Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Cozy Little Dinner

I'm learning over and over again that 100-mile winter dinners are quite lengthy in time to make. So often I am getting caught with not having started anything the night before (not soaking the beans, not making bread the day before, not having homemade chicken stock at hand) that I am forced to get resourceful in the world of 'quick' 100-mile winter food. If you think about what's available: grains, starchy vegetables, pork/lamb shoulder, stewing beef & other sinew-y cuts, beans, dried peas, etc... it's obvious that these items need a bit of work to make them not only edible, but delicious. That's not to say that we won't splurge on quick-cooking cuts of meat (ala sirloin or t-bone steak) or fish once in a while, or make a quick frittata for dinner, but I feel obligated to venture out of the "go-to" realm of food. I've been at this for 3 and a half months now, and restricting one's diet to eggs and potatoes doesn't feel like progress. So, what does one make for a 100-mile dinner, on a rushed school-night at the tail-end of winter, being economical, and with the intention of being more creative than eggs and potatoes?

100 Mile B.L.T.

It's always fun when I get to re-create "normal foods" out of 100-mile ingredients. Ironically, I never used to eat things like BLT's or grilled cheese until I started this challenge. Being able to sit down at the table and have a relatively normal looking meal (as apposed to a heap of cabbage) makes me proud!
100 mile spelt - Goldenhearth bakery
No-spray greenhouse grape tomatoes - FlorAlps Farm
Peashoots - ??? (but I was guaranteed they were local)
Bacon - Charles' Meats

This Week's Market Stop

- Bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 chicken carcasses for making stock
- a dozen free run, organic eggs
- 2% harmony organic milk
- 90% local rye bread
- living tender, baby kale
- living pea shoots (score of the week!)
- living cilantro
- plan yogurt
- mutsu apples
- 1 lb of lean bacon
- 3 year old, local aged cheddar

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Great Crepe Debate

Crepes vs. Pancakes...
Well, for the moment, I'm stuck using local hard-wheat flour, so neither of my creations were as dainty or fluffy as would have been nice. For the moment, no answer on the question. However, in the meantime, some tasty looking pictures...

Summery Winter-Vegetable Dishes

While this may sound like an odd thing at first, really think about it. In the middle of winter, Ontarians are bombarded by mountains of potatoes and carrots and other starchy root vegetables. What happens say, on a cold March evening when you're craving a summery BBQ? Yes, you could buy out-of-season corn and peas and watermelon, but for those trying to keep their diet local, why not try your hand at a "summery" winter-vegetable dish.
These three are my new favourite this month!

1. A coleslaw made out of finely shredded celeriac, carrots, purple and green cabbage and a homemade mayonnaise with local egg yolks, oil, cider vinegar and salt. Garnish with greenhouse cilantro if you can find it!
2. A buttery lentil and bacon salad served luke warm. Simply boil green lentils (until just underdone) and fry some bacon separately. Remove the bacon from the pan, fry the lentils in the fat, deglaze with homemade chicken stock and thrown in whatever dried herbs you fancy! Ie: thyme: marjoram, even curry or chili would be nice... Let the lentils become fully cooked (serve al-dente), season and garnish with the crumbled bacon.
3. For a wonderfully versatile bean dip, blend and overcooked bean with creme fraiche, greenhouse cilantro, a clove of garlic, a few ounces of a quality aged cheese then come vinegar, salt and pepper to balance the flavour accordingly. Serve on breads/crackers, dip into with crudités, or thin it out to make a soup.