Living a Locally Supported Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘local ingredients’

Passover and Local Foods

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I just wanted to share this piece by Milly Dawson, advocating consumption of local foods for Passover seders. While her piece is somewhat specific to Florida, and obviously specific to Judaism, I thought it another interesting jump-off point for a discussion on the varied opportunities to incorporate the eat-local philosophy into our religious observations or family traditions. In what way to you incorporate local foods into longstanding customs or rituals?

Local Food This Passover?





Get Your Goat (Cheese)

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Spring is in the air, and spring greens are on the plate. I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite meals this time of year is a spring green salad topped with a local chevre. With so many great artisan goat cheese producers across the country, you are sure to find one making a lovely chevre near you. Here is a sampling from the Locallectual directory:

Caromont Farm Goat Cheese

Yummy Goat Cheese by Caromont Farm

Caromont Farm, Esmont, VA: I’ve had the pleasure of having cheese from Caramont Farm recently and both Palladio Restaurant and The Local Restaurant… and it did not disappoint! All of Caramont’s cheeses are named for places in and around Esmont, and you’ll find it showcased at restaurants and specialty food stores all over Virginia.

Selection of Goat Cheeses from Redwood Hill Farm

Redwood Hill Farm, Sebastopol, CA: Located in the beautiful Green Valley region of Western Sonoma County, the folks at Redwood Hill have been taking pride in a natural, humane and organic approach to producing artisan goat cheese and other creamery products since 1968. On top of all that, they also take home awards aplenty.

Chevre from Amaltheia Organic Dairy

Amaltheia Organic Dairy, Belgrade, MT: Certified organic, the fresh chevre from Amaltheia regularly gains accolades and awards from the American Cheese Society. The farm itself has won sustainability awards from Ecostar. At this family-run operation nestled at the base of the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman, you’ll find the goats contentedly nibbling grasses and grains.

Fantome Farm Handcrafted Chevre

Fantome Farm, Ridgeway, WI: While Wisconsin is known as “The Dairy State,” a goat dairy may not be the first type to come to mind. However, that shouldn’t stop you from checking out Wisconsin’s artisan goat cheeses, such as the award-winning ones made by Fantome Farm. Each batch of chevre is made on their “ridge in the driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin.” At Fantome, they follow the goats’ natural seasons which means the first batch comes out in late April. Now that is something to look forward to each spring!

We know that loyal locavores are bound to have a favorite chevre producer nearby… don’t see yours in the Locallectual directory? Add it today!

Local Love,
The Locallectuals

Use Your Vote to Support Local Foods by Voting for the Chefs That Support Them

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

It’s awards season, and not just in Hollywood. Foodie-wood, too. The James Beard semi-finalists have recently been announced, as well as as the finalists for Food & Wine’s The People’s Best New Chef 2011 awards. While you don’t have any say in the James Beard selection (don’t worry, I’m not that special either), you do get to vote for the Food & Wine chefs (there’s one pick from each region of the country). Food & Wine wants you to choose the chefs you vote for based on restaurants you’ve actually eaten at, but we want you to take a different strategy. The Locallectuals would like you to instead vote for chefs who are dedicated to utilizing local ingredients in their dishes. Lucky for us, good chefs use good ingredients, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a chef who makes delicious dishes, but a chef who is dedicated to supporting their local economy and environment with farm-fresh ingredients.

My vote? The Barn at Blackberry Farm‘s chef, Joseph Lenn. Not only are his culinary creations ahh-mazing, but he uses tons of ingredients sourced feet from the Barn’s door on Blackberry Farm’s grounds.

So check out the chefs and vote. And try out these restaurants – they all look delicious!


Trends in the Local Movement: Chefs as Farmers

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Chefs. I’ve heard they have a lot of ego. And if you watch the ones on tv, it seems many even think they are God (sorry Gordon Ramsay but you DO NOT rule the world). Maybe that’s why they’ve decided to play God and take up the task of growing ingredients.  A hot trend right now in the restaurant world is rooftop gardening with chefs taking command of the hoe. The Baltimore Sun recently reported on area chefs and restaurant owners who are taking advantage of outdoor square footage to cut costs and expedite the procurement of the very freshest ingredients by raising the roof – the roof’s potential that is. Some chefs have even invested in starting their own farms to provide for their restaurants. They say the venture is time consuming but worthwhile, even giving them a new sense of purpose and energy. “Being out there in the daytime and pulling a beet from the ground, knowing that you’re going to cook it that night, you feel kind of energized,” Jamie Forsythe, chef of b restaurant, said to the paper. “I come back so ready to cook, really just charged up to do it.”

