Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Baby oh Baby

If you don't have a baby, don't want a baby, or don't like babies, I suggest you skip this post....

That is my disclaimer.

So I wanted to do at least one post on cooking for wee ones. Jason and I have a 17 month old. It has been pretty important to me to cook most or all of his food. At times it has been quite a challenge--and during those times I'm thankful that I feel really good about the prepared foods we carry at Local Harvest.

Anyway, we have lots of foods which are great for first foods for baby and for the growing toddler. The book "Super Baby Foods" is a great resource for how to prepare your own infant cereals and "super" foods for the wee one. We carry many grains which you can grind for your own infant cereals--millet, barley, oats, rice and quinoa. The author also suggests add in's like Brewer's Yeast, tahini, and almond butter. I don't agree with everything in the book, but found the authors suggestions on making "super porridge" and storage of fresh foods to be really helpful.

If you're not feeling quite so ambitious, we carry Earth's Best infant cereals, organic baby food in jars, applesauce, and one of my favorite processed foods that I give to lil' Beck--Dr. Praeger's Spinach Pancakes. I can read every ingredient and even know what they are. Yea. Other great foods for kids (who are eating dairy) Farmer's All Natural Creamery cottage cheese, Nancy's whole milk yogurt, Nancy's kefir, and the ever easy organic frozen veggies.

For any of you moms and dads who are interested in making your own baby food, I'm always happy to chat about it and give any suggestions I can. Post or come into the store. I'm constantly learning as a parent and a cook for a wee one so if I can help or commiserate I'm happy to do so.
Also, we'll soon have a kid's menu at the cafe. In the meantime, feel free to ask for mini-smoothies for your little one. So good and good for them. You won't find any syrups in our smoothies. Only real ingredients. Yum.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer bounty continues

Here are ten reasons to drop by Local Harvest Grocery this week:
1. Watermelon
2. Yellow watermelons
3. Juicy cantaloupes
4. Sun gold tomatoes
5. Blackberries
6. Jasbo's salsa (very local and very yummy)
7. Peaches--perfectly ripe
8. Dumpling squash, lemon squash, delicata squash, and cute lil' pumpkins from Spikenard Farm
9. Better Bread (gluten-free banana bread--they are tasty even for us gluten-full people)
10. 'Cause we love to see you.......

Avocado tacos

Even though the weather is so great, I still didn't want to turn on my oven or stove the other night. So, we had one of my favorite easy dishes --Avocado Tacos.
So here goes:
2 chopped avocados
4 Tbls chopped red onion (local at LHG)
1/2 can of corn (fresh if you have it--we're out right now)
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1-2tsp cumin
salt to taste
1 chopped hot pepper (some at LHG now)
juice from 1 lime
1 tomato (local at LHG)
2-3 handfuls of mixed lettuce
tortillas ( I used spinach tortillas--corn or flour will work. You can also make these as tostados. I recently realized that I can toast corn tortillas in my toaster oven to get them nice and crunchy and I don't have to turn on the oven.)

hot sauce (Arnie's or Happy Dogs available at LHG and both are local)
sour cream or plain yogurt

Mix all ingredients. I usually put avocados in last so that they don't get too mashed. Gently stir and then season to taste. I like to then garnish the taco or burrito with cheese (I used Morningland Medium Sharp), yogurt (Nancy's Organic Whole Milk) and hot sauce
sour cream or plain yogurt--optional

Monday, August 4, 2008

New store layout--check it out

Hey folks-
We started the redesign of Local Harvest Grocery last night. Come in soon to see Phase 1. Many, many thanks to our Local Harvest volunteers--Brian Marston, Thoman Crone, Rainer Bussmann, Anita Synder, Van Pineda and Bill of Big Small Town Designs. I won't lie--it was super fun and we are really pleased with the first efforts. Of course all the "volunteers" had to take an oath not to divulge the Local Harvest secrets.

Look for Phase 2 in the next couple of months. Also we will soon be expanding the hours at the cafe.

Yours in local yummies,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ozark Pride (lamb and mushroom pizza)

So, a few weeks ago I was talking with a customer about what she was making for dinner. She told me that she and her new hubby were whipping up a mushroom and lamb pizza. I said "Mmmm, wish you'd send me that recipe and I'll post it on the blog." Yea, so here it is. The even cooler thing is that they mad a recipe book that they gave to guests at their wedding. I say that so you understand the opening below. Here's the recipe thanks to Tony Arend (and sadly I don't have his wife's name right now. I will add it later.) The only thing you cannot purchase at our store is the Provolone cheese.

