Sunday, June 1, 2008

One Local Summer - Week 1 - Brunch

I wanted to make brunch for this first challenge meal. Our family often makes a leisurely brunch and sits down to watch a movie after we come back from church on Sundays. We caught up on DVR'd episodes of The Riches and Battlestar Gallactica today.
Roasted Corn Grits
Scrambled Eggs
Toast with Nectarine Jam
Absent: Strawberries
I learned how to make grits this past year, so I knew I'd found my meal when I spotted Brinser's Best Roasted Yellow Corn Meal at the Echo Hill Country Store in Fleetwood. It was $1.40 for a 2-lb bag produced in Manheim by Haldeman Mills (37 miles). I made the grits with pork stock, high-index garlic powder, salt and pepper, and cream cheese. It was my homemade roasted pork stock, from neckbones gotten from a local butcher and herbs from my own yard. My usual garlic grits recipe calls for a head of roasted garlic, but there is no local garlic yet. Still, these grits were saturated with pork, corn, and garlic flavors.
FAUX PAS: The cream cheese wasn't local. I usually have something local, but I checked all my cheese and came up with nothing. The grits were cooking and there was nothing to be done.
The eggs were from a pastured flock at the Echo Hill Farm outside Fleetwood (12 miles) They were $1.25 for a dozen small, and we used the whole dozen to make eggs for three of us. They were cooked in butter from Sommer Maid ($2.40/lb) from Sommer Maid Creamery in Pipersville (60 miles), purchased at Echo Hill.

We used Hatfield Sliced Bacon, a regular commercial brand produced in Hatfield, 40 miles away over in Montgomery County. We won a membership to the Bacon-of-the-Month Club from, but I couldn't use that premium bacon - it gets shipped to me in an insulated box every month. Delicious, but certainly not local food.

Like the bacon, the bread for toast wasn't "special." It was Maier's Seeded Italian. The bakery itself is local, but it is part of the larger Stroehmann Bakeries group. I picked bread that everyone would eat, which sometimes requires a compromise. The point of this challenge is to eat local, not organic or artisan.

But the jam was definitely special. Nectarine Jam ($6) from Riegel's Produce (25 miles) at the West Reading Farmer's Market this morning. The stand was staffed by a lovely family with girls close to my girls' ages. We bought eggs ($2.75/doz), fresh chocolate chip cookies ($4/doz), and the jam from them. We also bought green onions ($1.50 bunch), spelt flour ($3/2lb), and beef hot dogs ($2.50/lb) from other vendors. I expect to see a OLS meal that involves that spelt flour.

The meal ended up being heavy on protein. I had counted on finding strawberries at the market this morning. But it was a cool spring, and they are not quite ready - maybe next week. Pick-your-own starts on Monday at Ontelaunee Orchards, so I expect we will find some this week. I want to make jam.

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