Tag Archives: Local

Brook Trout with Crispy Wild Leek Topping

Last weekend was the first weekend of trout fishing season in this area, so Kevin made plans to spend the better part of both days along the local waterways. Every year, Kevin spends hours fishing on his lunch break, in the evenings and on weekends. Until this year, he participated purely for sport, releasing everything he caught. This year is different, though. Since we’ve got about a year of local eating under our belts, he suggested we take our practices to the next level and start eating some of his catch. Coincidentally, we have had our first experiences with wild food foraging in the past couple of weeks, too, picking some spring onions and receiving some ramps (or wild leeks) from a friend.

So, on Sunday, when Kevin caught two brook trout, it was time to take the plunge into eating what he had provided for us himself. I’ve got to admit, as a former vegetarian/vegan, it took a lot for me to wrap my brain around the fact that the fillets I was preparing had recently been part of a fish swimming in the creek (I wasn’t witness to him cleaning the fish). But, I am an omnivore. I forced myself to come to terms with the notion, and realized that, as local, sustainable and natural eating goes, this is about as authentic as we could get.

I prepared the trout fillets simply, baking them with a topping of chopped ramps, parsley, and torn bread. The flavor was light, delicate and delicious. Paired with some spring onion pesto pasta and radishes sautéed with fresh mint (bonus recipe below!), it was a great way to taste the flavors of Pennsylvania spring.

Brook Trout with Crispy Wild Leek Topping

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 4 trout fillets
  • 6 ramps/wild leeks (if you don’t have ramps, you can substitute green onions and an extra clove of garlic)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • few sprigs parsley
  • 1 slice day-old bread
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 T. olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover baking pan with foil and lightly grease.
  2. Place trout fillets skin side down on foil.

    Trout Fillets

    Trout Fillets

  3. Clean ramps and finely chop the white part and the leaves, then place in small bowl.
  4. Mince garlic and parsley and add to bowl.
  5. Tear bread into small pieces and add to bowl.

    Herb & Bread Topping

    Herb & Bread Topping

  6. Drizzle herb and bread mixture with olive oil and toss to mix well.
  7. Spread mixture evenly over trout fillets.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until trout is opaque and flakes with a fork. Be careful not to overcook.
  9. Serve with spring vegetables. (And watch out for super thin bones when eating!)
Rainbow Trout

A true Lehigh Valley early spring dinner.

Bonus Recipe: Sauteed Radishes with Spring Onions & Mint

Ingredients

Just a few simple ingredients for this flavorful side!

  • 1 large bunch radish roots (save the tops for another use!)
  • 5 spring onions
  • 1 sprig mint
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and quarter radishes. Clean and chop spring onions, keeping white and green parts separate.
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet, and add radishes and white part of onions.
  3. Sautée over medium heat until radishes are lightly carmelized and crisp-tender when pricked with a fork.
  4. Add chopped onion greens, then remove from heat.
  5. Top radishes with torn mint leaves, salt and pepper.

Can it be?

Can there really be enough energy, dedication and enthusiasm about a Bethlehem Grocery Co-Op that it could be a reality within a few years?

YES.

That much was made clear to me at the first co-op meeting tonight. Aside from getting to eat a ton of great food (everything from venison to red pepper-walnut dip to muffins), I learned so much about the principles of co-ops, the crazy amount of work behind setting one up, and the spirit that exists in this community towards issues a co-op would address. This is what I was looking for in a community— what I saw in Portland but hadn’t yet fully seen here. The sheer amount of ideas generated and smiles were enough to keep me positive about humanity for another year, at least.

Jaime, Cathy and Summre were masters of running an efficient meeting (I think they should come run my Brownie meeting sometime. :P), even with attendance at a much higher level than anyone expected (I would estimate around 80-100 people—fantastic!).

