Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Irish Dinner

Sorry for the late post, but we had my dad's birthday dinner last night. And now to the review of our irish dinner.

I thought it was delicious. The food was a little saltier than my family usually has, but it was still wonderful. The highlight was definitely my mom's Irish Brown Bread. Every year she makes it for this meal, and I forget how much I love it. The two loaves she made have the base for my lunch or breakfast every day since Saturday. We also made corned beef, cabbage, and mixed vegetables.

For the corned beef, we just rubbed herbs into a corned brisket. We cooked it in the slow cooker with potatoes, turnips, carrots, and onions all day on Sunday. The cabbage was easy and quick. We just chopped and pan fried it with olive oil, garlic, and onions. I'll put the irish bread recipe in the Recipes page. The bread is very good warmed up with just a little bit of butter. It isn't crumbly like a lot of breads, and it strong enough to hold plenty of meat, cheese, veggies, or other sandwich toppings.

I'm working on trying to attach pictures, but a lot of them seem to be sideways when I upload them. Hopefully I can overcome this glitch and get some pictures of my meals uploaded soon!

If you have any questions or comments, post them here on the site or email me at talesofateenagelocalvore@gmail.com. I check it regularly and I'd be happy to answer any questions.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fast Food

This is somewhat similar to my last post, but this past week has been very busy so I've needed more quick recipes. The best one that I can think of is Chicken. I'm not even putting this on the Recipes page because it is so easy. All you do is take some chicken, whether it's a breast or a whole chicken, drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put in the oven at about 400°F for about an hour. My family usually makes a whole chicken because there are five people to feed, but you can easily cook a smaller portion or even save some for leftovers.

Another quick family favorite at my house is Quesadillas. This week we found a local tortilla company so this is the first quesadilla I have eaten in months. Yum! The company is Tumaro's Gourmet Tortillas, which is located in Providence, Rhode Island. All you do is put the tortilla in a frying pan and sprinkle cheese and whatever else you want inside. Sometimes when I have extra time, I pan fry carrots, cabbage and other vegetables, or cook some chicken and put it in my tortilla. You can fill quesadillas with whatever you can find around the house and no matter what they taste delicious (unless you burn them accidentally like me).

With these main dishes, I'm always looking for a quick side dish to go along, so I'll share my two favorites. This time of year, I eat carrots every day. Usually I eat them at least twice a day because we have so many. At lunch I have them cut up with a little dressing, but when I'm home, I boil them for a few minutes, and cover them in butter. I used to think that cooked carrots were gross, but I can't get enough of these boiled carrots. Boiling them is especially helpful when they get bitter. Another trick to taking away the bitterness is that once you peel them, leave them to soak in a bowl of water. My second quick side dish is just to make a quick salad or grab some broccoli and dip it in dressing.

That's all for today, but tonight we're eating our Saint Patrick's Day dinner (I know we're a day late). You can expect some recipes tomorrow night. Also, because my family hosts the big neighborhood easter party, expect recipes for easter food to be posted soon. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to make eating local convenient

One of the biggest misconceptions about cooking in general, at least in my opinion, is that it takes a lot of time. This is sometimes true, but even when you are trying to eat locally you can make a quick, easy dinner. With five people in my family on their own schedules, we are very busy. Rarely do we have time to cook for hours before eating, so we've found easier ways to get dinner on week nights. This post is going be tips on making eating local easy.

Instead of ordering pizza or take-out, plan your meals in advance so they take less time. Our weekends are usually spent doing chores and cooking. On Saturdays, we go to the farmer's market, the CSA, and the store to get ingredients for cooking on Sunday. If we have time Saturday night, we start some of the meals that take a lot of preparation, that way we can just cook on Sunday. On Sundays, the house smells like food by lunchtime. Sundays are spent making our Sunday dinner, as well as soups and stews for the week.

Foods that are re-heatable are the easiest to serve on busy nights. In my family we eat soup or stew at least twice a week. These meals are easily reheated, and if you put as many vegetables in them as we do, these can be one dish dinners. When everyone needs to eat at a different time, the first person who wants to eat heats up the soup on the stove, and everyone else can serve themselves the rest of the night.

Find easy, quick meals for nights when everyone only has only a few minutes to eat. A perfect example of a meal like this is tortilla espaƱola. All you need are potatoes, eggs, and cheese. Depending on what you like, you can also add peppers, onions, garlic, spinach, and basically anything else. This takes only about 30 minutes from start to finish, and you serve it right off the stove.

Save your leftovers! Unless your food will really taste gross after being popped in the microwave, save it. Leftovers are perfect for lunches, and at the end of the week, you can have a dinner where people just eat their favorite meal from the week.

I haven't posted in a coupe weeks because school vacation was a lot busier than I thought. As we approach April, the "end" of my project, I will probably post a couple times a week. I already have a huge list of recipes I want to use and things I want to talk about!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

School lunch and local restaurants

This past week I tried to make a variety of school lunches so I could post a bunch of options. At my school, we have snack time, and I always have snack. Usually I eat chips or a granola bar and fruit. At the beginning of the year I had a lot of home-made applesauce, but lately I've been eating apples or craisins. We've eaten through most of the fruit we stored and preserved, so I'll have to start getting more creative if I want fruit. For chips, we usually eat Stacy's which are from Massachusetts, Food Should Taste Good, or other local cracker companies. We've made our own granola bars, but you can't get local oats, so these aren't really local.

