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Daily Archives: March 16, 2012

Winter CSA Week 12 …

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… and a variation on colcannon to use up my brussel sprouts. I saw kitchen scribble mention colcannon on the hocoblogs page, and it inspired me to make it tonight, to use up last week’s potatoes and brussel sprouts.

The week twelve delivery hit the porch at 4 PM. Meat was an Italian beef sausage, my favorite of their beef options.

The veggies had a twist. Seems the beets weren’t up to snuff, so they substituted some of the Florida oranges. I know they do that when they go out and pick and find themselves lacking enough, or what they get isn’t good enough to send us. The way CSAs have to deal with what nature gives them. All part of the buy in. And I am OK with that.

We got:
2 lb. carrots
12 oz. radishes
2 1/4 lb. mixed potatoes
2 leeks
3 oranges
a 3 lb. cabbage

The cabbage will become part of tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day meal, with corned beef bought at Boarman’s.

This is a half share CSA, just enough to get through a week of eating home four or five nights for two people. The full share of ten items would have been too much, since many of the winter veggies wouldn’t be candidates for freezing or canning, like my summer ones are. I have to say, we have not thrown much at all away due to spoilage. This is a good size for winter for us.

As for the colcannon, another Irish dish, made of nothing but potatoes, milk, winter greens and butter. All smashed together. The filet for dinner was also from Boarman’s, pan fried with a balsamic, wine and butter reduction.

The wine, a 2001 Valhalla Valkyrie, a meritage with the five Bordeaux grapes. Ten years old, still a baby. Nearly sixty percent cabernet sauvignon with 25% franc, and the rest merlot, malbec and petit verdot.

You can eat amazing mostly local food all year round without that much effort here in this area of the country. This meal came from my CSA, Boarman’s, and the wine from the basement. Never set foot in a Giant or Safeway. Supported my local farmers and businesses.

Drinking Local Wines — A 30 Year Journey

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In 1982, 30 years ago, we bought our first house together. We packed up our case of assorted wines and put them in the car to drive the 5 miles from East Columbia to West Columbia and set down roots for 23 years.

We had a neat town house. Split level with the basement half level all below ground. Sixty degree temps year round. A dark cool nook under the stairs. We decided to put wine down there. A few bottles at a time. It was out of sight, out of mind, and a great place to establish a cellar.

What went down there? It could have been fancy Bordeaux or California wines but we didn’t have the money to buy those. We did however have a curiosity about local wines fueled by Les Amis du Vin membership, and by presentations by Brett Byrd and Bob Lyon. We first met Bob at a wine tasting event at White Oak, where we worked. He had a passion, and the ability to make good wine in MD. Wine with longevity. Cabernets that were good five to ten years after bottling.

We also started attending wine festivals in MD and VA, with our first festival the MD wine festival in Westminster.

We then met the Crouch brothers from Allegro. They lived in a trailer on a hill with their vineyard near Red Lion PA. We are drinking the last of their 20 year old reserve cabernets and they are gorgeous.

John and Tim got lucky. They held a BATF permit that included one of their peach wines they made to sell locally in PA. The peach dessert wine gave them enough capital to make their vinifera wines. Imagine their surprise when they were contacted to sell that registered name. Seems a large company decided to call their reserve wine by the same name and couldn’t register it because the Crouch brothers owned it. Most of their equipment upgrades came from that sale. The name OPUS ONE.

Stories like that exchanged over a shared taste of wines is what made it fun to discover local wines in MD, PA and VA. We would buy a few bottles whenever we could. Buying mostly inexpensive, but one bottle of “good stuff”. The good stuff went under the basement stairs.

Brought up to serve on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, promotion celebrations. We found that making a simple steak dinner with a killer bottle of wine was way less expensive than dinner in a restaurant, even when the wine cost was the bulk of the dinner cost. A $20 Allegro or Catoctin Cabernet left to soften for two or three years rivaled or bested a Bordeaux Superieur. At a restaurant, yeah, they waited on me, but grilling a steak and a couple of potatoes, served with cheese and bread was no real work and so much more satisfying.

We built an interesting collection over the past 30 years, keeping enough down in the basement here to have special occasion wines available still. Like my 60th birthday. Our 35th anniversary. I think the smartest thing we did was stock up before retiring. Now we can reap the benefits.

The local wines tend to be from Linden, Black Ankle, Glen Manor, Breaux, Barboursville and Valhalla with a few others thrown in, like Boordy, Sugarloaf Mountain and Elk Run. Not a bad collection of wineries in the area. Cooking with, and enjoying, the fruits of the labor of committed people like Jim Law, Sarah O’Herron, Jeff White and all the other winemakers in our mid Atlantic area is a hobby that gives pleasure and satisfaction at the end of a busy day.

My Philosophy?

A Freezer Full of Local Meat

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Want to avoid pink slime? How about dinner without antibiotics or hormones?

If you, like me, want to change the content of the meat that comes into your house, then go looking at the farmer’s markets and the local butchers.

Yes, the meat costs more. I solved that problem by putting less of it on our plates. More veggies, less meat. Same cost. Better for me health wise. The colcannon was the star of this meal, not the beef.

We are lucky here in Howard County to have at least four butchers, and a large number of local farmers selling meat from free range, grass fed, pastured animals.

With the butchers, you may not always know the source of the animal, but you can ask questions about what is in that package of ground meat. With the farmer’s markets, you can know even more about the source.

I just went digging in my freezer, doing a spring clean out. It is pretty deep in there.

I also have the benefit of a weekly meat delivery from the winter CSA. This half turkey, free range, from the Zahradka Farm, is sitting in the freezer waiting for me to brine it, smoke it, and make at least a half dozen meals from it. Then, use the leftover bones to make broth.

Butchers around here include: Wagner’s in Mt. Airy, Boarman’s in Highland, Treuth in Oella, and Laurel Meat Market. I have bought from all but Laurel. HowChow can fill you in on them.

Local sources include: Clark, TLV, Wagon Wheel, and at Breezy Willow, they sell locally raised meats. So does South Mountain Creamery when they come to the farmer’s markets, or if you have home delivery of their dairy products.

If you want to find sources near where you live for meats as well as checking out the farmer’s markets, use these web sites.

Real Time Farms

Local Harvest

Enjoy good food, from people you know, and avoid the pink slime and extra hormones and antibiotics.