Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

June 7, 2008

Ah Locally Grown and Made

In May 2007, we tried an experiment to see how it would be to eat locally raised food for one whole week, with the luxury items of salt, rice and coffee. For meals at home, we were able to eat within the confines of the experiment, and then at the end mostly local organic with a few other ingredients thrown in. The result was that nearly every meal we make has a local organic ingredient in it, or more. Now that it is summer again, and we are part of the Hungry Gnome CSA, most of our meals are nearly 100% local organic now. The benefit of local veggies in our household is that they are picked the day I get them, and they last in the fridge for a LONG Time! I have time to cook them and eat them. I had a bag of bag lettuce greens last nearly 3 weeks and could have gone longer had we not eaten it all! Try keeping a store bought bag for over 3 weeks, and you will have a science experiement growing. We also have been getting our meats from Mamushi Farms from Franklin, a small livestock farm that sells at the Franklin Farmers Market.

braising greens in sink to be cleaned

On the menu for the past week:
Tennessee Spring Onion Soup
Braising Greens with Garlic Scapes
Salad with Radishes and Onion
Beef and Hot Sausage Burgers over Hickory Wood

The Tennessee Onion Soup was so good last time, I decided to try making it with beef soup bones (traditional French Onion Soup is made this way) instead of chicken, from Mamushi Farms. The spring onions I got were from Jones Farm (I think, a vendor at the Franklin Farmers Market), and water I got from the Cumberland River via the Metro Watere Authority. The braising greens were quickly sauteed in olive oil from the Olive Press, then the garlic scape pesto was stirred in to finish the dish. The salad was Hungry Gnomes spring mix with Hungry Gnomes radishes-diced and slivers of Jone's spring onion. The burgers were Mamushi lean ground beef mixed with a little of the hot sausage they make, and them cooked on our wood burning grill out back. We don't have a propane grill once we figured out that wood and coals makes everything taste better. I understand how propane is fast and easy, but we like what real wood adds to our food and we sacrifice ease for flavor.

2 coveted Hungry Gnome garlic cloves, sliced

The Garlic Scape Pesto Sauce
Garlic Scapes
Raw Walnuts
Olive Oil
a little salt and pepper
Put scapes and walnuts into a food processor (or mince to desired texture with a rocker blade) and stir in olive oil until it looks like what you want, then add a little salt and pepper to taste. I made about a pint of this pesto, and later on I used it on pasta and then sprinkled grated aged cheese on the pasta. Mmm Mmm Yumm!

Mamushi Farm soup bones

I have actually rarely started stock from beef soup bones, so this was and experiment for sure. I did not look on the internet for help, nor Alton Brown's book of techniques. First I heard Jason Brumm's voice saying that he never starts stock with beef bone because you can't extract enough flavor out of them, and if you do, it takes too many and too much time, as he once told me 2 years ago. Pa-shaw, then I heard Anthony Bourdain's voice, literally because I have City Confidential on my iPod. As I jogged that morning listening to Tony, I heard Tony say, C'mon people, making stock is not that hard. All you need to do is toss some bones and mirepoix in a pan, roast them, get those roasted brown bits to flavor your stock, start boiling and reduce, reduce, reduce. I decided to listen to Tony. Yeah, it is work, but the rewards of home made stock will win every time.

This stock I made for the base of the Tennessee Onion Soup I made, I am really proud of. I made it from a 30 second description that Anthony Bourdain said in a book on iPod. I made it nearly blind to any technique. It worked out for me, and I can brush off Jason's nay saying for now, and hope next time it wasn't just beginners luck.

Mamushi Farms ground beef and hot sausage burgers

The burgers I made were inspired by one of Oprah's food finds. She had been going to eat a burger every week near her home because it was the best burger she has had. The secret the chef said was that it was made with ground beef and sausage. I do not care much for plain hamburgers, so when I heard sausage, the lightbulb went on above my head. Mamushi's ground beef is quite lean, probably 95-97% lean, so a little fat from some sausage wouldn't hurt to make a burger taste good. I made up the mix of 1 lb beef and 1/2 lb sausage, and made really nice big burgers for us to eat during the week. Delicious.

This week, what is on the menu? All locally grown veggies: roasted root veggies over hickory wood, salad with radishes and spring onion, and sauteed spinach. I will make fresh Lazzaroli tagliatelle with garlic scape pesto topped with Scotts Hams' hickory smoked bacon . I need to go to the Farmer's Market and see what meats I want to get for the week. Eating locally just tastes and feels so good!



At 6/8/08, 9:00 AM, Blogger Eric and Katie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6/8/08, 9:02 AM, Blogger Eric and Katie said...

Okay, that will be next up on the grill...burgers mixed with sausage. Sounds like you had a good eating week. We made smoked brisket last night for a party(good flavor, a bit overcooked) homemade veggie baked beans (spicy and good) and tomatilo-cherry tomato salad. Summer certainly makes for good eating.

At 6/9/08, 10:11 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Wow, you made a brisket! That sounds awesome to me! Where did you get your brisket? I agree, summer does make for good eating for sure.

At 6/11/08, 6:56 AM, Blogger Eric and Katie said...

Got the brisket at Publix in Gallatin...probably a bit on the thin was also a small one, just five pounds.


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