Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gifts for the Local Eater

I'm not talking about myself here, of course. I already have plenty of everything. Especially turnips.

So, anyway, Hannukah is over, but if you need to get a Christmas gift for someone, here are some ideas.

I'm not going to include all of the links. I bet you can do a google search just as well as I can. If you're in Pittsburgh, my most constant (though expensive) source has been Rollier's Hardware in Mt. Lebanon.

I've tried to include something for every budget.

Cooking Tools

  • Foley food mill
  • Vaccuum seeler and vaccuum seeler bags http://www.sealerbags.com/
  • Apple corer, peeler, slicer
  • Jars (8 oz are good for Jam, pint are good for tomatoes, tomato sauce, apple sauce, etc.)
  • Lids
  • Jelly bag
  • Chef's knife
  • Canner (a very large pot with a special rack to hold the jars)

Books
  • Simply in Season (a cookbook)
  • Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Stephen Hopp, etc.
  • Plenty by James McKinnon and Alisa Smith
  • Preserving Summer's Bounty by Susan McClure
  • Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
  • Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
  • The Busy Person's Guide to Preserving Food by Janet Chadwick
  • Jam and Jelly by Holly and Nellie by Gloria Whelan

Other
  • A membership in the East End Food Co-op
  • A CSA share http://www.localharvest.org/
  • Subscription to the magazine Table
  • Membership in Slow Food Pittsburgh
  • Donation to PASA (the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture)
  • Chest freezer
  • Composter
  • Some seeds from Seed Savers http://www.seedsavers.org/products.asp?dept=91
  • Gift certificate to Green Chef's Deli, Bona Terra, the Cafe at the Frick or one of the Big Burrito restaurants
  • A reusable tote bag

And I bet some of you know what gift you will be getting from a local food lover. . . And it's name starts with grape and ends with jelly. . .

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lots of Latkes

Well, as it turns out, those sweet potatoes from Kretschmann's Farm were actually red-skinned regular potatoes. What can I say? They were inside a dark paper bag. So far all the produce we have received from Kretschmann's has been terrific. The apples are juicy and sweet. The turnips are tasty and not bitter and everything is holding up really well after almost a week in the fridge.

So, in honor of those potatoes and the last night of Hanukkah (Hanukah? Chanukah? Chanukkah?) here is my mother-in-law's recipe for potato pancakes, a.k.a. Latkes that are just delicious served with apple sauce. Some people like them with sour cream.

Latkes

2 Eggs
1 small onion
1 tsp. salt
2 cups raw potatoes, in chunks [I used a little more]
1/4 cup flour
oil

Break eggs into blender. [I did it in a bowl and used an immersion blender]. Add onion, salt, and 1 cup of the potato. Blend a few seconds. Add flour and second cup of potato. Blend just until potatoes are blended. Fry in oil. [2 Tbs.?] [Pour out in 1/4 cupfuls and fry over medium-high heat for 5 - 7 minutes per side] Can freeze and reheat at 400 degrees -- will be crisper. Makes 12-15 latkes or 20-22 hors d'oeuvres size.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

And That's Just the Carrots!


We received our first delivery today from the Kretschmann winter CSA. I had heard about large quantities of vegetables from them. I thought, Oh. Those people are just wimps and probably don't eat any vegetables. Wrong! I have never seen so many turnips in one place in my life. Probably 25 of those. And a giant bag of sweet potatoes. And that's about 25 carrots you're looking at. Plus onions, beets, arugula (I think?), Kale, two heads of radicchio, 2 heads of cabbage (one of which is enormous), a head of red lettuce (I think?), some herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage (no parsley, alas). Also butternut squash. And apples (maybe 20 of those). And I'm probably forgetting something. I will take it as a personal challenge.

In the meantime, here is a recipe for turnip and apple casserole. My mother has been making it on Thanksgiving and Christmas for years, and I have been eating it for years. It is basically an apple crisp, but when you add turnips to it, voila, it is a side dish instead of dessert. What's not to love about that?

Scalloped Turnip and Apple Casserole. Serves 6-8

1 Large Yellow Turnip (I don't know what this is. All the ones I've seen here are white and purple) peeled and diced
1 Tbs butter or margarine
2 peeled apples
2 Tbs margarine or butter
1/4 C brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1/3 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C brown sugar
Cook the turnips in water until they are soft. Drain and mash the turnips. Add one tablespoon butter and mix. Toss sliced apples with 1/4 C brown sugar and cinnamon. Arrange in alternate layers of mashed turnips and sliced apples in a greased 2 Qt. casserole, beginning and ending with the turnip. Mix the flour, 1/3 C brown sugar and 2 Tbs butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 for one hour. Garnish with fresh apple slices and parsley (if desired).

And if anyone needs any cabbage, please contact me ASAP.