Day Two of my Eat Local Challenge!
It began with a cup or two of that delicious locally roasted Columbian Peritus Coffee, then – a totally local vegetable frittata.
Let me back up and just remind you that – for three weeks beginning October 16, I have taken the plunge to eat local foods for every meal, via a world-wide Eat Local Challenge initiated by Slow Food International. And use only, or as many – locally source ingredients as possible. The challenge states eating two local meals a week, but I’ve personally committed to all of them – breakfast, lunch and dinner for 21 days. It’s really hard to express how exciting this feels to me – a combination of past life pioneer instincts, creativity, and a deep love of using what I’ve got in the kitchen (restaurant kitchens of the past as well as my own) with a deep, loving connection to the land and what our relationships can be – and are – to it. Seeking out other like-minded people who are farming, growing, and doing that right here. In northern Colorado.
My whims this morning combined roast butternut squash, brown butter sauteed onion and garlic, arugula and tomatoes from my garden with local eggs and chevre from Maura’s permaculture farm just outside Fort Collins. It was delicious, and probably the first time I’ve had butternut squash for breakfast.
Then, when dinner and evening rolled around, there was another little round of excitement. Homemade butter.
There really is no “recipe” involved to make butter, and I highly recommend you try it when you find good local milk. I poured the first couple cups or so off my jar of milk into the Cuisinart – the Jersey and Guernsey cows ensure a rich butterfat content – and I’d heard from Maura at the goat farm that her daughter had made butter from this dairy’s milk. Secured the food processor lid then let it run for about 15 minutes, stopping to check progress from time to time. The speed and blades of the machine separate curds from whey, and I was elated when I saw a mass of soft butter before me.
I drained it through cheesecloth, gave it a little squeeze to let more whey release, then reveled in the lovely lump before me. I had butter!
When I’d figured my plan for dinner, I was thrilled to see my homemade butter perform stunningly in the pan.
And I was craving these brussel sprouts, so simmered them in a 1/2 inch of water, covering the pan, then when the water cooked off, I added *BUTTER!* and tossed them as they browned. I added the chopped tomatoes from my garden, and let them cook down until they were dry.
Creating my Eat Local version of Spaghetti Alfredo was great fun and I wish I could bottle the fragrance of the kitchen. I sauteed minced garlic in my butter, then poured in milk, and made a little roux kneading my butter with a couple tablespoons of GF flour, whisked it slowly into the sauce, and turned down the heat. The spaghetti squash turned out perfectly stringy and tender, baked in a hot oven for about a half hour.
I swirled little bits of my garden basil pesto lightly into the alfredo sauce just before plating. No Parmesan cheese as in the classic version, but with a little sprinkle of salt at the end, I didn’t even notice.
My parting words here today? Find something local to eat, and cook it. You will be so grateful you did. My gratitude is spilling over. 🙂