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eG Foodblog: phlawless - La Vida Local


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Dinner tonight was a bit frazzled...the guy manning the stall where I bought the field peas on Saturday assured me that they were a breeze to shell...not so:

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chuck was shelling for a good hour! Needless to say from now on I'll pay the extra dollar per pound and buy them hulled.

Because the shelling took longer than anticipated, M ate before us. This happens most of the time, but lately I've really tried to get everything together earlier so that we can all sit down together. Her meals tend to be different from ours not because she is a picky eater, but only for the reason that Chuck is getting home late, I've haven't started early enough, etc... Regardless, she REALLY liked her supper tonight:

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butter beans from the FM, Latta's scrambled eggs and mozz from Chapel Hill Creamery

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she ended up having a second helping.

After a hectic afternoon, this was especially yummy:

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I got this a week or so ago in anticipation of the challenge, though it is out of the 100 mile range:

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to this I added:

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I rendered the bacon till crispy, then sauteed tomatoes and onions with red pepper flake in the fat, then added the rice, s&p and water, covered and finished it in the oven. It came out really really good, and I don't dig rice.

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this is some baby kale I picked up at the Durham market on Saturday. I did a quick sautee with lots of local garlic till it just wilted...it turned out great too.

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Everything was great...except those darn peas! I double salted them, basically inedible, in my haste to get dinner ready. I ended up putting them back in their cooking liquid, adding more stock/water, and hopefully we can have them tomorrow for lunch. UGH!

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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I thought a bit of background info on my cooking skills would be helpful.

Like I said in the first post, I have been cooking professionally for the past 12-14 years; honestly, I'm not really sure when it was that I got my first job with food. I started on the savory side, and stayed there for a good while. Then I had an opportunity to work at a pretty high profile/fine dining restaurant, and the position they had open was for an assistant baker. I thought I could start there and move over to cooking once I got in. Well, I ended up really digging baking. The hours were better, it was a smaller department so I was getting a lot more experience in a shorter amount of time, and the work was a lot of fun. I went on to work at a few other places in the area, then the high profile/fine dining place needed a pastry chef and they called me. I stayed in that position for a little over five years until my daughter was born. It was a fantastic experience: I got to travel, meet some pretty amazing people, go to the Beard awards...it was a really really great job. Plus I was able to keep my hand on the savory side a bit: I made all the pasta, anything special the chef needed for the dinner menu (flatbreads, crackers) I was able to experiment with.

I think that having extensive experience with baking has made me a much better cook, more so than the other way around. I don't love sugar like I love salt, maybe that has something to do with it. But don't ask me to choose which one I love more...I don't think I could just yet.

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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the camera battery has already died...I might have to go pick up a spare

Better the camera battery than the camera :biggrin:!

It is going to be fun to see all the wonderful products you have within a 100 mile radius!

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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M went on to her real breakfast:

gallery_8173_3122_68237.jpg

yellow grits from Lindley Mills in Graham, yogurt I made from Maple View milk, blackberries I picked from down the street, and sorghum syrup from Kentucky.

We were out of town this week end, and will post photos that are food related later today. But I have some serious errands to run today to track down ingredients for the week.

Your cute avatar/daughter's breakfast really appeals to me, too! Never had sorghum syrup; it would be honey around here or maple syrup from afar.

Toddler snacks in the US tend to be Cheerios, toasted frozen waffles and bananas--I hadn't thought about this issue!

No rush at all, PLEASE don't try to answer or address these all at once, but here are a few things that your food blog inspires me to ask:

1) Have you had any time to read the thread about Whole Foods & Michael Pollan and think about the issues it raises? Given M's age, I kind of suspect that Pollan's new book is not something you've had time for. However, its subject is very much related to your quest this week. Given the demographics of Research Triangle, I just figure you must have several Whole Foods stores.

2) Was your interest in local foods peaked by your professional experience?

3) I see you were away for the weekend, so didn't have a chance to shop at your town's farmer's market. Are there other options during the week where you can buy food directly from farmers?

4) Given Durham's historical relationship to the tobacco industry, do you know if there are farmers in the area who have switched from tobacco crops to other forms of agriculture? I don't know how close those farms were to the industrial centers, though.

