Friday, September 14, 2012

2012 NY Locavore Challenge: Days 11-13

This week I've continued my adventure with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York's (NOFA-NY) 2012 Locavore Challenge, and have really been enjoying shopping for, cooking, and preparing local food (to the point where I've been spending so much time in the kitchen that I haven't had time to blog for the past few days).

Tuesday's Challenge (Day 11): Plant an Herb or Window Garden
I've grown container herb gardens outside before, but never inside on my windowsills. It's definitely something I want to give a shot though this fall/winter. There's nothing like fresh herbs to really add great flavor to big pots of soup, home-baked loaves of bread, and slow-roasted vegetables all winter long. I'll be sure to write a post about setting up my garden when I find the time!

Tuesday's Food: Mint
This is definitely one of the herbs I'll be planting in my indoor garden. I love fresh mint in the summer in mojitos and tabbouleh, but it's also great to have on hand to make fresh herbal mint tea all winter long.

Wednesday's Challenge (Day 12): Go Ahead and Cheat - with an Organic & Fair Trade Treat
My favorite organic and fair trade treat is coffee...I'm not shy about my addiction to the stuff (I limit myself to 3-4 pretty large cups a day), and I've really been enjoying it even more lately now that I've been adding local milk to it and sweetening it with local honey. I usually get my coffee at Trader Joe's, Target (their house brand Archer Farms has a decent organic and fair trade coffee selection), or I buy Newman's Own coffee from the regular grocery store. I really do want to find a way to purchase locally-roasted coffee though!

Wednesday's Food: Locally Crafted Chocolate
Chocolate is something I actually don't eat very often...but when I do I always get it from Lake Champlain Chocolates. I discovered these chocolates when I lived in a suburb of Burlington, VT. They're expensive, but are hands-down the best chocolates I've ever tasted. They're no longer considered "locally crafted" for me now that I live in New York, but I'll continue to enjoy my Lake Champlain Chocolates twice a year, in my Christmas stocking, and on Valentines Day,

Thursday's Challenge (Day 13): Create a Meal Using Local Grains
I've decided to start purchasing grains and flour from Cayuga Pure Organics once I use up my current pantry supply of non-local grains...that just hasn't happened quite yet. I'll probably be placing my first order with Cayuga early next week, and will definitely be posting some new recipes once I start cooking with their products!

Thursday's Food: Emmer/Farro
I've never actually eaten farro...I guess that's true of a lot of whole grains out there. I was discussing this with Ed the other day, how my grain experience has been severely limited to ground wheat in the form of flour, rice, corn, and the occasional barley in soup. I really want to push myself in the coming months to try a bunch of different grains, starting with some from Cayuga Pure Organics!

During Days 11-13 (Tuesday-Thursday) I:
  • Ate/drank local milk, eggs, butter, honey, apples, onions, parsley, beets, potatoes, carrots, garlic, maple syrup, green beans, beer, bread, basil, arugula, fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes (19 different foods).
  • Cooked 8 mostly-local meals at home from scratch (my in-laws fed us dinner on Wednesday.)
  • Got my first home milk delivery from The Hudson Milk Company...I've tasted the milk and I have to say that it is hands-down the best milk I've ever had!
  • Added even MORE foods to my milk order for next week...we'll be getting eggs, Greek yogurt and cheese delivered too!
I hope y'all are having a great week filled with lots of local food goodness, and that you have time to make to a farmers market or farm stand this weekend!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2012 NY Locavore Challenge: Day 10

Yesterday was the tenth day of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York's (NOFA-NY) 2012 Locavore Challenge, and it was a fantastic day for me. We had all three meals at home, which meant I could really experience a whole day of eating like a locavore.

This challenge has been interesting so far because we've been eating away from home much more than usual, mostly due to Labor Day weekend BBQs, family dinners, and our trip down to NYC on Sunday. While I've enjoyed all the socializing with friends and family, I was really glad to have the opportunity to spend the whole day yesterday sharing home-cooked meals with my two favorite guys.

We had eggs and grits for breakfast, vegetarian stuffed peppers for lunch, leftover peppers and salad for dinner, apples for snacks (Ed and I each had one, while Dylan wolfed down four himself), and Ed and I ended our evening chatting about our lovely day while drinking Blue Point Brewing Company Pumpkin Ale.

I spent a LOT of time in the kitchen, chopping veggies, stirring steamy pots of yummy things, and washing a gazillion dishes by hand. That's the thing about eating takes time, and not everyone has the opportunity (or the desire) to spend hours in the kitchen every day. I'm so fortunate to not only have a natural interest in cooking, but also to be a full-time homemaker so that I have the time to explore my culinary abilities.

