Archive for the ‘From a Local Kitchen’ Category

From a Local Kitchen: Savoring the Seasons with Lynn

Friday, April 8th, 2011

There are many ways to get to know people, but few as instantly intimate as enjoying a great meal together. This next guest post on cooking and eating locally comes from Lynn Schweikart, whom I met at last year’s Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of learning more about her love of cooking, going to farmers’ markets, searching out local ingredients, and collecting interesting recipes. She shares a home in Portsmouth with her sister and brother-in-law, and often finds inspiration in the their library of cookbooks gathered over the years. Her own book, Peaceful Places Boston, will be published in the fall. Here, Lynn brings her skill as a storyteller to each evening’s meal:

seacoasteatlocalorg.jpegYou might think that three people cooking in one kitchen would get in each other’s way. But my sister Robin, brother-in-law Dave, and I work really well together. Dave didn’t start out as a cook, but access to great local food has really inspired him: now he makes his own sausages, cures his own bacon, and pickles just about every vegetable you can imagine. I was so excited by all the delicious, fun ways we were using local meats and seasonal produce that I started writing a blog, Savoring the Seasons, where I share some of the recipes the three of us enjoy making and eating.


We have two winter CSAs, one with Heron Pond Farm, where we get a set amount of food every two weeks; the other with Meadow’s Mirth, where we pay a set amount and then spent it down by buying what we like. The combination works really well for us. We enjoy being able to get what we want, but also enjoy the opportunity (and sometimes the challenge) of having to use things we might not buy on our own—like kohlrabi and Jerusalem artichokes, for instance.


Here are the dinners that came out of our kitchen one recent week, using as many ingredients as possible from the Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers’ Markets and our winter CSAs.


img_0932-4.JPGSunday: Winter Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Crust ala Hammersley’s Bistro

This is a fabulous vegetarian company meal from Gordon Hammersley, who owns one of our favorite restaurants in Boston. It may seem a little complicated, but the flavors are amazing, and the leftovers are great for lunches or another dinner. It’s a sensational way to use up root vegetables and the mushroom stock adds a deep, rich flavor. While the recipe calls for acorn and butternut squash, it was too late in the year for those from our CSA. So we added more carrots and parsnips, and threw in some turnips for good measure. The moral: use what you’ve got. Local ingredients: Onions, carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, and garlic from Heron Pond Farm CSA; tomato paste (made from Meadow’s Mirth tomatoes last summer and frozen); crust made with Sandwich Creamery’s cheddar. Recipe link: Winter Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Cheese Crust ala Gordon Hammersley


Monday: Flounder sautéed and pan roasted on a bed of sautéed shallots, topped with lemon, capers, and parsley, with roasted potatoes and sautéed tat soi

This is a really easy, yet healthy meal: Saute a couple of small onions in butter until translucent. Dredge flounder in breadcrumbs then give it a shot of salt and pepper. Do this just before you add it to the pan. Put this fish on top of the onions over medium heat. After a couple minutes, add a little vermouth and finish cooking the fish. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Swirl another pat of butter in pan and add some capers. When the butter stops foaming, add the juice of a lemon and stir to combine. Plate the fish and top with the sauce and some chopped parsley. Local ingredients: Shallots, potatoes, and tat soi from Heron Pond Farm CSA; Philbricks usually carries locally caught flounder, though it wasn’t available this week.


Tuesday: Chicken roasted over root vegetables

For Christmas, I gave Dave a copy of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. There’s a recipe for roast chicken with root vegetables that’s absolutely to die for – it’s another great dish to cook in the winter when root vegetables are just about the only local vegetables you can find. We modified the recipe for an easier week night dinner, using chicken legs and thighs that were well browned before finishing on top of the vegetables. We used less butter and didn’t put herbs under the skin, the way we would have with a whole chicken. We also cooked more chicken than we needed so we could have cold chicken for dinner later in the week. Local ingredients: Onions, potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, and garlic from Heron Pond Farm; chicken thighs and legs from Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, MA. Recipe link: Chicken Roasted over Root Vegetables ala Ad Hoc at Home


Wednesday: Lazy Lady Bulgur Pilaf, with beet and carrot tzaziki and sautéed spinach.

