Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Locavore Challenge Begins September 1st - Prep Day

Today is prep day for our house. We've accumulated a large selection of veggies in the height of their perfection and today is being spent grating celeriac root, slicing beets, chopping sweet peppers and celery, dicing red and green peppers, mincing onions and cucumbers, and canning strawberry balsamic jam. I'll be making meatballs and stripping a local chicken for soup next. As our challenge is dinner only, I don't feel overwhelmed trying to tickle my picky eater's fancy at every meal. But I'm going to certainly give it a valiant effort!

Check out my previous post about the challenge that begins tomorrow: NY Locavore Challenge

If you are in the WNY area, come to the End of Challenge Potluck on Sunday September 25th from 6 to 8pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. Bring a dish made from local ingredients to share. And yes, if you would like to bring something to add to our food donation basket, please bring it with you! Donations of any kind are always warmly welcomed, but if you want to shake things up a bit, try for goods sold in NY or PA to keep with the Locavore theme.

Now, here's the really fun part. There are exceptions to the rules.

"Does the challenge sound great, but are you in a panic about your morning coffee addiction? Well some rules were meant to be broken, and we have a few exceptions to the rules that we are willing to grant to challengers.

Marco Polo Rules:
Go ahead, add some spice to your life. Salt, spices and seasoning do not need to be local. Feel free to use yeast, baking soda, baking powder and etc.

Wild Cards:
Each participant can also choose up to (5) wild card ingredients that cannot be sourced locally but that the challenger feels they cannot live without. Typical items include: coffee, chocolate, sugar, tea, olive oil, nuts and rice. Challengers are encouraged to purchase Certified Organic and Certified Fair Trade items if they cannot be sourced locally." (NOFA-NY)

Our house will be using the following:
Olive Oil
Chocolate (I was willing to give up coffee for the month, but there is no way I'll give up my bars of salted Organic Chocolate!)

If you have any questions on how to participate please comment on this post and I'll answer you right quick!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Ethical Garden

Come and visit my new website My Ethical Garden.

Here you'll find all kinds of resources, ideas,
and photographs of Ethical Urban Agriculture.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaraunt

Last night I went out with a group of ladies to visit with an out of town friend. We went to Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant and had a late dinner. Early on we decided to sample each other's dishes, looking for favorites for future visits and pictured below are four samples of my fellow diner's Small Plates.

Steamed P.E.I. Mussels in butter, garlic, herbs, and white wine

Cold Vegetarian "Lasagna"

Roasted Beets

Crispy Calamari with sweet glazed carrots

I was thoroughly impressed with the Calamari dish and highly recommend it!                                                                                                  
I also recommend asking for Tiffany to be your server. She was quick to serve without hovering. Pleasant and polite, accommodating late arrivals quickly and without fuss. She was very knowledgeable about each dish and was happy to provide samples of wines and any thing else we asked for. The restaurant's newly updated menu offered a number of seasonally appropriate dishes, but most of the "vegetarian" dishes came with chicken stock in the sauce or meat delicacies in the crust. Though they were happy to make to order, I think having more true vegetarian options would have been nice to choose from for the ethical diner.

I had the Small Plate of Steamed Mussels with a glass of Zoe Skouras Rose, a wine from Greece. 

Blended from Saint George (Agiorgitiko) and Moschofilero, Domaine Skouras Zoe! Rose is a wine as exuberant as its name. Light bodied and vibrant, this fun, fruit-forward rose is refreshing and versatile, abundant strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and banana fruit like flavors.

Bacchus Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vegetarian Calabacitas Guisada Soft Shelled Tacos

Calabacitas Guisada shown with homemade salsa, salsa verde, creamy guacamole, mild cheddar cheese, and red romaine in a soft flour tortilla.

1 tbls olive oil
1/2 small white onion, sliced thinly
2 minced garlic
large pinch of sugar
4 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 chopped stewed tomatoes
salt to taste
1 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle sugar on top of the onion and garlic and cook until slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini slices and then the stewed tomatoes. Cover and cook until the zucchini is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot with soft shells and all of your favorite taco fixings.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Poulet au Vin Rouge - Chicken in Red Wine Stew - Crockpot

Brown a 2oz piece of flank steak with bone in olive oil.

