Eating locally in winter can prove to be quite a challenging endeavor. Although we are fortunate in West Michigan to have access to local meats, cheeses, breads, and root vegetables throughout the cold winter months, if we neglected to spend time drying, canning, and freezing our produce during summer, we are out of luck as far as fruits and most vegetables are concerned.
In order to fill this gap, Genevieve Miskell created Save the Season, a frozen CSA program that provides our community with an alternative to industrially-produced food throughout the winter. Becoming a CSA member with Save the Season ensures localvores enjoy locally-grown produce all year round. November through March, their members receive high quality, small-batch dehydrated and frozen fruits and vegetables to be enjoyed when fresh local produce is not available. Save the Season is strongly committed to growing the West Michigan local food movement and they work directly with small, family farms to process and preserve their produce and provide them with an additional source of income. They only work with farms using sustainable practices, ensuring that their customers are getting the most nutritious products and our environment is being protected. Some of the farms that Save the Season purchases from include Earthkeeper Farm, Green Wagon Farm, Real Food Farm, Mitchell's Blueberries, and Urban Roots.
As a member of Save the Season, I have been lucky enough to enjoy local fare all year round and experiment with frozen foods. In order to share my experience with a frozen CSA share with you, I chronicled how I cooked and enjoyed one month's share below.
For reference, the full frozen CSA share included shredded potatoes, blueberries, kale, green beans, tomatoes, dried tomatoes, dried purple basil, and garlic scape hummus.
Heat olive oil in a medium to large sauce pan. Once oil is hot, add garlic, onions, potatoes, and turnips to the pan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Next add carrots and cook for 5 more minutes. Then add green beans and tomatoes and cook for 10 more minutes. Once vegetables are soft, take pan off of heat and let cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and enjoy.
Simply put all ingredients together into a blender and blend until smooth.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time; stir in pumpkin and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and spices; stir to blend.
Add dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture; stir well. Stir in chopped nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1-inch apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake in upper half of oven for about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove to a wire racks to cool.
Recipe courtesy of Southern Food
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread garlic scape pesto onto pizza crust. Sprinkle dried basil, dried tomatoes, shredded cheese onto crust. Once overn is heated, bake the pizza for 10 minutes or until the crust is browning. Enjoy!
Whisk together the vinegar, brown rice syrup and curry powder in a small bowl. Place the onions in a medium bowl. Add the vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes. Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high flame. Add the tofu and cook until slightly crisp, turning to brown all the sides. Remove the tofu to paper towels to drain. Transfer the onions and half of the marinade to a large skillet.
Simmer until the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup and the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the kale to the skillet and saute until limp, 1-2 minutes. In a large serving bowl, toss together the mesclun greens with the kale, onions and 2-3 tablespoons of any liquid remaining in the skillet. Add the tofu, tomatoes and cucumbers and toss again. Top the salad with pistachio pieces and croutons. For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients. Drizzle sparingly over the salad.
Recipe courtesy of Venturesome Vegan Cooking
Shred the potatoes on the largest holes of a box grater. Wrap in a kitchen towel or several layers of cheesecloth, and twist to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Transfer the potatoes to a plate lined with two layers of paper towels. Cook in a microwave on high for 2 minutes. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add shredded potato. Season with a large pinch of salt and pepper.
Using a spatula, press potato into an even layer. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the potatoes with the spatula and brown on the other side, about 2 minutes longer. Remove and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Serve immediately.
Recipes courtesy of Serious Eats
Local First featured Uccello’s Hospitality Group back in October when we were gearing up for Fork Fest. Now that we’ve all had a chance to digest a bit, we thought it would be a perfect time to highlight the group’s newest additions, Mazzo Cucina D'Italia.