One Local Summer beginning

Inspired by my experience with the Dark Days Eat Local challenge, I am now participating in the far easier One Local Summer — participants agree to cook at least one meal per week entirely out of local ingredients, excluding salt, spices, and cooking oil.  For the purposes of this, I’m defining “local” as “from within New England”…most vegetables will be from the CSA (within walking distance), and meat and tofu will I can get within the state, but I get butter, beans, and grain from Maine and eggs from New Hampshire (though the meat people also do eggs if you get there early enough). 

Tonight’s dinner was pan-fried cornmeal-breaded perch, steamed wild greens with garlic, and apple-rhubarb crisp.  I was going to be a real food blogger and take pictures of it, because there is actually a digital camera in this apartment, but then before I knew it I was looking at an almost empty plate and hadn’t photographed anything!  Maybe next week.

Pan-fried Perch

I’ve done pan-fried fish several time and blogged about it in the past…I should obviously just keep pan-frying fish.  Steamed fish can be delicious, but if you overcook it it’s just unfortunate, and I’ve never tried baked fish.  Putting it in soups is pretty foolproof, but that’s really fish-flavored soup rather than a way to cook a *piece of fish*.  But pan-fried?  Yum.  And I got it *perfectly* cooked this time.  I mixed in more salt than usual into the cornmeal, along with a generous pinch of that medieval seasoning I’ve been throwing in everything lately, and it was really excellent.

Fish:

  • Perch (from this bit of the Atlantic)
  • Cornmeal (Maine)
  • Salt (not local)
  • Medieval spice mix (not local, but bought directly from the woman who mixed it)
  • Oil (not local)
Mix cornmeal, salt, and spices.  Dip fish in breading until thoroughly coated.  Bring cast-iron griddle up to heat, add oil, and fry fish on both sides until browned and just cooked through.  Enjoy as soon as possible.
Wild Greens with Garlic
  • Lamb’s quarters and field pea shoots (growing wild on the CSA farm and in the neighbor’s yard)
  • Garlic (from the CSA, a local MA farm, or from Seeds of Change…I think this one is probably one of the non-local bulbs, but they were all mixed together, so I’m going to assume that garlic is local for the sake of simplicity.  We’ve used most of it up now anyway.)
  • Oil (not local)
  • Za’atar seasoning (contains salt; not local, from the same merchant as the medieval spices)
Steam greens, garlic, and seasonings with a little water and a little oil, covered, until tender.  Discover after the fact that pea tendrils, while tasty, are far too tough to actually eat.  The lamb’s quarters, on the other hand, were amazing.  I must harvest as much lamb’s quarters as reasonably possible this summer…they even freeze well!  The za’atar didn’t really come out much, so if you want to try to duplicate this dish, I would recommend either leaving it out or putting in quite a lot of it.
Rhubarb-Apple Crisp
  • Rhubarb (local; I’m not sure from precisely where)
  • Stewed apples (home-canned from last year’s local apples, with some non-local spices and lemon juice in it)
  • Honey (Massachusetts)
  • Rolled oats (Maine)
  • Butter (Maine)
Chop rhubarb into bite-sized pieces, mix with the apples in a baking dish.  Add honey to taste.  Sprinkle rolled oats in a thick layer on top, then layer chopped bits of butter over the oats.  Bake at 375-400 (I turned up the heat when it didn’t seem to be browning much halfway through) until the oats look crispy.  We ate it with vanilla ice cream, which was organic but not local.  So sue me; we don’t have an ice cream maker and it was really really good with ice cream! ;-)
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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I know what it’s like to cook and blog and try to take pictures all at the same time – it’s a meal in itself! I fully understand your desire to eat what’s in front of you and good for you.
    If you’re interested, take a look at my post on fried perch.
    all the best,
    johanna.
    http://tastefultart.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/121/

  2. 2

    Kim said,

    Three words for this meal, Sarah – Fab. U. Lous!

    :-)


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