I love the fact that the farmers’ markets here sell locally raised meat. As this is an Eastern Mediterranean-inspired recipe, you could probably make this with goat, too. I bet it would be delicious. The beet tzaziki recipe comes from Ana Sortun who owns Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, MA. I added carrots because I 1) like the taste; 2) thought they’d give the dish an even wilder color; and 3) had lots of them. Local ingredients: Ground lamb from Riverslea Farm; onions, beets, carrots, garlic, and spinach from Heron Pond Farm; yogurt from Brookford Farm. Recipe link: Beet and Carrot Tzaziki


img_0855-2.JPGThursday: Cold leftover chicken, with oven-baked rutabaga fries and kohlrabi slaw

We make sweet potato oven-baked fries a lot; one time I decided to see if rutabagas would work as well. They do! We had lots of kohlrabi in our CSA this winter, and slaws are a great way to use it. This recipe comes from Ivy Manning’s Farm to Table Cookbook, via Wednesday’s Chef, one of my favorite food blogs. I really like the Asian-inspired flavor. Local ingredients: Rutabaga, kohlrabi, and carrots from Heron Pond Farm. Recipe links: Oven-baked Rutabaga Fries, Kohlrabi Slaw


Friday: Fish chowder, with garlic bread and green salad

Dave loves to make fun Friday night dinners. This is one of his favorites. If he’s got some leftover house-smoked halibut or scallops in the freezer, he’ll add that, too. Local ingredients: Potatoes, garlic, onions, and greens from Heron Pond Farm CSA; Dave’s home-cured bacon made from Kellie Brook Farm pork belly; local cod from Philbricks; Me and Ollie’s cheese bread.


Saturday: Veal shanks with farro and braised chard

This is another great company meal. Tim Rocha of Kelly Brook Farm helped me get over my reluctance to eat veal. His animals are raised humanely and the veal is a lovely pink color, with a nice meaty flavor. Local ingredients: Veal shanks from Kellie Brook Farm; San Marzano tomatoes from Meadow’s Mirth Farm, roasted, then frozen; carrots, onions, garlic, and chard from Heron Pond Farm. Recipe linkBraised Veal Shanks ala Dave

From a Local Kitchen: Kate & Jeff, Stout Oak Farm

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

stout-oak.jpgSince starting this series on how different families approach eating locally, we’ve tried to feature a range of Seacoast residents and cooking styles. So far, we’ve had guest posts from a working mother, a holistic health coach, a nutritional biochemist, and a pet and garlic lover. We were thrilled when Kate and Jeff Donald, of Stout Oak Farm, took time out of their busy lives to send us this post — yes, winter is just as hectic! From their unique perspective as farmers, they give us an “insider’s” view of eating locally:


We live at Stout Oak Farm in Epping, NH,  where I grow organic vegetables and herbs for local farmers’ markets, restaurants and a small CSA.  We’ve been here for about a year now, renting an old dairy farm, and turning it into a productive vegetable farm. During our first growing season here, we were able to preserve more of our own farm-grown food than we ever have before (a combination of canning, freezing, and drying) — this is mostly thanks to Jeff who takes the lead on our summer canning effort.  We are now working our way through a cupboard full of jars — plenty of jam, salsa, canned corn, beans, and tomatoes. We have a good stash of potatoes, onions and garlic, and plenty of other things in the freezer that are easy to throw into a recipe — chopped peppers, roasted tomatoes, soup stock, pureed pumpkin, cubed squash.


The circa 1800 farmhouse we’re renting has a well-worn, rustic kitchen — no frills, minimal counter space, very basic.  It’s a very cold room during the winter, which is good motivation to get a pot of soup cooking!  Our most-used cooking implements are cast iron pans, enamel soup pots, knives, cutting boards, and a food processor.


Jeff and I both contribute to the day-in, day-out cooking tasks. Our meal planning is determined by a combination of: “What are we excited about cooking/eating?” and, “What needs to be used /what is in abundance?” Vegetables are often at the center of our menus. Most of the vegetables we eat come from our own farm, with a few extras from nearby farmer friends. Each year we buy ½ a local pig for the freezer, and occasionally we buy lamb, beef, and poultry from other farmers we know. Our milk, yogurt and eggs also come from other nearby farms.


We typically eat a few vegetarian dinners each week (which usually involve eggs), and our meals include some meat on the other days. We often try to stretch meat dishes into multiple meals, using scraps and bones in soups, or including leftover bits as a minor ingredient in a vegetable dish.


In thinking about how we define “local” and how we make our food choices, I would say that we prioritize buying directly from farmers we know, and farm businesses we want to support. What does that look like on a map? It turns out that most of our food is coming from farms within about 25 miles of where we live.


Note: Foods marked in bold have been sourced locally, with vegetables marked in green showing those grown at Stout Oak Farm.