I walked out of the room with not only a bright outlook and a full belly, but with a new task: create and maintain a blog for co-op news, independent of the Facebook group. I came home so jazzed up from the meeting that I’ve stayed up to create it and put up the first post. So, here you have it—click here to jump in!

To read a more detailed account of what was said at the meeting take a look at The El Vee blog

Today I worked a full day, went to the Westgate Farmers’ Market, had lunch with an honored guest at work, led a Girl Scout Brownie meeting, attended a 2-hour co-op meeting, and created a new blog. I’m going to collapse now. G’Night.


A Co-Op? In Bethlehem? Let’s Do It!!!

CoOp

It can happen!!!

I’ve lived in downtown Bethlehem for seven years, and one I have always thought that one thing the area truly lacked was a grocery store. Sure, there are convenience stores and even a corner market, but there is nowhere in walking distance to do a weeks worth of grocery shopping. I love farmers markets and visited the SteelStacks market every week this year (its first year) without fail (except for when I was in Maine), but that market and the CSA have ended for the season, so buying local food is becoming a bit trickier (although still possible!). For the first four years that I lived downtown, I did not drive, so purchasing food was even more of a challenge.

Visiting Portland, OR, I got my first taste of how different the grocery buying experience could be. There were two major weekly markets—both well attended and well stocked by local producers. The Saturday market was truly insane. In addition to these markets, local co-ops and CSAs provided the people with a strong sense of community. People knew each other, and even if you were just visiting, they made you feel like you were part of the group. Visiting local food venues in the city, my husband and I met people that we still remember today (like the amazing hard cider producer who was originally from Norristown!). After coming back from each trip to the west coast, my husband and I missed the sense of food community that we experienced there. Seeing the local markets popping up in the past year or two and hearing buzz about local products and food events, we started to have hope that the notion would catch on in the Lehigh Valley.

Well, it looks like it has! Last week, my friend Jamie K from Save the Kales! made an exciting announcement on Facebook.

Facebook Screenshot

Um, YES!

This is a fantastic opportunity for those of us who care about where our food comes from, how it is raised or grown and the ethics behind where we buy. Co-ops have so many benefits if properly executed. The amount of interest in the area seems to be phenomenal—After just a week, 528 people have joined the Facebook group about the co-op.

So, without further ado, here are three things you should do if you are interested in this endeavor:

  1. Read Jaime K’s two blog posts:
    Bethlehem Grocery Co-Op: Let’s Do This
    Official Meeting Info
  2. Request to join the Facebook group.
  3. Come to the first Co-Op meeting! It is on Wednesday, November 30 from 7-9pm at the Bethlehem Area Public Library. More details here.

Sausage Pasties: It’s What’s For Dinner!

Just over a week ago, we visited Keepsake Farms in Northampton as part of the Penn State Extension Northampton County Open Gate Farm Tour (could that title get any longer?). In addition to picking up some delicious pumpkin ice cream and excellent cheese, we decided to try some bockwurst. I wasn’t in the mood for a plain sausage, though—I had a craving for a flaky, savory pasty. Pasties have Cornish roots, and the small meat pies were often given to miners as a pocket-size yet hearty lunch to take to work. I am a big fan of Mr. Pastie, a frozen version of the treat that is made in Pen Argyl, PA. I haven’t had one in quite a while because we haven’t been to a supermarket in a long time. When I was just looking to see if there was a website for the company to link to from this post, and I found a Google listing for a Mr. Pastie TAKEOUT location in Pen Argyl. I do believe a jaunt to that little town about 30 minutes from here is in order! In the meantime, I used the bockwurst to make my own version of a pasty. From what I understand, Cornish people and Michigan residents take their pasties very seriously, so disclaimer: This is not a traditional pasty! It’s really good though!

