“Local” Change Up
This week has certainly been an eye-opener and a good challenge for me in searching out and arranging my meals strictly around local foods. The good news is that it is usually pretty easy to find a recipe that is based on some of the local foods available and then tweak it just a little to make it fit within the “Going Local” challenge (or on any other day to just incorporate moral local, in-season foods).
Today was a good example of this. Instead of using the usual avocado on my salad at lunch, this week, I have been topping a basic salad at lunch with beets to give it some “heft.” And for dinner, I wanted to use the cornmeal and grass-fed beef I had on hand so I changed up the ingredients of a Tamale Pie recipe I found online to make it a “local” dish. If you give it a try you will soon see that it’s really a lot easier than you might think to eat local or at least start incorporating more local foods into your diet on a daily basis – you might even discover a few new favorite meals.
Going Local Again: Liz’s Day 5
Breakfast was another bowl of oat groats with butter and Ohio maple syrup. For a snack I had some of the cantaloupe that I picked up at the Whole Foods farmer’s market for $1.
Lunch was the beet salad pictured above. I love beets and they are so much better fresh from the farm stand than from a can, but they are easy to make too. Start by trimming the ends and toss a handful of beets in a pot, cover with water and boil for about 40 minutes. Then, drain and let them cool enough to touch. Once they have cooled, their skins will just slip right off so you can easy slice them. I cooked up a bunch yesterday to have on hand to throw into salads yesterday and today. I slice them up over a big salad with green leaf lettuce, red onion, raw milk cheddar cheese, and dress it with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt.
As I mentioned above, dinner was inspired by this delicious Tamale Pie at Simply Recipes. I followed the recipe directions very closely but used one pound of grass-fed local beef, corn cut fresh from the cob, local tomatoes instead of canned, local cheese that I shredded myself, omitting the raisins and olives. For the cornbread topping, I followed this recipe using the Stutzman Farms whole wheat pastry flour and corn meal that I found yesterday at the co-op. It made a hearty casserole almost like a Shepherds Pie with a Mexican twist, that I will definitely have to make again. Next time I would add a little more cheese and leave the water out of the Tamale Pie itself, adding some salt to the cornbread recipe to bring out the flavors a little more.
For the Love of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are in abundance this time of year. From Heirlooms to those cute little colorful cherry tomatoes pictured above – I just can’t get enough! Believe it not, I didn’t really even like tomatoes until the last summer when I discovered Heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market. Oh have I been in the dark all these years!
Going Local Again: Liz’s Day 4
I started off the day with a bowl of oat groats topped with a little Ohio maple syrup and a pat of the butter my husband received during a work related visit to a farm in northwest Ohio last week. I had an apple for a snack and lunch was a lettuce salad with sliced boiled beets, red onions, olive oil, salt and shredded raw milk cheddar cheese.
For dinner I made the super-easy, raw tomato and pasta dish pictured above. I followed this recipe from the August issue of Domino Magazine fairly closely. First, I used the food processor to mix up a couple of tablespoons of a very basic pesto using fresh basil from my friend Tyler’s garden, olive oil, salt, a tiny bit of local cheese. I then mixed this in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and halved little colorful tomatoes that I bought at the farmer’s market in Whole Foods parking lot tonight. I covered it and let it marinate in the fridgefor about 45 minutes. I cooked up the Amish Naturals pasta I found at the co-op, then topped it with the tomato mixture and shredded local cheese. The dish tasted really fresh and was bursting with flavor, if you like tomatoes you must try it!
Grilling a Salad?
Today, I headed down to the City Farmer’s Market in hopes of finding some lettuce. While there wasn’t any lettuce, I didn’t leave empty handed. I picked up some local raspberries, squash and the cutest little miniature eggplants that were about the size of a roma tomato. Despite the lack of lettuce, I decided I was going to have a salad one way or another tonight.
Going Local Again: Rhaya’s Day 4
For breakfast, I had the last of the frittata and some fruit. Lunch was corn on the cob, fresh raspberries and some cottage cheese.
For dinner, I decide to grill a popular “salad” that is typically served cold. I first saw the idea to grill a caprese salad in the August Issue of Domino Magazine. (See the recipe and photo here.) Unfortunately, Trader’s Point Creamery didn’t have any mozzarella made when I stopped by on Sunday, so I made mine with goat cheese, and my husband (the official taste-tester) used fresh – albeit not local – mozzarella. We followed the grilling instructions as they were given in the magazine, and the end result was a warm delicious success. My husband tasted both and his final verdict is that while the mozzarella tasted more traditional, he preferred the goat cheese.
