Monday, December 29, 2008

Calling All Locavores

Please share with us your highlights of local, seasonal food in 2008--the products, producers, farmers' markets and CSAs; ways of growing, preparing, or preserving food; chefs and restaurants, cookbooks, and the like. You can leave your remarks in the "Comments" section below, or email me at brettlaidlaw@eckmeier.com , and I'll put your comments in digest form. Let me know if it's okay to use your name, and tell me where you're from. Doesn't matter where you're from, by the way. We're eager to hear from local, seasonal food fanatics from across the country and around the world.

I'll be putting together my list, which will probably take a few installments to do it justice. One of my favorite cookbooks of the year is shown above, Beyond Nose to Tail, by Fergus Henderson , who runs the acclaimed St John restaurant in London. The book is a treat to page through, beautifully designed and illustrated with wonderful photographs. The recipes are straightforward, allowing plenty of leeway for individual expression in their realization.

And though Henderson is famous for putting all parts of the pig into play in the kitchen, this book goes, well, beyond the trotters and snouts and ears and tails, beyond the abattoir entirely. In fact, of the three recipes I've prepared from it so far, two have been vegetarian--Welsh rarebit, a dish I've always wanted to try, and a salad of shredded raw beets, red cabbage, and red onions with creme fraiche. I'll post a fuller book report in future.

Meantime, please do tell us about your favorite local food experiences of 2008. We wish you many more, and all the best, in the year to come.

p.s.~In the upper left corner of the photo is one of my favorite breakfasts of the year, a remnant of Mary's Breton butter cake, kouign amann, made with our best local butter from the Hope Creamery in Hope, Minnesota.


Text and photos copyright 2008 by Brett Laidlaw

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's pretty hard to come up with just one favorite local food "thing"... Living with the author, I get the benefit of eating the objects of all those beautiful photographs. (lucky, I know... ).

I have to say that I very much enjoyed my weekly breakfast crepe from Mala the extraordinary crepe maker at the Midtown Farmers Market. I love John Wemeiers' ducks and that bourbon red turkey from Hilltop was pretty tasty. Grouse and woodcock from the field. Carrots pulled fresh from the garden. ... these are a few of my favorite things...

I have to say though, that it's been great fun to go "local" lately. It's not just about the food, but also about how it changes the way you think about things like the change in season. I can highly recommend it!

eli said...

Mala and Bob weigh in:
I would have to say some favorites are:
Brasa is always a guaranteed great place to eat. The cheese grits and greens are fantastic.
Peter's corn at the Midtown Market
Hilltop turkey I made at Thanksgiving
Foxtail Farm CSA
Bob says Joe's cherry tomatoes from Honey Creek Farm
Denny's Keepsake apples at Midtown
Those apple cheese breads from Real Bread

Trout Caviar said...

Thank you, Anon. (aka The Baker's Wife), Mala and Bob. We have to give Brasa a try. Those grits sound very tempting. I agree that Peter Marshall of Peter's Pumpkin Patch
has the most reliably delicious corn around (though best not to think of corn-on-the-cob now, as the snow piles up around us...).

I'm adding an incentive to share your nominees for 2008 food finds: From all the comments we receive through the middle of January, we'll make a random drawing and the winner will get a copy of the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook.

Happy New Year, one and all.

Brett

mdmnm said...

I actually let my subscription to my local CSA lapse, as I find the local grower's market more handy but will get back on their subscription list now that the grower's market is long closed for winter.

For a local find, while NM has quite a few wineries, Guadalupe Vineyards has only been open a couple of years and provides some unusually good whites. They showed up at a wine festival for the first time last year and were really impressive. Also, '08 was my first year to dip a toe into the fascinating world of mushrooming. This year I hope to find enough king boletes to dry some for next winter.

A belated happy New Year!

Trout Caviar said...

mdmnm: Happy New Year to you, as well, and thanks for your note. I've heard that creditable wine is made in all 50 states now--I'm eager to try them all! Unfortunately, they're often hard to find--so they remain local delights, and that's okay.

On the fungal front, I think you'll find mushroom hunting nearly as addictive as chasing the birds. And they go so well together.

I've really enjoyed your hunting post, BTW.

Happy hunting in '09~ Brett