Set browned meat into crock pot with cracked pepper, salt, sprig of rosemary, and 2 tsp dry mustard. Turn the crock pot on high. Add sliced onions first,

then carrots and celery,

followed by red potatoes,

then lastly, large chopped tomatoes.

Fry two large chicken breasts or four thighs that have been cut into large pieces, in 2 tbls of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and 1 cup of wine. Once cooked through, add on top of vegetables. Pour in 1 cup of water and 3 cups of wine. Cook covered for 2 1/2 hours.

During the last half hour add 1 1/2 cups pre-made rice of your choice. Stir well and then serve.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cajun One Dish Dinner

Jasmine or Basmati rice– 1 cup
Curly Purple kale – ½ head
Red onion – 1, minced
Potato – 1, cubed
1 can of well washed beans
2 sticks of Chorizo or Andouille Sausage sliced 
Ginger – 1 inch, minced
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Green chilli – 2, slivered
Red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
Olive oil - 3 tsp
Cilantro - 1 tbls minced

Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
Cinnamon – 1 inch
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 2
Bay leaf – 1
Star Anise – 1

Cook rice with 2 cups of water. Fluff and set aside to cool.

In a large pan, fry up the beans in 3 tsp of olive oil. Set beans aside in a bowl.

Heat another tbls of oil and add spices for tempering given in the above said order. When the spices get slightly toasty, add onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies, potatoes, and sausages (Chorizo from Avenue Boys Smokehouse). Sauté until onions and potatoes are soft. Now add the red pepper flakes, and salt. Remove bay leaf and star anise. Add thinly sliced kale, cover, and shut off the burner. Let steam finished for five minutes. Add beans and stir well and then dish out on top of rice.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vegan Panzanella and Vegan Classic Louisiana Remoulade Celeriac

Liberal splashes of olive oil and vinegar 
on large cubes of stale bread.

Add basil leaves to bread and stir.

Dice all vegetables.

Cook on low in olive oil, lidded,
for no more than 20 minutes.

Add to the croutons and stir.

Remove outer layer and wash well.

Vegan Remoulade: Veganaise, Curry, Tobasco Garlic Hot Sauce, Lemon Juice. Blend smoothly and layer on top of the celeriac (celery root).

Add a small amount of cheese of your choice.

 Layer homemade croutons on top and bake covered
with tin foil at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vegetarian Manakish - Arabic Pizza

This pizza is a popular arabic luncheon food consisting of dough topped with thyme, cheese, or ground meat. Similar to a pizza, it can be sliced or folded. The word manakish is from the root verb naqasha 'to sculpt, carve out', as the dough is rolled flat and then pressed in by the fingertips to create little dimples for all of the toppings to sit in.

These are made with Olive Oil, Za'atar (Oregano, Thyme. Basil, Cumin, Sesame Seeds, and Salt), Asiago Fresca cheese, homemade Salsa, slivered Chocolate Sweet Pepper, and diced Peaches.

Truly the easiest way to stretch out personal sized pizzas, 
use gravity to stretch the dough over two tall glasses.


Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Essex St. Pub

Enjoying a Flying Bison!

I love beer. 

I love local beer. 

I love local beer that I can drink with friends and loved ones near home at the Essex St. Pub and not pay through the nose for the experience. Hands down best corner pub in Buffalo! Next time you're looking to go out on the town head over to the Rhode Island Street establishment and enjoy their amazing beer and liquor selection, their outstanding eclectic mix of modern and classic music, darts, pool, and large roomy pub space.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Butternut Squash and Sopressata Salami

2 tsp olive oil
salt, pepper, and 1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbls half & half, milk or heavy cream
4 tbls grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the ends off the squash and cut away one strip of skin to create a flat surface. Place squash cut-side down in a bread pan and add two inches of water and then cover with foil. Roast for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. 

Transfer onto a plate and then scrape the skin off. Mash into a mixing bowl. Add half & half, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oil, salt, pepper and stir well until smooth.

3 oz. sopressata salami, sliced thinly
1 cup diced onion
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbls half & half, milk or heavy cream

Fry the onion, season lightly with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes and saute until onions are translucent. About 5 to 6 minutes. Add the half & half and simmer for a minute or two to reduce. Then add the mushrooms and continue sauteing until they just start to lose their moisture, another 4 to 5 minutes. Over medium heat, saute salami until slightly crisp and most of the fat has been released. 

Dish and serve with 1 tbls of homemade salsa and fresh herbs of your choice.