Along side our salad, I baked some veggies in the oven, including potatoes, corn, red peppers, green peppers, broccoli, onions and green beans. I am looking forward to the leftovers already!
When I moved to Ohio from upstate New York over the summer I had to say goodbye to my beloved Honest Weight Co-op. Luckily, the Columbus area has a co-op too, Clintonville Community Market. While I don’t really live or work nearby, it will be a great place to stock up once in awhile on local foods and some of my harder-to-find favorites like Mochi.
Thanks to this post about oats by a fellow locavore in Cinncinati, I began my search for oat groats which started with a phone call to the distributor then a food broker which led me to the co-op. (All the while, my husband was reminding me that we now live just about 100 miles south of a thriving Amish community that produces a variety of grain and cheese products.) I was happy to find not only the oat groats from the Stutzman Farms in Millersburg, OH at the co-op, but I also found whole wheat flour, spelt flour, rolled oats, and corn meal, all in bulk! Some other “local” finds at the co-op included seasonal produce, a variety of Ohio cheeses, a smaller selection of grass-fed meats, milk and Amish Naturals pastas. So, I think my diet for the rest of the week just got a little more interesting!
Going Local Again: Liz’s Day 3
Breakfast, similar to the first two days, was scrambled eggs with local peppers and onions. Lunch was the last of the Potato Salad, finally, and I again snacked on a couple local nectarines throughout the day. I had a meeting after work, so dinner consisted of (even more leftovers) grilled chicken, from Day 1, sliced up over a salad with squash from Day 2.
I saw these little Zephyr Zucchinis (also known as Zephyr Squash) at the farmers market, and just couldn’t resisting picking up some. Their coloring definitely makes them more attractive than regular zucchinis, but will their taste be as good as their looks?
Going Local Again: Rhaya’s Day 3
Breakfast was (surprise!) more Easy Cheesy Frittata. Lunch was leftover pasta from last night. In the afternoon, I couldn’t resist another Blueberry Yogurt Smoothie.
For dinner, I sauteed the Zephyr Zucchini in a skillet, while I baked a spaghetti squash in the oven. Once everything was cooked, I served up the squash, covered it with a layer of cheese and topped it off with the zucchini. The verdict? The Zephyr tastes as good as it looks!
Don’t Forget the Local Wine!
What’s a “Going Local” challenge without a little local wine? This one I picked up during a business trip through the Finger Lakes region a few weeks ago (so that counts as “local” right?). I stopped at a few of the wineries during my trip down the west side of Seneca Lake, but my friend Kathleen told me that I must visit Lakewood Vineyards. I had great fun tasting several of their award winning wines and ended up with a 2006 Cabernet Franc. It was a refreshing switch from the heavier reds I usually drink, not too sweet and very flavorful – just perfect for the end of summer.
Going Local Again: Liz’s Day 2
I started off the morning with cheesy, red pepper and onion scrambled eggs. Lunch was leftover Potato Salad (we have a lot of leftovers so don’t be surprised to see this one again tomorrow!) served over a bed of local green-leaf lettuce and I snacked on a local fruit throughout the day.
I didn’t feel like making anything too elaborate for dinner, so I sliced open a spaghetti squash, sprinkled the inside with a little olive oil, salt, pumpkin pie spice and a drizzle of Ohio maple syrup and tossed it in the oven to cook for about 40 minutes while I enjoyed a glass of the Lakewood Vineyards wine. So maybe that was more of a dessert than a meal, but it was dinner for 1 and so delicious!
Juice doesn’t get more local than when it is coming from within five feet of my kitchen. That’s why I spent some time yesterday afternoon picking and juicing the grapes we have growing on the arbor over our back patio. (The grapes were planted by the previous owners who lived here for 30 years.) There are too many to consume just by eating, so juicing them seemed to be the next logical idea.
Normally, you would want to drink all the juice within 15 minutes of juicing for maximum enzyme benefit, but since I made a big batch, I will be sipping on it all week.
Going Local Again: Rhaya’s Day 2
I started my day with some Easy Cheesy Frittata that I had made the evening before. My mid-morning snack was a delicious yogurt smoothie that I made with Trader Point Creamery’s low-fat yogurt, a large handful of blueberries, some mint from my garden, and some local honey. Sweet and delicious!
