Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Friday

Being a locavore isn't just about eating locally, it's also about shopping locally.  So, if you're going shopping on Black Friday (or any other time), consider shopping at at least one local store.  I have a couple in mind that I'll be stopping at this holiday season and I encourage you to squeeze one into your shopping route as well.  The perks are that you'll find unique gifts (usually of a higher quality), have more fun shopping, and support your local economy!  Is there some little local cafe that you love?  Make sure to take your family there when they are in town.  When I need thank you or birthday gifts, I've been going increasingly more often to a little local store/restaurant called the Tree House and Tea Gallery or to the gift shop inside the Westlake/Porter library.  Lots of areas have online daily deals through that you can sign up for if you're into that sort of thing.  Also, in this area, has some fabulous offers.    Remember, our goal is 25% local.  Every tiny bit helps. 

Happy thanksgiving and happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Autumn in New York

   I just spent four days in NYC playing a concert and visiting friends.  It was fabulous.  If I had my way, I would take a long weekend in NYC every fall and every spring each year.  It was the first time I had been back in four years, and it was so great to be there with all my friends.  Although I ate a lot of great food, I can't say that I ate any local food (at least not any that I was aware of).  However, local food did lead me to have a very surprising and delightful conversation with an old friend. 
   J. is a friend of mine from undergrad.   He was my best friend's roommate and therefore we became pretty good friends too.  However, we hadn't seen or talked to each other in 3 1/2 years.  Needless to say, we've both changed a lot.  As we were sitting at the dinner table, we started talking about our lives and I sheepishly mentioned that I had this blog.  I thought he and the other guys sitting there would make fun of me, but I was wrong.  You see, I forgot that J is Italian and loves food.  Soon enough, he was telling me about all these places in Cleveland that serve local fare!  I was shocked!  Then, he was talking about all the different types of cauliflower and how there are some that are colors other than white - which I did not know.  I stopped him and said, "J, how is this possible?  We've been friends for how long now?  And yet, I've never heard you talk about anything other than beer or music.  Now we're talking about different types of cauliflower?"  We both laughed, but I have to tell you, it was such a pleasurable conversation and I was really inspired to know that even J is somewhat into local eating.  What a great reunion!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cranberry Pork

   I've learned something about myself:  If I don't have time to cook at least a couple of times a week, I'm too busy.  Cooking is a primary ingredient to my sanity and quite often, I forget to do it.  (Does that mean I'm going slowly insane?)  So, when I had the chance to cook for guests last night, I went all out.  We had Cranberry Pork Tenderloin, Garlic Mashed Redskin Potaoes, Farmer Tom's Steamed Cauliflower, Biscuits, and Pumpkin Cheesecake (no I didn't bake the cheesecake!).

   Anyway, I have tried several cranberry sauce recipes for pork or chicken and with a little tweaking, I think I have found the perfect one.  Once again, this is very similar to a recipe on, but a few changes make it my own.  And I can proudly say that every morsel of it was eaten and the words one of my guests decribed it as "Amazing pork with red cranberry deliciousness."   I think I'm going to try it in the slow cooker next to make it more of a staple at our house.  So, pull out your local, hormone-free, free-range pork, and try it out at your house!

CC's Cranberry Pork
Pork Tenderloin
salt and pepper
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup brown sugar (or substitute orange marmalade)
1 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Rub salt and pepper all over tenderloin(s).  In a large skillet, brown tenderloin(s) over medium to medium-low heat in extra virgin olive oil until lightly browned on outside.  Add cranberries, sugar, and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat (keep boiling longer if most of the cranberries have not burst yet).  Add rosemary and pumpkin pie spice.  Stir.  Cover and simmer for about 30-45 minutes until cooked through.

