Thursday, October 18, 2012

Greens, potatoes and mountains: the past week's eats.

Sometimes I end up with a bunch of random pictures of food on my phone. Yes, I my food pictures are almost exclusively taken with an iPhone 4. It takes better pics than my 'ol point and click. Plus, it's always in my pocket or within an easy reach.

This was one of those weeks. I had taken the most stunning pictures of swiss chard last week as I was washing it, but I didn't take a picture of the final dish. It wasn't nearly as beautiful as the fresh stuff. It's hard to imagine this shooting up out of the ground. It was so colorful, it looked fake. But it was not. In fact, it was delicious. I was making an Asian fish dish, and I made the chard on the side wilted with a little mirin and seasame oil. It paired with the fish in the loveliest of ways.

Seriously, how could I not share these pictures? They really don't do the chard justice. So beautiful! I bought it from the Monroe Farm Market. I can't remember which grower I got it from.

Here's a couple pics I quickly grabbed of the bushel of kennebec potatoes I bought. I work with a man who has a farm in the northern part of the state. He sells a good bit of his produce and plants at a local farm stand, but he can always be counted on to bring some of his wares down when he comes to Charleston. I bought a bushel of potatoes for $15, which I think is a steal (Although, the price was $10 last year). A bushel will last us all winter. Last year, we kept them in the garage, and by the time planting season rolled around, we had a handful of really soft potatoes left that had sprouted some impressive eyes, so I just planted them. I'd never tried to grow them before, but they may be one of the easiest things to grow. I'm definitely going to plant the leftovers again next spring.

Look at the size of that sucker! Softball-sized! I like kennebec potatoes because they have thin skins, and we almost always eat the skins. Primarily because I'm too lazy to peel them, but the skins are where most of the minerals and vitamins are, so it's healthier to eat them anyway. They probably would be outside the 250 mile limit that I consider "local," but they're from a farmer that I know and he was coming to Charleston anyway, so I don't count those "food miles."

Last weekend, we rented a cabin up in the mountains with my in-laws. It was so nice to get away, and Canaan Valley is one of my favorite places to visit in West Virginia. We spent several days there last year exploring on our anniversary trip. It was such a memorable trip, that we can't go back without being reminded of all the fun we had there last year. We took the family to our favorite place to eat there, Hellbender Burritos in Davis, WV. This time I had the Lost Hiker, which was sauted mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, rice, beans and guacamole with homemade blue cheese. It was outstanding. Jeremy had the Hellbender with shrimp, which had rice, blue cheese, buffalo sauce. You could order it with chicken or shrimp. I tasted it, and it was super hot--too hot for me. The newbies in our group were overwhelmingly impressed. Everyone was stuffed and satisfied.

Right up the road from Hellbender Burritos is Moutain State Brewing Company, a microbrew that has been cranking out awesome beers for the past few years. We took three growlers with us, and got those filled--twice. This place only has four beers in regular rotation, but they do all four really well. I cannot choose a favorite because they are all so good, but I am partial to the Coal Miner's Daughter Stout.

The next night, we got pizzas from the little cafe across the road from Hellbender Burritos, Sirianni's Cafe. I had never been inside the original location before. I'd only had their take out, but I went inside to pick up the pizzas. Wow! What a cozy place to sit and have a plate of pasta or a pizza! It reminded me of an old country store, but not in a cheesy Cracker Barrel sort of way. And the pizza is fantastic. I've never tried the pasta, but that is on my list for next time.

In between meals, we took in the beautiful fall scenery in the area. This is seriously one of the most beautiful parts of the state.

Canaan Valley

Spruce Knob
Blackwater Falls

I can't wait to go back. Jeremy and I have been known to make the two and a half hour drive on a Saturday afternoon for Hellbender's and to get our growlers filled. Now that we've gotten a recent taste, we might find ourselves jonesing for it and head back up.

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