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eG Foodblog: phlawless - La Vida Local


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I've been thinking about the problem of sourcing ingredients for this project and the amount of time and energy (human and fuel) that go into it. The solution that I propose, and it's a solution that I propose for all of the rest of us too, is to start shopping and cooking cooperatively. There was a time when one would regularly pop over to their neighbors and say, "I'm going to the store. Need anything?" And I don't mean cooking cooperatively in any kind of free spirit, hippie-dippy way. I mean, I'm going to smoke a a big piece of pork this weekend, do you want some or do you want to throw one in with mine. For people who live within certain distances of eath other sharing trips to other towns and sharing food produced in prodigous amounts are great ways to cut down on the fuel and time costs.

I have been thinking this exact same thing, bandregg, and not only pertaining to food. Remember when you were a kid and you could run around your neighborhood during the summer all day cause there was usually one parent from each house actually there? The definition of neighborhoods, and neighbors for that matter, have really changed. People keep their windows and doors closed and their blinds down so as to have as little interaction with their community as possible...people are way too concerned with the notion of privacy. Don't get my wrong, I'm no nosy-nelly, but I like driving down my street and seeing or hearing activity from my neighbors houses...it makes me feel safe.

Not only fabulous food, but city planning and sociology too? More than I bargained for!

If you'd be at all interested in links to sites and groups that touch on subjects like this, PM me.

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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Dinner was simple tonight. I got a chicken from Fickle Creek Farms and was planning on grilling, but the rain wouldn't allow it. I cleaned and butchered (don't know if you can tell from the photo, but look how small the pieces are!) and seared with olive oil, rosemary, lemon slices, and garlic, then deglazed with chicken stock and white wine and finished it in the oven. I served it with roasted russian banana potatoes and okra from the Raleigh FM...not too shabby!

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Since I've gotten the hang of sourcing, this effort isn't all that hard anymore. It also makes me realize how seasonal and local we have been eating all along. This chicken wasn't as tasty as the organic smart chickens I've been getting at Harris Teeter though, and it was nearly twice the price.

"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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RE: the butcher block style table...Heaven knows I am no authority on work-working....but I would think that some skilled craftsperson could remove the top...place it in a series of clamps and over time could straighten it out. It looks like a much too impressive piece of kitchen ware to waste...

If you no longer want it, send it my way. I will pay the freight. But I won't hold my breath.

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Day 5 and all is well.

No photos this morning, more of coffee/grits/yogurt/berries. I am going to try to stock up on some snacks for the week end later today, then check out the Red & White that bandregg mentioned for seafood. Varmint and I are trying to work out a dinner for tomorrow night, not sure if it's a go yet; toddler's tend to put a kink in planning things like this.

M's sleep schedule is going through a bit of change now, and it's messed up our lovely little routine we've had for a few months. She's napping now, so I'll pitter around in the garden til she wakes, then we can get started with the day. I put our veggie garden in late this year (we had some major yard demo done earlier in the summer) and our loot won't be ready til August or September. I'll get some photos up 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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Chuck made the BB table on the left of the range a few years ago, as well as the open shelving on either side of the hood. The BB on the right was my mother's and is actually pretty useless: it has a significant dip in the center that makes knifework frustrating and a bit dangerous. Anyone have any ideas on how to reuse this great big block of wood?

Perhaps it is not too long of a longshot in NC since there may still be some sawmills, but the only way that I can see getting a decent flat surface on something as thick as your big butcher block would be to take off the legs and load it like a log into a travelling bandsaw mill. Then you could saw the top down flat (or even saw it into multiple flat pieces. After that, the sanding would be pretty easy and all it would need is a healthy drink of mineral oil and some good heavy knife work to get the patina back.

Ask around if there are any boutique hardwood companies or companies that are still getting submerged logs up from the bottoms of rivers. They may have a machine big enough. Would be worth a drive to make such a nice piece usable again.

All other normal woodshop equipment would not be large enough to handle the piece. And using a handplaner on something like that would scare me.

RE: the butcher block style table...Heaven knows I am no authority on work-working....but I would think that some skilled craftsperson could remove the top...place it in a series of clamps and over time could straighten it out.  It looks like a much too impressive piece of kitchen ware to waste...

If you no longer want it, send it my way.  I will pay the freight.  But I won't hold my breath.

We have searched for a mill in the past, and not really sure what we ended up finding out. Honestly, I don't really appreciate the style of a big piece of wood like that, so I think I would rather cut it up into smaller slabs and make a larger table out of it. It's so damn heavy though...with this monster and the range and the countertops, Chuck was getting nervous about all that weight on 60 year old floors. He ended up putting up supports under the kitchen just in case and every couple of months checks for slopes and sinking.

"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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Do you know, if I had that wonderful butcher block, I would purchase a mezzaluna and use it for herbs, nuts etc. I think the hollow would be just right with a mezzaluna.