• Omelets: eggs, milk, shallots, garlic, dried cherry tomatoes, bacon, cheddar (VT)

• Green salad of kale and spinach



• Meatball subs made with homemade meatballs and tomato sauce from the freezer! Made with ground beef, ground pork, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, eggs, bread crumbs, sourdough rolls from Borealis Bakery, our own frozen roasted tomatoes mixed with Valicenti Organico’s “red gravy”, mozzarella

• Green salad of spinach and tat soi



• Vegetable Stir Fry and Szechuan sausage: bok choy, carrots, onions, garlic, sunflower oil (Maine), sesame seeds, sausage from Popper’s Sausage Kitchen

• Pumpkin maple custard: milk, eggs, pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg



• Butternut squash casserole: (butternut squash, onions, eggs, milk, thyme, cheddar (VT), breadcrumbs

• Sauteed Siberian kale:  kale from our greenhouse, garlic, sunflower oil (Maine)



• Leftover squash casserole

• Our own canned green beans with caramelized onions and dried cherry tomatoes



• No cooking tonight. We went out to dinner with my mom!



• Corn chowder: our own canned corn (grown by Barker’s Farm, canned by us), smoked ham & bone, potatoes, onions, garlic, butter (VT), milk, oregano, celery seeds. This delicious soup is the last of a big batch I made and froze in December, when I was feeling inspired by a big leftover ham bone.

• Jeff’s homemade Ciabatta: flour, yeast, salt, sunflower oil (Maine)


Photograph: Kate and Jeff with their bounty of winter squash at the Winter Farmers’ Market in Exeter. Thank-you, Kate and Jeff!

From a Local Kitchen: Roasted Garlic Butter

Friday, February 11th, 2011

garlicky.jpgThe allium or lily family of vegetables are our featured winter vegetables for the week. These include onions, shallots, and garlic—pantry basics that lend flavor and depth, especially during winter, when used on their own or in combination with other food. Jean from Gimme the Knife, a previous contributor to this series, has sent us another guest post, generously sharing some menu ideas for using garlic. Her recipe for Roasted Garlic Butter ended up including a trifecta of alliums—garlic, onions and shallots all! Here’s Jean:


Garlic: I suppose you either love it or you hate it. Personally, I can’t imagine being cooped up during New Hampshire nor’easters without it! These are just a few of the ways we fended off vampires while boosting our immune systems this past week (local foods in bold):


– Roasted potato, butternut squash, and red onion frittata, with Tuscan rolls (Me&Ollie’s) smothered in roasted garlic butter (butter recipe below)

Roasted cauliflower and tortellini, topped with nutty garlic chips

Chicken Caesar salad with homemade garlicky croutons (from Beach Pea bread)

Moroccan fish stew with lip-smacking harissa (more below)


With a handful of spuds, shallot and onion still sitting around from my last visit to the farmers’ market, there was no better time for roasting up a couple bulbs of garlic. Sage leaves from my snow-buried plants infused the potatoes with their scent and, along with the garlic, shallot, onions, provided for one of the tastiest compound butters I’ve ever made:


Roasted Garlic Butter

4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft

Cloves from one bulb of roasted garlic

2–3 small roasted shallots, minced

Roasted red onion (I used 2 segments of a quartered medium-sized onion), minced

1 tsp. honey, more or less to taste

Finely minced roasted sage leaves, to taste

Cayenne pepper and sea salt, to taste


Mash/blend/whip everything—whichever you desire—together in a small bowl. We prefer chunky, and so mash with a fork. Using a spatula, scrape the mix out onto one side of a 12×12 sheet of parchment paper, forming a short log as best you can. Carefully roll up, twisting ends tightly to form a solid log. Alternatively, scrape it all into a custard dish and cover. Refrigerate for an hour or so. Slice into circles or use a melon baller for an elegant presentation. Warning: super addictive. Think savory frosting sweetened by the caramelized onions and shallots.


As for the harissa, it is one of our favorite condiments. With its whopping punch of garlic and chilies (remember to stock up on some of those fabulous chilies you see at the farmers’ market come late summer/early fall this year—drying them is super easy), harissa is considered not for the faint of heart (perhaps all the more reason to eat it!). For me, the heat is minimal: first there’s sweetness, then mild warmth that hits the center of my tongue and upper palate, slipping away after a short while. It’s not one of those bites of heat, like wasabi. Rather, this version of harissa is subtle.