1) I did read Michael Pollan's letter, and yes, I haven't had time to read the book, though I really want to! As a matter of fact, when I started preparing for this month I learned that Whole Food's was no longer going to carry bulk flours from Lindley Mills (Graham, NC). My mother would have been proud, cause I wrote a letter asking why they displayed banners announcing their commitment to local suppliers when they were going to switch to a regional purveyor for what I assume was a better price. A week or so later, I got a phone call from the Durham store saying that they were going to continue carrying Lindley Mills, and thank you so much for my support. I don't really suspect that I had all that much to do with the about face, I'm sure many others complained as well, but it was nice to feel like I made an impact.

2) Most definitely...

The people I worked for, as well as a good amount of the better restaurants in the area, have been making some pretty significant strides in the education of their diners to the source of their food, much more than the Whole Foods and the like. More than a handful feature entire menus based on a particular product or farm. The three larger FM's (Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro) have had a lot of growth in the past few years, and smaller towns in the area are starting their own since the Big Three have become really crowded.

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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I got this a week or so ago in anticipation of the challenge, though it is out of the 100 mile range:

gallery_8173_3194_208.jpg

OK, but it is from the Carolinas, and for rice, that'll do, as I believe most domestic rice is now grown in Texas.

Which brings us to the subject of naming products based on associations or images, a subject I touched on in my own foodblog with the trivia question about Philadelphia cream cheese.

It seems that this practice is actually quite common.

In Philadelphia-area supermarkets (and I suspect elsewhere in the Northeast), one of the most widely available brands of rice is one called Carolina, which is made by a company in Texas called Riviana Foods.

Similarly, you sometimes see a product called West Virginia Brand bacon in the stores; the small type informs you that the product is actually produced somewhere in North Carolina--as are some packages of Jamestown Brand bacon from the Smithfield Packing Company of Virginia.

And then there was the sausage manufacturer in Brooklyn (NY) that I guess was forced to stop calling their smoked sausages Carolina Brand. They are now sold as Caroline Brand, but the "E" in "Caroline" on the packages is shaped so as to recall an "A".

As a member of the Class of 1979 said about his Harvard experience, "I don't know how widespread this deception is, but I imagine it will continue as long as there are Ohioans."

I assume that manufacturers choose these names because shoppers associate these locales with the foodstuffs in question. Which, I guess, is flattering to the locale, but somewhat misleading.

Oh, one more thing: I had asked upthread what sorts of fish and seafood local fishermen caught.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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As for the subject of this blog, a couple of years ago some kids from San Francisco got some press for this, and I thought I might give it a shot. If you go to the link read the details, the national challenge is supposed to happen in May. Well, I had a lot going on then, and also July here in the southeast is brimming with fantastic produce. So you all will witness the first week of feeding myself, my partner, and my daughter for the entire month eating local as possible.

Phlawless: What a great blog subject! I'm going to lurk this week! Jessica Prentice is a friend of mine: she's a locavore, you and others might also be interested in their website, there are some great tips, and I find it interesting to read what folks post as their 'challenges' and 'exemptions'.

chardgirl

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phlawless, what an interesting premise for a foodblog! And your daughter is adorable! What does she say when she likes her food?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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What sort of seafood do North Carolina fishermen catch?

this I am still researching, but what I have found so far:

here is a link that has some lists of what is available

Though not all of these are sustainable...the following is a partial list of what is 'clean':

spanish mackerel

croaker

clams

antibiotic free catfish

pound-net caught flounder

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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Happy 4th!

Just a quick post with some photos to show our morning.

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coffee this morning

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yogurt I started last night for M's breakfast

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okay... so I cheated...I found this yesterday at Whole Foods. It's made in Chapel Hill, though.

We will going over to some friends tonight, and I've got food to make...more later!

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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Happy 4th of July! It looks like you have a beautiful day, as do we so far. I'm enjoying that your blog is from an area I'm a little familiar with. My son went to Elon College in Elon College, when it was Elon College. It is now Elon University. Is the town still Elon College, do you know? So, we made several trips to the area during those four years. I used to especially enjoy Durham, including Magnolia Grill of course. :wub:

Are those peas that were hard to shell the purple peas?