Dianne.

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noodle money shot:

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Oh my, that photo is frame-worthy. [editted to add: it could be titled "Amber Waves of Grain".]

M is adorable. Im stunned at how much time you have to cook and post for this blog with a munchkin her age about. I'm working on turning "stunned" into "inspired" - thank you.

There is the coolest looking egg-shaped container on the counter in your picture of the butchered chicken. What do you use that for?

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Ok....another thought about the butcher's block.

What if you took the legs off the bottom, turned it over, put the legs on the top, filled the holes and sanded the bottom and started with some mineral oil right away.....

Would this work? Is the bottom flat? It would save you from having to go and cut up this great piece of wood that obviously has a lot of life left in it. Or is it because the bottom is not finished as nicely as the top?

Whatever, just trying to be helpful.

Love the blog by the way. :smile:

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There is  the coolest looking egg-shaped container on the counter in your picture of the butchered chicken. What do you use that for?

That is one of Nigella Lawson's pieces, it's a salt cellar and I adore it too. She has a line of gorgeous bowls, cup/spoon measures, flour containers, etc and I covet them all.

"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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Good Morning!

I finally feel like I have some time to really post. The majority of my shopping is done, the laundry/house/child are all in a state I feel comfortable letting be for a bit, and I can reflect a little on how the week so far is turning out.

I thought it would be a good time to give you guys the requisite tour of our kitchen/dining area. But first a little background info...

We bought this house, our first, almost two years ago, right when we found out I was pregnant. Understand that we never would have taken on both of those endeavors at the same time willingly, cause the house required A LOT of work. Chuck and a few generous friends gutted what remained of the kitchen (it had no appliances, a few clunky cabinets, and remnants of 30 year old cracked, vinyl flooring) and took down the wall that originally separated the kitchen and dining room. We had someone do the floor, but everything else Chuck did himself.

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Chuck made the BB table on the left of the range a few years ago, as well as the open shelving on either side of the hood. The BB on the right was my mother's and is actually pretty useless: it has a significant dip in the center that makes knifework frustrating and a bit dangerous. Anyone have any ideas on how to reuse this great big block of wood?

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Chuck also poured the concrete countertops along this wall. There are two, and he wants to replace (HA!) one cause he isn't happy with the way it turned out.

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Our dining room with my cookbook collection in the back. I have had this table since I was in college, and am REALLY ready to get a grown up one.

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After a few tries, this is the clearest shot of the fridge I could get. It's actually pretty clean now, usually there are significant smudges of buttercream along the shelves and walls from when I am doing big cakes.

Phlawless:

I love your concrete counters. I have them as well, and despite mixed review in other threads, I wouldn't have anything else. I have them in the kitchen and bath......jet black in the bath, and marbled green in the kitchen.

Great blog!!!

Bill

Bill Benge

Moab, Utah

"I like eggs", Leon Spinks

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I don't understand what issues people would have with concrete, other than aesthetic...

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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Wow, Ph, you're living the good life! I lived in Chapel Hill when I was in school & loved it, do you have a garden or are you thinking about it? Not that you're not getting lots of great food, but just to give you a little wiggle room. We had a few weeks in the summer (thanks to my ILs) at Edisto Beach & there was this great farmstand-Pinks-that had ladypeas, already shelled, wish we were headed that way this year....

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Not a big food day, I actually spent a good portion of it fiddling in the garden. I put one in late this year so nothing will be ready for the blog, a few okra later in the month maybe.

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tomatopalooza

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okra

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canteloupe

The only exciting thing today worth noting was my first tomato sandwich of the year. The tomatoes are from peregrine farms, I used my rosemary bread from the other day, and I couldn't NOT use Duke's, which is made in Richmond.

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It wasn't a lean-over-the-sink kind of good, but I still enjoyed it.

M wasn't disappointed either:

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"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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Tonight dinner was simplified: there was some drama with M, nothing serious although a band aid was needed- her first, and I didn't have the energy to go crazy with the cookin'. I never did manage to get to those snacks like I intended, maybe next week.

I went with tagliatelle alla carbonara using the leftover pasta from the other night.

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I don't think I've posted one of these yet, which I usually have a couple times a day now:

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This is the first time I've had a dishwasher, and before we got this house we always said we wouldn't bother with putting one in... rather put our money in other things in the kitchen... blahblahblah. We'll I have firmly planted foot in mouth cause that machine is amazing. What used to be a half hour ordeal is now about 10 minutes. I do still enjoy washing a sink full every now and then.(It works well as an intermezzo before dessert.) I also have fond memories of playing outside after dinner when I was a kid and hearing my mom wash dishes through the window above the kitchen sink.