Harissa is a North African staple used by a variety of cultures in a variety of dishes, namely with fish, lamb, goat, chickpeas, couscous…you name it. We love it in a Moroccan fish stew that I made recently with many local ingredients, including gorgeous cod (frozen over from that same last farmers’ market visit), homemade shrimp and lobster stocks, a jar of stewed tomatoes from a friend, and all kinds of aromatics that you can still purchase at the farmers’ market.


Ed. Note:  Dried chilies may still be found at the Winter Farmers’ Market, ask around next time you’re there!

From a Local Kitchen: Allgood Eats

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

In our ongoing series on eating locally, this week’s guest post is by Erin Allgood, a self-professed science geek who loves food. Erin can be found sharing her passion and knowledge of nutrition at her blog, Allgood Eats, and at the Seacoast Eat Local booth during our Winter Farmers’ Markets. Recently, Erin teamed up with Jennifer Purrenhage of Get Well Grounded, to show how to prepare and cook different featured winter vegetables. To accompany Erin’s “Tips for Shopping and Cooking from the Winter Farmers’ Markets,” she’s given us a week’s worth of healthy and delicious meals based on local food:




My journey in eating locally began growing up in a food-oriented household with a mother who’s a professionally-trained chef. I was constantly surrounded by good food and developed an appreciation for it. However, once I went off to college, food was relegated to the back burner of my life.


I rediscovered my passion for food my junior year in college when I fell in love with nutritional biochemistry; I was fascinated by how nutrients were broken down and utilized within the body. A friend gave me a copy of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma around that same time, and I started to immerse myself in food culture. I entered the Master’s program in nutritional sciences at UNH and, before long, I realized that it was difficult to eat healthy unless I was cooking my own meals.


Surprisingly, I hadn’t picked up a great deal of cooking skills in my life, and needed to teach myself how to cook. I started by watching the Food Network, scouring cookbooks and using my mother as a resource. Now, cooking is one of my most favorite activities to do on my days off.


As I progressed through my Master’s thesis research, I began to understand that many of the healthy fruits and vegetables I was eating seemed to have a great deal of pesticides or other environmental pollutant residues. Buying locally-produced or organic fruits and vegetables provided me a way of finding out exactly how my food was produced and handled, and gave me control over what I was putting into my body. Also, local foods simply taste better and have a more “real” quality to them.


Primarily, my cooking has always been to create healthy, tasty meals, and to allow room for some decadent food as well. Buying local and creating relationships with farmers and producers has been invaluable to the way I cook, and I generally structure my grocery shopping around when I can get to the farmers’ market. This year, I will be part of a CSA with Meadow’s Mirth Farm, and hope to grow as many herbs as possible in our limited outdoor space. At 600 sq. feet, our apartment has little space but we were able to wedge half a pig that we bought from a local farmer into our small freezer, and we’ve been brewing beer in our guest bedroom. I haven’t ventured into canning or preserving foods yet, but hope to once we move into a bigger space.


Eating locally and being active in the local food community has enriched my life so much. I have made great friends through Seacoast Eat Local, and feel a part of this locavore movement. We are so fortunate here to have amazing farmers and phenomenal artisanal food producers. More and more restaurants are buying locally, making it easier to eat out and still maintain that local flavor. I feel lucky to live on the seacoast, to eat this great food and to share it with all of you!


From Erin’s Local Kitchen:

During the week, I tend to make very easy to prepare meals, such as pastas, pizzas and salads. On the weekends, I usually focus on cooking in bulk for the week ahead, but I also allow myself to cook with creativity. Meal planning has been helpful in ensuring that I eat all the food that I buy and don’t waste anything.



• Butternut squash soup: squash, garlic, sea salt, pepper, ginger, organic chicken stock

• Stuffed portabello mushroom: sausage, kale, sea salt, pepper



• Watermelon radish salad: watermelon radish, apple, turnip, carrot, sea salt, honey, apple cider vinegar

• Potato, bacon and kale soup: potato, kale, bacon, carrot, onion, garlic, sea salt, pepper, organic chicken broth



• Green salad: organic salad greens, goat cheese (regional), dried cranberries, almonds

• Leftover watermelon radish salad

• Leftover butternut squash soup



• Pizza: wheat dough, oyster mushrooms, kale, onion, sea salt, butter (regional), mozzarella, parmesan, tomato sauce

• Leftover watermelon radish salad



• Whole wheat pasta with tomato-squash sauce: whole wheat pasta, organic canned tomatoes, roasted delicata squash, sea salt, shallots, goat cheese (regional)



• Mushroom-Kale Quiche: kale, shallots, oyster mushrooms, Caerphilly cheese, eggs, butter, sea salt; for crust: butter, oats, flour, almond milk

• Green salad: organic salad greens, goat cheese (regional), dried cranberries, almonds



• Leftover quiche

• Squash with greens: delicata squash, kale, onion, garlic, butter (regional), sea salt, pepper, olive oil



• Me and Ollie’s breakfast sandwich: bread, cheese, eggs, tomato

• White Heron Chai tea



• Apples with organic peanut butter

• Popcorn with chili-garlic vinegar and sea salt

• Beer: homebrewed and Redhook

• Wine: Sweet Baby Vineyards


Ingredients marked in bold show what is available locally. Photographs courtesy of Erin Allgood/Allgood Eats. Thanks, Erin, for sharing your week with us!

