Archive for the ‘Eat Local Challenge’ Category
Whenever the King Arthur Flour Catalog comes in the mail, I feel like a gal on Christmas morning — not only for their products, but their recipes too. I immediately start clipping away and circling the products I need for next time.
This catalog I received a few weeks ago had a bunch of awesome recipes that I wanted to try. Since we are lucky enough to have a whole crock of sourdough starter in the fridge, I wanted to tackle their Corn and Scallion Sourdough Pancakes first.
Also, this recipe couldn’t have come at a better time because corn, green onions and tomatoes are all in season at the farmers market. There is a pretty good market in downtown Milwaukee every Wednesday, which is where I picked up my goodies for this recipe. Since the rain was less than stellar this year, make sure to peel pack your corn to make sure it’s good. A cob I peeled back and thought was good a few weeks ago had a worm coming out of it (EWWW!!).
I made these pancakes on our Black and Decker Flat Top Griddle. These first two cakes were our testers, but then we were able to fit on 5-6 cakes at a time.
Corn and Scallion Sourdough Pancakes
From King Arthur Flour
1/2 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed
1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup fresh/cooked or frozen/thawed corn kernels
3/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green part (5 or 6 scallions)
1) To make the pancakes: Combine the starter, flour, and milk. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes in a warm place.
2) Add the oil, baking soda, salt, and egg and stir until combined. Fold in the corn and scallions.
3) Heat a silver dollar pancake pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan, then scoop a heaping tablespoon of batter into each of the cups. To make the pancakes using a griddle, heat it to 350°F, grease, and scoop heaping tablespoons onto the surface.
4) Flip each pancake over when its surface bubbles and the edges are slightly dry. Continue cooking until the bottom is golden.
5) Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with Tomato Relish.
Semi-Homemade Tomato Relish.
From She’s on the Run
1 tomato, diced
2 scallions, diced
1/4 cup Spinach Artichoke Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip (or substitute 1/4 cup sour cream and add your favorite spices)
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Attention MKE peeps!
The Eat Local Resource Fair is coming up on August 25 at the Urban Ecology Center. This event also kicks off the Eat Local Challenge. If you want to learn more about both events, see the post I wrote last year or visit Eat Local Milwaukee.
But I’m far from done.
See, even Oliver got in on the fun (that’s a locally grown watermelon rind on his nose from the West Allis farmers’ market).
If there’s anything I learned from the Eat Local Challenge, it’s this: Eating local is sustainable, it’s tastier and it’s more satisfying eating a meal where the ingredients are grown just miles from you.
Although I may have been one of the more relaxed bloggers in terms of the “cheat” foods I ate, i.e. oats, greek yogurt, Dove chocolates, I discovered some great local food companies and new places to score local eats.
Tonight, we had burgers (purchased from a local farm) with Wisconsin cheese on Cybros hamburger buns (based out of Waukesha) with fingerling potatoes (from the farmers’ market).
For me, the longer the challenge went on, the easier it became to create new meals. It also forced me to eat a ton of produce.
Speaking of fruits and veggies, I also had a great time learning how to preserve foods, like these peppers I bought at a local farm stand for 33 cents a piece!
For me, fall baking is where it’s at. And with so many local apple orchards around Milwaukee (like Apple Holler and Awe’s Orchard) I’m already planning my fall baking list: apple butter, apple crisp, apple pie bread, Dutch apple pie, sauted apples over waffles and pancakes…the list goes on.
So Milwaukee’s Eat Local Challenge may be over this year, but the best of local eating is yet to come.
At the Eat Local Resource Fair, I discovered an awesome company called Cybros. As a runner, I love my carbs, so I was thrilled to have a local grain company to turn to during the Eat Local Challenge (and in the weeks leading up to the Fox Cities Half Marathon – now was not the time to go on a low-carb diet).
Cybros is a company that specializes in sprouted-grain products. They are the only producer of sprouted grain breads in the central U.S. and they are located right here in Waukesha.