Lunch consisted of a lot a grazing (a perk of working from home). More cucumber and mushroom pate, a peach and some cottage cheese. By the time dinner rolled around, I was in the mood for something a little more hearty, so we topped some local egg pasta with warm tomatoes, basil and award winning cheese and served it up with a side sauteed eggplant.
Easy Cheesy Frittata
We’ve already covered frittatas here and here, but I figured one more can’t hurt. This one is perfect to serve at a brunch (which is when Liz first showed me how to make it) or to make for yourself to have for multiple mornings.
Easy Cheesy Frittata
6 large eggs (local and organic of course!)
1 cup milk
1 large tomato
8-10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 of a small onion
1/2 of a hot chili pepper
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 and lightly oil an 9 inch glass pie dish. Beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Chop up the veggies and basil and add them to the eggs. Pour everything into the baking dish and bake approximately 35 minutes (or until firm). After removing from the oven, shred some cheese on top. Let cool and serve!
The great thing about this dish is that you can add whatever veggies you please. The tomatoes, basil and hot pepper all came from my garden, but you could also use mushrooms and sweet peppers. It’s all about customizing to your tastes and what’s in season!
“Local” Party Planning
While Rhaya stocked up, my husband and I spent most of this past weekend celebrating my Mother-in-Law’s Birthday, concluding the weekend last night with a big cookout that we hosted for her and a great bunch of her friends. Now, I’ll admit that eating strictly locally produced foods takes a little bit of planning, so the big test for me yesterday was to keep within the “Going Local” theme while hosting a party and at the same time trying to get myself prepared for the rest of the week.
In an effort to keep things as “local” as possible for the party, I tried to create a menu that incorporated a lot of in-season vegetables and (somewhat) locally raised meat for the grill. For example, for one side dish, I made a favorite from last year’s challenge, Summer Potato Salad (pictured above), from the Animal Vegetable Miracle website . All the ingredients for this salad were from a nearby farm stand, The Village Market, except for the tomatoes and basil which came straight from my friend Chrissy and her son Tyler’s garden less than one mile away. I also found some chicken breasts to grill at The Anderson’s General Store which sources their chicken from a processor in northern Ohio which gets chickens that are all raised in that general area.
(By the way, in case you missed it, I’ve moved from upstate New York to Columbus, Ohio over the summer, so this year’s “Going Local” challenge will be all about discovering all the foods central Ohio has to offer.)
Going Local Again: Liz’s Day 1
I started out the day with diced skillet potatoes, onion and delicious local cheese mixed into scrambled eggs. Lunch was a nectarine and a light salad with red onion, diced apple, a little shredded cheese, basil and olive oil. The cookout was in the evening yesterday, so for dinner I had the potato salad and chicken mentioned above and tried not to nibble too much on the rest of the non-local treats, like the birthday cake!
This weekend was all about stocking up and planning for meals in the upcoming week. As someone who typically doesn’t decide until right before I make dinner, what I am actually having for dinner, this is especially challenging for me. So, in addition to customizing my Farm Fresh Delivery (which will be arriving Wednesday) I went to the Carmel Farmers Market and purchased all the foods shown in the image above (a total of $73, with the goat cheese being the most expensive single item at $13). Additionally, I went to Traders Point Creamery where I purchased my yogurt, milk and cheeses for the week.
Going Local Again: Rhaya’s Day 1
Breakfast consisted of a goat cheese and tomato omelet. It was very delicious but I certainly looked longingly at the coffeemaker as I ate my meal. For lunch, I kept things light with some plums, some sauteed eggplant, and for a side I had one of my greatest finds at the market yesterday, Mushroom Pate. This pate (back by popular demand) is made by the girls at Country Mouse, City Mouse and is made with all local ingredients. The mushrooms are from Homestead Growers, the dairy products are from Traders Point Creamery, and the goat cheese (which make it REALLY smooth) is from Capriole Farms. (And the container it comes in is 100% biodegradable, so it can be composted.) I have yet to still find a local bread or cracker (which is how you should typical enjoy this pate) so I kept it local by eating it on slices of cucumber, which I thought was still delicious.
For dinner, I tried Gazpacho for the first time. Since the weather is still warm, this cool soup was a refreshing appetizer. To round out the summery meal, I had some corn on the cob and cottage cheese.