Happy belated farm week! In celebration, I spent the other weekend touring farms in Centre County Pennsylvania. I’m extremely interest in local agriculture.
My dad’s an avid gardener and supplies my family’s kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables all summer. Eating out of my backyard taught me the difference between store-bought flavors and local food. For that reason, I take an interest in where my food comes from.
During the day-long tour, I visited four local farms in the central, PA area. I received behind-the-scenes tours of two, Amish-run farms, an inside look at the life of a dairy farmer, and a tour of an organic animal farm. In those four stops, I learned a lot about the farming community, and better yet, bought a lot of delicious food.
After collecting fresh and local cheese, meat, and veggies from each of the farms, I made it my mission to cook a hearty, locally sourced meal. Here’s what I came up with.
My Mom’s Kitchen
I recently graduated from college. Whoohoo! Right now, I have a job in my hometown and am saving some money by living with my parents (Thanks Mom and Dad).
Although living at home has numerous benefits, I do miss having my own kitchen. Krusty wasn’t an optimal cooking environment by any stretch, but it was mine. I knew where we stored the Cayenne pepper, which were the old eggs and the new eggs, and how many dishes I could pile into the sink before they toppled over.
My new kitchen space is more of an enigma. On the bright side, it’s clean, fully stocked, and the stove is level. I guess I can’t be too upset.
I just returned from an amazing two week trip to Greece with my family! My mom’s part Greek, so it was fun to visit the home of our ancestors.
We spent four days in Athens, but the bulk of the trip took place on the island of Crete.
Crete is the largest Greek island and a perfect combination of the beach and the country.
My favorite part about Crete was the food. Cretian food consists of seasonal vegetables, fresh cheeses, perfectly stewed meats and of course, olive oil.
My mom is an olive oil addict, which means I am too. It’s our go-to oil for cooking and eating. Due to this olive oil obsession, my family toured a traditional Cretian olive oil factory, named Biolea.
Crete produces 30 percent of all of the olive oil produced in Greece and five percent of the worlds olive oil. There’s no place better in the world to learn about olive oil.
Biolea is an organic, family-run olive oil factory that is one of the few left in Crete that is making olive oil the traditional way. Most of the olive oil we eat comes from large industrial factories, whose main goal is quantity not quality.
Don, my roommate’s live-in boyfriend, loves buffalo wings. He is also slightly health conscious, so he asked me to make him a healthier version.
I love cooking for Don because he always compliments my food, so obviously I said yes.
After some research, I pulled together a few recipes. The baked version does save some deep-fried calories, but considering wing sauce is a mixture of butter and hot sauce, you’re not doing your waist a huge favor.
With that said, if you’re going to eat buffalo wings, why not make them baked? Here’s the recipe I came up with.
Baked Buffalo Drumsticks
Ingredients: (Serves 2)
- 5 chicken drumsticks
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
There are certain kitchen activities that seem so simple, but when you go to do them yourself, you have no idea where to start. I had this exact problem after impulse buying a cantaloupe the other day.
I pulled it out of the fridge ready to chow down and realized I had no idea how to cut it. After some quick googling, I found my answer and easily broke it down into bite size pieces.
Since my lack of cantaloupe cutting knowledge was almost a catastrophe, I wanted to share the steps just in case you find yourself in a similar predicament.
Step 1: Cut cantaloupe in half from top to bottom.
I love food. All types of food. Fresh food, cooked food, fermented food, I love it all. I’ve never been a picky eater and this is an attribute I am thankful for everyday. Food is too fun to restrict.
Even through I’m the furthest thing from picky, there is one food which I can’t stand – cilantro.
Cilantro, technically named coriander, is a leafy herb that looks similar to parsley. It’s used in many cuisines throughout the world, but I typically come across it when I’m eating Mexican food.
People describe its flavor as fresh and light, but I’ve never tasted these attributes. When I eat cilantro, I get a bitter soapy flavor and immediately spit it out.
I thought my visceral reaction to cilantro was a freak thing, until I started asking my family about it. Apparently, my brother, sister and dad all hate the stuff too. My mom stands as the lone cilantro proponent in our household.
On my most recent supermarket expedition, I decided to buy something I’ve never cooked before. After wondering around the produce section for 20 minutes, while my roommate shot me death glares of boredom, I stumbled across the simple, acorn squash.
They’re the funny shaped squash that look like a cross between an acorn, a small watermelon, and a ruffle potato chip. As a typical broke college student, I checked out the price and for under $2 a squash, I knew I found my ingredient.
Once I brought it back to my college house, the Googling began. I found some great acorn squash baking tips online, but couldn’t settle for one recipe. That’s why I’m giving you two acorn squash recipes for the price of one! Feel free to pick a favorite.
Brown Sugar Baked Acorn Squash Ingredients: (Serves 2)
- 1/2 acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Parmesan and Thyme Crusted Acorn Squash Ingredients: (Serves 2)
- 1/2 acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon olive oil