Archive for the ‘one local summer’ Category

In the Bag: Baked Ratatouille

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve shared what we’ve been getting in our CSA bag, from Potomac Vegetable Farms. Of course tomatoes were the star over the past month or so, along with lots of beans, onions and garlic. Oddly, we went for three weeks without a zucchini, only to get two small ones last week. And of course now that my own, once-prolific basil succumbed in our last crushing heat wave, we aren’t getting it from the CSA either. As summer winds down, we continue to get peppers and squash (though summer squash is giving way to butternut), and eggplant.

Now I find eggplant quite lovely to look out, but they’ve been piling up in my fridge as I lacked the motivation to make something with them. I finally decided to try a ratatouille and searched the food blogs for inspiration. I came across this one from Smitten Kitchen, inspired by the movie. Well, duh. If a rat could make something delicious out of it, surely I could. Unfortunately the movie endorsement didn’t hold much sway with the boy, who declared that “only rats eat ratatouille!” I happened to find it quite delicious, with the addition of some cherry tomatoes from our garden and freshly-grated parmesan cheese. And aside from slicing the vegetables (which you can do earlier in the day, if you have time), it’s relatively fast as you simply arrange the sliced squash, peppers and eggplant in the baking dish, season, and toss in the oven. Make a side salad while it cooks and voila, a simple meatless supper to savor the waning days of summer. Enjoy!

Recipe: Baked Ratatouille
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano (unless you have fresh on hand)
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more to oil baking dish)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush shallow baking dish with olive oil. Thinly slice the zucchini, eggplant and pepper. In the baking dish, spread tomato sauce on the bottom. Add garlic, and a pinch of salt. Over the sauce, arrange alternating slices of zucchini, pepper and eggplant in rows across the dish. Season with another pinch of salt and pepper.

Sprinkle oregano over vegetables, then tuck cherry tomato halves in between the rows. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Cover with a piece of parchment paper, trimmed to fit inside the pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until vegetables are tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from oven and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top. Serve warm or cold. Makes 4 servings.

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You’re Invited to Local Potluck Tuesdays

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

This past weekend was the unofficial kick-off of summer, and by now, farmers markets have opened in most areas of the country. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with eating locally, as the coming weeks will see the tables at markets and farm stands laden with berries, squash, melons, corn, and the locavore’s ultimate prize: field-ripened tomatoes. After two years of participating in the “One Local Summer” challenge, we’ve become pretty accustomed to eating locally as often as possible throughout the year. But it’s been such fun to meet others, whether committed locavores or those just beginning to explore a real food lifestyle, through various eating local challenges.

local potluck tuesday

To continue the fun, while sharing recipes and resources, I’d like to introduce a new weekly feature here at FoodieTots: Local Potluck Tuesday. Unlike some of the other challenges out there, this is not a “how local can you go” competition. In fact, while local ingredients should be featured in your recipe or meal, there are no firm rules. You decide whether “local” to you is 100 miles, 125, or within your state. No one will judge if you dress your local greens in Spanish olive oil or if you don’t harvest your own salt for seasoning your local grass-fed beef kabobs. Just show us something local you’ve enjoyed this week with your family — that’s it!

The weekly round-ups start next week, Tuesday, June 8. To keep it as simple as possible, we’ll be using MckLinky — so just check here for a post, add your link, and take a moment to hop around to enjoy the feast from other participants. (If you don’t have a blog, you’re welcome to share in the comments.)

Local Potluck Tuesdaya few guidelines:

1. Share a relevant post — a recipe, menu or pictures of a meal featuring local foods, from the farmers market, CSA, farm stand or your own garden — using the MckLinky widget. In the link title field, enter both your post title and your name &/or blog name, e.g., “Local Burger Bbq — Colleen @ FoodieTots.”

2. Bonus points if you included your kids in picking, growing, purchasing or cooking the ingredients for the meal! (And by bonus points, I mean increased likelihood of seeing your post featured in the following week’s post.)

3. In your post, please link back to that week’s round-up post here at FoodieTots, so your readers can find the potluck and be encouraged to join in as well.

That’s it! I hope you’ll join in and share what you’re cooking up to celebrate our local farms and the wonderful food they provide to nourish our families.

From One Local Summer to One Local Harvest

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

one local summer 2009We were out of town the past two weekends, and the absence from farmers markets and cooking prevented me from wrapping up the One Local Summer challenge with as big a bang as last year’s all-local barbecue. Sure, we savored local foods on our travels — the first weekend the boy, sister-in-law and I road-tripped our way to Burlington, Vermont, for the first Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. In New York, we ate at Marlow & Sons, featuring local eats including my Pennsylvania chevre, peach and mint crostini and sweet corn soup with fresh dill. (Perfect for the rainy day.) And I picked up still more local cheeses from two Brooklyn cheese shops, Bedford Cheese Shop and Marlow & Daughters, and Brooklyn-made bread and pickled pears for an all New York cheese plate to share with my in-laws. (Reviews to come over on Cheese + Champagne.)