Yesterday's Challenge: Make a Local Vegetarian Meal
I'm already a vegetarian so this wasn't difficult for me! For those of you who are totally unfamiliar with cooking vegetarian meals I'd definitely suggest checking out Vegetarian Times....they have so many absolutely amazing recipes to try!

Yesterday's Food: Cauliflower
I didn't have any cauliflower on hand, but if I did I'd DEFINITELY make this Roasted Curried Cauliflower recipe.

Yesterday I:
  • Ate/drank local milk, eggs, butter, cheddar, onions, parsley, sweet red peppers, honey, apples, arugula, grape tomatoes, carrots, and beer (13 different foods).
  • Cooked all three meals at home from scratch using mostly local ingredients.
  • Froze six chopped up red peppers to be enjoyed in soups this winter.
  • Made the switch from using sugar in my coffee to honey...I'm not sure how I feel about this's definitely going to take some getting used to, but I'm going to give it a shot!
  • Continued to read Omnivore's Dilemma...if any of you have read it, I'd love to hear what you thought of it!

Monday, September 10, 2012

2012 NY Locavore Challenge: Days 8 and 9

I'm back after quite the busy weekend! Saturday was Day 8 of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York's (NOFA-NY) 2012 Locavore Challenge. We really kicked the day off right, eating an almost-entirely local breakfast, and then heading out to Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard for our first apple picking trip of the season!
I've been going to this farm (which was formerly the Outhouse Orchard) since I was a little girl, and it's better than ever! The trees were filled to the brim with apples, waiting to be picked. The smell of cider donuts was wafting through the air. And the farm store was stocked with all sorts of local goodies including dairy products (local ice cream!), honey, maple syrup, tons of produce in addition to apples, freshly-baked breads and pies, and assorted cuts of meat and poultry.
My favorite part of our orchard adventure was seeing how happy Dylan was to eat an entire apple (which he's never even attempted before...thank goodness he got some more teeth before apple-picking season!) I love knowing that I can share the joys of eating local food with my little guy from such an early age.

We weren't home for much of Sunday because we were down in NYC participating in the Komen 5k Race for the Cure. I'm pretty darn proud of myself because I got up early enough to make us some 100% local brown-bag breakfasts to enjoy on our 5:30AM train ride down to the city. We had breakfast sandwiches made with local bread, butter, eggs, cheese and tomatoes, and I also packed us some apples that I picked on Saturday.

I'm even more proud of my dear friend Amanda Crain and her mom Andrea who were picked to be the Komen Foundation's co-survivor and survivor of the year! (You can read their absolutely amazing story here.) The day was a reminder to me that part of the reason why I jumped on the locavore band-wagon in the beginning was to improve my diet...something which can help decrease my own risk of getting breast cancer. I have a family history of breast cancer so I'm going to do everything possible to improve my odds for avoiding this disease myself!

Day 8 Challenge: Shop at a Farmers Market or Farm-Stand
The real challenge here was picking WHICH farmers market or farm-stand to go to! We ended up at Harvest Moon, but I would have also loved to go to the market at Gossett Brothers Nursery or the John Jay Homestead, or visited the u-pick garden at Hilltop Hanover Farm.

Day 8 Food: Grapes
I bought some local grapes at Muscoot Farmers Market last Sunday, and I have to admit, they're just not my thing. I LOVE the flavor of local grapes, but all the seeds make them a total pain to eat (plus there was no way to share them with Dylan who is too young to navigate the seeds, and boy did that make him mad as grapes are one of his favorite foods!) I'll probably just avoid buying grapes, and look forward to eating them as a treat when they're served at other peoples houses (which happens fairly often.)

Day 9 Challenge: Try Food Preservation
The race in the city meant I didn't have time to do any food preserving yesterday, but my freezer is already filling up with frozen summer goodies, including strawberries and blueberries I picked myself at Samascott Orchards, and sweet corn from my CSA from Roxbury Farm.

Day 9 Food: Pickles
There are two ways to approach this pickles from a farmers market - which I've totally done in the past, from Pickle Licious - or make pickles yourself. I've never canned pickles, but I have made quick-pickled vegetables (including cucumbers, radishes and carrots from our CSA). I'll be sure to share the recipe next time I'm pickling something!

Over the weekend I:
  • Ate/drank local milk, eggs, feta, potatoes, sweet red peppers, onions, honey, apple cider, cider donuts, apples, bread, beer, tomatoes, cheddar, and butter (15 different foods).
  • Bought some grown-in-the-US, roasted-in-NY peanut butter from Once Again Nut Butter.
  • Picked my first apples of the season!
  • FINALLY started reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan....I'm only a few pages in and it's already life-changing
I hope y'all had a wonderful weekend full of amazing local food!

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