November 28th, 2011 § § permalink
Food vs. Amy. Food wins.
Notice the relative silence around here this week? It seems I should’ve been careful what I wish for on the “food coma” bit last week. Since late Friday I’ve been battling a nasty case of food poisoning. It cut our weekend in Wisconsin short and meant I spent most of Saturday and Sunday flat in bed. I’ll withhold the details except to say I nursed my tummy by watching Captain Jack Sparrow. Pirates always cheer me up.
Through the ordeal, I just kept thinking Seriously? On the one weekend where I set aside the trusty locavore diet for a smorgasbord of food and family (2 full Thanksgiving dinners plus a restaurant meal, served with a side of junk food on the road) my body really winds up paying for it. Seriously? Somewhere a local foodie is saying, “you of all people should know better.” I have some hunches about what the culprit was, but with the variety of dishes I had Thursday and Friday it’s hard to be certain.
What I am sure about in times of stomach troubles is my fond affection for chicken soup. It was the first thing I wanted to try Saturday afternoon and one of the few appetizing things I feel like eating now. Tender boiled chicken in homemade broth with fluffy dumplings. Much easier to dial down the sodium and spices than any canned soup. Much easier on a cautious tummy.
Food borne illness or not, here’s the steps to try my favorite local chicken dumpling soup:
1 small boiler fryer chicken, 4-5 lbs. (can be frozen or thawed, will just change cooking time)
6 C. water
1 bay leaf
1-2 Tbsp. spices (salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, oregano, etc.) Use whatever you like to taste. On the first days of an upset stomach, I keep it very light and season the leftovers as things improve.
1 1/2 C. onion, chopped
1 C. carrots, chopped
For the Dumplings
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C. whole wheat bread flour
1 C. skim milk
2 tsp. salt (optional)
1. Place chicken in a large stock pot with water and spices. Bring to a boil and cook until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° and juices run clear. Cooking time for a fresh chicken is about 35-45 minutes, for a frozen chicken 75-90 minutes. Remove from heat and allow chicken and stock to cool slightly.
2. Remove chicken from pot and transfer to a cutting board. Leave the stock in the pot to continue cooling. Gently remove chicken from the bone, shredding into large 1-2″ pieces. Skim any fat from the top of the stock before, adding carrots, onion and chicken back into the stock. Bring to a simmer.
3. While stock is coming to a boil, combine flours, eggs and milk in a small mixing bowl. Mix with a fork until dough is evenly moist (it will be sticky!). Set aside and allow to rest for 4-5 minutes. When stock is simmering, drop small spoonfuls of dough into the pot. When all dumplings are in the pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook 12-15 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through. (Dough will be firm but not sticky on the inside).
P.S. It may be a few days before I’m back ferociously in the kitchen, and trust me it wont involve turkey or mashed potato leftovers. In the meantime, check out what the other Minnesota Food Bloggers are doing with their Thanksgiving surplus. It’s the best blogroll around: http://www.mnfoodbloggers.com/
November 22nd, 2011 § § permalink
I promised earlier this week that I’d been working on some rock-your-socks off recipes to post this week. Today it’s a cranberry apple jam posted on Simple Good and Tasty. Cranberry and apple have been my go-to friends this season. First the donuts. Today it’s jam. You can bet I’ll be making Liz’s crumble top pie too. I love the combination of sweet and tangy with cinnamon swirled in. It reminds me of the candle section during the holidays.
Back to the jam…
Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to begin writing posts for Simple Good and Tasty, a Minnesota-based food blog focused on helping people make good food choices. The blog has similar themes as Minnesota Locavore (local, organic, sustainable, healthy, accessible) and the writers come from a diverse and well-rounded background. My first post on local wines went up about a week ago, and I’m hoping to have a few more done before the end of the year.
In a month centered on being thankful, I keep coming back to how grateful I am for this new venture. Serious ecstatic joy. It’s a chance to share/write/soap-box more about my king-sized obsession with everything local food. It’s a chance to meet some new foodie friends. And I get to do more of what I love: to eat good local food and then write about it.
Do me a favor and click on over to SGT today. Check out my cranberry apple jam recipe and the last of my less-than-perfect canning season. Then turn your eyes towards Thursday. Get ready people. A high-quality food coma awaits us.
