Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Welcome to my brain

As summer kicks into full swing so does the cooking! Today we have a bunch of "special" specials thanks to the CSA membership and the abundance of great local produce.

We have a small plate special of Beet and Cabbage Salad with Deviled Eggs, an idea that I shamelessly lifted from the Seasonal Ontario Food blog; a Falafil Sandwich which is served in a hollow ciabatta stuffed with falafils and tomato cucumber salad; and finally, Hot Cherry Crisp (with an ice cream option). By the way, are you a facebook fan? If not, make sure to find us on facebook. Occassionally fans get advanced notice of specials and other perks.

The key to being able to fully appreciate and enjoy a CSA membership or local farmers markets is a balance between preparation and inspiration. Preparation in the sense that you know what comes into season when and know what to do with it. Keeping a list of recipes you'd like to try is one way. Another option is to pick a fruit or vegetable and research it. Flip through cookbooks, read blogs, google® your produce of choice (I've googled chard more than once this season!), and best of all, ask the farmer! Every week when I pick up our produce from One Straw Farm someone is talking about what they made with last week's alotment or asking about a veggie they've never heard of or cooked with before. Even if you don't get a specific recipe you'll get a feel for traditional flavor pairings.

The second point is being open to inspiration. You don't need to have a plan for a pint of raspberries to buy them! Worst case senario is you eat them out of hand or dump them on vanilla ice cream. If all of life's "worst senarios" were like this, huh? You know what just came to me as I typed this? A fresh raspberry grilled cheese sandwich. How crazy good does that sound? It could be with brie on sourdough or a baguette; or sharp cheddar on sprouted wheat. Maybe mash them up a bit and add a touch of honey....or honey and vinegar...or mayonnaise to use as a spread on a turkey sandwich....or throw them in the freezer to toss in with the dressing for your Thanksgiving bird...birds....I've never cooked duck...I bet raspberries would be good with is dark and fatty, so are chicken thighs....maybe chicken thighs marinated in raspberry vinaigrette for the 4th of July cookout.....

Welcome to my brain. Did I scare you?

Get familiar with the Maryland harvest calendar (if you are not in Maryland check out the Natural Resources Defense Council's Eat Local page for your state's harvest calendar). Get the harvest schedule for your favorite pick-your-own farm (here's one of mine). Go to the market with an idea of what will be there but open to inspiration. And for heaven's sake, if a pint of black raspberries speak to you....listen!