My Eating Local Challenge is going along yummily (yes, writers are allowed to make up their own words). I’ve enjoyed delicious mini-quiche from Cake & Spoon for breakfast or lunch a couple of days this week, made salsa and marinara sauce from scratch with the tomatoes we snagged on sale from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, and cooked some terrific dinners from our Saturday Farmer’s Market haul.
Sunday night I grilled up some paninis with eggplant, squash, tomatoes, fresh basil and feta cheese, and we took them to Mueller Lake Park for a late-evening picnic – wonderful, peaceful end to the weekend. My dog Cleo came along. The panini sandwiches were made using the last of bread we bought at the Sidney Summer Market in British Columbia. We also finished off the last of our Pinot Noir-chocolate covered Washington cherries from Pike Place Market in Seattle. Decadent deliciousness!
Monday night we whipped together a little stir-fry with veggies and ground chicken from Smith & Smith Farms, before heading over to Saxon Pub with some friends to catch live music from Bob Schneider.
And last night we enjoyed some of that delicious, fresh marinara sauce. Simmered for hours with chopped San Marzano tomatoes, onion, garlic, fresh basil and a little salt and pepper, this sauce was so light and fresh tasting. We paired it up with the ground chicken, which I rolled and covered with bread crumbs and lightly cooked in olive oil. Put all that together on top of a little angel hair pasta, and we had a delicious chicken parmigiana dish. The ground chicken from Smith & Smith is delicious, free-range and hormone/antibiotic free. (Guess those people who have blasted me for being anti-meat and anti-farmers, without bothering to really read my blog, may feel pretty stupid. They should.) I would use this ground chicken in place of anything you would normally use skinless chicken breasts for – it’s so incredibly tender, and the consistency really absorbs any flavors that you pair it with. Phenomenal!
Tonight I’m heading out with a few girlfriends, to Justine’s Brasserie, a charming French bistro just down the street from my East Austin abode.
If you want ideas on other great Austin-area restaurants serving up local, check out the Ethicurean blog – not only does it have a clever name and tagline (Chew the Right Thing) – it does a stellar job of covering local foods, farmers and markets, and the restaurants and other businesses that serve their products.
I’ll soon be posting some interviews, recipes and workshops from some of our local Austin farmers, so stay tuned. Until then, Eat Well!