November 20th, 2011 § § permalink
Snuggling in yesterday to watch the first snow fall of the year was pretty amazing. I’m sure by April I’ll be singing a different tune, but for now, I was glad to see a sign of the new season. The kitchen partner and I ate crazy-good food this weekend, including local meats and veggies at Brasa in St. Paul and some new recipes that will be posted later this week. For now, check out the video below featured on KSTP’s newscasts today. I’m not the only one who hopes for a little more Minnesota Grown this Thanksgiving:
November 18th, 2011 § § permalink
Tomorrow marks the beginning of my absolute favorite week of the year. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Thanksgiving. It’s the ultimate holiday for me. All the same great food. All the same great people. But without the shopping and gift wrapping. And what’s better than celebrating gratitude? I can’t wait!
I’ll be helping with a few Thanksgiving meals next week by putting some local dishes on the table. If you’re in the process of planning a feast for 2 or 20, there’s no better time to support local farmers. Here’s my suggestions to have a fantastic Minnesota Thanksgiving Feast:
Turkey Minnesota is the number one turkey producing state in the country. The National Turkey to be pardoned by President Obama this year is coming from a Minnesota farm. Thanksgiving is all about Minnesota turkey. Here’s three great places to look for a local, sustainable or organic bird: Ferndale Market in Cannon Falls, MN, Callister Farm in West Concord, MN and Kadejan Inc. in Glendwood, MN. For a statewide list see MinnesotaGrown.com
Sweet Potatoes, Squash & Carrots ALL of these items are still readily available at farmers’ markets and from many local producers. Bake ‘em with butter and sweeten with local maple syrup or honey. Or impress your family with a savory roasted squash with bacon. yum.
Green Bean Casserole & Mashed Potatoes Although I’m a fan of my mom’s green bean casserole, there’s really no local substitute for condensed cream of mushroom soup. And if mashed potatoes seems a little same ol’ same ol’, try a warm green bean potato salad with white wine herb dressing.
Cranberry Sauce If you can open a can of congealed cranberry sauce and plop it on a serving plate, there’s no reason you can’t make your own from scratch. I promise. It’s really that easy. Whole fresh cranberries from local bogs are available in bulk at most co-ops and many supermarkets this time of year. Or get your obnoxious relative out of the kitchen for the afternoon on a road trip to the Cranberry Capital. To make the sauce: cut 3 cups of cranberries in half and place them in a pot with 1 c. sugar and 1/3 c. water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes or until cranberries open and begin to soften. You may add more sugar to taste, but I like it on the tart side!
And My Thanksgiving Favorite…Pie What would Thanksgiving be without a good pumpkin pie? A true foodie will cook down a pumpkin and make a pie from scratch, however if time is tight there are some great pies available from Metro locavore spots. Birchwood Cafe is offering regular and gluten-free maple pumpkin pie, apple cranberry ginger pie with local fruit, and a Surly Chocolate Pecan Pie, baked with local favorite Surly beer. Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market in St. Paul also has local pumpkin and apple pies available pre-order. And a wild rice stuffing that sounds mighty tasty. Get your calls in this weekend though, most Thanksgiving orders need to be made by Sunday.
Hope you’re planning a celebration full of food, friends and family. You can bet I’ll be saying my “thanks” for the great local farmers and growers that bring it to our tables.
November 16th, 2011 § § permalink
Today is “The Great Minnesota Give Together” or Give to the Max Day. Non-profits around the state are campaigning to generate as many online donations as possible in a 24 hour period. Special grants, matching funds and prizes are available to the organizations who bring in the most donations, as well as a nifty golden ticket sweepstakes that unlocks additional funds each hour. Doesn’t everyone secretly wish they had a golden ticket?
There are plenty of Minnesota organizations that support local food participating in today’s fundraising. If you’ve got $10 or $10,000, here’s some folks doing great work in Minnesota to support access to fresh, local food:
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Land Stewardship Project (They have a $15,000 matching challenge grant!)
Local Food Resource Hubs
Minnesota Food Association
Renewing the Countryside
Slow Food USA, Inc.
The Minnesota Project
You can also search the site for your local area’s food shelf. Cash donations often are spent on providing fresh, local supplements to the non-perishable items they receive.
Make a donation? Pop on over to Facebook and let me know about how you’re supporting local food.