Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Well Hellllloooooooooo Table-to-Farm Dinners!

Churchview Farm Summer Dinner, O' What a Night!

When you read this post you will be so jealous of me. You will want to have been me, just for one night. Or maybe you were one of the lucky ones to have been at the same event as I was, Churchview Farm's Summer Dinner with Chef Danielle Cain (and crew) from Pittsburgh's Soba. In which case, well, you know what I'm saying.

Table-to-Farm dinners are all the rage right now in Pittsburgh, with good reason too. I don't have to tell you all the great things about eating locally, right??? Or how bringing the chef to the farm results in the freshest meal? Or how wandering around, seeing the foods you eat and observing their natural habitat, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, you don't need to hear me talk about that either, right? No, you don't need my gab about how chefs are stepping it up at the farm, serving *COCKTAILS*, building bonfires, allowing you to enjoy an evening under the stars, enabling you to pretend to live on an idyllic farm spot, pretending you'd love to be a farmer, and then getting to go home and not having to wake up at dawn to *actually* feed the chickens. No, you don't need me to tell you about all that, but you do want me to show you...so here's my lovely Churchview Farm story in pictures.

P.S. You will be so sad to learn that this season's dinners are all sold out. But, you can try, you can keep an ear to the ground for cancellations, it is well worth your effort. But since I'm not here just to torture you, I'll provide a list of other farm dinners that, if you get your act together, you just might still be able to attend...

N.B. I very seriously regret not having a great picture of our fantastic hostess Tara Rockacy (owner and farmer) or of the incredible glass work of Lyla Nelson, whose beautiful pieces decorated the table and who is also currently exhibiting at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Pefect(ly) Local BLT...is now!

The perfect summer sandwich. Available for a limited time only!

The BLT. A perfect, simple, filling but light summer sandwich. Do you think I'm trying to get fancy? That I might bait and switch for a Bulgar, Lentil, Tomatillo melange? No, no, I'm going straight for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, something I only eat during this time of year. Why? Because this sandwich, the lowly BLT, is boring and drab and flavorless any other time of the year. So get it now, while supplies last!

Cucumber Onion Salad

Cukes and Onions, Sweet and Spicy, Love and Love

Cucumber Onion Salad

It's a little crazy to post such a simple recipe, but I'm putting it on here because I don't want anybody to have any excuse not to make this perfect summer side dish. Try it with a juicy tomato sandwich, with tomatoes still warm from the sunshiney vine, or with a perfectly local BLT. This will make you happy. Yes, yes it will.

2-3 lbs. cucumbers (pictured above are pickling cucumber which are nice because they are firm and hold up well. Seedless cucumber are also nice but will get soft fairly quickly).
1 large sweet onion
1 c. vinegar (use your favorite, sometimes you can find a great locally produced apple cider vinegar, otherwise use what you've got)
1/4 c. raw sugar (if you want to be super local, use maple syrup or honey sourced from this region)
salt, freshly ground pepper (the taste is significantly improved here if the pepper is ground fresh)

Slice cucumbers into rounds 1/8 inch thick. Thinly slice onion and cut into bite sized lengths. Combine cucumber and onion.

Mix vinegar and sugar (or whichever sweetener you choose) and pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix well. If eating that evening, leave at room temperature for flavors to blend. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to eat.

A few variations include adding additional summer vegetables, adding spicy red pepper flakes, adding a whole crushed garlic clove or a sprig of thyme. Enjoy!