Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
I’m neither locavore (gave up cooking for making restaurant reservations 18 years ago when I married Allan) nor a gourmet dedicated chef de cuisine. But I have a friend who is an “Uber” locavore and I would like to cook for her and her spouse. What do I prepare?
Penny, New Haven
Dear Pennies from Heaven:
So sorry you’re not cooking right now but I've got good news in the form of pennies from heaven. Fresh food requires very little preparation!
New Haven is tricky for local food in winter but spring time should provide you with some goodies. Be on the lookout for at nearby farms, co-ops or specialty stores for breakfast radish, arugula and Bok Choy. All three items are cold weather plants and can be found early in the season. Other local foods such as cheese, mushrooms and meats can be found all year round. I did some research on your neighborhood and discovered the Farmers Market will be open at Wooster Square at the corner of DePalma Court and Chapel Street and across from Wooster Square Park opens on May 2. As for local chicken, you might try Firefly Farms of N. Stonington CT. They raise several types of free-range birds and sell them through a website called Connecticut Farm Fresh (http://www.ctfarmfreshstore.com/).
If you’re having your locavore friend over in May, one option could be sandwiches made with shaved radish, local butter and sea salt. Try that with a local sourdough bread sliced thin. This is a wonderful, time-honored combination. Another option is roast chicken. If you can locate a fresh chicken that is local, buy it, slather it with olive oil, pop it into the oven at 450 for half an hour to crisp the skin and reduce to 375 or cook for 20 to 30 minutes per lb. until you get an internal temperature reading (inside of thigh) of 165 F. Serve with a rice dish that might contain some chopped arugula, butter and chopped nuts. Cook the rice first, according to directions, and add the arugula and nuts in the final few minutes before taking off the heat.
Hope this helps. Your "uber" locavore friend and her spouse will be most impressed with this presentation. Happy eating!