And of course, these chefs want ” locavore bragging rights. In an era when the provenance of nearly every ingredient is promoted on menus, when house-made charcuterie, house-cured bacon and the like have become de rigueur, why not house-grown produce”? I gotta say, who can blame them. Putting insanely fresh, local foods on the table at low costs is something which is worth bragging about. If it makes their ego bigger, fine by me. More power to you, just keep up the good work.


Al Morstein, owner of Regi's American Bistro in Baltimore shows off his 55 rooftop tomato plants for the Baltimore Sun.

Cookshop Serves Locally Sourced in the City

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

When a friend moved to New York City last-minute last year, Cookshop Restaurant and Bar was the first place where she found solid, rewarding work.  The Manhattan restaurant is all about serving locally sourced ingredients in tasty, filling dishes; it’s known for providing plates for brunch that are based on the expected, with an extra-hearty and homegrown twist.  Whether you’re craving sausage links or huevos rancheros, you’ll find what it is you’re looking for; just know that that pork piece will be girthy and those eggs so rich in nutrients they’ll be bright orange.  Portions are big, waiters are friendly, and conversations are loud.  Cookshop is like a little two-by-four board of the country in a very, very big city.  So eat up while you’re in town; it’ll be worth it.


Cookshop, from the parking lot across the street.

Fossett’s Restaurant Fully Realizes Local, Regional, and International Fare

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

There is only one restaurant in the entire Charlottesville-Albemarle region that gets my complete kudos in the dining room. That restaurant is Fossett’s at Keswick Hall. Comparable to the very best eating establishments around the world, Fossett’s fare is at once both traditional and modernly creative. I drove over to Keswick Hall last Saturday night for a going-away dinner. It had been awhile since I had had a full meal at the luxury resort (complete with hotel, hunt club, spa, golf course, and infinity pool). I had remembered it as one of my favorite places in the region but had quite honestly forgotten that it was as good as it was.

Once seated, we were brought a wooden slate topped with homemade lavash bread and a sundried tomato-goat cheese spread. The cracker bread, crisp and lightly salted, was a “right-on” beginning to an impressive meal. Ciabatta bread with butter followed the initial platter but what I really liked was the amuse bouche that was brought out shortly after. It was a “cappuccino” of pureed porcini mushrooms with a foam topping made of pure cream and large hints of truffle oil within. Served in a demitasse cup, it truly resembled a miniature espresso-based beverage but smelled of the finest fungus imaginable.

My locally and regionally sourced seafood dish

My locally and regionally sourced seafood dish

Thereafter began the bulk of the meal. One of the people that I was out with ordered the “Southern Fried Quail” as an appetizer. With sunny side up “truffle fried quail eggs” served atop a “grilled Johnny Cake” and beside bite-size fried quail meat, Vidalia onions, and a warm pear macedonia, it tasted of a hearty, southern-style brunch, taken up ten notches. The second person that I was at dinner with ordered two, also regionally inspired, starters.  For my main course, I made sure to go as local as possible while still ordering seafood by going with Virginia-caught trout and Maryland crab. The plate actually turned out to be an extremely ingenious combination of the two: the trout was rolled and then stuffed with a crab meat mixture; together, the two were then placed vertically (so that the swirl of layers was visible to the eye) and baked to perfection. I also tasted a bite of local “Gryffon’s Aerie Beef Bouille and Grilled Tenderloin” that was as moist as a medium-cooked hunk of meat could be.  To end, I was super excited about the “Virginia Gentleman’s Cake”— inspired by the bounty of our state. With a local liquor-soaked chocolate pound cake and local peanuts coiffed into three differing products (an ice cream, a toffee, and a fine crumble), it really brought me back to our physical placement.  Nothing tastes as good as locally sourced, regionally inspired, and internationally acclaimed cooking.

