped Beef and Pumpkin Casserole which ended up being the perfect recipe to use for my new little casserole dish. Naturally, there were a few modifications. I didn’t have any carrots, so I used turnips instead. Left out the beef stock cube, and used three types of potatoes. The pumpkin makes for a great base, but the sweet pumpkiny flavor is mostly lost in the recipe – I suppose this works out okay, since the flavors all run together well, but I was expecting more smack-you-in-the-face pumpkin. Still, it’s delicious, and VERY much edible.
Oh and if you’re curious, the dish comes from Karin Lorenc on etsy.
Potato Topped Beef and Pumpkin Casserole:
Bison – Backyard Bison. Sirloin
Flour – Mill at Anselma. Bread Flour
Onion – North Star Orchard
Turnip – Maysie’s Farm
Long Island Cheese Pumpkin – Smith’s Produce
Red Wine – Paradocx. Barn Red
Sweet Potatoes – Brogue Hydroponics
Purple Potatoes – Unknown Vendor at Anselma
White Potatoes – Brogue Hydroponics
Non-local – Olive Oil, spices
And we’re onto Week 2. So far, there’s not a lot of produce to pick from at the market given that our growing season REALLY gets moving at the end of May into early June. Oley Valley Mushrooms always comes through with fantastic mushrooms – these Crimini ‘shrooms were seriously the best mushrooms I have ever eaten. There may have been one or two that didn’t make it into the pan. The recipe we used was the Beef Stroganoff recipe from SimplyRecipes.com with a couple of local substitutions made. We used bison in place of beef, goat’s milk yogurt instead of sour cream, and since we couldn’t find onions at the market just yet, we ended up replacing those with a few leeks and it worked out just fine. So, let’s start in the back with the bread and run around, clockwise.
Bread – Saint Peter’s Bakery. This was their rustic white bread, which was sweet and super soft.
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms. Crimini mushrooms with this incredible earthy flavor.
Bison – Backyard Bison. We used a sirloin that we happened to have in the freezer from a few markets ago.
Goat’s Milk Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farm. The yogurt is tangy and actually made a perfect substitute for sour cream.
Leeks – Hoagland Farm. It’s a little bit of an odd substitution for shallots, but it worked out well.
Noodles – Mill at Anselma. The base for the noodles was whole wheat pastry flour from the mill made with wheat grown in Pennsylvania. This is one find that I’m SUPER proud of and just love that it’s a local ingredient. I also used an egg from Mountain View Organics and a touch of olive oil. Then the pasta roller/cutter and KitchenAid mixer did the rest of the work. These noodles really came out fantastic, arguably my best attempt at pasta yet.
Non-local – Olive oil, spices.
Honey Rhubarb Muffin:
Okay, maybe this wasn’t 100% local, but we’ll call it a bonus localish item on the plate. The recipe came from here and I tried to keep it as local as possible, but with bakery items, it’s just not possible to use pastry flour and get just the right consistency. A blend of flours (all-purpose and pastry) seems to work out best, and I figure it’s better to stick with that than force the locality issue and get something that’s more like hardtack than a muffin. We left out the chopped nuts.
Flour – Mill at Anselma. Split 50/50 with generic all-purpose flour.
Rhubarb – Hoagland Farm. I remember not liking rhubarb as a kid, but now? I cannot get enough. There is chopped rhubarb in the muffin as well as a sort of honey rhubarb reduction jelly sort of spread on top.
Egg – Mountain View Organics.
Sour Cream – Shellbark Hollow Farm. Substituted goat’s milk yogurt here again, and it worked fine.
Honey – Baues Busy Bees.
Non-local – Sugar, Canola Oil, Salt, Baking Soda, Vanilla
Penns Woods Chambourcin Reserve (2006). It’s a local winery that we hadn’t had the chance to try before and decided to go for it since they were at the farmer’s market running tastings. We were not disappointed.
This might just be the best one local summer meal we’ve ever made. I’m pretty sure it will be going into regular dinner rotation in the future! Now I want to hear about some other recipe sites that you enjoy using for dinner ideas. I’m slowly picking through Elise’s Simply Recipes site and am just plain running out of meal ideas. So, please share your favorites!
I had a Saturday off with no obligations and planned to stop by the SAFONA Fiber Festival. It was being held about a 45 minute drive from home through some Amish farmland and pretty historic parts of Pennsylvania. The whole drive out had me making a mental checklist of all the places I wanted to see on the way home – wineries, shops, etc. Met some wonderful people and made purchases from Rock Creek Yarn, Wolle’s Yarn Creations, and Black Diamond Alpacas. All are wonderful vendors and I had a blast taking time to chat with each of them and oogle their display items. Practiced my knitter’s handshake a few times (grab knitted item, squeeze, ask wearer if he/she made it). After having my fill of fiber, I turned the car around for the adventure back home.
First stop was the Goodville Fabric Outlet which is basically a HUGE warehouse filled to the top with fabric. All kinds of fabric. Cheap fabric! It was really overwhelming and while I wasn’t looking for anything specific, it was really neat to stop there and find the deals for future reference.
Then I came across the Poole Forge which had been turned into a beautiful park with a classic red covered bridge, winding stream, and lovely old stone buildings. I stopped for a while with the camera, smiled at an Amish man passing by with his buggy, and took in what had become a gorgeous afternoon.
Next stop was Olde Peddler Wools. Great shop with a good variety of classic, workhorse yarns – the stuff that is cost efficient and quality fiber. It’s a shame that they’re not closer to home!
The next detour was the Kog Hill Winery. When I walked in, the gal behind the counter who was running wine tastings was KNITTING! She had just learned and was working on a garter stitch scarf. We chatted about knitting as she fed me wine samples, and it was one of many random-acts-of-randomness that really made the day. Bought some wine, wished her luck with the knitting, and headed back out.
Wineries? Pennsylvania has a lot of them, and it’s almost hard to drive more than 10 miles without running across at least one and the next detour brought me to another winery. Most of them produce decent wine – stuff that’s delightful to drink, but nothing really world-class incredible. The J Maki Winery is not that kind of winery. Their wines BLEW ME AWAY, specifically the Gewurztraminer which is a really unique interpretation of that grape. The reds were dry – just how I like them – and the ice wine, particularly the Cabernet Franc ice wine, was phenomenal. Really quite the gem of a vineyard, and I will definitely visit again to pick up some more wine.
My final stop before home was the Glasslight Studio. I took a detour for a historic sign that didn’t pan out the way I thought it would and ended up passing this place on the way. After being greeted by a large, black Bouvier mutt (who later nudged my arm for more head-scritches and buttrubs), one of the glass artists talked to me for at least a half hour about the glass blowing classes they offer. He let me look in on the class that was in progress and took my email address for future classes.