Friday, March 30, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread

Eating locally means more than just buying fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers markets every week.  It requires thought and planning to maintain a local diet, especially in the week.  Eating local meat and eggs can be expensive, so it's worth conserving in other areas in order to get the best product.  Bread is one of those essential parts of a diet that can save a lot of money and it's better!  Bread and I have had our ups and downs.  We sometimes get along.  Don't misunderstand me.  I love bread.  I can't imagine my life without it.  But that also means that I feel obligated to make my own.  It is so much cheaper to buy a $3 bag of flour and make it from scratch.  I am hoping to find local flour as soon as I can, but for now, making it from the store bought flour will have to do.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Vegetables au Vin with Coq

This weeks Food Matters Project recipe for Vegetables au Vin with Coq was chosen by Evi and Sam.  For the original Mark Bittman recipe check their post out to see what they did!  I decided to take a localish approach on the recipe.  Eggplant and green beans aren't in season yet so I used leeks and beets in addition to the mushrooms and pearl onions (all found at Green City Market!)

If you know me and Ian, you know that we have wars about beets.  He loathes them with a fiery passion that comes from deep down, remembering only as a child who was forced to eat the mysterious, vinegary purple mushy ooze could.  I begged and begged to add them to this dish.  He finally agreed and I promised that if he didn't like them, I'd never again ask if we could include beets in a dish.  Boy did I dodge a bullet...

The way the beets melted into the wine sauce and connected with the mushrooms was incredible.  We both scarfed it down as though we may never see another beet again.  Pause for effect.

I would have been happy to eat it without the chicken and I will now that the leftovers are purely vegetable.  It was a successful recipe in more ways than one.  Excellent choice Evi and Sam!

Vegetables au Vin with Coq - see Evi and Sam for the full recipe:

My additions:
2 leeks
5 small purple beets

I made this without the green beans and eggplant but you can feel free to use whatever you have!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scallops Wrapped in Bacon

Last year when I was considering how my life would be without meat there was a very real vacancy gnawing at me constantly: bacon.  You see, bacon is glorious.  It is wonderful.  And if it is purchased properly and consumed within reason, it is OK to eat in my book.  Your body needs some fat, and if I'm going to justify eating it, I may as well have it with these beautiful, lean, protein-rich scallops and some spinach.  Also, consider the alternatives... tofurkey... to-bacon?  I just can't justify to myself buying an artificial "piece of meat" to fill my body that is filled with chemicals when I could be eating the real thing, raised healthy on a farm nearby.

The key to this simple but delightful recipe is to pre-cook the bacon until it is just underdone.  Scallops only need a couple of minutes per side to cook, so if the bacon is raw the whole thing will just not work. Ian is in charge of the bacon in this house, so he cooked it until it was almost done.

The scallops I bought came from Dirk's Fish Shop.  I absolutely love this place.  It is a sustainable fish shop and there are labels on all of the fish explaining where they came from and which choices are more sustainable.  I know that scallops are more expensive, but we only ate a total of four for two people.  It is pure protein and you don't need a lot to fill up.  He also won't sell fish like shark or Big Eye Tuna because of how overfished they are.  I really suggest checking him out if you are in Chicago!  Everyone is friendly and it's a lot of fun to go shopping there.

All you have to do after you have washed the scallops and pulled the little muscle off is wrap them in bacon and either broil them or saute them for several minutes on each side.  Before they are done they are kind of translucent and once they are prepared they are a rich milky white.  Yum.  Serve with a side of cooked spinach or some other lovely green that you can find at the market!

Squeeze both the spinach and scallops generously with a lemon when they are done.  It brightens the flavor and brings everything together wonderfully!

I can't wait to keep posting about things that have been happening lately.  On Saturday I attended the Good Food Festival which was incredible!  I met amazing people from Peterson's Garden Project, the Local Beet, Chicago Foodies, and decided on my CSA this year, Big Head Farm.  All of the vendors there sold incredible products and I feel very inspired to continue eating locally and making my own food, despite the many challenges I am facing.  Who else is ready for spring?!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hummus Served Hot

There are really no words to express how excited I am to tell you about this creation of mine.  This week's recipe for The Food Matters Project was Hummus Served Hot chosen by Erin from Naturally Ella.  It was a great choice!  So far I have seen some wonderful white bean hummus blends, served in all kinds of ways, including as a pasta sauce!  Very unique - and I'm planning on trying it ASAP!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Food Matters Project: Seared Bean Sprouts with Beef and Sesame Orange Sauce

I decided to join the Food Matters Project several weeks ago and I am so so excited to be a part of this group.  I share almost the exact food philosophies with this group and I really need this challenge to help me with my creativity and originality in the kitchen.  I also love that I get to see how many different people interpret the same recipes.  I really encourage you to check it out and see all the different ways you can adapt just one recipe!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon

I am very proud and excited to say that my best friend and I completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon!  It was the most fun I have ever had running - a total girl power event with everyone dressed up (next year we have vowed to get tutus!).  I just wanted to show a couple of photos before I head off and I promise I will post a real post with recipes when I get back next!

We went to the Magic Kingdom first to visit Cinderella.

This is the first thing we saw when we walked to the Expo to pick up our race packets!

4:15 AM, morning of.

We finished and received medals in the shape of a tiara!

Lookin' good boys!

The victory picture with Mickey and Minnie!

Completing this race really makes me feel amazing.  Even if you're not a competitive runner it's worth checking out next year!  Everyone is very encouraging and it's a great way to force yourself into a healthy routine while having a blast!