Sunday, March 9, 2008

Snow and food...

With Friday& Saturday's snow storm, we like most other people in Northeast Ohio just hunkered down, stayed in and waited it out. Thankfully we had lots of yummy local provisions to make for a tasty couple of days, and with the snow, not much to do so I had the time to cook.

On Friday, I had a half a day of work, so as soon as I got home I took some of my local flour and started a pizza dough. Then I took out my "30 minute mozzarella" kit and tried my hand at making mozzarella for the very first time. We had local milk I was eager to try it on!

Now, by this time it was snowing pretty hard, and I did NOT want to have to go out and get cheese if this did not work, so it was a leap of faith. Thankfully, although I don't think it worked exactly right (my milk seemed to separate before it was supposed to) I did end up with something approximating cheese. Which I then, according to the instructions, gave several trips to the microwave, until it was so hot I could barley handle it, then knead and stretch until it got cool and harder to handle. Reheat and continue until shiny and it pulls like taffy. I eventually got to what I thought was this stage (on reflection I don't think it was.)

So I had mozzarella! Or something close enough that my hubby did not compain.
Then I took some ground pork I had from a local farmer and seasoned it. When it was cooked I threw in the last of my frozen sweet peppers from last year's garden and some mushrooms (if I had thought ahead I would have gotten some from Kilbruick Valley!) and cooked until the veggies were soft.

By then the dough had risen (gives you an idea of how long my 30 minute mozzarella took!) and I took a jar of my tomato sauce from last season, and used that with the pepper and sausage combination on the dough. Then I sliced the cheese as thin as I could, and put it on top. This is when I reallized how little cheese I had from the half gallon of milk! But it was enough for the pizza, so I was happy.

I have to say after 25 minutes on 425 degrees we had one heck of a good pizza! And the best thing is with the following exceptions all the ingredients were local: 1/2 of the flour was an organic white flour from Arrowhead Mills, the yeast was normal yeast, the olive oil was from California, the spices where from all over, the renant and salt for the cheese I have no clue on where they came from, and the mushrooms where from that most normal of places food comes from -- the grocrey store.

On Saturday as the snow continued to fall and it became evident that our street was a VERY low priority for plowing I started a stew. This was less local, but very good! We did have local grass feed stew meat and local potatoes, but the carrots, broth, wine and spices were all from non-lacal sources. This time next year I hope to be able to say I made the broth and the carrots were from our root cellar.

The path towards eating local is a slow one (at least for us) we are getting better at sourcing more of our ingredients locally, and are beginning to realize that we are lucky in that we have a wealth of products (including flour) available just a few counties away, it just takes a while to find all the sources and requires a change in mindset about how you buy food and what form it takes when you get it, and the work you put into making the meal... ((Oh, and use the Marco Polo rule :) ))


Tina said...

Your pizza looks so yummy! Where have you found local flour?


CSA Farmer Girl said...

We are getting local flour through the co-op we just joined. It comes from Millersburg and is Amish.

Anonymous said...

What's the Marco Polo rule?

CSA Farmer Girl said...

The Marco Polo Rule is that when tring to eat locally, anything Marco Polo would have carried is exempt - typically refering to salt, spices, coffee, tea and exotic oils (olive).

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Heh... first I've heard of the Marco Polor rule, but I like it. And luckily, most of those things (oils excluded) are fairly low-weight and thus are using the low end of the shipping energy scale. (I would hope.)

By the way, you can grow most of your own spices... have any space in the regular garden beds for some herbs? They're so pretty they're easy to mix in...

Tina said...

I didn't realize there were Amish co-ops that included grain. A friend of mine is part of a co-op that includes beef, chicken, and raw milk. I will have to look into what is available.

In looking for local grain, I came across and I notice that Basket of Life is already listed :)

Thanks too for introducing the Marco Polo rule. My sister-in-law is blogging for American Public Radio's Splendid Table's Locavore Nation segment. She has been struggling with how to handle olive oil etc. I will pass this on to her.


NEOcreativegenius said...

Hi Heather --

The Marco Polo rule is very helpful. Fortunately, there are organic and/or fair trade options for items in that category (except maybe salt, being that it is inorganic, as I remember from high school chemistry).

Mary said...

Hi Heather - posting a little bit late - how funny that I was searching the web for information about yummy pizza in the Cleveland area and ended up at the blog of someone that I know!

I've tried to make mozzarella a few times. I used the junket tablets from the grocery store. It was popular with those who ended up eating it, but I wasn't convinced that I had made it successfully! I'm going to have to get over past failures and try it again soon.

I'm also curious about local flour. Are you getting wheat berries through the co-op or ground flour? I've starting baking bread again and now have the need to try freshly ground flour.

So many questions! And, really looking forward to summer!