From a Local Kitchen: Getting Well Grounded with Kale

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Kale and winter greens will be the featured vegetables at our next Winter Farmers’ Market, and we asked Jennifer Purrenhage for some new ways of using them. You may have met Jennifer at the Winter Farmers’ Market, where she can be often found helping out at the Seacoast Eat Local booth. A biologist by profession, Jennifer is also trained as a Holistic Health & Nutrition Coach, and will be co-leading the upcoming workshop, “Shopping & Cooking from the WInter Farmers’ Market,” on January 7th. Her website and blog, Get Well Grounded, is where Jennifer offers wellness information and easy ways to cook with whole foods, including recipes from this week’s guest post. In the following December menus, Jennifer demonstrates her intuitive approach to cooking, how to create delicious meals from a well-stocked pantry, and the benefits of having intentional leftovers, all with infectious enthusiasm. Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your week with us!




I first started thinking about what and how I wanted to eat around age 10; I came home one day and declared that I was a vegetarian, and my mother graciously obliged. Since then, I have used various labels to describe my eating habits including vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and locavore. As a Holistic Health & Nutrition Coach, I help people discover the unique set of food, cooking, and lifestyle habits that support them as individuals, and these days I avoid wearing a food label of my own. That said, my intention is to eat food that: (1) is grown as close to home as possible; (2) best supports my health, which to me means plant-based with animal proteins/fats as garnishes, organic or low-spray when possible, and largely seasonal; and (3) is mostly whole and unprocessed.


I currently live in an apartment with a galley kitchen and no space to grow my own food. I do the majority of my food shopping at the year-round farmers’ markets, but I supplement from the grocery store to indulge my cravings for lemons, limes, avocados, and almond butter. I have no formal training as a chef, but for 20 years I’ve loved experimenting and cooking creatively to develop new personal recipes. This year I did a lot of canning – diced and roasted tomatoes, roasted peppers, fruit preserves, peaches, and applesauce – and I’ve enjoyed cooking with my canned local fruits and veggies this winter.


Here’s the list of my lunches and dinners for the past week. I typically cook for 1-2 people, but I love to cook once and eat (at least) twice. Whenever I make soup, I make a huge pot and freeze half of it in single serving jars – it’s great to just grab a jar for lunch or dinner when you’re low on the time or energy to cook. My goal is not to cook fancy, complicated meals, but rather to eat real, whole foods from as nearby as possible. You can access recipes for several of this week’s dishes using the links below. All are gluten free, most are dairy free (except the potato soup), and all have vegetarian options. Enjoy.



L – This afternoon I made roasted delicata squash with sautéed swiss chard, garlic and sweet onions (all from Heron Pond Farm). Shared this at a potluck with my neighbors and had several recipe requests. It’s beautiful and tasty.

D – For dinner, I was invited to my neighbors’ for some homemade local lobster bisque. It was wonderful. I love soup this time of year and enjoy it at least twice each week.



L – I love leftovers. Ever notice how many dishes actually taste better the second time around? For lunch I had leftover squash and chard from yesterday’s lunch with leftover brown rice.

D – For dinner, I sautéed some kale, chard, asparagus, shallots, and onion (from Meadow’s Mirth Farm), added some canned summer tomatoes and fresh parsley, and served it over brown rice.



L – Leftovers from dinner last night.

D – I’ve been eating heavier, hot meals for the past couple days and was in the mood for something raw, so I made raw kale (purple and lacinato kale from Farmer Dave’s) salad with olives, tomatoes, carrot, green tahini dressing (parsley, celery, dulse, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil) and garbanzo beans. For the sweet taste and a little extra protein, I had roasted delicata seeds with salt, olive oil, and coconut palm sugar for dessert.



L – Leftover kale salad with garbanzos; apple.

