Blue Heron Local Cuisine

Cooking, Eating, and Drinking on the North Shore (and beyond)

The end of farmer’s market season October 25, 2008

It’s a very sad day; we went to the last Marblehead farmers’ market of the season. We stocked up on cheese; feta; red-wine lamb sausage; gala apples; and fougasse (our newest discovery, a circular flat bread with sesame seeds, salt, and pepinas on top that tastes like a distant but infinitely superior relative of the fresh pretzel). We also came home with pea tendrils, dandelion greens, and a jerusalem artichoke. The pea tendrils will go into a stir fry, the dandelion greens will serve as the base for No Egret’s Hot Bacon Salad, and the jerusalem artichoke, which is new to us, will be used in a stew or shephard’s pie later on in the month.

(photo from wikipedia)

(photo from wikipedia)

 

My apple of the day is the Cameo, which is red-striped over yellow. It has a nice aromatic taste and the apples are small and crunchy, just the way I like ’em. Cameo is a surprise cultivar from Washington and is thought to be a cross between red delicious and yellow delicious (delicious is quite the euphenism for those bland supermarket apples—it almost moves me to quotation marks).

 

Best of luck to those of you finishing off the Eat Local Challenge.

 

-goldlentil

Advertisements
 

North Shore Bazaar October 23, 2008

Filed under: Ethical Eating,North Shore — blueheronlocal @ 1:46 pm
Tags: ,
photo by george mulcahey

photo by george mulcahey

Have you noticed that churches have taken up the fight for fair trade products? It makes me happy to see churches using the pulpit to preach fair labor and livable wages, rather than throwing their moral weight around trying to keep people who love each other from getting married.

 

Even if, like me, you haven’t darkened the door of a house of worship in years (except for the occasional wedding or bluegrass concert), consider heading over to West Peabody for the North Shore Bazaar at the Community Covenant Church. There will be fair trade products and a local artisan bazaar, as well as educational booths from Boston Faith & Justice Network, The Food Project, and The North Shore Rabbinical Association.

 

More info here.

 

Post update: Did anyone go to the Bazaar? How was it?

 

-goldlentil

 

What are you drinking? October 20, 2008

Filed under: Drinking Locally — blueheronlocal @ 1:25 pm
Tags: , ,

Local Ginger Beer

(from ajstephans.com)

(from ajstephans.com)

Think ginger beer is a sweet, faintly tart drink that you drink at your grandma’s or when your stomach hurts? The difference between ginger ale and a real ginger beer is like the difference between instant coffee and fresh-brewed espresso. Ginger beer lulls you in with sweetness, but its mid-palate (to use my brother-in-law’s wine vocabulary) taste is strong and spicy, with a gentler finish of cloves or cinnamon.

 

Ginger beer (both alcoholic and nonalcoholic) has been brewed in New England since colonial days. It was drunk by the men working the harvest. Both the copious amounts of sugar and the revitalizing ginger helped give them the energy to finish the job. No egrets and I were only harvesting groceries when we picked up a bottle of AJ Stephans’ ginger beer at Crosby’s: official independent chain grocery store of the North Shore. It was nice and strong, and produced in Fall River (previously brewed even closer to home, in Stoneham). Some official tasters thought that it contained too much ginger “flavoring” along with actual ginger, but other tasters were so impressed by the layered flavors that they didn’t notice.

 

All this talk of ginger put us in mind to make some ginger and molasses cookies. Anyone know a source of fair trade molasses?

 

-goldlentil

 

Community Supported Fisheries October 9, 2008

Filed under: Fishing,North Shore — blueheronlocal @ 3:26 pm
Tags: , ,
(photo by Mike Martin)

(photo by Mike Martin)

I can see fishing boats chugging out to sea practically from my window, but in the grocery stores and fish markets, the seafood often is farm-raised or foreign. The question of why we don’t have more local seafood has plagued me, and others I’m sure, as long as I’ve lived on the North Shore. Cathy Huyghe discusses this lack in an article in the Gloucester Times. She also offers an answer: Community Supported Fisheries.

 

Any localvore worth her salt (to mix metaphors) is familiar with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where the consumer plunks down a small wad of bills in the spring and in return gets weekly boxes of fresh, beautiful produce all summer and into the fall. What if you could plunk down a small wad of bills and receive fresh fish all summer? The fishermen would receive reliable capital and fair-trade prices for their catch and the localvore would eat well and support the local economy.

