Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eat Mo' Local

Five Servings a Day

More ways to add some local to your daily diet.
  • Bake a bread from local grain. When I went out foraging with Robin, one of our stops was Ted's Grain's near DeKalb Illinois. Besides hearing the woeful tale of a cheatin' husband, we got to see the operation. Does not take much of a grinder to supply our winter markets with local organic grains.
  • Have some of last season, preserved. Did not can or freeze, find someone who did. The easiest way to get some fruit from last year is in jelly. Hit the Amish country in NE Indiana or wind your way to Door County, you'll find all sortsa great jellies and jams made with in season local fruit. If you stick close to Chicago you can at least find American Spoon. Try Whole Foods for instance.
  • Relive your hippy days. Back then you called them sprouts. Today hip chefs call them microgreens. Irv and Shelly sell a bunch on their site; Robin has them at her winter markets. You knew how to use them then, figure out how to use them now.
  • Get you kidz funny looks at school. Pack those sprouts as a little veggie side, or give them the sandwich my wife invented: Wisconsin cranberry cheddar, sprouts and jam, preferably on a whole grain bread. If you cannot get them to eat sprouts, try Papa Lena's beet chips available at Cassie's Green Grocer. As I like to say, they get chips and a veg, you're both happy.
  • Sneer at Saveur. They picked 30 great butters, but could not manage to find one from the Midwest. Get them some of Mt. Sterling's goat butter or Clarendon Hills (see what she sez). In a pinch, there's always Organic Valley.
  • Yesterday I mentioned some of the finer in local cheese. There's a time for that and then there's a time for gooey, guilty cheese. Cheese spread. Really, is their anything more pleasurable to eat (at times) than from a plastic tub of Wisconsin cheese spread. Probably the most famous, maybe the best, is Merks. If you want to feel ever more upscale, there's Brunkow's raw milk spread.
  • A loaf of mini-rye, cheese spread, a six pack of Leine's Big Butt Dopplebock, you are almost ready to watch the debut of Top Chef Chicago. What's missing. Summer sausage of course. Mitt garlic, mitt nitrates, mitt lotsa fat, it's Wisconsin's gift to the world of chaucuterie. Bobby Nelson's is a real blast from the past and my favorite source for summer sausage. Rob at Curds and Whey in Geneva often snags some for sale.
  • Scramble some local eggs. I was lucky enough to get to hang out in the kitchen of Vie the other day (to be on a WBEZ segment soon, I'll post when I know). Chef Paul Virant showed us his technique for making creamy eggs. Here's what I can tell you: whisk like crazy and fold in whipped cream. Using farm fresh eggs matters too.
  • And remember, save a rain forest by eating a potato today.

1 comment:

mmorowitz said...

Nice post, VI. You might want to point out how easy it is to get local eggs. Phil's eggs from Forreston, IL are as easy to pick up as almost any other brand these days, and the price difference is not so significant. The difference in quality is really worth it.

I've seen them at small multi-ethnic markets around the north side and also at Whole Foods for around the same price.

Later this year, we'll be getting our eggs and veggies every other week from Homegrown Wisconsin--our first CSA!

Also, congratulations on your excellent piece in the Trib.