My Little White Angels

   On Friday I had a case of the LLF Blues.  Yes, that's right, the Loss of Local Food Blues.  If only I had started this venture earlier!  Ah well, there's always next year.  I actually caught myself daydreaming about a deep freeze freezer today.  What would people say?  I'm performing at Lincoln Center in less than a week and yet I'm daydreaming about a freezer.  Oh my.  
   Anyway, there is something that is still available at Farmer Tom's in abundance right now: Cauliflower.  I have never really paid much heed to cauliflower before, but now I am having a true love affair with it.  So, I braved the sleet and went to Farmer Tom's and picked up two more heads of cauliflower.   The funny thing is that I haven't even done anything exciting with it, I've only steamed it.  I steamed an entire head of it in my veggie steamer on Friday because we had dinner guests.  However, for the rest of the week, I just cut up the head into florets and put it in a bag.  Then, whenever I want a snack or a side vegetable, I take some out, put it in some Press-n-Seal wrap and steam it in the microwave.  If you hate cauliflower, I suggest you try it fresh and local, it tastes so much sweeter than when it's been sitting on the shelf at the store.  If you still don't love it, try adding a touch of butter.  This is what I've been doing for my husband (and sometimes me) and he's finished a small serving of cauliflower at least four times in the past 10 days.
    So, here's a goal for today before you get the LLF Blues:  Try local cauliflower!

P.S.  I've learned something else absolutely wonderful about eating locally:  produce lasts so much longer at home because it hasn't spent any time on the shelf at the store.  That's what I call a bonus! 

A Sweet Goodbye to Apples

Well, it's no secret that I'm better at cooking than at baking.  Not that I can't bake, it's just that I don't get the same satisfaction out of it and so I don't get inspired to try it as often.  I love savory, flavorful foods, while most baking is just one taste: sugar.  However, I couldn't grow up with a father who worked for a time as french pastry chef and have "Becky Crocker" live with me for 3 months without baking every now and then.  So, when I do bake, I usually go for flavorful renditions:  Pumpkin Currant Cookies, Apple or Pear Crumble, etc. 

   A couple of weeks earlier, one of my students brought me a bag of apples she had picked at a local orchard.  Wow - what a fabulous gift!  (Now you all know how to get on my good side!)  I needed to use them up, but we still had plenty of applesauce, so I decided to go for a seasonal, flavorful dish that would satisfy my rare urge to bake.  I decided on Cranberry and Apple Pandowdy (recipe at  It was so yummy.  The pastry was not easy, but it was so flaky and delicious that I know it would make my Daddy proud.  We did end up adding a little honey on top to serve because of the tartness, but it was definitely a fabulous dessert (not bad for breakfast either!).   

Halloween Review

Well, Halloween has come and gone and my house has returned to a state of normal.  No more haunted stairwells or skeleton candles.  This year for Halloween, I granted my husband a special Halloween wish:  the return of the orange jack-o-lanterns.  I made this treat for the first time when we had only been married for a month.  I can't claim that I came up with the idea (totally Martha Stewart) or that it's local.  In fact, I have never so guilty as I did when I picked up the oranges from South Africa!  I don't even want to think about the gas it took to ship them here in such perfect condition.  Anyway, I was able to make them 50% local.  Once I hollowed out the oranges, I filled them with local orange sherbet.  In fact, the previous evening, we had some friends over and were eating ice cream and sherbet.  My friends said it was some of the best ice cream they had had and asked me where I got it.  I proudly said, "It's all local!"  I was also pleased to be able to tell them that it was less expensive than any other ice cream in the store.  Next time you buy ice cream in Ohio, I highly recommend Heinen's, Pierre's, or Toft's.  

   Back to the South African oranges.  Once I hollowed out the oranges, I wanted to use at least some of the insides and not let it go to waste.  You can of course make orange juice, but I decided to use some of it for roasting a chicken  (of course, Gerber's local, vegetarian fed, chicken).  Here's my recipe (tweaked a bit from a recipe on
One Roasting or Frying Chicken - whole or cut in parts
1/2 cup butter (or less), cut in small cubes
the flesh and juice of 2-3 oranges
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp.  rosemary
 1/2 tsp.  thyme 
1/2 tsp.  marjoram

Slip cubes of butter under loosened skin of chicken.  Mix together garlic, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper,  and rub all over chicken.  Poor orange juice and flesh over and around chicken.  Roast at 350 degrees in a Pampered Chef Stone Covered Baker for about 20 minutes with the lid on.  Remove lid and bake another 1 hour (longer if chicken is not cut up).  *** Note*** If you are not using stone cookware, you may need to add chicken broth and melted butter to the recipe.  Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't dry out.