 

Community Supported Fisheries have received a bit more press since I first mentioned them. A recent issue of Orion discusses them and their benefits and barriers to success and the Gloucester Times is also keeping an eye on them. There’s a CSF in the midcoast of Maine and one in North Carolina. Maine also has a lobster CSF (of course!). The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance is actively pursuing the establishment of more CSFs. There has been talk of setting up a CSF in Gloucester. I’m looking forward to it.

 

 

-goldlentil

 

Macoun Apples October 6, 2008

Filed under: In Season,Regional food — blueheronlocal @ 5:50 pm
Tags: , ,
(from nyapplecountry.com)

(from nyapplecountry.com)

I bought a big bag of Macoun apples at Connors Farm in Danvers. No egrets and I did not go into the corn maze. We did, however, sample the hot cider donuts, which were way more flavorful than, but not as light as, the ones at Russell Orchard.

 

Macouns are delicious—firm flesh with a tart/sweet flavor—a northern-climate-friendly cross between the McIntosh and the Jersey Black. It is named after W. T. Macoun, who was a Canadian apple breeder and botanist who named 105 apple varieties in the beginning of the twentieth century. He is credited with helping the popularity of McIntosh apples in Canada, and was a strong proponent of home gardening and gardening in vacant city lots. The Macoun was developed in Geneva, New York, a year before W. T. Macoun’s death in 1933.

 

-goldlentil

 

On Skills, Economics, and blogs that won’t let me comment October 2, 2008

(photo from Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center)

NPR* has this snazzy little radio show called The Splendid Table, hosted by the grand dame Lynne Rosetto Casper (with a voice like pork cooked with apples, topped by well-buttered biscuits).  About a year ago, she started a local food challenge blog,  which includes posts from people around the country.  I’ve been sporadically following a woman named Autumn, from my home state, West Virginia. 
 
On 9/11, Autumn posted a thoughtful rant about the economic past, present, and future and how that relates to food: growing, eating, preserving, buying, obesity, health, life, the universe, and everything.
 
In short: WV has economic and health problems, which grew out of a history of subsistence lifestyles that were rendered obsolete and not properly replaced with anything else (other than coal—a place I will not go today). This lead to a loss of skills and host of modern health issues, which can be summarized by saying that obesity is bad and prevalent. 
 
Her solution: Rebuild local economies based on meeting basic needs, like food, locally.  (more…)

 

Recipes of the Day October 1, 2008

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 5:49 pm
Tags: , , , , ,
(thanks, clipartof.com)

(thanks, clipartof.com)

I like to write blog posts just before lunch time, when I’m just beginning to be hungry and am most receptive to food ideas (but before I get too grouchy to write coherently and storm off to the kitchen to eat lunch).

Here are my recipe picks of the day:

 

Pumpkin dal on Tigers and Strawberries. I love dal. In my bachelorette days, I ate dal and rice at least once a week, from Anna Thomas’ Vegetarian Epicure 2. It is easy, quick, and delicious. You can be fancy and roast your spices beforehand,  add diced apples or tomatoes, and serve over delicately spiced rice. But on bad days, you can throw your lentils in water, toss in some spices, a pat of butter for flavor, and a squirt of lemon at the end and it’s still good. On a really fabulous day, you should make this pumpkin dal from Tigers and Strawberries.

 

Bibimbap. I first ate bibimbap at JP Seafood. It contains pretty much everything I like to eat all together: rice, greens, meat (or salmon, or tofu), chili peppers, cucumbers, and a fried egg. Today’s NY Times tells us how to make bibimbap in a rice cooker.

 

Red (purple) tortillas from Rancho Gordo. I’ve never had much luck making tortillas. I used to own a tortilla press, which I thought would be the answer to rubbery grocery store tortillas. Tortillas have very few ingredients and the steps looked easy, but the masa dough would stick to the sheets of wax paper and it never achieved the correct consistency. I gave away the tortilla maker in one of my moves. A few months ago my friend Coco and I tried to make tortillas by hand. The results tasted good, but the tortillas fell apart in the grill. Being bereft of good tortillas in Brookline and Beverly, respectively, Coco and I ate them anyway. Next time, we will try the red tortillas.

 
-goldlentil