Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Local Dining in January

It’s January. Happy New Year! January is month 7 of Dennis' and my local food diet.

With the addition of 2 lambs from Erling Lofthus in Guthrie last week, our larder is now overflowing. We have sources for local eggs and dairy. I am in the habit of baking sourdough bread each week and making tortillas, noodles, and sour cream often. The work of preserving the garden is done. I plan to experiment with making cheese and using a pasta machine as soon as time on the weekends clears up a little bit.

Last night, Dennis and I were discussing what to say for a local food report on KAXE on Wednesday morning. It didn’t seem like much was happening.

“Why don’t you just say what we had for dinner tonight?” Dennis suggested.

That sounded reasonable!

Here’s the menu:
Appetizer: Pickled golden beat slices (refrigerator pickles—because our homemade vinegar is of unknown acidity), sliced smoked gouda and aged gouda cheese from Green Pastures Dairy in Carlton County. Homemade sourdough bread.
Main course: Sunfish from Pimush Lake dredged in flour from Natural Way Mills and fried in butter from Dahl’s Sunrise Dairy in Babbitt
Green beans from this summer’s garden
Cabbage salad with shredded carrots, apples and beets. The dressing was a mixture of homemade wine vinegar and honey
Steamed sweet corn from our garden
Baked garden potatoes with butter and homemade sour cream (made from Blackstar Dairy cream from Solway)
Wine: We each had a glass of rhubarb wine from Forestedge Winery in Laporte

Here’s the sour cream recipe:
Sterilize a pint jar and lid by boiling them for 10 minutes (use a saucepan that has high enough sides to immerse the jar).
Fill the sterile jar with a little less than 2 cups of cream from Blackstar Dairy (it is RBGH-free and does not have any additives—you can use whole milk too, but real sour cream is awesome).
Put a vegetable steamer in the same saucepan to keep the jar off the bottom and stand the jar of cream in the hot water (you can also use a double boiler for this).
Heat the cream until it reaches 180 degrees (use a dairy thermometer if you have one—the temperature is important! Put it directly into the boiling water to check for accuracy (should be 212°) and adjust accordingly (my thermometer is about 10° off, and this affects the consistency—“stringiness”—of the finished product).
Cool the jar to room temperature in cold water.
Add 2 or 3 T fresh (freshness is important!) buttermilk to culture the cream (because it has been pasteurized, it lacks the natural bacteria to spontaneously culture itself properly). Stir and put the lid on the jar.
Leave the jar on the counter for 2 days. When it’s thick, stir and put it in the fridge for a day before using. It keeps for about 4 weeks.


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