Friday, June 20, 2008

Market to table - One local summer week 3

I have to say, I'm really excited about this week's One Local Summer Challenge - Day of Local Eating.  It took some planning ahead, but my taste buds are still dancing. Let's see...
BREAKFAST: Last week, I was experimenting with my new local flours - cornmeal, rice flour, and whole wheat flour. I'm not much of a fan of whole wheat (I'm sorry, I know) but I absolutely love whole wheat pancakes (WAY better than white flour pancakes). I love the nutty flavor and texture which is strange, because I don't really like wheat bread. Go figure. So anyway, as I was playing around with flours, I cooked up a couple recipes worth of whole wheat pancakes (recipe). This isn't my normal recipe, which also has oatmeal (not local), but it's a good one!
SIMPLE/FRUGAL ALERT -  When I make pancakes, I REALLY make pancakes - two to four batches at a time. I do this not because I'm a complete oink-er, but because I like to freeze them for super easy breakfasts and making them all at once saves energy (the stove's and mine). Once cooled, I wrap the pancakes individually with the wax lining from cereal boxes (so they don't stick together in the freezer). Then when I get up in the morning, I pull out a couple, pop them in my toaster oven for 4-1/2 minutes and they're nice and toasty warm.  
Back to breakfast. So here I am with my two toasty whole wheat pancakes. Rather than syrup (which is homemade but not local), I chose to use a recommendation from eco 'burban mom from Monday's post on peaches - peach sauce. I chopped up a peach, added a little sugar and cinnamon, and microwaved it for about 30 seconds, stirred it up to break up the chunks and microwaved it just a few seconds more. Mmmm - peaches, cinnamon, and sugar - seriously good stuff! I devoured these beautiful little flapjacks with a hot cup of herbal tea (mint and sage both local) and a side of yogurt and peach skins. Right - this I'm going to have to explain. 

Peach skins, peach skins. How to explain the peach skins? It's like this. My dad came over last weekend with a bushel of peaches. That's right - a bushel. As you can imagine the weekend was spent making jam (3 batches), canned peaches (4 large jars) and frozen peaches (2 bags). You should have seen the piles and piles of peels that came off these beauties - some of them still with a little bit of peach attached. I just couldn't bring myself to compost them. So I cut them into small pieces and have been enjoying them with my morning yogurt and those ripe little skins taste pretty darn good, thank you!

LUNCH: At the end of each week, I take all the leftover veggies from the market and make a huge pot of soup. This soup then supplies my lunches for the following week. It's a great plan that almost completely eliminates food waste - I just freeze any excess soup and pull it out as needed. This week's soup started out the same way, but ended up a total drool-fest! Last week's leftover onion, mushrooms, and potatoes went into my soup pot with a little olive oil. Then after the veggies had softened, I tossed in some corn cut right off the cob (I have to admit, I've never actually cut corn off the cob before), squash, slices of polish sausage from Sand Creek Farm, salt, pepper, and vegetable stock (reserved from steamed veggies and boiled potatoes of last week's meals). I served it with some shredded gouda sprinkled on top (Mmm cheese). This stuff rocks! Was it the sausage and all those extra sausage spices, or what? Definitely my best soup EVER and it was so easy (if I can do it, anyone can do it - and I'm sooooo not exaggerating this).

DINNER: One of the blogs I read each week is for Long Bean Farm, a local CSA. I'm not a member, but I love talking to the owners at the farmers market each week so I follow their blog, leave comments, etc to keep in touch. Last week the blog mentioned spaghetti squash going into CSA boxes so when I arrived at the farmers market on Saturday morning, I bee-lined for their booth hoping they had some extras. They did! Now I'd never had spaghetti squash before a couple months ago, but after one taste, I was in love, and here I was with a second chance at this gorgeous and unique veggie. 

I started by putting both spaghetti squash (whole) in the oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees (with just a tiny cut in each one to release steam). As it was baking, I chopped some fresh green pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, and carrots in a frying pan with a little olive oil and let it simmer. To thicken the sauce, I mixed some local whole milk with a couple tablespoons of local rice flour, added it to my veggies, and let it simmer awhile longer. About this time, the squash were done in the oven. I popped them open and removed the seeds (those will get toasted later). Next, I loosened up the insides with a fork to reveal those amazingly spaghetti-like innards. Gorgeous! Perfectly cooked (thanks Vicki for advice on how to cook them)! I spooned the strands up out of the gourd onto a plate, topped it with my creamy veggie sauce and some shredded gouda cheese (isn't everything made better with cheese), and voila! Looks good, huh? A side of fresh watermelon gave a super sweet ending to an awesome day of eating.