The “Virginia Gentleman’s Cake” and accoutrements

The “Virginia Gentleman’s Cake” and accoutrements


The Perfect Sunday Morning Locavore Lifetyle: The Hi-Life in Seattle

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Hi-Life Restauant, Seattle, WA

Hi-Life Restauant, Seattle, WA

My advice for a perfect Sunday is to sleep in as long as you’re able, and then head down to Ballard for the Farmer’s Market. Once you’ve worked up an appetite and wet your whistle with all the samples you can handle, head over to The Hi-Life restaurant for a delicious breakfast. As part of the Chow Foods family, The Hi-Life is quintessentially Seattle with its friendly, but not in-your-face-friendly, staff. Hi-Life features large plates of locavore tasties fit for the pickiest of foodies. Built in an old firehouse, the restaurant sources ingredients from Full Circle Farm in Carnation, Washington and uses them to make wonderful dishes like my most favorite “clean up on isle 12 hash.” This dish will make up for anything you might regret having ingested on Saturday night and then some. A medley of beets, braised greens and other nutrient-rich veggies are lightly sauteed in olive oil and herbs and then served along side polenta squares and a poached egg. This is my kind of breakfast. But if this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, please rest assured that The Hi-Life makes plenty of traditional favorites like pancakes and ham and cheese scramble. Definitely worth the trip.


Things I Want on Locallectual

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I follow the additions to the Locallectual Directory on my Google Reader so I am daily tempted by countless delicious restaurants and beautiful clothing, not to mention the rotating “Featured Products” on the home page.

So here we have the first installment of Things I Want on Locallectual.

From, Three Sheets 2 the Wind, these sweet Bent Tulip pillows:

Bent Tulip Pillows by Three Sheets 2 the Wind

Bent Tulip Pillows by Three Sheets 2 the Wind

The company, out of Cincinnati, makes a delectable line of “handmade accessories for the modern home”. (I’m only focusing on the pillows here, but there are super cute wall prints and fabrics for sale as well.)

Next, we have Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen in Santa Monica, CA with Farmers’ Market-inspired dishes (Green Garlic Soup with Grilled Croutons!!).

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Restaurant

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Restaurant

Many ingredients are local and wine offerings carefully selected…14 pages worth!

I can’t imagine when I’ll be in Santa Monica next, but this place would be a stop!

Hotcakes Design Jewlery, from Oakland, CA, caught my eye immediately.

Hotcakes Design Jewlery

Hotcakes Design Jewlery

This bird necklace is scrumptious:

Three Sheets 2 the Wind has online ordering and Hotcakes jewelry is sold in specialty stores nationwide.


Seattle Locavore Must-try: Serious Pie

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
Serious Pie Pizzeria Seattle

Serious Pie Pizzeria Seattle

Hustle ‘n’ Bustle and Some Tasty Beets Too: Serious Pie Pizzeria

Serious Pie in Seattle is not the best location for a romantic dinner for two but if you are looking for some great pies with your favorite rowdy bunch of pals this is the place to be. The family-style tables are long and the chair to accommodate them so high you will have wished you’d done some yoga beforehand in order to get in and out of them.  But once you are set comfortably get ready to enjoy some really great pizza featuring local ingredients. I recommend the margherita because it is simple and perfect or the fromage because it is rich and sinfully good. They also have a nice menu of starters to check out… I still sometimes salivate at the memory of the beet salad I had there sometime last year.


Charlottesville Local Food Event

Friday, March 20th, 2009
Cooking Fresh from the Mid-Atlantic Cookbook

Cooking Fresh from the Mid-Atlantic Cookbook

Tomorrow (Saturday, March 21st) there will be a special local food event at the 2009 Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Virginia. It will be held at the Charlottesville Cooking School at 2 p.m. and again at 4 p.m.

The event will be a presentation of the book Cooking Fresh from the Mid-Atlantic with a Panel Discussion: “The Flavor of Local.”

Featured speakers will include Gail Hobbs-Page, owner and cheese maker at Caromont Farm Artisan Cheeses, Megan Weary, owner of Roundabout Farm and CSA, Fran McManus, editor of Cooking Fresh from the Mid-Atlantic and Martha Stafford, owner of Charlottesvile Cooking School.

Contact the folks at the Charlottesville Cookong School for more information.

The Virginia Festival of the Book is always a festival to look forward to, and this local food event makes it extra-special this year!