D – After a very busy day with some unexpected twists, I arrived home not feeling up to cooking, so it turned out being a throw-something-together night. I grabbed some of my favorite salad greens mix (from Applecrest Orchard), some hummus and shredded carrot, and made a couple of salad wraps with nori sheets. Totally hit the spot!



L – Last of the kale salad and garbanzo bean leftovers – still tasted great.

D – Kale/chardsausage (from New Roots Farm)-white bean stew with oyster mushrooms.



L – Quinoa with roasted red peppers (canned), black turtle beans (from Touching Earth Farm), and roasted delicata squash, onions, and garlic (from Meadow’s Mirth Farm).

D – Leftover kale/chardsausage stew – always better the second day (and shared with a friend)! Sweet and salty roasted delicata seeds for dessert.



L – Leftover quinoa, beans, and veggies.

D – Potatoleek soup with sage & thyme (almost every ingredient in this soup was local or regional, except the olive oil and white wine); watermelon radishapple salad (radishes from Riverside Farm/Garen’s Greens and apples from Applecrest Farm; shared with friends).


Links for recipes from Get Well Grounded:

• Roasted Delicata Squash with Sweet & Savory Greens

• Raw Kale Salad with Tahini & Garbanzos

• Kale/Chard-White Bean-Oyster Mushroom-Sausage Stew

• Potato-Leek Soup with Sage & Thyme

• Watermelon Radish Salad


Photographs courtesy of Jennifer Purrenhage/Get Well Grounded. From left to right: delicata squash with greens; roasted sweet-and-salty delicata seeds; kale salad. Items marked in bold indicate food sourced from Seacoast farmers’ markets, with a few ingredients from regional producers.

From a Local Kitchen: Pets Included!

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

This week’s guest post is from Jean Eno, who chronicles her passion for local food in her blog Gimme the Knife! Jean can be frequently found at Seacoast farmers’ markets and, with her many years of cooking experience, takes delight in discovering new ingredients for her local kitchen. Jean’s family includes her husband, Paul, and their 3 pets — Amy the dog (pictured below), Cecil-Cockatiel and Tilde-Turtle. Friends and family join them often to feast on her latest creations. Jean’s recipe for Mushroom, Roasted Pepper & Goat Cheese Frittata will be included in an upcoming cookbook featuring birch syrup from The Crooked Chimney, due out sometime next year. Thank-you, Jean, for sharing your week of eating locally!


Like many, I have spanned the culinary gamut over the decades. I vividly recall the savory and salty roast beef pan drippings (a taste sense we now call ‘umami’) that my sister and I, as kids, would kneel and beg for like panting dogs at my mother’s side at the dinner table—a scene one might otherwise find in ‘A Christmas Story’. Years later, I was a macrobiotic vegan for more than a decade. Today, we fully embrace our local and organic omnivore diet; the culinary experiences are incredibly rewarding.


In the kitchen, I like to serve and teach; home is where I am happiest. I enjoy making the most mundane occasion a reason to entertain and cook for our friends, all of whom, like I, belong to the clean plate club. Having designed a kitchen to accommodate large dinner parties, doing so is often just a phone call away, which is just the way I like it: easy and spontaneous, and nothing wasted!


Food waste: the very reason I got out of the restaurant business, and the very basis for my creativity. Leftover [fill in the blank] makes for killer frittatas, extraordinary pizzas and nurturing soups; aging fruits are reborn as sauces or quick breads; bones and carcasses always have a final simmer for stock; and, in a nod to our pets’ health, leftovers help fill out their diet.


I have cooked for my 16-year old cockatiel for the last eight years (he eats not a single “bird” seed). Our “rescued” three-toed box turtle is semi-hibernating right now and eats only 1x/week, but nonetheless eats only homemade food. Our dog, a food-driven 60lb tank with fur, is very happy to eat homemade food (she’ll roll over for a blueberry). With the abundance of great local meat, poultry, fish, eggs, breads, greens, vegetables, roots, yogurts and cheeses we have at our fingertips, she should be happy!


I might add that we are not strictly localvores. Foods such as wild salmon and rice are a must for us and our dog; edamame, assorted nuts and pasta are year-round musts for my bird (we do occasionally make our own pasta); and, the turtle prefers sweet potato over winter squash mashed into her collard greens, egg and blueberries (she also eats an abundance of backyard worms and grubs… Aack!).


There are great veterinarian sites online to assist you (use keywords like ‘holistic’ and ‘homemade’), but be sure to consult your own DVM as there are a couple of supplements you’ll need to have on hand. Together, you can create a healthy, convenient and affordable alternative to commercial pet food. More importantly, you’ll have really happy pets! And, no, we do not allow panting begging at the table!