You know the tomato-veggie sauce would be great on a baked potato or on my local rice, too! And the toasted seeds from the squash will make for a nice afternoon snack. Yum! Oh, the possibilities!

What was local?  So here's the breakdown for today's meals:

Peach Sauce
  • peaches (local - North Texas farm)
  • sugar (nope)
  • cinnamon (nope)
  • Peach skins/peels (local from a North Texas farm - although they were attached to the peaches when I got them)
  • Watermelon (local - from South Texas)
 Vegetables over spaghetti squash
Let's see, that's salt, pepper, oil, the tinsy bit of sugar in the peach sauce, and the baking powder for the pancakes - everything else was local! 

Local isn't always easy - it takes some extra time and planning - but after a day of meals like this, how could I ever go back to supermarket fare? I don't think my taste buds would ever forgive me.

For more ideas on eating local foods, check out the One Local Summer Challenge website (hosted by Farm to Philly) and see what others are eating (weekly OLS posts are made to the Farm to Philly website on Tuesdays of each week). Happy (and mindful) eating!


eco 'burban mom said...

That all looks and sounds so delicious! I have been so busy this week I haven't even had a chance to make one local meal. I have a couple local side dishes saved up as back up in case I don't get to make a meal, I will be able to submit those to one local summer. Though, it's my youngest's birthday on Saturday. And we have a rule, each child gets to pick whatever they want to eat that day. Mac and cheese, anyone?? I do have a local spelt pasta and some local gouda, though that might not fly with a 4 year old!

BTW - glad you liked the peach sauce! It's my kids favorite!

CFM said...

That peach sauce sounds great!

Glad you liked the Spaghetti squash! It is quickly becoming a favorite dinner for us. Vicki told me yesterday via email that there were lots more at the farm!!!

Heather @ SGF said...

eco 'burban mom - mac and cheese? Sweet! I'm not much of a pasta person, but I LOVE mac-n-cheese! Especially homemade! My dad used to make homemade mac-n-cheese when we were kids. Our favorite part was the crusty part so he would always make it in jelly roll pans so that it was all crust :) Do take pictures!

cfm - the squash was awesome and Vicki's instructions on baking it were perfect. As much as I love the veggie, I have to admit, my favorite part are the seeds. That'll be today's snack. Yum!

TIMEUS said...

Mandy loves the spaghetti squash.

eco 'burban mom said...

I managed to score some local cheddar and muenster today. Not organic, but for the little guy's bday, I will bend the rules a little! Also found some local fresh Mozz, so I think between the cheddar, gouda, mozz and muenster, it will be a delicious 4-cheese Mac! I just need to get resourceful and dry out some bread to make local bread crumbs for the topping... I am not much of a cook for sure. I will have pictures tomorrow!

Green Bean said...

I'll be right over! Please save some pancakes for me.

Heather @ SGF said...

TIMEUS - I so with Mandy! I love how those strand come out of the gourd. You feel like your eating pasta but it's all veggie baby!

eco 'burban mom - wow! You hit the mother load on cheese! All we have here is gouda and sometime feta. I can hardly wait for those picture although I don't know how much more drool my laptop can take (maybe that's why it was sick for so long - I'll have to watch that).

green bean - Come on over! I'll set out an extra plate. They're as yummy as they look!

Theresa said...

Hmm - that's a great way to roast a squash! I've always halved them but keeping them whole would keep them more moist, I'm certain. And what a great way to reuse those cereal box liners!

Heather @ SGF said...

theresa - I halved it last time too, put a little olive oil on and baked them face down. This method - just a small slice with a knife and bake them whole - there's so much less mess!

Melissa said...

maybe I'll try spaghetti squash again. I haven't had it in years, but I remember the texture being rather non-spaghetti like (almost crunchy) and that really turned me off. how do you find the texture?

Heather @ SGF said...

Melissa - the spaghetti squash isn't soft like a noodle, but I wouldn't call it crunchy. Do you remember how you baked it?

Melissa said...

I actually wasn't the one who cooked it...maybe I'll give it a try :)

Heather @ SGF said...

The way I cooked it worked really well and there wasn't much of a mess at all. Just knife it once, then put it in the oven for an hour at 350 degrees. After it comes out, cut it in half, get the seeds out and fork the strands down from the sides.

Let me know if you like it!