Bockwurst Pasties

Crust Ingredients:

Crust Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 1/2 c. ice water
Filling Ingredients

Filling Ingredients—Not pictured, onion.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Mix flours and salt in food processor. Add shortening and process until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  3. With the food processor running, slowly add water until mixture forms a ball.
  4. Divide into 2 balls and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, dice potatoes, carrots, onion and bockwurst.
  6. Finely chop garlic and add to filling mixture.
  7. Deseed and finely chop poblanos, then add to filling mixture. Add black pepper and mix.
  8. Roll out dough to 1/8″ thick. Use a bowl or plate 5-6 inches in diameter as a stencil to cut circles from dough, rerolling as necessary.
  9. Spoon filling onto half of each circle, leaving at least 1/4″ around edge.

    Filling Pasties

    Filling Pasties

  10. Fold dough over filling and crimp to seal. Cut slits in top of each pasty to vent.
  11. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Serve hot, topped with a pat of butter.

    Finished Pasty

    Finished Pasty. I forgot to add the onions to my filling, so I cooked them in a skillet and sprinkled them on top!

 


Autumn Meatloaf—It’s What’s for Dinner!

Last week, my husband said that he really wanted meatloaf for dinner. However, we were out of eggs and breadcrumbs. I dig around in the fridge a bit, searching for something to replace the moisture and glue-like nature of the eggs and bread. I ended up with some fruit and vegetables for moisture and a tad of goat cheese for stickiness. This meal is actually a hybrid of local ingredients from the Lehigh Valley and Maine! The apple is from the farmer’s market behind my parents’ rental in Camden, Maine, and the goat cheese was from a farm near Acadia National Park. This meatloaf really offers a taste of autumn.

Autumn Meatloaf

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Using a food processor with a grating blade if you have one, grate apple (no need to peel), onion, carrots (also no need to peel)  and garlic together.
  3. Add bread and pulse until large crumbs are formed.
  4. Place veggie mixture in large bowl with ground beef and mix (using your hands will be easiest).
  5. Chop herbs, reserving 6 whole sage leaves.
  6. Add soft cheese and herbs and mix thoroughly.
  7. Divide mixture in half and form each portion into a loaf.
  8. Place in baking dish and top with whole sage leaves.
  9. Bake for 45-55 minutes.

    Finished Meatloaves

    Finished Meatloaves (I tossed in some green beans and olive oil around the loaves to roast with dinner)


Smokey Spicy Sweet Squash

Yesterday, I posted a recipe for a quick and simple meal my husband and I enjoyed on our anniversary. It’s always one of my favorite occurences when there are leftovers from a tasty meal. The smoked chicken breast we had picked up from Saylors & Co. was pretty big, so we had some of that left, plus we had one more acorn squash from our CSA share. I had a hankering for stuffed squash, but I didn’t have any eggs or bread for filling. So, another bout of fridge and cabinet-rummaging ensued, and I emerged with an apple, an onion and some lentil snack mix. Sounds strange? Sure. But it was sooo good!

Smokey Spicy Sweet Squash

Ingredients:

A Mishmash of Ingredients

A Mishmash of Ingredients

  • 1 c. chopped smoked chicken breast (Saylors & Co.)
  • 1/2 large apple (snack on the rest!) (from the farmer’s market behind my parent’s rental in Maine)
  • 1/2 onion (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 c. lentil snack mix (Cardamom & Curry)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut squash in half, parallel with ridges.
  3. Scoop out seeds and save for roasting as a snack.
  4. Place squash cut side down on baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until tender.
    -or-
    Place cut side up in microwave safe dish  with 1-1.5″ water. Cover and microwave on high for about 10 minutes or until tender.
  5. Meanwhile, finely chop apple and onion. Combine with chicken and lentil snack mix.
  6. Remove squash from oven and flip cut side up (or transfer to baking sheet if done in microwave).
  7. Spoon chicken mixture into each half. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until filling is hot.

    Mmmm.

    Mmmm. And with spiced, toasted seeds for snacking!


