this week in the blog

we’ve been away on a mini-vacation for the past several days, but we’re back. this week in the blog: krista shares some yogurt making tips, we have local fruit smoothies (in february!), and we’ll look at one of this year’s local food trends, goat.

mmm… goat. think: mexican, caribbean, indian… there are a lot of cultures to explore through goat.

gnocchi update

Farm to Table reader/friend, Alison Clark writes:

Cake Walk's beet gnocchi.

[The gnocchi] looks good. You should check out cake walk blog online to get a super beet gnocchi recipe. We have made it a couple of times with overgrown garden beets. It freezes well also. Cheers!”

And check i did.  Here’s the link:

Cake Walk tossed hers in lemon and thyme.  While that sounds interesting, I think I might go a different route when I get to beet season.  Beet gnocchi w/capers and crumbled goat cheese.  The peppery mustard taste of capers will contrast nicely with the sweetness of the beet.  The earthiness of goat cheese will envelop these flavours and offer some good texture.  An olive oil base would work.

Thanks, Alison!

emergency dinner: tomato gnocchi

don't be looking for panache in this emergency gnocchi.

so, dinner plans didn’t turn out the way we wanted, and we’ve missed market for the past several weeks while out of town.

perfect time to order a pizza, right?

well, i thought so, but budget-conscious krista thought otherwise.  as you recall, she’s the one that makes sure the bills are paid.

she gave me a look that said “if you want italian, you’re going to have to make it yourself.” and left the kitchen.

that was when i once again became thankful for krista’s thriftiness (not to mention food preservation skills).  and for the fact that we always keep our leftovers.  reflecting on the gnocchi i had tucked away last fall, i knew that we still had a number of jars of home-canned tomatoes in the pantry.  i also knew i had a few homegrown cayennes* in the freezer.  add that to the basketful of garlic we have on the counter and the end of a rind of manchego from the fridge and i had all the makings for a hardy, peasant-style italian meal.

allow me to walk you through it:

emergency gnocchi
serves 2

2 handfuls of gnocchi (a bit more if your hands are small)
250 ml of canned tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon or so of dried basil
1/4 cup of hard cheese (such as parmesan)
freshly ground pepper
splash of olive oil

1. heat olive oil in small sauce pan.
2. add garlic, sauté until fragrant.
3. add gnocchi and fry until slightly crispy on the outside.
4. add tomatoes and basil and sauté until liquids start to reduce and there some of the basil aroma comes to the forefront.
5. mix in half the cheese, pour into bowls, garnish with remaining cheese and a few twists of freshly ground pepper.

simple, isn’t it.  took 5 minutes.

recipes don’t have to be difficult to be good.  in fact, recipes don’t have to be recipes to be good.  this only became a recipe because i blogged it.  otherwise, it would just be a tuesday night quick fix with some tasty local options.

speaking of local, let’s shine some light on those ingredients.

gnocchi: leftovers from the freezer.  i’m positive of local origins.
tomatoes: grown and canned right here on our little east city property
garlic: the gaelic garlic.
manchego cheese: sorry, a decadent import.  leftover from a party.  but fifth town artisan cheese has some great local hard cheeses.
basil and pepper from the main ingredient.  we grow and dry our own basil, but have just run out.

*because i like heat, i added a chopped and seeded cayenne to the oil with the garlic.  it is definitely not needed.  in fact, i’d recommend you leave it out.  forget i mentioned it.  😉
**for kicks, i rescued some gnarly looking green onions from the bottom of the crisper by peeling off a few layers.  they added a bit of green for garnish.

not 100% local, but not bad in a pinch.

bon appetit.


another reason to eat locally: honey laundering

farm to table reader and friend, natalie swift, writes:

“donald, did you hear about the honey trade? it’s my most recent reason to eat local honey.”

she also passed on the following link to a globe and mail article on the global honey market and how it affects the honey we buy in canada:

thanks for the link, natalie! that’s, uh…  sweet.

buying honey from your local farmer’s market is always a good place to start.  chances are you’ll be talking to the beekeeper when you make your purchase.  you are always free to ask questions, and producers are usually very proud to answer them.

farm gate sales are also a good option.  hit the googlesphere for farm gate sales near you.

in the peterborough area, you can find a number of options through

and i gotta tell you, there’s nothing like a local honey buzz.

another reason to eat locally: taco bell

just look at that "beefy" goodness. or not.

one of the features you’ll find regularly on the farm to table blog is a little something i like to call “another reason to eat locally” (ARET).

ARET will feature cringe-worthy processed “food” items from around the world — or, for the net-savvy: “food fail.”

today’s ARET food fail comes to us from the already questionable folks at taco bell.

i know what you’re probably thinking here: “well, duh, donald.  we all know taco bell is fast-food, chemical-laden crap. where’s the surprise in that?”

well, here’s the dealio, kids: it’s even worse that you thought.  taco bell, you see, is making headlines for all the wrong reasons today.  they’re being hit with a class action suit for falsely advertizing the beef content of their taco and burrito “meat.”

while “the bell” seems justified in calling their product “seasoned ground beef,” the alabama law firm of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles believes that the taco meat contains more ingredients that their firm has partners.  in fact, according to their reports, the taco bell product contains as little as 35 per cent actual meat.  the rest?  well, there is plenty of the following in your double beef burrito: wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch, sodium phosphates, and a variety of natural and chemical “meat extenders.”  my favourite has to be “isolated oat product.”  i mean, i have no clue as to what that could even possibly be, and yet people thought it tasted great on a quesadilla.

the US Department of Agriculture defines beef as “the flesh of adult cattle.”  taco bell doesn’t offer a definition of beef.  but, then again, they don’t serve actual beef, so why would they?

and for trying to pass off a goopey blend of grains and chemicals as “beef,” taco bell earns the farm to table blog‘s first ever official reason to eat locally.

epic food fail.

for more information on the lawsuit, feel free to browse the actual class action complaint.