Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 8: Turkey Pot Pie

One of the best things about eating seasonably is that you begin to appreciate the food that's in season more. It's easy to take for granted oranges you can buy year round or asparagus in the height of summer (a product of South America, extravagantly flown to the United States and shipped to your nearest supermarket).

Food, as it turns out, has seasons, just like the weather. Many of our customs, holidays and traditions feature foods, because, a long time ago, when those customs and traditions were established. Everyone ate seasonally. Because they had to. There were no supermarkets with asparagus available in August.

Since I began making an effort to eat seasonally a couple years ago, it's been one of the most pleasant discoveries. Caprese with tomatoes that are still warm because they were picked out of a garden 15 minutes ago. Or, on the flip side, creamy, heavy, hearty comfort food that makes a cold winter a little more bearable.

Something kinda like... turkey pot pie?

2 cups chopped cooked mixed turkey meat
3 Tb olive oil
1 large potato
1/2 medium onion
1 cup frozen broccoli, thawed
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups skim milk
1pkg phyllo dough
2 tb butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake potato (I pierce them and put them in the microwave for 4 or 5 minutes). When it's cool enough to handle, cut into 1 inch pieces. Heat 2 tb oil in a large sauce pan and add onion and garlic. Cook on medium low until onion softens, 3-4 minutes. Increase heat to medium high. Add flour and mix well to a paste consistency. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk and whisk until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat. Add rosemary, potato, broccoli and turkey. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Pour into a 9-inch deep dish pie pan. Layer 2 or 3 pieces of phyllo over the pie plate and brush remaining 1 tb of oil mixed with 2 tb melted butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo. Trim excess phyllo hanging over the edges with a sharp knife. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 to 25 minutes.

I actually adapted the recipe from this Martha Stewart recipe for Lighter Chicken Pot Pie. And according to my Lose It! iphone app, 1/4 of the pie has 432 calories. Not too bad for a hearty winter meal.

The turkey was frozen leftover from my Thanksgivng turkey from Almost Heaven Farm in Monroe County. The potato was from Spangler's Greenhouse in Monroe County. (Both bought via the Monroe Farm Market). The flour was from Reed's Mill Flours, also in Monroe County. The milk is from Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, VA. The butter is Land O'Lakes (Boooo! Not local). The rosemary is from a coworker's bush, here in Charleston. The broccoli and garlic are not SOLE, and from my local Krogers, as well as the phyllo dough. The onion is also from Krogers, but it is organic.

Dark Days Challenge Week 7: Pork cutlets and potatoes

I made a hearty winter meal, pork cutlets, rosemary roasted potatoes and homemade bread.

The pork cutlets were from Sandy Creek Farms, breaded in organic white flour from Krogers, an egg from Breezy Knoll Farm, and then sesoned bread crumbs from Krogers.

We also had roasted potates that my father-in-law grew in his garden last summer, coated with some EVOO with kosher salt (both from the grocery store) and some rosemary from a coworker's herb garden.

The bread was made from stone-ground white flour from Reed's Mill Flours in Monroe County and some active dry yeast from the grocery store.

Speaking of homemade bread, it was my second batch from this book:
I love it so far. The first loaf was okay, but the second one I made tonight was much better. I'm sure it's just a matter of getting used to making bread from scratch. It will be so nice to have fresh bread every couple days for dinner. It has a crispy chewy crust, but a soft inside. I don't even use a pizza stone or a pizza peel, which the book recommends. I've been using two cookie sheets. Apparently, it is even better with the proper equipment. Now, hopefully I didn't just jinx myself with the dough gods...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 6: Calzones and a side helping of KARMA

I made calzones for dinner tonight. Er, I mean, A calzone. More on that in a minute. I was delicious. But not very pretty.

I'm so ashamed of how bad it looked that this is the only picture I took.
It actually looks pretty good here, doesn't it? It's the gooey cheese. So sexy...

Anyway, you might recall when I made pizza last week. And, about how I went on and on about how "easy" the pizza dough recipe that I used was, even for someone who was afraid of yeast and dough rising. That's where the karma comes in. The dough rising gods got one over on me. The dough for the calzones just didn't rise. That's why it wasn't pretty. And there was only 1.