Midweek Celebration Feast

Sometimes events worth celebrating occur when you don’t have time or energy to create a celebration-worthy meal. Last week, my husband and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary. Our road trip to Maine, which you can read about in previous posts (here, scroll to the bottom for day one), was our gift to each other, and we were still getting our feet back on the ground in our daily routine, so we didn’t want to do anything too elaborate on the day itself. However, we still wanted to share a special meal together. The SteelStacks Farmer’s Market was that day, so we kept our eyes peeled for something easy yet a little special for dinner.

We ended up with a feast that was ready in less than 30 minutes but felt like we had been working all day! We purchased a smoked chicken breast, which just needed heating up (and provided enough meat for a whole extra meal!). On the side, I microwave roasted some acorn squash. I rarely ever use the microwave for anything aside from defrosting or reheating, but when you are short on time, it can be quite handy! We popped the acorn squash seeds in the oven with the chicken while it heated up to use as a crunch topping on a whole wheat pasta side dish. Served with a green salad, we felt like we were at a restaurant!

Our Easy Anniversary Meal

Ingredients

These ingredients combined to form a full restaurant quality meal!

Entrée Ingredient:

Microwave Roasted Acorn Squash Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 large sage leaves
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sage & White Wine Pasta Ingredients:

  • 2 portions whole wheat pasta (homemade from the freezer)
  • 12 sage leaves
  • seeds from acorn squash
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 c. white wine (we used Autumn Gold from Vyncrest Vineyards)
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • salt & pepper,  to taste
  • Romano cheese, to taste (Klein Farms)

Green Salad:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and cook pasta.
  2. Cut acorn squash in half, parallel to the ridges. Scoop out seeds and reserve.
  3. Put smoked chicken breast in baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes or until hot.
  4. Meanwhile, clean the pulp off the squash seeds. Toss seeds with 1 T. olive oil and some chili powder, salt and pepper.
  5. Spread seeds on cookie sheet and add to oven for final 10 minutes of chicken heating time.
  6. Brush each acorn squash half with olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder, salt & pepper. Put 1 T. brown sugar in the scooped center of each squash half. Tear 2 sage leaves and place on top of brown sugar.

    Acorn Squash, ready to microwave

    Acorn Squash, ready to microwave

  7. Set squash halves, cut side up, in a deep microwave-safe dish with about 1.5 inches of water in the bottom. Cover with a lid or vented plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes or until tender.
  8. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet. Chop garlic and sage leaves. Cook garlic and sage over medium heat until garlic is beginning to soften.
  9. Add white wine to skillet, scraping off any browned bits. Bring to a boil, then simmer until reduced by half.
  10. Add cooked pasta to skillet and toss with wine sauce.
  11. Rinse and tear lettuce. Toss with creamy garlic dressing.
  12. Just before serving, sprinkle pasta with toasted squash seeds and Romano cheese.
  13. Slice and plate chicken. Carefully remove squash from microwave dish (I used tongs) and add to plate. Serve pasta and top with toasted squash seeds and grated Romano cheese.
  14. Serve with wine and share with good company.

    Anniversary Dinner

    Anniversary Dinner. After we finished our Wild Blueberry Meade from Maine, we paired this meal with Vyncrest Autumn Gold.


Sweet & Savory Spare Ribs—It’s What’s For Dinner!

To me, autumn is the official start of slow-cooker season (although I don’t know why I don’t use it more often in other months). I love the notion of coming home and smelling something yummy before I even open the door. We still had a few of summer’s last foods, too, so I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to ease into fall with a warming dish using some warm weather ingredients. Even though there’s a jalapeno in here, it’s not spicy at all—just a nice balance of sweet and savory. Say hello to the best season (in my opinion) with these succulent ribs!