I’ve been eating my way through their 7-grain bread for breakfast and lunch (toast with jam from the Wauwatosa Farmers’ Market and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches). I don’t know what I like more – that there are 5 grams of protein per slice at only 65 calories or that it’s local.
Either way, I’m just glad I discovered it. (By the way, you can purchase Cybros’ products at Outpost and Sendiks).
Now get ready for one of the best local meals we’ve had since the challenge began – Load ‘Em Up Veggie Pizza.
This showcases all of my farmers’ market veggies in the best possible way. I also love that the crust is hearty and stands up a heap of toppings.
Load ‘Em Up Veggie Pizza
Makes 2 pizzas (and serves about 4)
One package Cybros Pizza Dough
Two cups Crystal Farms shredded mozzarella cheese
Veggies of your choice (sliced green pepper, onions, mushrooms)
Homemade Pizza Sauce
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
Pizza seasoning, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper (to your liking)
Divide the pizza dough in half and roll out into two rounds. Place on round in a cast iron skillet and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Next, place the pizza sauce on top and any toppings/cheeses you wish. Finish baking in the oven for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees (or until golden).
I love how the crust held up to all our toppings despite how thin we rolled it. It’s also really dense because of the grains and adds a unique, earthy flavor to the pizza – more fresh and natural.
Question: Do you make homemade pizzas? What are your favorite toppings?
Yesterday, I showed you how to freeze tomatoes. Today, we’re moving on to peaches.
I picked about 3 pounds of these at Awe’s Apple Orchard in Frankin, WI. They were only $1.25/pound! For local peaches, that is the cheapest I’ve seen all season.
Here is the view driving through their orchard – gorgeous.
At Awe’s, you can pick your own apples or buy some in their store.
In their store, you can buy homemade apple butter, a variety of jams and these adorable homemade caramel apple kits. How cute!
I walked away with some peaches and popcorn for the Eat Local Challenge. By the way, if you’re planning on freezing peaches, pick some that aren’t too ripe and ones that don’t have soft spots/bruises.
Like the tomatoes, you want to drop the peaches into boiling water so you can remove the skins easily. I took them out of the water after about 45 seconds. Then submerge them in water to stop the cooking process.
To keep the peaches from browning, I made a simple syrup on the stove (using 1/3 cup sugar for every 2/3 cup water). I doubled that recipe and heated it over the stove until the sugar dissolved (pics not shown). You’ll use this mixture later when you are packing the peaches.
Anyway, after you remove the peaches from the ice water bath, remove the skin and cube the peaches into whatever size you like. (As I added more peaches to my mixing bowl, I added a few sprinkles of lemon juice.)
Next, place your peaches in a freezer-safe bag (I used vacuum sealer bags). Pour some of the simple syrup mixture over the peaches. (Note: when you decide to use the peaches and defrost them, some of the simple syrup will drain out, so you can’t really put too much in there).
I froze the peaches like this and let them sit in the freezer overnight so I could vacuum seal them. However, if you are using just regular freezer-safe Ziplock bags, you can skip this step. Just try to squeeze as much air as you can out of the bags before freezing.
After freezing tomatoes and peaches, I’m definitely hooked. I love the fact that I can use this technique to eat local in the dead of winter, so I plan on freezing green beans, peppers and zucchini as well.
Now I’ll just pray that our freezers don’t defrost.
As much as I love eating local produce, it kills me that in just a few short months, most of what I love will be gone (like zucchini, eggplant and potatoes).
So for this post, I’d like to show you how I preserve some of my bounty without fancy canning techniques (which I will tackle someday, just not yet). I do have a vacuum sealer and a chest freezer, though. So for right now, freezing is the way to go.
On my way home from work yesterday, I stopped by the farm stand off of Loomis in Franklin, WI. This place is a gem – awesome produce and it’s cheap. I stocked up on tomatoes for $1/pound.
How to Freeze Tomatoes
To freeze tomatoes, start by picking ripe (but not overly ripe) produce with no bruises.
