What We Eat in October

Last weekend was supposed to be the last farm share box of the year, but our wonderful Tantré CSA has had such a good season that they offered a 3 week extension. Man, that was good news. Especially since last week was the first time we had gotten any brussels sprouts whatsoever. 

Below is a list of some of the main things we eat during the week, in our ongoing quest to eat from the Michigan foodshed.*  I've included some notes about where some of our local favorites are from. Perhaps this list is boring, but I did include one of my favorite cauliflower recipes below. 

Breakfast
- Fried eggs (from Rebecca or Paul or Our Family Farm) and toast (from Avalon Bread, butter from Calder Dairy)
- Cottage cheese (from Calder Dairy) and toast (sometimes Zingerman's, sometimes Ypsilanti's River Street Bakery - which is also the only one that uses Michigan flour, from Westwinde Milling  I believe)
- Granola (homemade with organic Michigan oats and sunflower seeds, some other nuts (not from here),  honey (Cohoctah, or 5th Street usually) or maple syrup (from Snow's) and Calder butter
- Yogurt (I'm making my own from Calder's 2% milk these days)
- Fruit (whatever is in season - pears, plums, and apples right now)
- Pancakes or waffles (flour from Westwind Milling or Jennings Bros. or Ernst Farm, Michigan eggs, butter, buttermilk, sugar) with Snow's maple syrup or jam I made (apricot this year and hopefully I'll also get to make some raspberry still)

Lunch
- Likely to be leftovers from a previous night's dinner
- Or a pot of soup that I've made on the weekend

Dinner lately
- Chili (beef from Needle-Lane Farm, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, hot pepper and Eden kidney beans all from Michigan) and cornbread (cornmeal, flour, sugar, butter, buttermilk, eggs all from Michigan)
- Minestrone (basically everything from the farm share box plus my own tomatoes)
- Pesto (basil from the garden, garlic from Tantre) and pasta (from Al Dente)
- Caprese salad (tomatoes and basil from the garden, Zingerman's fresh mozzarella)
- Stir fry (greens and garlic from the Tantre farm share and Rosewood tofu) 
- Veggie casserole (potatoes, tomatoes, beans, kale, garlic from the farm share)
- Polenta with spicy cauliflower (Michigan cornmeal, cauliflower, tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper)
- Grilled sausage and peppers (Appleschram bratwurst and peppers from the farm share)
- Grilled vegetable lasagna (homemade tomato sauce from garden tomatoes, grilled vegetables from the farm share, cottage cheese from Calder)
- Chips (from Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory) and salsa (Michigan tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, hot peppers - thanks for the recipe Martha!)


One of my favorite recipes lately is this Spicy Cauliflower with Polenta.  It's a satisfying tummy hug on a cold, damp day. Probably something to do with the comforting soft cheesiness of the polenta and the warming spiciness of the cauliflower. It's also a lovely, warm color. Together with a salad and a glass of wine - I'd serve it to the Queen of England. 

Have you noticed the fabulous cauliflowers that are available this time of year? In addition to the regular white, there's deep purple, that lime green study in fractals - Romanesco, and the tastiest I think (even though it may just be psychological) - the pale orange, extra-nutty Cheddar cauliflower.  Look for them at a farmer's market near you. 


Spicy Cauliflower with Polenta
(adapted from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures - one of my favorite cookbooks) 

1 small (Cheddar) cauliflower, about 1 1/2 pounds, cut into small florets
3 T. olive 
3-6 cloves garlic, 
1/4 t. hot pepper flakes (or more, or 1 dried hot pepper, chopped)
3 medium tomatoes, diced (or 1 16 0z. can diced tomatoes with 
1/2 t. salt

Heat olive oil in a large fry pan, add garlic and hot peppers. Stir until very fragrant, but not browned - about 1-2 minutes. Add cauli-florets and fry until just beginning to brown. Add diced tomatoes. Stir a minute, then cover the pan and let simmer until cauliflower is tender and tomatoes have thickened.  


Polenta

3 1/2 C. water
1 C. cornmeal 
1 t. salt
1/2 C. grated parmesan (from Wisconsin is ok, but real Parmigiano-Reggiano is the best)
1-2 T. chopped parsley (optional)

Bring water and salt to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal, slowly, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until mixture is thick and bubbling. Let it simmer ever so slightly on low heat while cauliflower is cooking.  Just before serving, add cheese and parsley. It should be very thick, not quite as firm as mashed potatoes.  

What's best is to cook the polenta in advance, put into an 8x8" pyrex pan and chill. Then, cut into squares and fry the squares in olive oil until brown and crispy.  This takes at least 15-20 minutes. 

Either way, serve cauliflower on top of polenta and enjoy with a glass of red wine. 



*Foodshed (from Wikipedia): "The concept of the foodshed is similar to that of a watershed; it is an area where food is grown and eaten. The size of the foodshed varies depending on the availability of year round foods and the variety of foods grown and processed. In a way, replacing the term 'water' with 'food' reconnects food with nature. "The term "foodshed" thus becomes a unifying and organizing metaphor for conceptual development that starts from a premise of the unity of place and people, of nature and society." Check out their description of Local Food.


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