For my lunch, I either have a sandwich and veggies, or salad. We've been getting a lot of salad greens and mixed greens lately, so I like to use these before they're gone. I either have the greens with carrots and craisins mixed in, or chinese cabbage salad. Cabbage is still abundant, so we try to use that in lunches too. For sandwiches we either make our own bread with flour from King Arthur, which is a local company, or we buy bread from the farmer's market. I eat bread and butter a lot, or cheese sandwiches with both coming from the dairy that delivers to our house. Mainly I have carrots as my lunch veggie because we have so many. A problem I've found with carrots is that they are frequently bitter. Soaking them in water or boiling them usually gets rid of the bitterness.

Another topic I came across this week was local restaurants. Before I started this project, I didn't even know that there were restaurants like this near Millis. Over the weekend my family went out to dinner at one in Lexington. It was called Nourish, and the food was delicious. They get most of their food from local or organic suppliers, and the variety of food they served satisfied even my pickiest sisters. Going out has been really hard because it is almost impossible to find local restaurants, so it was lucky we found Nourish. I hope that I can find a couple more restaurants in the area soon.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bad Game, Good Food

Last night I was disappointed to see the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Superbowl. I guess the only thing that made up for the loss was the great food I made yesterday! On the menu were: Cheese and Crackers, Nachos, Sweet Potato Fries, and Baked Potato Skins.

We started off at kickoff with Cheese and Crackers. My newest local obsession is cheese spread from Nobscot Artisan Cheese. I get it at the Natick Farmers Market every Saturday. Not only is it delicious with crackers, but today I had it for lunch with my carrot sticks. This gave me an idea for next week's theme: lunches! Everyone eats them, and in high school they are especially important so that you don't get stuck eating that weird stuff in the cafeteria that they call food.

Back on topic, we began the second quarter down 9, but with some delicious sweet potato fries. These I didn't use a recipe for. We basically just cut them up into fry shapes, put a little olive oil, salt and pepper on, and cook until they look done. These are a great, healthy snack any time and are a great substitution for the freezer fries you can buy at the grocery store. Sweet potatoes are abundant in the winter in new england, so if you're looking for a sweeter treat, cover them with a little olive oil, melted butter, and cinnamon, and cook them for around 10 minutes. I have to credit this idea to Mrs. Tangerini at Tangerini's Spring Street Farm in Millis. When the farm stand was still open she let me take home a couple tiny potatoes and now I make them at least once a week.

At half-time we were feeling happy and Madonna almost falling off her humongous heels put us in the mood for an easy, crunchy snack: nachos. I've already talked about these once a couple weeks ago, and they're pretty easy to make so I wont dwell on the ingredients. We used lime and blue corn chips though to mix up the flavors.

Finally, for the grand finale, we had the much anticipated potato skins. I've been talking about making them for a while, and this seemed like the perfect time. They were completely local with potatoes and bacon from the market, chives from my sister's plant, and sour cream and cheese from the local dairy. They were delicious and almost made up for the sad loss. I got my recipe for the potatoes from SimplyRecipes.com.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Go Patriots!

If anyone reading this is from New England, I'm guessing you were watching the Patriots vs. Ravens game last weekend. With everyone together to watch the game, we made a nice Chicken Corn Chowder for a family dinner. It was absolutely delicious, and everyone was fighting over leftovers for lunch today!

When my family watches sports, we eat a lot of snacks like nachos and popcorn. Last week I talked about a good local chip company to make nachos, but I can't seem to find local popcorn. Does anyone know of a local popcorn company?

Thanks to anyone who is commenting! I appreciate the feedback and knowing that someone is actually reading my blog :) Please follow the blog and keep commenting with recipe ideas, questions, suggestions, or comments.

Next weekend I am going to focus on a couple local sports game snacks, so if you have any ideas, please comment!

Fruit

This weekend while looking for recipes I had fruit on the brain. It has been very difficult to find any fruit at farmers markets, except apples. I've been craving a sweet treat, so I broke out the frozen fruit last night. We froze back a bunch of berries and peaches this summer, and last night I made a Peach Berry Cobbler. It was delicious and reminded me of blueberry picking. I adapted the recipe from another New England blogger. I love her site and go to it for recipes all the time. Her name is Elspeth Hay, and you should check out her blog: Diary of a Locavore. I would have posted a picture of the cobbler, but we ate it up before I could get a nice shot!

Another new fruit obsession that I have is getting a lemon tree. I got this idea from the Diary of a Locavore blog too. Apparently you can get small lemon trees called Meyer Lemons. You can grow them inside, which will be helpful during the winter. Being able to get our own lemons would definitely make our family more local. We use lemons in a lot of our cooking (including the cobbler recipe), so this would probably be cheaper for my family than buying imported lemons all the time.

I will try to post midweek this week because we are trying to make a pumpkin maple pots de creme. Yum!