Category Archives: One Local Summer 2007

One Local Summer 2008

Pizza on the grill last August: homemade mozzarella, crust; homegrown eggplant, garlic, onions, tomatoes and basil

For the last two summers, I have participated in this Challenge. The idea behind it is to create one completely local dinner per week, and post about it (or take pictures of it and email your regional round-up person, if you don’t have a blog). If you even have the slightest interest in the local food movement, this is a great way to get started yourself.

I will not be participating in the Challenge this year, so I won’t be rounding up for the Midwest either. The OLC Challenge host has also changed: Liz of Pocket Farm is no longer blogging, so the torch has been passed to Nicole of Farm to Philly. Please participate, should you feel the urge. It really is a great way to get a grip on your foodshed. You will push your cooking skills in new directions, and you will learn new recipes and get great ideas along the way!

The Challenge starts the last weekend in May, ends the last weekend in August. Learn more about it here.

One Local Summer 2007: Week Ten

Sweet potato flower (who knew?)

With this, the last week of August, our One Local Summer experiment has ended!

I hope you all had FUN with this challenge. I certainly learned a lot from all of you. This exercise may have been frustrating at times, and if anything it has proved to us that, like it or not, we have really become separated from the food-growing process. (I mean, my grandparents did not need to go 80 miles from their homes to find dairy and flour, as I have done!) With any hope, you’ve all done some thinking, and more than likely, you have inspired other people to consider their food miles. And let’s not forget the food itself! YUM!

I recycled the meal
I made for the last meal for One Local Summer last year. Very univentive, I know, but it was so good, I had looked forward to making it again this year…just needed some beans to ripen.

Matt in Iowa made two local dinners this week. He made his first pesto! And his mom promises to teach him how to make noodles for the next time he makes it. How great is that.

Lucette in Cleveland made a meal with simplicity and ease, she said. Listen to this: “vegetables chopped and sauteed to a sputter….” (I will certainly miss these tomato/cucumber daily salads in three months, won’t all of you?)

Farm mom Ang in Michigan posts a lot of firsts in this week’s meal. This challenge was really hard for her at first (she is surrounded by farms but nothing to eat), but with some effort, they’ve done it. And she says if she can, anyone can! Go see her Eggplant Parmigiana.

Emergency surgery and prolonged recovery has taken its toll on Frugalmom in Illinois. She hasn’t posted to the challenge as much as she would have liked. That said, she reminds us that eating local need not be a complicated affair: a BLT or some home fries is a simple start.

Evie in South Dakota grabbed her last meal on the run: literally! She did not one but two marathons this week. (Whew.) Speaking of influencing people, she thinks this challenge has helped her daughters the most, and will be something they remember through their lives.

Kelly in Ohio will be continuing the challenge on her blog. She feels that she hasn’t made nearly all the recipes she wanted to try, so she needs a few more weeks! Now, that is inspiring. This final meal looked delicious and not too difficult, which is also inspiring.

I will say that Linda in Missouri has had some of the more interesting meals of the challenge: she really goes all-out! She put an Asian spin on this last one, using her own lemongrass and tag-sale dishes. Those cabbage rolls sure looked great!

Ohioans E4 and Lori made a huge haul at the farmer’s market this week, but life’s complications got in the way of a 100% local meal. (I think 90%, or even 50%, qualifies if your heart is in it!) But both their barbecue and its charcoal were local…

I realize that today is a holiday and that many of us are caught up in the frenetic pace that is Back To School season. If you’re still planning on posting a meal, please do so: I will try to catch you all up on the One Local Summer site. I’m missing many of my usual Midwesterners this week, so I hope you can still participate!

Thank you, Liz, for dreaming up this challenge!

The Last Supper

The Last Supper (of One Local Summer 2007)
and Meal #1 of the month-long Eat Local Challenge for September, 2007

Am I saving the best until last? Well, maybe. How about the most time-consuming. Though this is a great meal to put together if someone’s hovering about your kitchen, chatting with you while you work.

Paula Wolfert, whom I generally consider a windbag, I readily concede knows her way around a kitchen. Her take on the Provencal soup Soupe au Pistou was amazingly delicious last year when I first made it. (Yes, how ridiculous is that: I am recycling my last supper from last year’s One Local Summer!) You see, I’ve been judiciously watching the ripening of my Flageolet shell beans in preparation for this soup this year. All other stuff came from the garden, and the butter (yay!) came with a wink and a nod from a vendor at a local farmer’s market (it’s illegal to sell raw milk products in Michigan). The noodles are quasi-local too; coming from another farmer’s market in Indiana.

I also made a roulade (basically, a rolled-up souffle) with a roasted tomato filling, topped with some Amish farmer’s cheese.