And about these Campari drinks, where have I been all my life... I Wikipedia'ed it, and see that like another Italian beverage I like, Stregga, the recipe is a "secret." It does say it has a bitter orange peel flavor. How would you describe the taste of the drink you make with it?

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Dinner tonight was a bit frazzled...the guy manning the stall where I bought the field peas on Saturday assured me that they were a breeze to shell...not so:

gallery_8173_3194_49283.jpg

chuck was shelling for a good hour! Needless to say from now on I'll pay the extra dollar per pound and buy them hulled.

Yep, they're all a pain the @ss to shell: crowder, field, zipper, whatever. As they mature the pods get much thinner walled and papery, and then they are pretty easy to shell, but then the peas aren't as young and tender. And where I buy them you have to buy an entire bushel if you want them shelled. I very seriously considered doing so on Sunday, as I'm serving zipper peas today for the 4th, dinner for a dozen.

Fortunately I've got a 12 year old daughter with nimble fingers and strong fingernails who devoted much of Sunday afternoon to shelling zipper peas for me. I'm cooking them now, and will serve them as a salad containing country ham, sauteed Vidalia onions, and apple cider vinaigrette.

Great blog, and great topic: you're lucky to live someplace that offers so much great local food.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Yep, they're all a pain the @ss to shell: crowder, field, zipper, whatever. As they mature the pods get much thinner walled and papery, and then they are pretty easy to shell, but then the peas aren't as young and tender.

Pick out the purple pods. They are much easier to shell than the green. Gotta cook the peas with a bit of pork fat and onions!

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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And about these Campari drinks, where have I been all my life...  I Wikipedia'ed it, and see that like another Italian beverage I like, Stregga, the recipe is a "secret."  It does say it has a bitter orange peel flavor.  How would you describe the taste of the drink you make with it?

There is a syrupy herby sweetness that counters the bitterness really nicely. Then once it's mixed with soda and a slice of citrus, lime or orange, it is incredibly refreshing.

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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phlawless, what an interesting premise for a foodblog! And your daughter is adorable! What does she say when she likes her food?

she's way too busy stuffing her hole to speak...

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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Question for the 100-mile theme--this means that you won't be able to use many of the processed products in the grocery store. Does this mean you'll be baking your own bread with locally-milled flour? Or buying from a local bakery? Just wondering how "strict" the rules are...I think the project is very interesting.

I don't usually buy processed foods, and I have a good amount of experience with bread...you'll see some photos soon of my baking projects.

Edited by phlawless (log)

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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I think you might be putting an extra hatchmark in the plus column of our continual debate over leaving Maryland for RTP.

This area has lots to offer...if you have any specific questions, feel free to pm me.

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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phlawless, what an interesting premise for a foodblog! And your daughter is adorable! What does she say when she likes her food?

she's way too busy stuffing her hole to speak...

:laugh:

Does she say "More!" when she wants a second helping?

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Plawless -

I love what you are doing...if You find the time, please post more pictures - they are wonderful and help your readers better understand and visualize the wonderful fresh food you are creating.

And, your daughter....simply beautiful. What a cutie - watch out for her when she gets older - the boys will go CRAZY!

"One Hundred Years From Now It Will Not Matter What My Bank Account Was, What Kind of House I lived in, or What Kind of Car I Drove, But the World May Be A Better Place Because I Was Important in the Life of A Child."

LIFES PHILOSOPHY: Love, Live, Laugh

hmmm - as it appears if you are eating good food with the ones you love you will be living life to its fullest, surely laughing and smiling throughout!!!

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phew...long day!

Though today was much easier than yesterday, I was able to spend some time cooking without compromising my time with M. We had fun.

We went for a long walk this morning, and were ready for a meal when we got back:

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I ended up adding the way-too-salty purple hulled peas from last night to M's leftover grits that she had for breakfast and it mellowed them out enough to eat...actually they were pretty tasty, even they do look like cat vomit! We had them with scrambled eggs with chives, and a cheese Chapel Hill Creamery makes called Quark, very much like a cream cheese but not as smoothe and a bit saltier.

