Posts Tagged ‘buffalo’

One Local Buffalo Steak and Garlic Scapes

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

one local summer 2009This past week we got our first garlic scapes in our CSA bag. Garlic scapes are the curly bright green shoots of a young garlic plant, not to be confused with the “green garlic” stalks that soon follow. Last summer at a New York farmers market, I watched a farmer practically plead with a skeptical customer to give them a try. If you love garlic, you can’t go wrong — but if you’re expecting something mild like a chive, you’ll be in for a pungent surprise.

garlic scapes

Garlic scapes are commonly used in pesto — a great way to store them for later use as the scape season is fairly brief. And I like to throw them whole on the grill for a little mellower flavor and perfect accompaniment to a grilled steak. grilled steak garlic scapeThis week we again had Cibola Farm’s buffalo meat, the steaks rubbed with olive oil, smoked paprika, oregano, salt and pepper before grilling. We also had home-baked brioche, which is not exactly local as I don’t have local flour, but I’m taking partial credit here because the rich brioche dough got a boost of flavor from our local, cage-free farmers market eggs and butter. I haven’t had much time to bake lately but am looking forward to cooking up some cherry treats now that the first cherries have arrived at our local markets. We snacked on Emperor Francis cherries from Long Meadow Ecological Farm found at DC’s Eastern Market on Saturday.

We’ve also been snacking on some local goat cheeses from Firefly Farms and Spriggs Delight in Maryland. You can read more about them over on the cheese blog.

Recipe: Grilled Garlic Scapes

  • 4 garlic scapes, rinsed
  • 1 drizzle olive oil
  • course salt and pepper

Instructions: Toss the scapes in olive oil till lightly coated. Place on hot grill over high heat and sear several minutes, until soft and grill marks appear. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve along side your favorite grilled meat or fish. Enjoy!

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 CSA Summer (and a Buffalo Sausage and Kale Frittata)

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

one local summerThe first week of the One Local Summer challenge coincided with our first CSA (community supported agriculture) delivery of the season, from Virginia’s Potomac Vegetable Farms. Our farm is “ecoganic” — meaning they follow organic practices but are not certified — and has one of the few remaining farms in Fairfax County just west of Tyson’s Corner, as well as a second location in Purcellville. We love visiting our farm for the semi-annual CSA member potlucks, and as I mentioned previously, they will be hosting the newly-crowned RAMMY Rising Culinary Star of the Year Anthony Chittum for a Summer Solstice Farmland Supper later this month.

csa garlic scapes kale

While I love our CSA, I only get a half share to allow for plenty of farmers market shopping each week as well. This first OLS/CSA dinner featured garlic scapes, chives and kale from the farm, and sausage, eggs, cheese and broccoli from the Upper King Street farmers market. Our CSA pick-up is on Wednesday, so the first meal is usually something simple involving eggs or pasta. This week it was a sausage and kale frittata, with a side of steamed broccoli. Quick, fresh and delicious.

Recipe: Buffalo Sausage and Kale Frittata

buffalo sausage kale frittata

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. or 4 links buffalo sausage
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic scape, thinly sliced
  • several stems of chives, chopped
  • 1 cup kale, cut into thin ribbons
  • 6 cage-free eggs
  • 4 thick slices cheddar cheese, diced

Instructions: Heat olive oil in saute pan or skillet over medium high heat. Crumble sausage into pan and cook until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Drain excess oil. Add kale, scape and chives and cook until kale just begins to wilt, 1-2 minutes. Whisk eggs in mixing bowl and pour into pan. Fold in cheese and season with salt and pepper. Cook until eggs are fully set, and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Farms of Origin

  • Potomac Vegetable Farms (VA), kale, garlic scapes and chives
  • Cibola Farms (VA), buffalo bourbon fennel sausage
  • Tom the Cheese Guy (PA), eggs and cave-aged cheddar
  • Long Meadow Ecological Farm (VA), broccoli
  • bread from Breadline (DC)

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.

Free Range, Grass-Fed Beef (and Pork and Chicken)

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Part V of the Sustainable Family Supper series, and my submission to this week’s Fight Back Friday, hosted by the Food Renegade.

It’s probably obvious by now that we are not vegetarians by any means. I actually did abstain from red meat for nearly 5 years during my idealistic youth (high school and college) for “ethical” reasons, but was converted back during a Christmas visit to my Italian grandparents who served meat three times a day. My now husband, then friend, took me out for my first post-vegetarianism steak when I got back to college after the winter break. I was ecstatic to finally be able to order In-n-Out burgers with meat, and jumped back into omnivorism with barely a second thought. Fast forward nearly a decade, and my renewed interest in healthy, sustainable food led me to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I’d already sampled local, grass-fed meats from local farmers markets on occasion, but wasn’t fully committed to paying the higher price on a regular basis. Pollan’s book and my subsequent research set the ball rolling and we now strive to eat only grass-fed, pastured, hormone-free and preferably organic (and GMO-feed free) meat. I still have a little omnivore’s guilt when eating lamb or veal (cue cute baby animal images), but I was inspired to hear local sustainable agriculture hero Bev Eggleston speak at a Slow Food dinner last year about his own conversion from Berkeley vegetarian to pig farmer. As he explained, to solve the problems of conventional meat production you have to participate in the process and use your dollars to vote for sustainable solutions.

grass-fed pastured beef cows

Why Grass-Fed, aka Pastured, Meat? Without getting into the complex and hotly-debated issue of whether grass-fed cows fart more than feedlot-cows (yes, there are real scientists researching that!), there are true health benefits to grass-fed meat. Plus, you avoid supporting “Confined Animal Feeding Operations” (CAFOs or feedlots), which are essentially concentration camps for animals and which I am sure you have heard about elsewhere. (If not, read this, this, and/or this.) Other benefits include:

  • Grass-fed meat is higher in vitamins, especially vitamin E and D, which only comes from exposure to sunlight.
  • Grass-fed red meat is leaner, lower in fat and calories than conventional, and higher in better fats (Omega-3s).
  • Grass-fed means no genetically-modified (GMO) corn or soy feed, reducing the amount of corn byproducts (pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc.) you consume. (You have seen King Corn, haven’t you?) – health benefits via Eat Wild.