In a city where pizza is gross (St. Louis no offense), this recipe will have you making pizza at home which is far superior to pizza enjoyed by snobs in Connecticut or NYC. The stank of the mushrooms, Provolone, and Lamb will have your face pressed up to the oven door wondering what the heck is going on in there. Upon surfacing this pizza masterpiece will have you doubting all assumptions you’ve previously held of reality. Its pride time baby… Ozark Pride.

The Sauce
The Shopping List:
* 1/8 Cup Olive Oil
* 2 Cloves Garlic / Minced
* 1 6oz Can Tomato Paste
* 1 4oz Can Tomato Sauce
* 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese / Finely Grated
* 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
* 3/4 teaspoon Cane Sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon Salt
* 3 Tablespoon Dried Oregano Flakes (If you like you can try finely chopping fresh Oregano.)

The Moves:
1) In a small sauce pan heat the olive oil on medium heat.
2) Add the minced Garlic and swirl a few times.
3) Stir in the Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste and heat stirring all the while until smooth.
4) Stir in the Parm gradually and slowly.
5) Add the vinegar and continue stirring.
6) Add the sugar, salt and oregano stirring all the while.
7) Let the sauce simmer slowly. (Makes enough for 2 or 3 pies depending on your saucing preferences / Freeze what you don’t use right away)

The Dough
Shopping List:
* 1 Tablespoon Dry Active Yeast
* 3/4 Cup Wrist Warm Water
* 2 Cups All Purpose Flour + 1/4 Cup for Kneading
* 1 teaspoon Salt
* 1 teaspoon Cane Sugar
* 1 teaspoon Olive Oil

The Moves:
1) Dissolve the yeast in the water by stirring in a bowl and set to the side.
2) In a food processor combine all dry ingredients (except for the flour for kneading) and blend for a minute or two.
3) Add the water/yeast mixture and continue to blend until there is a solid dough ball clanking around in the processor.
4) Rub the oil into a mixing bowl which will accommodate at least twice the dough ball’s volume.
5) Take the dough ball out of the processor and knead moderately, adding a little flour if it is over-sticky.
6) Place the dough ball into the prepped bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
7) Let rise for about 30-45 Minutes until the ball is pressing against the plastic threatening its attachment to the bowl. In many cases the dough will actually push through the plastic. This is a case when you know your dough ball has pride… Ozark Pride.
8) Remove the ball of dough from the bowl and punch down on a floured surface and knead, adding flour until the dough becomes workable.
9) When the dough is workable, begin rolling the dough out with a rolling pin.
10) After it is somewhat flat use your hands to finish the job working the edges and interior to make a round pizza shape.

The Pizza
Shopping List:
* 1-2 Tablespoons Yellow Corn Meal
* 1/2 lb. Lamb Sausage (Brats) or Ground Lamb / Chopped (Prarie Grass Farms at LHG)
* 2 Oz Fresh Shitake Mushrooms / Chopped (Ozark Forest Mushrooms available at LHG)
* 2 Oz Fresh Shitake Mushrooms / Thinly Sliced (dried will also work)
* 4 Oz Fresh Oyster Mushrooms / Chopped (Available at LHG)
* 4 Fresh Mozzarella Balls ( 8 oz.) / Shredded (Available at LHG)
* 1 Cup Provolone Cheese / Shredded

The Moves:
1) Pre-Heat the oven to 425F.
2) Place the pizza stone in the oven and sprinkle generously with cornmeal.
3) Saute the 6 Oz Chopped Mushrooms (4 oz. oyster, 2 oz. shitake) with the Chopped Lamb Sausage.
4) After the oven comes to temp, remove the pizza stone and transfer the dough to the stone.
5) Lightly coat the dough with the pizza sauce.
6) Place the mozzarella cheese atop the sauce.
7) Place all of the sautéed mess atop the mozz cheese.
8) Place the Provolone cheese atop the sautéed mess.
9) Scatter the sliced (uncooked) mushrooms atop the second layer of Cheese.
10) Place into the oven for about 15 Minutes or until the dough slides freely on the pizza stone.
11) Cool, Cut and Serve.