This week’s dinner menu:



• Chorizo, Leek & Butternut Risotto (recipe)

• Squash/apple for all three pets (added to leftover turkey, broccoli stems and yogurt in dog’s case)



• 100% grass fed & finished burgers with black trumpet mushrooms, shallots and baby swiss cheese

• Spinach salad with shaved red onion, clementines, dried cranberries, toasted almonds and homemade vinaigrette

• Roasted potatoes

• Beef, raw potato, clementine, and yogurt for pooch



• Sunchoke and cauliflower soup with croutons (recipe)

• Leftovers from night before for pooch



• Roasted chicken

• Roasted beets and carrots

• Leftover stuffing (stuffing freezes really well; this year’s was made with a typical mirepoix)

• Chicken pieces, beets and carrots added to yogurt and bread crusts for pooch



• Stuffed Delicata squash (onion, garlic, spinach, mushroom, herbs, tomatoes)

• Leftovers from night before for pooch



• Veggie Quesadillas (peppers, corn and zucchini from freezer, garlic, onions, jack and cheddar cheeses)

• Brown rice and Lowe’s Champion beans

• Rice & beans for both pooch and birdie, along with hard-boiled eggs!



• Minestrone soup (stewed tomatoes, celery, carrots, beans, cabbage, chard from our garden and homemade chicken stock)

• Tuscan boule

• Gelato

• Leftover turkey from freezer, rice, cabbage and yogurt for pooch; more beans and rice for birdie


— Photographs courtesy of Jean Eno. Food marked in bold were sourced locally, and show the seasonal array available here in the Seacoast!

From a Seasonal Kitchen: Early December

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010



There are many ways to approach eating locally*, and this week we have a guest post from fellow Cheese Chick, Lenore. You may already be familiar with Lenore through her posts on home cheesemaking and other cheese-related adventures; the latest one was on Pumpkin Fondue. A New Hampshire native, Lenore now lives in the Seacoast with her husband, Mike, 2 small children, and one large dog. In addition to taking care of a 20 gallon fish tank, which Lenore says “…sounds easy, but actually takes more work than you realize!” Lenore also works as a dog trainer.


I love this idea — I think it’s perfect to show people how it’s done on many levels. By no means am I a true locavore, but it’s easy enough to make huge changes if you just take a second to think about it, right? I am game for anything! I learned how to cook just by trying anything and everything. Mike taught me how to best cook fish, I grew up making bread and baking, and everything else was just trial and error. I don’t mind a complex recipe as long as the result is something scrumptious!


As for style, we tend to eat light during the summer, using simple whole foods (grilling is definitely my weakness). I can’t tell you how many meals we have of just slicing up heirloom tomatoes from our garden, pairing it with our basil slivers, roasted garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and homemade mozzarella. We then add some cold, local chicken (or grilled if Mike’s around) and corn on the cob, and that’s our summer standby!


We eat a lot more meat during winter now, even though I was a vegetarian for 10 years. I came to grips with it during my first pregnancy when I just craved meat. Animal welfare is a huge part of it for me, so I stopped buying supermarket meat and I really research where my meat is coming from — if I can’t visit the farm, I don’t buy meat from it. During winter I also bake lots of bread and can get involved in more complex recipes.


We also love French cooking, which doesn’t have to be complex, but the flavors are heavenly! Many of my Provencal cookbooks match perfectly with NH’s summer cuisine. Of course, I also have to cook for 2 young children, so that’s a chore sometimes itself! I don’t cook separately for them, but I do keep in mind that they don’t like spicy foods, or foods that are hard to eat. They are always surprising me with what they WILL eat, like sushi and kale chips!


My menu for this week (it’s a pretty simple one because I’ve got 3 clients this week, in addition to gymnastics and Jump Rope Club meetings with the kids):


MONDAY: Peter Allen’s local chicken, roasted (because we miss having our own Thanksgiving-like leftovers to come home to!) with our own Desiree mashed potato stuffing (given to us by Audrey at Pickpocket Farm, from her Thanksgiving meal); and our own butternut squash with local maple syrup.


TUESDAY: Local cod (frozen from our CSF); our own twice-baked Green Mountain potatoes; leftover squash.


WEDNESDAY: “Polly’s Pumpkin Soup” (from Willow Pond website) made with Pickpocket Farm’s Fairytale pumpkin, Brookford Farm cream, and our own local chicken broth; homemade bread made with KAF bread flour and local wheat flour (from Peter Allen’s farm store this summer).