Next, you’re going to blanch them in boiling water for about a minute so you can easily peel the skin off (to blanch, place the tomatoes in boiling water and then after a minute, submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking process).
Next, peel the skin off (it’ll come off very easily) and core out the stem with a knife. After that, quarter the tomatoes and try removing as much of the seeds as you can. Place them in a colander to drain for about 10 minutes.
Next, divide the tomatoes equally in freezer bags (I used vacuum sealer bags), but this can easily work with Ziplock freezer bags – just make sure to get most of the air out.
Stick these in the freezer to enjoy all winter long (like when homemade pasta sauce is calling your name in January).
This is the perfect weekend project, so make sure to stock up on some tomatoes if you’re heading to the farmers’ market on Saturday (or picking from your own garden). Me? I’ve gotta get back to that farm stand – you can’t shake a stick at $1/pound :)
Question: How do you preserve summer produce?
P.S. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I’ll show you how to freeze peaches :)
This morning, I was off to a great start. (To make up for Labor Day weekend, I want to be really good for the remainder of the challenge). Breakfast consisted of:
* A mug of Alterra’s Favorite Coffee with a splash of milk
* Toast (2 slices of Cyrbos 7-grain bread) topped with Blackberry Jam from The Fideler Farm (bought at the Wauwatosa Farmers’ Market)
* A Pristine Apple from the Nieman Apple Orchard in Cedarburg, WI
My Semi-Local Lunch
Back in July when we were going through that heat wave, I froze a ton of Black Bean Zucchini Gazpacho using this recipe from Taste of Home. It features tons of local veggies like zucchini, onions and tomatoes.
I defrosted some for lunch today (obviously not enough by the look of this picture!). I also had some Greek yogurt with a banana (both not local) but the honey and granola on top were).
When I got home for work, I had some watermelon from the West Allis Farmers’ Market and a side of homemade vegan pumpkin bread I made a month ago and froze (I freeze everything!).
After running 5 miles, I came home to find B cooking dinner (yahoo!). I stopped by a farm stand on my way home from work and picked up some green peppers, eggplant, green beans and tomatoes. B made pasta with fresh veggies, leftover fish from last night, garbonzo beans and fingerling potatoes on the side (I wish I snapped a picture of this, but I completely forgot).
After dinner, I spent the night preserving some local peaches and tomatoes I bought at the farm stand (the peaches were from Awe’s Apple Orchard in Franklin, WI). Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I’ll show you how I did it.
P.S. I almost forgot one of the most important events of the day! Erik from WTMJ/620 AM radio interviewed me for the Eat Local Challenge. He asked me about the benefits of local eating, the difficulties I’m facing and tips on eating local. It should be on air within the next few days. I’ll keep you posted!
With the whirlwind of Labor day weekend, eating local has been especially though. B and I celebrated at my parent’s house Saturday through Monday. For me at least, eating local is easier when you have the buying power. When you’re at the whim of someone else’s meal plans, it gets to be a lot harder.
To help combat this, I brought a bunch of fresh, local corn on the cob and tomatoes for side dishes throughout the weekend. And thanks to a friendly neighbor, enjoyed cucumbers all weekend long. I also ate a bunch of local dairy – milk and cheese (making me ever so thankful we live in Wisconsin).
I also ate some not-so-local foods, like nectarines, oatmeal and hamburgers made on the grill. (I can’t pass up one of my dad’s burgers – they are the best).
I also visited my friend, Hillary, and we had a play-date with the pooches in her lovely, fenced-in backyard. For a low-key dinner, we dolled up a frozen pizza with fix-ins from her garden. We also ate huge side salads to take in the season’s bounty, this included spinach, romaine lettuce, green peppers, radishes, onions, mushrooms and loads of tomatoes.
Although this weekend had a ton of great eats, it was probably at a ” B-” as far as an eating local grade goes. My advice for someone trying to eat local away from home is bringing side dishes or parts of meals that are local (like hamburger buns from Cybros). Not only will your hosts appreciate the effort, but enjoy the fresh taste of local foods to boot.
Now back on the wagon!