We had plans to go over to some friends house tonight and I was supplying the burgers. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the meat, but it came from Brinkley Farms. I didn't want to go to the bakery to get buns since I wasn't sure what flour they used, so I made my own:

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they didn't come out soft and tender like commercial buns cause I used my starter:

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more like a chewy kaiser.

And since who knows where those tomatoes came from in the big H stuff, I made my own ketchup (I've always wanted to):

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I'll get the image of the finished ketchup later, it came out reallyreally good.

when it came all together, it looked like this:

(sorry for the so-so photo, I was chasing after M and asked a friend to take it)

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The burgers were good, the meat was fattier than I am used to, but that was nice. If the bun had been softer it would have been nearly perfect.

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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3) I see you were away for the weekend, so didn't have a chance to shop at your town's farmer's market.  Are there other options during the week where you can buy food directly from farmers?

4) Given Durham's historical relationship to the tobacco industry, do you know if there are farmers in the area who have switched from tobacco crops to other forms of agriculture?  I don't know how close those farms were to the industrial centers, though.

3) I was able to go to the Durham FM on Saturday since we didn't leave til that afternoon. We drove east about three hours to Beaufort NC, where they had the Tall Ships festival. If you don't know what this is, don't worry about it...it turned out to be a pretty horrible day. Basically we spent about six hours standing in line in 90+ degree heat to see some okay looking schooners. I've complained enough about this for the past two days, I won't bore you with the details...

But, we did get to go to one of my favorite BBQ places, Wilbur's in Goldsboro, about half way. There must be a lot of people on the boards tonight, cause loading photos is taking a REALLY long time, so I'll get those shots to you as soon as I can.

4) Turns out that Brinkley Farms, where I got the beef and the bacon from has made the switch. I don't know about any of the others, but next time I'm at the FM I'll ask around

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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It's been two days of my attempt at the locavore diet...and it's been a pain in the butt! I had gotten into a pretty nice routine with my days, but with the amount of extra time and energy needed to follow the guidelines of the challenge, any kind of normalcy in my day is a joke. And Chuck has had a long week end to help me out with Marilyn...what will I do tomorrow?

At this point, I am questioning how one could do this every day. I won't be able to sustain the extra efforts needed for longer than a month. I simply won't be able to get much else done. Don't get me wrong, I am loving this challenge...but as a lifestyle it's pretty difficult.

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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I think any major diet change is hardest in the beginning. I've spent weeks or months on food elimination diets a few times (trying to find allergen culprits) and the beginning of each was so difficult. As I collected a repertoir and mental catalog of what was "allowed" -- in your case what's local -- that energy-draining constant internal quizzing and scrutiny of every single ingredient or dish diminished dramatically. And that is a very good thing. :smile: I imagine it will get much simpler, time-wise, after this week when you are no longer blogging. :biggrin: My hat's off to you for taking on this challenge!

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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thanks for the encouraging words, Lori... I woke up this morning definitely re energized and less pessimistic about the challenge.

Today began with coffee and M's usual grits/yogurt/berries breakfast.

I will attempt to get back to my normal schedule: YMCA, an errand or two, then home for lunch. The Carrboro FM is open this afternoon, and I was planning a trip that way sometime this week anyway.

See you all soon!

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
       
       
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
       
       
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
       
       
       
       
    • By Drew777
      I'm a Brit. I'm also a closet Frenchman.  To cap it all, I'm happily retired in Bangkok, the city of a street food culture that's second to none. The Thais are healthy and slim. I'm just this side of alive and far from slim. Lockdown has me fantasizing about my days working in London, Paris and New York, an existence, if one could call it that, revolving around gastronomy of one kind or another. They paid me, not so very much as it happens, to do what I enjoy doing most in life. We all get to do it, but I was one of a fortunate few who made it his metier. Well all that's in the past now, but I still dream of my time in Paris when lunch was a tad short of 2-hours, little-known local bistros remained affordable until the day they were discovered by La Bible (Michelin Guide) and the students were revolting - this was the summer of '68, for heaven's sake. Someone should open bistro here in Bangkok with a table d'hote of Soupe a l'Oignon gratinee, Blanquette de Veau, a stinky Epoisses and Tarte Tatin to finsih with creme fraiche. Ah, it's back to lockdown and pad Thai. 
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