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Archive for the ‘Our Local Summer 2011’ Category

This glass carboy is filled with wine that Ryan’s Grandfather made.

He made a lot of wine in his day, but this particular batch is very special because it was made the same year that Ryan was born. As if making your own wine isn’t neat enough, he grew his own grapes right in the backyard of his city home. We were talking last night about how cool it is when someone picks one thing and does it until it’s perfected. Maybe that’s how Ryan’s Grandfather was with wine, I know that’s how my Grandfather was with green beans.

Green beans may seem banal to some people, but I grew up in a family that really treasured the little veggies. That’s because my Grandfather was very proud of the crisp green beans that he spent so much time growing. In the summer we had communal dinners at our family’s Camp. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and our Grandparents would gather together after our long days in the sun to share classic barbeque foods. And, we would all hope that my Grandfather had brought up with him some of those famous green beans he grew.

Well, he’s not around anymore, but I won’t soon forget how amazing his green beans were — especially when they were prepared with love in our Camp’s kitchen. So, I thought it only appropriate that I bring some green beans to Thanksgiving this year. They’re not grown with his careful attention, but I’ll pick out the very best beans that I can find, and, following this recipe, I think I might be able to do them justice.

Does your family have any special foods or recipes?

xx.

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Walking down to the Deering Oaks Farmer’s Market here in Portland is a weekly tradition for Ryan + me.

There are several markets a week in our area, but this is without a doubt the very best one. Reason being, it’s located under tall, tall oaks in the middle of our city’s largest park. During the height of our locavore diet, we would frequent any market we had time for, and fill up our totes with produce galore. But the other locations don’t lend the same exciting fair-feel as this one does.

Not only is there freshly grown food a plenty, but the Deering Oaks market is also a-buzz with music, and laughter, and the main path through is lined with the booths of handmade venders. A tight rope walker regularly sets up his wire between two trees and children learn to hula hoop by practicing, practicing, practicing while their parents do some shopping.

Since you may be too far away to experience this weekly ritual yourself, here are some photos I took last week to share with you:

So there you go!

If you’re ever in Portland on a Saturday during the growing season, make sure that a trip to our Deering Oaks Farmer’s Market is on your to-do list.

xx. Julia

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This meal was made with three ingredients, all purchased from our local Farmer’s Market.

Here’s another yummy local meal that we’ve tried this year. We’re not as strict as we were last year, so this tempeh made with black beans fits the bill.

I stirfried the tempeh with chopped up green peppers, and steamed our green beans until they were nice + bright. We felt full, we felt healthy, we felt happy, and we helped to support the local economy.

Happy Friday night!

xx. Julia

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I’ve been truly terrible this summer at documenting our local eats. Sorry for that!

Last year I recorded every single meal and snack we ate, and all of the drinks we had! It was quite an undertaking, and I decided I wanted to take it easy this year by just posting when I was really excited about a meal. I’ve been taking lots of photographs, but keep forgetting to share them! So, here’s a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack for you!

| breakfast |

I loved this bowl of GrandyOats granola more than all others because those blueberries and blackberries were handpicked by me, Ryan, my Dad, and my uncle, from the very mountain that I grew up on. The strawberry is from a local farm!

| lunch |

Here’s a big bowl of everything we bought at the Farmer’s Market one week! A big + super filling salad! We’ve been putting fruit on our salads this summer, it’s very tasty and refreshing.

Ryan and our friend Andy made this pizza from scratch! Dough and all — super impressive, right?  The only thing about it that’s not local is a bit of yeast and sugar!

| snack |

Some little scone-like treats that Ryan made awhile ago! They’re maple-oat, yum! The flour, maple syrup, oats, eggs, butter, etc. were all local in this. Just a touch of sugar and baking powder were not. Still, they were such a nice little between-meal munchie with a bit of butter spread on top!

Thanks for stopping by!

xx. Julia

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Creamy, Cheesy Potato Soup!

- In a medium sauce pan, saute two cloves of minced garlic & one stalk of scallions (use onion if you have one) in a bit of canola oil for a couple of minutes.

- Add four chopped potatoes & saute for a few more minutes.

- Add 3 cups of vegetable broth, salt, other spices if you have them, & after letting it come to a boil, cover it & reduce heat to a simmer.

- Allow to cook for 20 or 25 minutes until potatoes have become very soft.

- Add about a handful of fresh cilantro, stir, let it cool for a minute or two.

- Transfer soup into a blender & blend until creamy.

- Transfer back into sauce pan, turn heat on low, add grated or small chunks of cheese, stir until cheese is melted.

This is another super yummy soup (soups are such a perfect meal for locavores — big batches last forever and are easy on the go) that we figured out last year and I wanted to pass along again. The best part about this one is that it’s really easy and it has very few ingredients.