A salad of fresh tomatoes rounded things out. My mom and brother were our guests. (I called Mom this morning, knowing she was coming by to take the kid to the beach, and asked if she planned on staying for supper. “Of course; I am no fool,” she said.) It was great!

Okay. The Eat Local Challenge thing: I certainly won’t be posting daily meals, though I might do weekly. This local-eating thing is kind of old hat with us. But I will be posting about ways to save the harvest, as that is the challenge of this month’s Challenge. I’m looking at all the fruit still coming down the line (pears, apples, and all those hundreds of pounds of grapes on our vines) so just getting ahead of all that WILL be a challenge! Stay tuned…


One Local Summer 2007: Week Nine

Shameless stealing of Becke’s meal posting

Welcome to the Midwest roundup of One Local Summer. One week left to go!

“Eating in season” also means “eating what’s available now.” I mixed up a lot of what I had a lot of for this week’s meal. (It tasted better than it looked, I swear.)

Matt did a Comfort Food meal for his family this week. And what is more comforting than Cottage (Shepherd’s) Pie? (Even the name gives you a warm, toasty feeling, right?)

Lucette found the last of the last, she thinks, of her venison. Her photo of the burgers she made of them scared her, though, so she substituted instead pics of the corn and salad she made.

Ang has been busy using her stove for things other than meals. How can this be, you ask? Well, her kitchen is like a lot of ours lately: we’re all putting away that harvest, one boiling pot of water at a time. She wanted to keep things simple, yet tasty, this week: sure looks like she succeeded!

Evie has had lots to contend with this summer. Hail, then a flood, has done away with much in her garden. She’s a stalwart Scandinavian, though, so she’s carrying on with a Swedish meal her grandmother made quite often.

Ever-diligent Kelly has discovered the secret of perfectly-grilled chicken breasts: it’s diligence! She praises the flood of wonderful veggies that now show up on their plates, knowing well this late-summer eating is but a small slice in time.

Joanna missed this week. She knows why, and how. But here’s the best thing: she knows that next year, they’ll have a house, and a garden of their own, so this eating-local thing will be REALLY local.

Linda made a spookily autumnal meal this week. It looked GREAT! She confesses, though, that it tasted awful. (I blame it on rushing the seasons: fall will be here soon enough, girl!)

Lori and E4 posted last week’s meal this week. Hey: at least they posted it! They both brought up how kooky this Midwestern world is, though, in terms of getting local goodies. You’d think in a breadbasket like Ohio you could get local wheat. I think the same of dairy in Michigan. Farmers out there, listen up! Sell local! We’re HERE, and we want to buy!

Becke was chilling with some local soup this week, too. Dang, that looks good. And she, like me, can’t believe One Local Summer is almost over!

Manerva missed the floods that hit her state. She got some much-needed rain, though. She happily shared some great grub with visiting relatives this week, though. That’s the best kind of meal, I think.

One Local Summer 2007: Week Nine

One of the marching orders about local eating is you eat what’s ready.

Perhaps this removes a lot of choice. Choice, though, is suspect. Frankly, I don’t like the idea of eating asparagus in September or raw tomatoes in January. It does not feel right to me: those poor vegetables have been carted in to us from many thousands of miles. How many calories are expended, by diesel and jet fuel, for the few measly calories these things yield us on our plates?

Choice-wise, though, the late August garden is chock-full. This week for One Local Summer, I scanned the supplies and the recesses of my brain and I said: Eggs. Eggplant. Tomatoes. How about moussaka?

The menu was as follows:

Eggplant moussaka (eggplants, parsley, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and veg stock from the garden; eggs from the chickens; and local smoked gouda cheese; nonlocal EVOO and salt and pepper.)
Cucumber-yogurt soup with scallions (cukes, onions, garlic and veg stock from the garden; nonlocal milk that I made into yogurt)
Steamed Haricot vert (green beans) from the garden
Whole-wheat/oat bread (local flour and oats, our sourdough starter)
Peaches, nectarines from town
Classic Demi-Sec white wine from Tabor Hill

I will say this for this meal. When things are super fresh, I know that my cooking talents can’t really compete with nature. It seems somewhat heretical to, say, really cover up a dish with tons of spices when a fresh green bean really just needs a quick steam to be its best. This meal went a bit more toward the alchemy that is winter cooking for me. Not that I minded the change that this extra work took: the moussaka was really good!

One Local Summer 2007: Week Eight

Just hand me the salt: Hillbilly potato leaf or Flame heirloom tomato, 2.5 pounds of goodness


I made a lot of meals. It’s easy with so much available, but I also wished to show that even busy people can make good food.