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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The dinner with Varmint tomorrow night is on, so I'm sure there will be beaucoup photos from prep on into the wee hours, if it's like any of the other times I've been to V's house. I really do appreciate all of the kind words everyone has piped in the past few days. Documenting one's life like this is a nice way to step back and notice the details of daily life. It's amazing what you start to take for granted.

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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And I haven't a clue of what I'll make. Phlawless is providing a pork shoulder and dessert. I'll probably roast a whole fish and make the appetizer and sides. A trip to the farmers market is in order, because we want this to be a local ingredient meal!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I'm thinking of making an appetizer of a crab sautee with country ham and trout roe served with fried sunburst squash. For sides, I'm making a succotash of 4 different peas/beans (butterbeans, pink-eye, purple-hulled, crowder), corn, and a touch of cream. There will be a salad of watermelon, tomato, cucumber and local feta. Finally, I'll make a good old fashioned summer squash gratin. I also picked up a medium-sized red snapper (from the waters of North Carolina, of course) that I'm planning to roast whole. However, I may not cook the fish for us and make it for the kids.

All ingredients are local, including the corn meal, the cheese, the eggs & cream, and the country ham. I'll steal some fresh herbs from my mother-in-law's garden. The crab comes from Morehead City, which is about 140 miles away, but that's as close as we can get.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Hey guys can you hold out till 10 pm we will go pack the bike...

sounds yummy lots of pictures

I finally get to visit out with Brooks tomorrow in NY

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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Hey y'all. Wishing I could crash that dinner at Varmint's!

Ph--have you made any specific changes in your meal prep approach since M came along? I love cooking dinner most nights except for the fact that it's usually a rough time for the kids and they nee CONSTANT attention. It's a wonder I haven't burnt the house down or resorted to Cheerios every night. When it works I try to do most of my prep in the morning. Any other suggestions?

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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For some reason, today has been especially crazy, and I don't think it has to do with any of the cooking/challenge/blog. M is really testy; she's starting to exhibit real toddler behavior and I am not prepared for this much personality just yet.

We had coffee/breakfast outside this morning since the humidity wasn't as stiffling as usual:

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M and I went to the Durham FM this morning which we do pretty much every Saturday it's open and we are in town. Right now it takes place in the parking lot of the old Durham Bulls Park, but next year it will move to it's own spot just down the street. I'm sure the vendors will be quite happy about the new venue.

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We didn't get a lot today: eggs from Fickle Creek Farms, tomatillos form Lyon Farms, smoked mozz from Chapel Hill Creamery and some cut flowers. I had a couple of extra errands this morning and couldn't browse like I usually do.

Once we got home, I got started on the prep for tonights dinner at Varmints. I don't have any photos of the pork, but it is lovely, and I would rather you all see it plated. But I do have shots of dessert in progress:

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This is the corn steeping in the custard that will become Silver Queen corn and buttermilk ice cream. It sat overnight and I churned it this morning.

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First I roasted and skinned local peanuts to make blondies:

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The batter for these looked pretty iffy: because I used fresh ground nuts in place of commercial peanut butter, it never homogenized. I wasn't sure if it was going to work or not. Keep in mind I haven't tasted it yet...

You'll see the rest from the photos tonight.

M and I took a break and she had a snack outside:

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Chuck and I had a light lunch so we can stuff ourselves tonight. This is the recipe from the article in the NYT this past Wednesday for shirred eggs done by Anne Quatrano. The cherokee purple tomatoes I got from the market this morning, and they were roasted with garlic and rosemary sprigs. The eggs are baked in ramekins with a bit of seasoned heavy cream. We sopped up the yummy oil and juices with the last of the rosemary bread.

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(apologies for the fuzziness)

I just have a few more things to do for the dessert and then I can maybe fit in a snooze (yea!) before we leave for dinner.

(edited to say that I cheated with M's snack above, I broke down and gave her some crackers, that I didn't make, with her blueberries and cheese)

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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Ph--have you made any specific changes in your meal prep approach since M came along?  I love cooking dinner most nights except for the fact that it's usually a rough time for the kids and they nee CONSTANT attention.  It's a wonder I haven't burnt the house down or resorted to Cheerios every night.  When it works I try to do most of my prep in the morning.  Any other suggestions?

That's pretty much the strategy I have as well. Even though I am cooking more, things are a lot simpler then the used to be. I depend on leftovers for M and mine's lunch for a few days, and Chuck thankfully doesn't like to eat early. Needless to say our cassoulet/fresh tortellini/homemade sausage days are over for a bit.

"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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Great blog! Kudos to you for trying the 100 mile thing - I've often wondered about how few places will support habitation if [when?] long-haul transportation costs go through the roof. We would be living from a root cellar for six months of the year, and we don't have a root cellar.

That block could be levelled in an afternoon with handtools, I believe. Since this isn't a woodshop forum I'll not go into details, but if you want more information let me know, or PM me.

cheers

Derek

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    • 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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