From the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York’s website:
The NY Locavore Challenge is a month-long campaign aimed at engaging consumers across the state in eating local organic foods. The goal for this campaign is to educate consumers about how to make healthy and ethical food choices, cook with in-season, local organic foods, while supporting local sustainable farms and food businesses.
Our 2011 goal is to involve 5,000 people in this year’s challenge, and bring the concepts of local, organic and sustainable more into the forefront of the general public’s minds.
This year’s program is versatile, fun and FREE! Participants have the option of signing up for either a Bite-Sized, a Meal-Sized or a Feast-Sized challenge, and within these challenge scopes choose from a variety of different mini-challenges or events to participate in.
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with stovetop popcorn. I’ve been using a Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper. Just add a little extra-virgin olive oil to the popper, and then finish off with salt and a drizzle of melted butter. Yum! No microwave, no preservatives, no artificial anything. And a big yum!
I’ll be on this panel discussing local food this Monday. Come check it out!
Join the Brooklyn Bridge CSA and Pursue on Monday, August 8th at 61 Local to talk about the local food movement, why it’s important, and how to support it. We will be hearing from leaders in the community about their answers to the question, “Why local?” and what it means particularly for our food system. Come for the conversation, stay for the brews and snacks!
Please check out my segment on Hot Grease with Nicole Taylor on the Heritage Radio Network: Hot Grease, Episode 78. In the last segment, Nicole asks me about what to do with July’s CSA & Farmers Market bounties.
Be sure to listen to the whole episode because Nicole interviews Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez of Print Restaurant. Heather’s work in farming advocacy is quite inspirational, and the menu at her restaurant sounds divine. I tried that chocolate bread, and Nicole is not exaggerating its greatness.
For the past two weeks, I’ve received four pounds of zucchini in my CSA share. I like zucchini just fine, but it’s not my favorite vegetable, so (with the help of Facebook and Twitter) I crowd-sourced some ideas of what to do with my bounty. Food writer Leah Koenig linked me to her zucchini post on Saveur’s website.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake piqued my interest because of its seemingly bizarre combination of ingredients. The recipe is good — very easy to follow. I, of course, complicated matters because I was missing a few ingredients and had no interest in schlepping out to the grocery store at 9pm. The missing ingredients: corn oil, one of the two eggs, and buttermilk.
Corn Oil: The only cooking fats in my house last night were virgin coconut oil (I didn’t want to make the cake coco-nutty), butter, ghee, and duck fat. (This is why I need to go grocery shopping sooner rather than later.) I decided to go with melted butter. If I hadn’t just finished all my olive oil, I would have used that as a replacement.
One Egg: Having gone to a culinary school with a heavily vegan curriculum, I learned that flax seeds can act as egg replacers in baked goods. 1 egg = 1 tablespoon finely ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water
Buttermilk: I happened to have whole milk on hand. Generally, 1 cup buttermilk = 7.5 ounces milk + 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar or lemon juice.
The results were good, although I think I overcooked the cake slightly. I’m still figuring out the calibration of my oven. I also omitted powdered sugar because my sweet tooth simply isn’t that strong. Here is the recipe as I have prepared it.
Chocolate Zucchini Bread (tweaked)
1 tablespoon flax seeds, finely ground
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
3 1/2 ounces whole milk
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and grated on large holes of box grater
9 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
Make Egg Replacer: stir together ground flax seeds and water. Set aside.
Make Buttermilk Substitute: stir together vinegar and whole milk. Set aside.
Working in batches, put a small mound of zucchini in center of large square of double-layer cheesecloth. Gather corners together and squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer zucchini to a bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 325º. Butter a deep 9″ cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together into a mixing bowl and set aside. Beat together remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
Add melted butter, beating well. Beat in egg, then egg replacer. Add vanilla, reduce speed to low, and beat in flour mixture and buttermilk substitute in 3 alternate batches. Stir in reserved zucchini.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to let cool. Invert onto a plate and dust with sugar.
Not the prettiest presentation, but it sure is tasty!
In my last post, I had mentioned that I might make this Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam recipe from Food 52. I’ve decided to make my own variation on it. I didn’t read the editor’s note to the original recipe until the jam was already cooking — if I had, I probably would have halved the total amount of sugar in the recipe. The resulting jam is definitely sweet, but also complex and delicious. I decided to use half organic cane sugar, and half sucanat. I’ve mentioned sucanat before, and I really do love the deep molasses flavor it imparts — a perfect complement to rhubarb’s bright tartness. For the most effective use of vanilla beans, check out Shuna Lydon’s blog post about vanilla.
Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam with Sucanat
Yields approximately 1 pint
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 cup organic sucanat
2 vanilla beans
18 ounces rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup water
pinch kosher salt
Whisk together the cane sugar and sucanat. Split the vanilla beans into two halves. Lay each bean on a flat surface and scrape the interior out with a small sharp knife. Knock the oily interior into the sugar mixture and smush the seeds into it with your thumb, forefinger and middle finger to distribute evenly throughout.
Place the rhubarb, vanilla-sugar mixture and water in a heavy saucepan with a generous pinch of kosher salt.
Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring to scrape the bottom. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the fruit with the back of the spoon. Cook for about 25-30 minutes until the jam is thick, just shy of spreadable, as it will thicken when it cools.
Remove the vanilla beans and reserve them for later use. Carefully spoon the hot jam into jars and leave unsealed to cool. When cool, screw on the lid and refrigerate.