Matt agrees that it is easy cooking at this time of year; he’s a cyclist so he calls it a “no chain day” to demonstrate how untaxing things can be. He didn’t even need to cajole his kids to eat, they readily did!

Lucette thought ahead and froze the dough for this week’s pizza. What she really delighted in, besides the good food? The way the house smelled! “Like someone Italian who was a brilliant cook.” Brava!

Ang is also thinking Italian with her meal. She made an eggplant bolognese. I keep forgetting that Eden Organics is a Michigan company, so thanks, Farm Mom! I can now slurp pasta local-style too!

Stacie ate a meal that tasted just like chicken…because it was! The veggies were hers, the meat was local…and THEN just take a look at what she had for dessert. YUM.

Kelly sometimes wishes she had some help in the kitchen, and as the solo chef in my house, I hear her on that. But there’s so much going on in the background of her meal preparation! Luckily, things are just jumping out in the garden to help her.

Linda, bless her, went foraging for her meal. Lamb’s quarters are a…weed in most people’s parlance, but in actuality they’re a vitamin-rich spinach substitute; I’ve certainly served my share, especially since it’s hot and lettuce isn’t available. But she even went out and caught herself some bluegill! LOVE those pan fish!

Debbie made a really yummy-looking stew, complete with local quinoa. It looks both delicious AND healthy.

Poor Becke’s air conditioning has been on the fritz! Considering she loves to heat up her kitchen, this is quite a predicament. She made a lovely cold dish this week, though; go wish her a happy birthday.

Manerva has had water woes (her well pump went out), but that hasn’t stopped the tomatoes. Big fans of the red stuff, her household…but this week was pizza. Delicious. (And M: I’ll clean a messy kitchen over folding laundry any day, won’t you?)

One Local Summer 2007: Week Eight

Who could resist a soybean variety called “Beer Friend”? Not me.

Feeling like I need some cosmic brownie points, I decided I would post a whole bunch of local meals this week. I am THE cook and gardener and kitchen cleaner in this house. I work 45 hours a week, typically. I also do commute to work on Mondays and Fridays, and my commute is 40 minutes long, one way. So if people say “I don’t have your kind of time to cook the way you do,” I say bully.
Monday’s dinner
Monday: This is a commute day, so I found some local-ish Indiana Amish egg pasta in the pantry and whipped up my favorite pasta dish with potatoes, beans, basil and garlic from the garden.
Tuesday’s dinner
Tuesday: Family came for dinner, so I cooked a bit more than usual. Edamame (green soybeans) are now edible, and the variety I grew this year is called “Beer Friend,” so I paired them with local Bell’s beer. Menu was broccoli souffle, roasted beets, the edamame, cucumbers, and a sourdough boule.

Wednesday was the Forgot to Photograph It Day. Just as well because I make the ugliest tortillas you have ever seen! My new source for cornmeal is also a source for masa, I am most grateful. I made bean burritos with refried cranberry beans from the garden, served with lots of onions and salsa.

Thursday was our fifth anniversary, so we went out to dinner at a fabulous restaurant that features local food. All the food and the wine was harvested within 50 miles of their door. I had the Fruits and Vegetables entree: Cauliflower and garlic soup with curry oil, Yellow watermelon salad with pickled red onion, basil gelee and watercress, and their house-made fettuccini with beets and fennel in a goat cheese broth. Tom had Providence Farms wood-roasted chicken over bok choy and chanterelles in a mushroom jus with a poached egg on top. We split an apple-raspberry cobbler with local vanilla gelatto, and our wines, from Fenn Valley, were Meritage red, Desert Sunset rose, and a lovely sparkling riesling with dessert.

Friday’s dinner
Friday was another Commute Day, so I made a simple tomato sauce from the tomatoes I was stewing on the stove to can (three days of no canning = a huge amount of tomatoes to can; gotta double up my time on the stove). To more of that Amish pasta, I added the sauce, and some mozzarella I made. I also caramelized some onions and overgrown green beans.
Saturday’s dinner
Saturday we had more relatives come to dinner, so I made another broccoli souffle. (We’re going nuts with all these eggs, frankly.) I roasted some carrots in brown butter with thyme. I’ve got some lovely shell beans now, so I served them with collards, onions and garlic and the pot likker. The green beans were a hit from Friday night, so I made more. I made a yogurt-honey-wheat bread. We had a salad of tomatoes and cucumbers (not shown).

Sunday, we’re going to grandma’s to eat, otherwise there’d be another meal to post!

Everything was local or garden- or chicken-produced, excepting salt, EVOO, butter and the milk that I made into yogurt and mozzarella.