I haven’t been posting our recipes this year because we haven’t stepped out of our comfort zone as much. We’re not as dedicated to the local cause as we were last summer so we’re not forced to be creative like we were then. I’ll try to come up with something new for you soon!

Until then, happy eating!

xx. Julia

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You-Will-Not-Be-Sorry-You-Made-This Tomato Soup

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/4 cups veggie broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut the tomatoes into large chunks and spread onto a baking sheet.

Season with salt and drizzle with 1/4 cup of the canola oil then roast in the oven until caramelized (about 15 minutes).

While they bake, heat the remaining canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened (about 10 minutes).

Add the roasted tomatoes, veggie broth, and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender (about 15 to 20 minutes).

Add basil. Puree in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!

This is my absolute most favourite local recipe ever (that I’ve had so far). I figured it out last year and it has stuck in my brain as the epitome of a rainy summer’s day dinner.

We’re having a friend over tonight and I can’t wait to share it with her.

Happy eating, everyone!

xx. Julia

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We’re leaving to spend the night at Ryan’s parents’ tonight, but first I wanted to pass along a link!

MaineLocavore.org is a great website that shows what’s in season in my region, and the available places to get each thing (including restaraunts — you don’t even have to cook this stuff)! They also have fibers like wool and alpaca for crafty people :)

Looks like we’re not the only Maine Locavores

(though it certainly does feel like it sometimes…)

xx. Julia

P.s. Click the photo in the sidebar that says “Local Summer” to find out more about our food adventure!

(Click image for source!)

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Just recently, a new Farmer’s Market opened up making more local foods available to Mainers! It’s right under the Casco Bay Bridge on the South Portland side and open on Thursdays from 3 pm to 7 pm.

I love that they’re holding it in the evening because it opens up the world of fresh foods to a whole different crowd. I’m sure a lot of people have a hard time getting to the morning markets, because of work or other commitments, and this allows them a chance to stop by on their way home from work instead of missing out on all the fun.

Ryan and I went this week, and were actually pretty disappointed with the turnout. There was a huge selection of meat and baked goods (even a gluten free tent!), but being vegetarian locavores, there wasn’t very much for us. Only two tents offered veggies, and only one of those was organic. In comparison with the Wednesday Market in Monument Square or the Deering Oaks Market on Saturdays, there was just no competition.

However, I would love for this market to succeed! It fills a void and the only thing it needs to thrive is a little more vegetation! Please check it out if you’re in the area, and spread the word so other farms will join!

Happy Saturday!

xx. Julia

(Click photo for source!)

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On most mornings, I have an incredibly hard time starting my day. I’m one of those wake-up-at-the-last-minute-so-I-can-run-around-the-house-to-get-my-daily-exercise type of people. And thus, my breakfast is rushed.

It’s because of this that I have gained such a fond appreciation of cereals. They’re quick, they’re simple, they’re filling if you top them with fruit and maybe pair it with a yogurt or some such business.

Here’s our local version of it…

HOMEMADE GRANOLA:

4 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (non-local — 80% rule)

1 teaspoon almond extract (non-local — 80% rule)

1/2 teaspoon salt

– Preheat oven to 325 degrees

– Mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl

– Pour in the salt and oats, then mix thoroughly using a rubber spatula

– Spread the mixture out on a shallow baking sheet

– Bake for 10 minutes

– Remove from oven and mix the granola around

– Bake for another 10 minutes

– Remove and let cool! It will get crunchier as it cools. Store in an airtight container and use within 2 weeks. Freeze for longer storage.

- Add dried fruit or nuts if you want! We added dehydrated strawberries to ours :)

Hope this helps ease your way into the day!

xx. Julia

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Who says you can’t have sweets when you’re living on a locavore diet? Not this girl!

MAPLE SYRUP COOKIES:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups organic all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine butter and brown sugar.

3. Add the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla. Sift together the baking soda, salt, and flour. Add gradually until well combined.

4. Use a spoon to form 2-inch balls. Roll in sugar (we didn’t do this). Use a fork to press a cross hatch pattern into the cookies.

5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

So clearly this recipe does have a bit of sugar, vanilla extract, and baking soda, so it is not an entirely local dessert. However, compared to any other cookie recipe that I’ve stumbled upon, this is remarkably close to home. Those were my only three exceptions and they accounted for much less than 20% of the whole recipe.

Our rule is that our diet has to be 80% local. Last year we did incredibly well — I would say maybe 95% New England grown foods. This year we’ve dipped quite a bit, but we’re still probably hovering right around the 80% line. If you’re not too strict, this is a great sweet-tooth satisfier!

Dig in!

xx. Julia

(Click photo for recipe source!)

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