One thing to note about grass-fed meat is that in much of the U.S., it is a seasonal product. Alice Waters reportedly turned down EcoFriendly’s meat for her Inaugural dinner event because it was not available fresh in January. In the winter, animals can’t always graze outdoors so be sure to ask your local vendors what they’re feeding in the winter months — ideally, it will be organic feed they grow themselves. If it is entirely grass-fed, you’ll probably have to buy it frozen. Just defrost it gently in the refrigerator and be sure not to overcook (medium rare is ideal), as leaner grass-fed meat becomes tough if overcooked.

Where to find grass-fed meat: The first place to look for local, grass-fed meat is your local farmers markets. Visit localharvest.org to find a market or ranch near you; Eat Wild‘s state-by-state grass-fed directory can also help. At the grocery store, ignore the meaningless “all natural” label and choose organic if you can, but ask the butcher if they carry any grass-fed brands. (If not, ask them to consider it!)

Grass-fed Meat in DC/NoVA: Joel Salatin’s Polyface, featured in Omnivore’s Dilemma, is right here in Virginia, and you can purchase their meats through their buying clubs. Bev Eggleston’s EcoFriendly co-operative is created in the Polyface model (Bev worked with Joel before branching out on his own) and is the gold standard for family-farmed, pastured meat in the area, with many of DC’s and NYC’s top chefs relying on EcoFriendly meats (including Cathal Armstrong at Restaurant Eve and Todd Gray of Equinox). Other smaller, family-owned farms are represented at nearly all of our local farmers markets. I’ve personally sampled and recommend the following:

  • Babes in the Woods, (Dillwyn, VA); rare-breed, forest-fed pork; at Old Town Alexandria, Clarendon and Charlottesville Farmers Markets.
  • Cibola Farms (Culpeper, VA); buffalo, pork, beef, goat, chicken; available at Dupont, Penn Quarter, Mt. Pleasant, Kingstowne, Burke, Falls Church, Reston, Dale City, Mt. Vernon, Fredericksburg Farmers Markets.
  • EcoFriendly (Moneta, VA), beef, pork, lamb, poultry, rabbit, Arlington/Courthouse and Dupont Farmers Markets.
  • Fields of Athenry (Purcellville, VA); lamb, beef, poultry; see website for drop-off locations.
  • Hilldale Farm (Palmyra, VA); organic chicken; at West End Alexandria Farmers Market.
  • Smith Meadows Farm (Berryville, VA); beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, goat; at Chevy Chase, Courthouse, Columbia Pike, Del Ray, Dupont, Falls Church, Glover Park, Palisades, Takoma Park Farmers Markets.
  • Smith Family Farm, (Gainseville, VA); beef, pork, poultry; at Burke, Kingstowne, Occoquan, Palisades, Vienna Farmers Markets – and on Twitter!

Local (NoVA) Butchers:

And look for the Spring issue of Edible Chespeake, with a cover story on buying beef directly from the farmer.

One Local Chesapeake Summer

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

A trip to the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market this past weekend allowed us to pick up some treats not offered at our neighborhood markets — including Cibola Farm’s buffalo hot dogs and Chesapeake Bay blue crab (soft shells and lump meat). Paired with fresh produce from the market and our CSA, we had three simple, local dinners this week (and a fourth mostly-local CSA quinoa salad).

Dinner #1: The hot dogs were served on Firehook Bakery torpedo rolls, the closest approximation to hot dog buns we could find, and caramelized sweet onions from our CSA. (Plus a dab of non-local mustard. I actually tried to order local mustard from our dairy, but the ordering system has been having problems.)

Dinner #2: Soft-shell crab sandwiches. The husband, unimpressed by the improvised hot dog buns, went to the grocery store and found that their only HFCS-free buns were also locally-made, Martin’s potato rolls of PA (104 mi.). So he won that round… Quick cornmeal-coated, pan-fried soft shells need little accompaniment other than the first field-ripened tomatoes of summer and some CSA lettuce on the bun.

Dinner #3: Pan-fried crab cakes, and quick ciabatta pizzas. Ciabatta from our neighborhood bakery (Caboose), topped with baby yellow zucchini, basil, sweet onions, and fresh ricotta.

For dessert, local eggs, gooseberries and cherries starred in a yummy clafoutis. And an added treat, our local Buzz bakery was giving away free mini honey cupcakes (with local VA honey) for “Don’t Step on a Bee Day.”

Farms/Producers:

  • Buffalo – Cibola Farms, VA (73 mi.)
  • Crab – Buster’s Seafood, VA (138 mi.)
  • Ricotta – Keswick Creamery, PA (121 mi.)
  • Onions, basil, lettuce – Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA, VA (23 mi.)
  • Baby zucchini – Spring Valley Farm & Orchards, WV (113 mi.

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