Friday, July 18, 2008

Market to table - One local summer week 7

Happy Friday and what a week it was! Let's just say I'm glad I'm staring down the weekend. Ok, so all-local meals, right? Hmmm. This week is trickier than most. Despite the fact that almost all my food comes from local sources, my undying devotion to my homemade bread (who's white flour is unfortunately NOT local) typically knocks me out of the running for all-local meals. And this was a week heavy with toast, bagels, and tomato sandwiches. Regardless, I did manage to get a local meal in...

In a moment of creativity and inspired by a recipe given to me by Jennifer of Veg*n Cooking, I made polenta lasagna. Now, I know it looks kinda weird there in the photo, but hear me out. I have a good excuse. The truth is that well, first, I only had a little bit of polenta left in the freezer and didn't feel up to making another batch so I just used what I had; and second, when I originally put the lasagna together (since I only had a little bit of polenta - 8 slices, I believe), I put the lasagna together in a bread pan. Well, as you know if you read Wednesday's post, I made 2 loaves of Chocolate Nut Bread this week so the lasagna (which had been sitting in the fridge until I was ready to bake it) had to come out of one of the bread pans and onto a small cookie sheet, as displayed here, so that I could use my bread pans. Considering I did very little cooking this week it's amazing how I get myself into these situations, right? 

Anyway, so what's in this cheesy beauty?  As I do with most of the things I make, I used the recipe as more of a suggestion than a rule, so be sure to check out the link above to find the REAL recipe if you'd like to make your own. Here's how mine went together from the bottom layer up...
Layer 1 - Thinly sliced polenta made from local cornmeal and water (since I didn't have much polenta left and didn't feel like making more, I just sliced the squares I had in half. This meant they ended up being roughly the thickness of a lasagna noodle)

Layer 2 - Fresh local spinach, sauteed in olive oil with just a touch of salt

Layer 3 - Tomato sauce/paste (chopped tomatoes, oregano, basil, and rosemary (all local), sauteed in olive oil with just a touch of local shredded gouda; then I whisked up flour and whole milk (local) and added it to the sauteed tomato sauce to form a thick paste)

Layer 4 - More thinly sliced polenta

Layer 5 - More tomato sauce/paste

Layer 6 - Sprinkled shredded gouda cheese on top

I baked all this in my toaster oven for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. 
Voila! Polenta lasagna! And let's see... the only non-local ingredients were olive oil, salt, and that little bit of flour I used in the paste. Not bad! All the veggies and herbs came from our local farmers market, the milk and cheese came from our local dairy, and the cornmeal came from DiIorio Farm (about 40 miles south of town).

This concludes week seven of the One Local Summer Challenge with and 6 weeks to go.  Hey! That's over half way! I'm the first to admit that I'm a pretty monotonous eater, so I hope I'm not boring anyone yet. Maybe a nice local rice dish next week...

For more recipes and ideas on local meals, 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 theFarm to Philly website on Tuesdays of each week). If you're in the BCS area and are looking for local suppliers here in town, visit my post here, where I list sources for all kinds of goodies.

Happy (and mindful) eating!

7 comments:

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

I can't blame you for being a little bread heavy, if I could make my own bread, all of my meals would center around that.

Wow, your version of the polenta lasagna sounds fantastic! Don't you just love using a recipe as a template to create your own tasty delights?

Does it feel good to be at the halfway point? Are you going to be happy when this challenge is over or are you going to continue on with it?

eco 'burban mom said...

You know I love the bread!! That's the best part of eating locally for me, finding all the great little bakeries with fresh baked goodness! If I had your homemade bagels hanging around, I would be eating two a day!

And, I think the polenta lasagna looks yummy. I know what you mean though, all the OLS pictures are so nice, mine always look like slop on a plate! It tastes good, that's all that matters, right?

Heather @ SGF said...

Jennifer - I liked the sauteed spinach with it. I couldn't believe I was able to score that at the market! As for the halfway mark of OLS? I don't know. I mean most of my diet is local anyway. The only thing that isn't is the bread, which I could get local, but I'd rather make homemade. It's that one little hiccup that keeps ALL my meals from being completely local (except for salt, oil, etc). So I suppose, to answer your question, I'll keep eating as I am most of the time and not continue with the strictness of the OLS meals. This woman needs her homemade bread! :)

eco 'burban mom - That's what my mom used to say "who cares what the pie looks like. It's tastes good." She could never get those pie crusts to look like they do in the magazine and it frustrated her to no end. Some of the photos people take are super professional looking. Geez! I'm a total amateur. I'm lucky if I remember to take a pic and if I remember, I have to cross my fingers that the one set of batteries has enough juice left :)

I guess I could get local bread for OLS days from our bakery, it just seems silly when I can make my own. But in making my own, it's no longer local because it's comes down to ingredients, right? We definitely chow down on the bread around here. I can make it so cheaply and it's very filling (of course with my homemade butter and jam). Mmmm.

Jenelle said...

I didn't know that there was spinach at the market... I'll be looking for that tomorrow. Thanks :-)

Heather @ SGF said...

jenelle - Yep. Spinach! I couldn't believe it. Richard had it at his booth last week.

Melissa said...

Polenta is one of those things I've always been scared of...but this sounds worth the effort!!

Heather @ SGF said...

Melissa - I was really surprised I liked it. I mean, all it is, is cornmeal, salt and water. It just SHOULDN'T taste good, but it does :) Give it a shot! You never know...