Sweet & Savory Spare Ribs

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. pork spare ribs (Klein Farms)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 3 tomatoes (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1 onion (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1 jalepeno (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1/4 c. peach or apricot juice (Smart Juice)
  • 1/4 c. white wine (Franklin Hill Vineyards)
  • 3 T. brown sugar (I was out of brown sugar but had this random packet of sweet potato seasoning, which included brown sugar, ginger, salt and pepper so I used it in place of those ingredients)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 T. cider vinegar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 sprig rosemary (my garden)

Directions:

  1. Separate the ribs into individual riblets (or have your butcher do this).
  2. Heat some olive oil in a heavy skillet.
  3. Add riblets to skillet. Cook over high heat until browned on bottom, about 1-2 minutes, then flip and repeat.

    Browning Ribs

    I like to use a cast iron skillet to brown meat before slow cooking.

  4. Thickly slice onion and place in bottom of slow cooker.
  5. Pile riblets on top of onion.
  6. Chop tomatoes and remove seeds and veins from jalapeno. Place in food processor.
  7. Puree tomatoes and pepper. Add juice, wine, vinegar, brown sugar and ginger (or packet like I used) , then mix until combined.
  8. Pour tomato mixture over riblets.
  9. Place cinnamon sticks and rosemary on top, then cover slow cooker.
  10. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with roasted potatoes or baked sweet potatoes.

    Succulent Ribs

    You can taste the start of fall.

*Tip: If you want to be extra frugal, pull the meat from the bones when the ribs are done and save the bones to make pork stock (great for Asian recipes)! You can also save the extra sauce in the crockpot to use in the future.


Zucchini Pizza—It’s What’s For Dinner!

Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s quick, simple and easy to make, although making pizza dough can sometimes be a pain. I had a hankering for pizza last week but didn’t feel like making dough and waiting for it to rise. So, using the last of the summer’s zucchini and some inspiration from Rainbow Veggie Cakes, I concocted this zucchini pizza. You can obviously top it however you’d like, but this combination is yummy! Enjoy!

Zucchini Pizza

Ingredients:

Ingredients

The final load of summer veggies.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Grate the zucchinis, using a food processor if you have one. Place in strainer in sink. Salt, toss to mix and let sit for 10 minutes to drain with a heavy bowl on top.
  3. Meanwhile, chop garlic, thinly slice onion, and chop swiss chard.
  4. Combine shredded zucchini and 1 egg in mixing bowl.
  5. Spread zucchini on pizza pan and bake for 10 minutes.

    zucchini crust

    zucchini crust

  6. Remove zucchini crust from oven.
  7. Spread tomato sauce over crust.
  8. Sprinkle with onion, garlic, Swiss chard, basil and oregano.
  9. Top with mozzarella cheese.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and browned.
  11. Let sit 5 minutes before cutting.
    Finished Pizza

    Finished Pizza

    Slice

    Grab a slice!


Midweek Menu: Asian Basil & Noodle Stirfry

In the keeping with the unintentional theme for this week’s recipes, today’s is for a homemade twist on a takeout classic. I had a hankering for Thai basil fried rice last week, and I had a ton of basil from the garden, but no fish or oyster sauce to give the dish that umami sense that defines Thai cuisine. So, I figured I would improvise on the spot, maybe with some Worcestershire sauce. I pondered ideas all day. However, when I got home, I found my husband in the kitchen making homemade pasta. He said he really wanted pasta for dinner, so the gears began turning for how to make a noodle dish inspired by Thai basil fried rice. The result was pretty delicious!

Asian Basil & Noodle Stirfry

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Scrape out seeds from chile and finely chop, place in bowl.
  2. Chop onion and garlic and shred carrots into bowl.
  3. Heat sesame oil in large pan or wok over medium-high heat.
  4. Add chopped veggies and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, or until onions are just translucent.
  5. Add noodles and soy sauce to pan. Stir fry 2 minutes.
  6. Tear swiss chard leaves (removing thick stems) and basil into pan and stir fry until leaves are wilted and pasta is hot.
  7. Drizzle with a bit more sesame oil and serve hot.

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