Blue Heron Local Cuisine

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

A Tale of Sausage and Fairy Tale Eggplants September 18, 2008

Filed under: In Season,Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 2:02 pm
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So, you have fabulous artisan sausages from the farmer’s market – pork, portobello and asiago, or – our favorite at the Marblehead Farmer’s Market — lamb, red wine and feta sausage.

This is a special meat product – better sounding than scrapple (the Queen Mother of breakfast meats), a bit drier than pork sausages, juicy without being too greasy, and with the suggestion of feta cheese and wine.  And the little fuzzy sausage donors are raised in Vermont, where natural food was invented.

When I lived in Philly a decade ago, I used to go to fantastic markets and get really nice sausage; here’s a great way I learned to enhance the flavor and preserve the juices.  Sausage itself is a flavoring agent – the juices and even the glaze on a pan from browning them add vital meat essence to otherwise poisonously boring vegetarian sauces.

No Egret’s Beautiful Wine Sauce

3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lb. sausage
1 cup decent Merlot or dry red wine (Spanish wines are really nice in this)
¼ cup (mixed) of fresh oregano, fresh basil, fresh rosemary
2 cloves of garlic
½  cup chopped heirloom tomatoes
½ cup chopped red peppers
8 oz. feta cheese or goat cheese
Your favorite Pasta

Lightly brown the sausage in the oil, and then add herbs and garlic (add more oil if necessary).  When it’s sizzling, deglaze with the wine and simmer for 10 minutes or so.  Then, add the feta (we used Israeli sheep’s milk feta from Trader Joe’s, because we forgot to buy local goat cheese from the goat cheese folks at the farmer’s market) and cut the heat.  Serve with raw tomatoes and peppers sprinkled overtop.  Serve with Pasta and fried fairytale eggplant.

 

Fried Fairytale Eggplant

 [Ed. note: Fairytale eggplant won the All-American Vegetable Selection in 2005. The last time an eggplant won that award was in 1939. You think I make these things up?]

Halve about 10 fairytale eggplant – the little light-purple ones – and coat in egg.  Roll in corn flour and fry until crisp and brown on each side.

 

-no egrets

(photos by Mike Martin)

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Defend Zucchini! August 7, 2008

Filed under: In Season,Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 8:51 pm
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(thanks squidoo and alex gee for the photo)

(thanks squidoo and alex gee for the photo)

Although zucchini has been bad-mouthed in the past, possibly even here, I do love it. Here are some other people who love it too. But I still feel that it is my duty to warn you that Friday is Sneak Some Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch Night. Here are some more details about this important holiday.

 

Should you find an unexpected gift on your porch tomorrow morning, here is Cara’s yummy Zucchini Pasta recipe.

 

Peel the skin off the zucchini and discard. With the vegetable peeler, peel the flesh into long strips. Discard the hard center. Place the strips in a bowl and toss with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes so the zucchini absorbs the salt, which seems to bring out its flavor.
 
Meanwhile, cook up a pot of orecchiette pasta (it’s ear-shaped; orecchiette means “ear” in Italian).
 
Saute some minced garlic in olive oil for 30–60 seconds and then add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Combine pasta and zucchini mixture, top with a lot of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino. I think I may have added fresh parsley, too, at the end.
 
Enjoy!

 

-goldlentil (and cara)

 

Two Easy Ways to Cook Fresh Greens July 4, 2008

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 12:49 pm
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So, you’ve got a bunch—no pun intended—of local greens and you’re wondering how to cook with them. These suggestions are for hardier greens, like arugula, spinach, bok choy, and other Asian greens (not lettuce).

 

Chop up your greens (say, a couple of handfuls per person) and sauté them in olive oil and garlic for a few minutes until softened. Add to an omelet with some pecorino or parmesean cheese.

 

Do the same as above, but after sautéing for a minute or two, add a little chicken stock, cover the pot, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until only a little stock remains. Add greens and stock mixture to cooked pasta, top with fresh parsley and freshly grated cheese. Yum! (You might add some local tomatoes, freshly chopped, to this summer pasta dish.)

(thanks, veggie gardening tips, for the photo)

 

-cara