Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Local Summer Week 6

This week its all about the pizza, made with local flour and covered with local toppings, of course. After finally making the time to read Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day I mixed up a batch of dough for last weeks Caramelized Onion Rolls and it was so successful that the book stayed out and the remaining dough went into the fridge. Leaving books on my crowded kitchen counter usually results in one of three things: food gets spilled on them, they get buried under other things that get left on the counter or they get used again in a moment of "I have too much raw food and no meal in mind...oh, I think I'll look in here".

And that's how I randomly flipped to the page on pizza dough and realized that, yes, I could use the same whole wheat dough I had for the rolls to make a pizza crust. I mixed up the next batch using the lite whole wheat this afternoon and now, more than 5 pizza experiments later I will say while that having the proper equipment results in a little less chaos and better looking pizzas, you can make it work with what ever is on hand and though it may be irregularly shaped it will still taste great. From the time I got the idea to make pizza (dough already in fridge) to the time we were sitting down to eat was 40 minutes; 20 minutes to warm the oven and baking stone while I prepped the ingredients and taught K how to grate cheese, 5 minutes to roll out dough and cover with prepared toppings, 8-10 minutes to cook pizza, and another 5 to let it cool and do a little bit of cleanup prior to cutting the slices and sitting down to a very satisfying meal.

The wheat flours for the crust all came from Wade's Mill, stored in the big containers in the fridge shot above. I don't have any local yeast sources yet so I buy it in bulk. I had a great big jar of Bigg Riggs pasta sauce that I needed only half of for a pasta dish I'm planning for tomorrow so I used the other half of it as the basis for all but this one, where I splurged on a container of their fresh pesto at yesterday's market and if you look closely you can just see the hint of green underneath all the toppings.
Speaking of the toppings, because I'm lactose intolerant you won't find the beautifully melted local mozzarella (it's really good but I just can't) orbs or specialty cheeses that are readily available at the farmers markets. But, for my daughters sake, who probably ate more cheese while grating it than was left to go on all the pizzas combined, I did use some of the Colby that I ordered with my milk delivery from South Mountain Creamery (more on that soon) and a little bit of imported Parmesan, because it bothers me less and I really like the flavor. On the first pizza I made (not pictured due to severe deformity) I used the leftover caramelized onions from the rolls and it was so good that made some more with onions from Potomac Vegetable Farms and added it on every subsequent pie. Other toppings included diced cherry tomato's from I forget where, fresh basil leaves from my porch, home-canned raw-packed sweet corn from last years farm share, shredded leftover chicken that came from a whole bird I roasted with a home devised spice rub and had picked up frozen from a local vendor at the Percelville farmers market a while back.

The best part was that when we sat down to eat my normally picky daughter,who only eats cheese on her slices as I've been informed numerous times, asked for a big slice and ate it right up, onions and all.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

One Local Summer Week 5

Meals during week 5 have alternated between the incredibly simple but local type and the type where a local item is featured but you could hardly claim even half of the ingredients as local.

K and I participated in our own way in Kitchen Gardeners International's Food Independence Day this 4th of July. We started the day out with a simple eggs from Potomac Vegetable Farms, bacon from Baker Pork, whole wheat honey toast from a local bakery topped with butter from Blue Ridge Dairy and home canned strawberry jam from fruit picked in our u-pick share from Great Country Farms, and topped off with a fresh brewed cup of DogWatch Dark Blend from Black Dog Coffee, local coffee roaster, with a splash of non-local soy milk (lactose intolerant) for me and a tall glass of whole milk from Trickling Springs Creamery for K. We snacked on the first peaches and apricots of the season while enjoying some local cheese in the middle of the day.
For dinner (no pictures, I was too busy cooking and chatting with family) I baked caramelized onion buns made with farm share onions, whole wheat flour from Wade's Mill to hold broiled hamburgers made with ground beef from Millcreek Farms, served with a small side salad with farm share lettuce and cucumbers. This was followed by what I like to think of as baked berries with a little bit of cake. I used the recipe from The Kitchen Sink, only I used about double the berries and increased the pan size to 2 qt in order to spread out the surface area to accommodate. What resulted was so good that it didn't last long as I was snacking on it even before the burgers were out of the broiler. Altogether the only non-local ingredients were the vinegars, sugar, oil and vanilla. I call that a day worth celebrating

Another meal this week is closer to the second type but I think that I pulled it off. The chicken is from Whole Foods but the butcher assured me that the PA location sticker meant that the chickens were raised there not just processed. I have no local source of soy sauce or sesame oil and I am working my way through the my existing sources of vinegar before obtaining a local variety. Also the red bell pepper is not local, but is a sliver leftover from another dish earlier and the week and would have had to be thrown out if not used soon. Other than that everything is from our shares, the farmers market or my back porch.

I marinated the sliced chicken breast in soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, minced ginger, a dash of orange juice as I washed, sliced and assembled the rest of the ingredients. It always helps to have everything ready to go, all you have to do is wait a minute then dump another bowl of stuff in. The instructions called for lots of garlic but as I was using scapes I omitted it.

I heated the olive oil and a dash of toasted sesame seed oil then added the chicken to cook on all sides. It gained a nice golden hue from the marinade. Then I removed it from the pan and refreshed with another dash of the sesame oil before adding in the onions, garlic scape and more ginger.

After a minute or two I slowly added the remaining broccoli, bell pepper, peas and lastly sliced chard as I stirred. Once the chard had begun to wilt I added the chicken back in along with the reserved sauce and heated it through. I had too much liquid (by adding the OJ and having very hydrated meat and veggies) so I removed the solids to a serving plate and reduced the sauce significantly before pouring back over the dish.

I some how missed getting the final shot but I assure you that it was delicious.

CSA Week 5

This week we went on Friday as I had the day off and the Farm would be closed for the 4th, our usual pick up day. The weather was alternately sunny and overcast but it was still nice and cool, particularly in the shade. We picked our #4 bag of shelling peas (not pictured) and then decided to pass on another half pint of black raspberries or paying for blueberries (not part of our bonus this week) as it was late and we still wanted to play. I was shocked to find the little bright orangish globes of the first of the seasons stonefruits and will enjoy them raw and savor what is soon to come.