THURSDAY: Leftover chicken breast (with a Weight Watchers honey-pecan coating); our own sauteed swiss chard; and organic french fries for the kids:-)


FRIDAY: Whole wheat pasta with our own pesto; garlic bread with our own garlic and homemade French bread.


SATURDAY: 2 pizzas made with our own garlic scape pesto and tomato sauce; whatever leftover chicken we have frozen from the week; homemade mozzarella if I can get to it, otherwise we’ll use homemade chevre; our own kale chips.


SUN: Leftovers!


*Local foods are marked in bold to show what’s seasonal and how much we have available here. Thank-you, Lenore!

From a Seasonal Kitchen: Late November

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010


Here’s the second in this series based on cooking seasonally with local foods. With the holidays fast approaching, it was a busy week. Turnip recipes needed testing as we got ready for the Winter Farmers’ Market. Weekend menus were especially inspired by ingredients from Saturday’s Winter Farmers’ Market.


We were also busy catching up in the garden, with a long list of chores to finish before the ground freezes. The weather has been distinctly colder, with night time temperatures in the low 30’s. Our garden is still providing for us with fresh arugula and salad greens, beets and their greens, kale, chard, and leeks, all under protective cover. The last planting of radishes has been pulled up, and we’ve finished harvesting the potatoes, carrots and celery root (celeriac). There was one last harvest of rosemary, marjoram and mint. The parsley, sage, thyme, and cutting celery continue to hang in there.


Note: Items in bold shows food that was either grown or produced locally; canned goods refer to home-preserved food. Pictured in photo: turnip pancakes, turnip and potato cakes with fried sage, and turnip and butternut squash soup.


Third week of November, 2010


– Roasted vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts, red onion)

– Braised kale with mushrooms and garlic

– Brown rice



Parsnip and bacon chowder

Potato flatbread



– Rigatoni pasta (Valicenti Organico) with chickpeas, tomatoes (canned), garlicrosemary and sage

– Mixed green salad



Yellow Eye beans and turnips (recipe)

Turnip and carrot slaw (recipe)

Turnip pancakes

Turnip and potato cakes with fried sage (recipe)

Turnip and butternut squash soup

 –Delicata squash baked with sausage, quinoa and kale

– Mixed green salad



– Roast cod with cherry tomatoes (canned) and potatoes (recipe)

– Sauteed beet greens and red onions



– Risotto with northern shrimp (frozen) and radicchio

– Mixed green salad



– Brunch: Cod and potato hash (from leftovers) baked with eggs

Tomato salsa (lacto-fermented)

– Dinner: Pasta with duck eggs (recipe)

– Mixed green salad

From a Seasonal Kitchen

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

pastavores.jpgFriends of mine are making the transition to cooking seasonally from local ingredients. Though rewarding, making changes in eating habits can be challenging and dealing with unfamiliar ingredients daunting. They wondered how I approached eating locally, and suggested that posting a weekly menu might be helpful. Thus this new column, very much a work-in-progress.


My kitchen is small, nothing fancy. We cook on a standard 4-burner electric range, with a toaster oven large enough to warm things in. There’s never enough counter space, and everything serves double-duty. The kitchen fridge is small and, for stocking up, we keep a second fridge and a small chest freezer in the basement. Canned goods are also stored there, and there’s a space to store roots. I’m still experimenting with finding places with the right conditions for storing different winter vegetables. It isn’t a perfect set-up but we try to practice adapting in place.


Note: Items in bold shows food that was either grown or produced locally; canned goods refer to home-preserved food. The photo shows homemade orecchiette pasta drying on a board balanced on top of the toaster oven.


Menu for week ending November 14, 2010


– Dried cavatelli pasta with tomato sauce (canned), bacon and onions

– Side of fresh carrots and radishes, and green salad



– Dried Dragon’s Tongue beans with sautéed chard

– Roasted delicata squash, and green salad



Turkey and rice soup, with cutting celery and sage, over garlic-rubbed toast



Hot Italian sausage sauteed with peppers and onions

– Roasted potatoes, and green salad


– Leftover soup and toasted cheese sandwiches


Fish tacos with shredded carrots and cabbage

Tomatillo salsa

Pumpkin pie



– Homemade orecchiette pasta with sautéed beet greens and garlic

– Fresh carrots and radishes

Apple tart


For help in finding local ingredients: the Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers’ Market website includes a list of vendors by product; Seacoast Harvest is also searchable by both farm and product; questions can also be posted in the blog comments section or at our Facebook page, or visit the SEL information table at our Winter Farmers’ Markets.