I apologize for the lack of posting - one of our furbabies died a couple of weeks ago after a short but serious illness. Between running around to our local and university vet, keeping his meds and six feeding times straight, sleepless nights and getting all the furbaby love we could pack in, it's been a long six weeks. Little Man was one of two kittens that Marcus and I hand raised and we've always joked that we'll always consider them our first born kids - just slightly furrier. He was our baby and a huge part of our lives and his time on this earth was just too short.
While at the Market Square Farmer's Market Saturday morning, Marcus and I were reminded that local eating can sometimes be a disappointment. We tend to get a lot of our fruit from the Fruit and Berry Patch. They're not organic producers but they try to limit the amount of chemicals they use, especially since they're a Pick Your Own kind of place. Last summer, we discovered the wonders of their cherries - both sweet and sour pie cherries. I dried a decent amount of sweet cherries last year because I'm not a fan of raisins and these are a great substitute. I also fell in love with pie cherries. They're not quite as much fun to pick because they're not as tasty straight off the tree but they're amazing to cook with. We managed to make the pitting more enjoyable once we found a really good cherry pitter and we concocted the Cherry Pitter Cocktail which involves sour cherry juice, limeade and vodka. The weather this year has not been kind to the early fruits. We had a lack of rain and then got all of our rain all at once which has caused a lot of farmer's strawberries and cherries to rot. So after falling in love with cherries last year, I'll have to try to get by on the few bags we have left in our freezer. Cherries from the grocery store don't hold a candle to them and you can't find fresh pie cherries in the store because they're so delicate. We did make several cherry crisps this week - I'll post the recipe for the crisp later on this month. It's easy to make a large batch of crisp topping and keep it in the freezer so you can make fruit crisps whenever you want. We also made up some cherry sorbet that we also made last year. Another dessert that we've made a lot of is Strawberry Shortcake. Just mix up a batch of biscuits (I'll have to get Marcus to post a tutorial - the boy can make a biscuit to rival anyone's family recipe), slice some strawberries and top with whipped cream. Thanks goodness we haven't had a late frost so the other fruits look to be doing ok - just pray for enough rain at the right time!
We've been eating a lot of breakfasts involving swiss chard. My brother brought back eight pounds of it from my parents and we're trying to eat as much as we can before freezing it. We usually add it to scrambled eggs that are topped with Locust Grove cheese. Bacon is from Laurel Creek farms and bread is made from non-local flour but local sourdough and topped with local, homemade butter and jam made from local cherries or homegrown strawberries. Lunch is usually leftovers or a salad made from local lettuce and greens, local hard-boiled eggs and local bacon. One meal we've made several times is Pasta with Peas and Cream. The pasta and cheese isn't local but everything else is and it is heavenly. Fridays are pizza nights here so we made crust using our sourdough starter, homemade frozen pizza sauce made with our own tomatoes and topped with our favorite toppings this time of year, garlic scapes and caramelized onions. We also made up a stir-fry using local ground pork, local broccoli, local bok choy and the first garlic of the season.
Our entirely local meal tonight was broiled pork neck-bones from River Ridge Farms, salt boiled new potatoes from Good Earth Farms and steamed snap peas from our garden. Butter to top the veggies was made from Cruze Farm Milk. Dessert is sliced strawberries.