Still on my foodie task list before summer officially ends: chocolate zucchini muffins (would you believe we’ve hardly had any zucchini yet from our CSA?), tomato gazpacho and *fingers crossed* putting up some peaches if there are any left at the markets this week. (See tomato jam and chilled plum soup for ways we’ve used up at-risk fruit lately.)

moutoux orchard

My most exciting local foods find this season is one I haven’t even gotten to taste yet: local, organically-grown and milled flours from Moutoux Orchard. Truly local grain is the holy grail for locavores; here in the greater DC area we have several grist mills that may mill locally, but generally use Midwest-grown grains. While I’ve made do with Wye Mill in Maryland, which does use local grain but requires a 120-mile round-trip journey to secure, it is somewhat impractical as a regular source of flour. I was thrilled to learn of Moutoux’s new grain crops at our Summer Solstice feast earlier this summer, but the first batch of flours just arrived at the markets (Falls Church and Dupont Circle) as we were headed out of town. I’ll be sure to report back when I’ve finally procured and experimented with these Loudoun County-grown grains.

Most importantly, Italian plums and figs are finally at the market reminding me that the best local produce is found in the fall. If you’re like me and can’t fathom quitting the One Local challenge just when it’s getting good, please continue to check in and I’ll post occasional “One Local Harvest” updates from now through November. Whether you’re cooking local suppers or putting up local produce for winter, we want to know!

Visit Farm to Philly for the final round-ups of the One Local Summer challenge; including a beautiful vegetable lasagna from Nancy and Kristina’s reflections on catching one’s own meal.

One Local Summer, A Family Affair

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

one local summer 2009This past week we’ve enjoyed a visit from family — my two siblings, sister-in-law, niece, father and father-in-law, a family reunion with five of my dad’s six siblings to celebrate my uncle’s retirement from the Navy, and my son’s third birthday party. Of course, food is always the focal point of our (semi-)Italian family’s gatherings, and while we may not have had an entirely local meal, we had local ingredients in every meal.

foodie cousins at del ray farmers market

The night my family arrived we ate at my aunt & uncle’s, enjoying the fruits of their garden while the cousins admired their chicken tree and beehives. First thing Saturday morning, the boy and I cooked up black & blueberry muffins, made with Pequea Valley yogurt, for breakfast before taking the fam to the market. The boy led his cousin straight to Vera’s for fresh-squeezed orange juice before introducing her to Tom the Cheese Guy (aka Mr. Tom) and sharing his slice of cheese.

At the family pool party we had a salad grown in my aunt & uncle’s garden, corn on the cob we brought from Three Way Farm, and a peach cobbler that my brother and sister-in-law prepared with Toigo peaches. The same brother and sister-in-law brought some home-grown cherry tomatoes from their Alabama garden, which we snacked on like candy over the weekend. Cherry tomatoes and Tom’s horseradish cheddar made a spicy version of the typical tomato-basil-mozzarella salad to enliven a take-out meal after the birthday party. And my son’s birthday cake, with its Swiss meringue buttercream, made good use of our local cage-free eggs.

To top it all off, my brother and sister-in-law brought a basket full of jams and salsas, put up themselves, a set of organic yogurt starters and the Local Flavors cookbook as my birthday present. Can you imagine anything more appropriate? (Thanks J & H!)

One Local Summer is an annual challenge in which people around the world join together for 13 weeks of seasonal eating, supporting local farmers and exploring their local foodsheds. Visit FarmtoPhilly on Tuesdays for the weekly round-up; here’s what my neighbors in the Southern region cooked up this week.

One Local Summer Tomato Peach Panzanella

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

By this point of the summer, meals at the Foodie Tot house tend to become simple variations of mixed grill or summer salads. To say I am obsessed with the pairing of summer tomatoes and peaches would be an understatement. This Italian bread salad, incorporating the two plus sweet corn, is the perfect showcase for summer’s peak ingredients and is a quick, no-cook, one-dish-meal that’s perfect for busy summer weekends.

tomato peach panzanella salad

Recipe: Tomato Peach Panzanella


  • 4 slices day-old hearty Italian bread or corn bread
  • 2 large very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 large very ripe peaches
  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • several basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces aged white cheddar, cubed


  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions: Toast the bread slices and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut the tomatoes and peaches into 1/2-inch cubes as well. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs. In a bowl, layer the bread, tomatoes, peaches and corn. Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to make vinaigrette. Sprinkle vinaigrette and basil over salad and toss gently. Stir in cheese and let stand for 10 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Farms of Origin: peaches, Bigg Riggs (WV); tomatoes, basil, sweet corn, Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA (VA); cheddar, Tom the Cheese Guy (PA); bread (dinner rolls), Valentine’s Country Bakery & Meat (VA); from the Alexandria Upper King Street and McLean Farmers Markets.

More peach & tomato recipes:

What’s your favorite peach/tomato recipe?

One Local Summer is an annual challenge in which people around the world join together for 13 weeks of seasonal eating, supporting local farmers and exploring their local foodsheds. Visit FarmtoPhilly on Tuesdays for the weekly round-up; here’s what my neighbors in the Southern region cooked up this week.