Thursday, August 28, 2008

Market to table - One local summer week 13

As promised, I went all out for the final One Local Summer Challenge all-local meal. I've had my eye on this recipe ever since I made polenta for the first time. Who'd have imagined that cornmeal and water tastes good. It does, really!

Anyway, this week's all local meal consisted of 1) a simple spinach salad topped with homemade oil and vinegar dressing (equal parts oil and vinegar, just a touch of salt and pepper), and 2) polenta pizza!

Yep, it tasted as good as it looks. Here's how it came together: First, of course, is the crust. Again, polenta is nothing but cornmeal and water (and a little salt, if desired). I used 1/4 c. cornmeal and 1 c. water; dumped it all in a sauce pan with a sprinkle of salt; and cooked it, stirring constantly, for about 5-7 minutes. Once it was nice and thick, I poured it out onto a toaster oven-size baking sheet, shaped it as best I could (it didn't fill the entire pan) and baked it in the toaster oven for 15 minutes. 

In the meantime, I pulled everything else together:  1) shredded gouda cheese; 2) roasted eggplant slices; 3) fresh basil from the backyard; and 4) my homemade, canned pasta sauce (You got it! I opened one of my home canned jars of sauce. Ahh. The sweet taste of success!)

By the time the polenta had baked, I was ready to assemble my pizza. I added just a touch of the pasta sauce (fine, I admit that I ate a few spoonfuls while I was waiting for the crust to bake. The stuff is seriously good, guys!), a few sprinkles of shredded local gouda, a couple leaves of fresh basil, and the roasted eggplant slices. 

Then of course it was back in the toaster oven for another 15 minutes of baking. Isn't it gorgeous!?

Revealing My Sources

There are so many ingredients here, I'm not sure where to start, but here goes. The spinach for the salad came from the farmers market (the dressing was homemade, but not local). The cornmeal for the polenta crust was local, also purchased from the farmers market. The gouda cheese came from our local dairy. And the basil that was used  on top of the pizza is from my back yard (I'd say that's pretty local!). I guess that leaves my homemade, canned pasta sauce. The sauce (detailed here) is made from tomatoes, onion, basil, oregano, rosemary (all local so far, and from the farmers market); mushrooms (purchased from grocery, but grown about 40 miles away); and then there's the salt, olive oil, and just a bit of sugar (those three not local). 

For More Information

And that's it! This marks the last week of the Challenge, but be sure to check out the One Local Summer Challenge website and see what others are eating (the final post will go up on their site on Tuesday).

Of course, 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!


ttammylynn said...

Some day, I'll have to tell you about very veggie casserole...opps, too late. I make mozzarella and riccota cheeses from fresh raw milk. I bake or steam potatoes and spinach(can add squash, eggplant, or just about any veggie), use a thickened version of pasta sauce. Put ingredients in layers starting with sauce and ending in sauce and mozz cheese on top. You can add meat, if you like, or not. Bake until brown, I usually cook the sauce right beforehand out of onion, tomato, garlic, oregano, basil, and whatever else I have on-hand, mushrooms, black olives, etc. The baking time is minimal because I just cooked everything. It is a bit like lasagna with potatoes instead of noodles. My daughter requests this as her favorite food...and I'm thinking how easily you could make it...perhaps I should whip up a batch of homemade cheese for you, lol.

Beany said...

That looks and sounds delicious! Now if only I could smell it...

I forgot to mention that you (and Melinda of one Green Generation), inspired me to make my own polenta. I had a bag of corn meal sitting around for a loooong while. I finally made it and then immediately felt like an idiot for having bought polenta so much so often. Its so easy to make it and so tasty with basil, tomato sauce and cheese.

greeen sheeep said...

Yum! Congratulations on completing your challenge.

Bobbi said...

Yummy! Sounds and looks wonderful. Congrats on completing your challenge!

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

WOW Heather you really DID go all out for your final One Local Summer meal. Polenta pizza sounds like such a great idea, especially with your homemade marinara. Makes me want to "happen to be in Texas" next time you are making this.... ;-)

Heather @ SGF said...

ttammylynn - ooh. That casserole sounds REALLY good! So you cook all the veggies first and then assemble the casserole and just heat through? Mmmm. So what got you into making your own cheese? Do you use a kit?

beany - Good for you. I was really surprised that I liked polenta. It's so good and soooo easy! I found a recipe yesterday that looked really good. Check it out...

greeen sheeep - Thanks! It was a good challenge. I definitely tried some things I never would otherwise.

bobbi - It was delicious! I wasn't sure how I'd like the polenta crust, but I made it really thin and it turned out perfect. Yum is right!

jennifer - swing on by. There's more sauce in the cabinet :)

ttammylynn said...

Heather, look at Fankhauser's cheese page
You will be inspired. I used to talk to Alysha almost every Friday when she lived in Kurten, I picked up at the farm. She is pretty amazing. Heck, for Christmas, she gave cultures to her customers, was that last year?
I cheat a little by using citric acid and rennet(I like the liquid which is at BNF in the cooler by the yogurt cultures).You make mozzarella from the milk(with citric acid(or a culture or buttermilk) and rennet, then riccotta from the whey left over. Do you want a recipe? As high as Alysha's milk is, I know it is a costly project. I buy some of my milk elsewhere for a lower price, but it isn't purely

Heather @ SGF said...

ttammylynn - it looks time consuming but not too hard. Farmers cheese is my favorite :) I'll have to try it sometime, but I'm afraid I'll have to wait until after my 4 month diet. I'm supposed to be cutting down on cheese and butter. How often do you make cheese?

ttammylynn said...

I used to make cheese every week, but I am caught in a cycle of twelve to sixteen hour work days, five days, and a few hours of the other two days. Aka-I work too much. I will try to make some cheese this weekend, though, and the reason I make mozz and riccotta is because it takes less than two hours start to finish, I have a cheese press and a wine refrigerator to age other cheeses, but I have not done it yet. I sterilize my kitchen and utensils and I would like you to try it as I know you will love it, the riccotta can even be used as a spread for toast like cream cheese, I don't usually add salt because I like lower salt meals. I may try to make it later in the week so I could drop it off Friday so Yadi could give it to you. Yadi is so sweet, I know she would do it.

Heather @ SGF said...

ttammylynn- I'd love to try some of your cheese. You are so sweet to offer. Perhaps we can plan to be at the milk pickup at the same time so we can meet.

Sorry to hear work is so crazy. Is this a short term thing or the nature of the beast?