Monday, April 27, 2009

Georgia Grown Produce Recap

April 11th's "What's Cooking?" Class at Sevananda Natural Foods focused on Georgia Grown Produce.

Since we've had a lot of storms, and it's early in the growing season, I had to improvise and use ingredients that may not have been Georgia-grown at the time, but definitely would be in the weeks and months to come.

Our three recipes included (Click pictures for larger images, click links for recipes):
Georgia grown produce on Twitpic
A Locally Grown Salad of bibb lettuce, kale and parsley, with black radish, strawberries and blueberries in a white wine vinaigrette

Cornmeal crust tomatoes w Green Hill chz on Twitpic
Cornmeal dusted vine-ripened tomatoes with Sweet Grass Dairy's Green Hill soft, ripened cow's milk cheese

Balsanic peaches w baby braising greens on Twitpic
Balsamic peaches with mixed baby braising greens

Cornmeal Crusted Vine Ripened Tomatoes with Green Hill Cheese

Green Hill Cheese is a soft, ripened cow's milk cheese made by Thomasville, GA based Sweet Grass Dairy. It's one of my favorites! This works well with vine ripened or green tomatoes.

Cornmeal Crusted Vine Ripened Tomatoes with Green Hill Cheese
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2" slices
1/2 cup corn meal
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1/2 round of Green Hill cheese, sliced
Fresh parsley for garnish

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in large pan or on a griddle.
Meanwhile pour cornmeal onto a plate and season with cayenne, salt and pepper. Press tomato slice into cornmeal mixture on both sides.
Cook on each side about 3-4 minutes until crisp and brown, turning once.
Top with sliced cheese, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Bibb, Kale, Parsley Salad with Strawberries, Blueberries and Radish

All of these ingredient can be picked up in the spring and summer at the local farmer's markets and groceries here in Georgia. This salad is bursting with flavor and loaded with antioxidants.

Bibb, Kale, Parsley Salad with Strawberries, Blueberries and Radish
1 head Bibb lettuce, torn
5 kale leaves (any variety), trimmed and torn
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 pint blue berries
1 pint strawberries
2 medium sized black radishes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp raw agave nectar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Combine vinegar, Dijon mustard and agave nectar in a bowl. Stir in sliced radish and kale. Season with salt and pepper and allow to marinate for about 10 minutes.

Place lettuce, parsley and berries in a large salad bowl. Add the radish-kale mixture along with the liquid. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in, toss well and serve.

Balsamic Peaches with Baby Braising Greens

This side dish or entree is a wonderful marriage of some Georgia-grown flavors: fresh peaches, and some tender, baby bitter greens.

Balsamic Peaches with Baby Braising Greens
2 peaches, pitted and quartered
1 lb of mixed baby braising greens (kale, beet greens, mustard greens etc.)
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar (go with a good one)
salt and pepper

Drizzle oil, salt and pepper over cut side of the peaches.
Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan over medium high heat. Carefully add the peaches, cut side down and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until caramelized.

Flip peach wedges to the other cut side and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar (about 2 Tbsp) and stand back!

Allow the balsamic vinegar to reduce by about half and stir in the greens. Season greens with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes, until the greens wilt and are tender. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water.

To serve, place greens on a plate and arrange peaches on top.

Option: crumble ricotta salada cheese, bacon pieces or toasted nuts over the top

I'm in the Loaf! ... Online, that is.

Nothing trumps a mention in the local paper. And for me, that doesn't mean the AJC, but the Creative Loafing. The tabloid sized paper I've been grabbing up automatically every Thursday for the last (mumble mumble) years to find out what bands are coming to town, what classes are being offered, what odd-ball nutjobs made the Blotter, my horoscope and then the leisurely stroll through the food section.

Ahhhhh. Whether or not I've agreed with restaurant reviews, bought 1/2 price gift certificates, or sighed at a recent restaurant closing this has been my favorite part of the Loaf and I've read the Food & Drink section with the casual comfort of chatting with a friend over Sunday morning coffee for years.

And today I find thanks to @savoryexposure on Twitter, behold, the venerable Cliff Bostock has seen fit to put my name in type face. Well smack the seeds off my everything bagel and call my mama! I'm in the Loaf!... online, that is (most print media has moved online at this point right?), at Omnivore Atlanta, where CL food writers Cliff Bostock and Besha Rodell spill the beans on everything that doesn't fit in the Loaf's small Food & Drink section, along with this gem of insight, Some Notes. And that last link, dear reader, is where you will find my proud home-town mention. Today is a great day.