It could have been for a number of reasons. Like that it was in the fridge for 3 days. I've never left it over that long before. I usually make it on two consecutive days. Or, it could have been that I was in a hurry tonight, and put the dough in the oven to rise while the oven was pre-heating. I probably left it in there a little too long by the look of the skin on the outside of the dough when I took it out. Or probably, it was because a combination of it all.

It was too loose any runny. It was pretty hard to form and flatten out, so instead of two, I made one big calzone, and the hubs and I cut it in half.

At any rate, it still tasted pretty good, but that's probably because of the amazing ingredients inside it. I used some of the same ingredients I put on the pizza, but to be fair in counting TWO Dark Days meals, I did change it up a bit.

From the grocery store: fresh mozzarella (that was hormone free--Yay!), frozen spinach, organic mushrooms, and organic yellow onions (carmelized).

Along with pork sausage from Sandy Creek Farms in Jackson County, roasted garlic from Crihfield Farms in Jackson County, and tomato sauce my mom and I canned from a box of tomatoes I bought from Crihfield Farms last summer.

The dough, was of course, the same recipe as last week, with hard winter wheat stone ground flour from Reed's Mill Flours in Monroe County, with olive oil, active dry yeast and kosher salt from the grocery store. I brushed the the top of the calzone with an egg white from Breezy Knoll Farm in Monroe County via the Monroe Farm Market.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 5: PIZZA

Oh, how I love homemade pizza. I love to make it and I especially love to eat it.

Tonight I made thin crust pizza with sausage, carmelized onions, mushrooms, roasted garlic, mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and balsalmic glaze.

For the dough: hard winter wheat flour from Reed's Mill Flours in Second Creek, Monroe County; active dry yeast, extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt.
Pork sausage from Sandy Creek Farms in Jackson County, garlic from Critchfield Farms in Jackson County. From the supermarket: organic yellow onions, organic mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, balsalmic glaze and extra virgin olive oil.

Carmelizing onions.

If I'm going to put onions on a pizza, I always carmelize them. They are so much better when you are using them on something that you really get the taste. It's not hard to do either, it just takes some time. I cut them into very thin slices, but that's just a matter of preference.

Proofing pizza dough.

At one time, I bought premade pizza crusts like Boboli brand. I had a fear of making anything that called for yeast and rising that it just wouldn't work under my hand. But half the fun of cooking for me is trying things you never dreamed you could make. I waded into the yeast and rising waters with pizza dough because I figured it wouldn't matter if it didn't rise, since it is pizza dough after all. But voila ... so easy. I haven't looked back since. I have a super easy recipe from Tyler Florence's Eat This Book: Cooking with Global Fresh Flavors.

The recipe makes enough for one big pizza, but I always split it into two batches since there are only two of us, and use the second half in a few days. Tuesday, I'm making calzones with it. Can't wait.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 4: Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

It definitely was a challenge last week to get a local meal squeezed in between holiday family gatherings and leftovers.

But it was a nice diversion from leftover junkfood like heavily sauced meatballs, cheese balls and rich dips to have some kinda healthy, whole and SOLE food. I made spaghetti squash with venison meatballs and pesto. It was very hearty and filling.

Unfortunately, the hubs has decided he is NOT a fan of spaghetti squash. That's okay... more for me. Last year, the first time I made it, I put a ridiculous amount of cheese and butter in it. I wasn't even sure if I liked it, so I figured it couldn't be that bad with all that cheese and butter. When he tried it that time, he was kinda on the fence, but after this dinner, he's just not feelin' spaghetti squash.

The spaghetti squash itself is from Spanglers Greenhouse sold by the Monroe Farm Market. The pesto was made and frozen last summer. The basil was from my mom's basil "bush", and the olive oil, pine nuts and parmesean cheese is from far away. The venison meatballs are made from a deer the hubs killed last winter, with an egg from Breezy Knoll Farm via Monroe Farm Market, milk from Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, Va. Here's the link to the meatballs recipe (scroll about halfway down). It's one of my favorite ways to use deer burger. I added some extra olive oil and parmesean cheese to the mix as put it all in the skillet.