Friday, July 13, 2007

Bless Joe's Heart (Whoever He Is)

Still chugging along with One Local Summer, a pledge to eat (at least) one meal a week of local food.
Last summer I didn't officially join (I'm not a joiner!), and I managed to blog about only one local meal, even though I'm sure there were many, many others. It's just so easy here in Northern California. I mean, I hate to brag. I almost hate to "join," because it's not always a given for my other blogging brethren and sistren to be able to blithely cook up local meals.
But if there's an upside to my participating (other than my own delicious fortune), surely it's the sharing of stories. The hope, the accomplishment, the compromise.
I'm an amateur here. I buy most of my local foods. Several of my favorite bloggie foodies are growing vast quantities of the stuff they eat, even the meat.
I'm just now exploring a long-repressed itch to grow food. At this moment, Cranky and I sit in our lawn chairs, staring at the garden... in abject terror! Any minute it will bloom with edibles, and then we will have to put our edibles where our mouth is. For now, all that's coming in is the arugula. Which explains why last week's OLS meal was also based on arugula. It's easy to use.
The zucchini... that will be harder. And the tomatoes, which I love, but SIX plants for two people?
OK, well. That's the (immediate) future, and the immediate now is: Joe's Special. It's a historic San Francisco mish-mash dish of ground beef, onions, mushrooms, spinach, eggs, and seasonings. If you follow the recipe on that link, be advised that you will get a wet, gray mess.
Here's how we did ours: Some local bacon fat in a skillet with sliced mushrooms; cook nicely. Remove the mushrooms and toss in some diced onion. Peel the casing off some local beef/pork sausage and crumble the meat into the onions; cook nicely. Add back the mushrooms and a huge wad of chopped arugula leaves. Season with salt and (local?) paprika. Cook until the arugula is as tender as you like. Beat a couple of eggs in a bowl, and {{danger alert!}} drain off the collected watery juices from the skillet. OK, now add the eggs and cook gently, stirring, until you get a yummy but highly unphotographable hodgepodge.
Verdict: Amazingly tasty. I'm full, burp.


Dagny said...

Looks yummy. And here goes my memory again -- didn't you make this dish about a year ago? Not that it matters. I just like to think of the post as a reminder that I probably wanted to try that one myself one day.

ChrisB said...

That looks really tasty-too much food this late at night (oops I see it's early morning) is not good for my digestion!

dancingmorganmouse said...

zucchini - easy, zucchini cake, zucchini muffins, zucchini, lentil & potato braise, grilled zucchini with pesto, zucchini & white bean bake, and if a few are missed & get too big, baked stuffed zucchini.

Monkey Wrangler said...

Sheeeit, I love Joe.

And that zucchini thing made me think of torte a bit, no? Especially throwing in an eggy. Very nice Cookie, I'd eat those crumbs anytime, all the time, in another week or two time when them squashes are getting bigger by the moment (I planted them little round ones this year)

Give Guy a squeeze tomorrow.

Zoomie said...

We love Joe's Special, too, and have tried (unsuccessfully) to make it at home. Thanks for the tips! I'll try it again tomorrow. I don't have arugula but maybe I can score some at the Berkeley Farmer's Market tomorrow morning, along with some 'shrooms.

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: Yow. Yes, I did make this one about a year ago. You are my Boswell. Do try it.

Chris: In this case, the sausage (instead of ground beef) was really tasty. Urp.

DMM: You are correct, of course. I'm just scared. I'm worried about a huge harvest (and then having to go in the kitchen and deal with it). Thank you. xx

MW: Yah, very torte. So soft and sweet. I wish I had fed you some, but when my "real" zukes come in, you come in!
Thanks for the Guy hug. He'll get plenny. Hugs.
PS: Brandywine finally set fruit. OMG!

Zoomie: Aw, you know. You can always try with the original spinach. But I was thrilled with the arugula. Flavor and texture. We almost used shiitakes in this version, but stuck with crimini... Good luck.

Lannae said...

That is what I am talkin' 'bout... that smoky local bacon fat in the pan makes anything taste like a bite of heaven! Good job for going local on loco this summer! I too am basically doing the local summer meal thing, but I am not "joining" this year. Local is delicious!

Tommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacie said...

that joe looks too yummy! so, you take them maters, blanch, peel and crush. freeze and then, on a rainy wet bay area winters day, you make the summeriest pasta since, well, last summer!

Meredith said...

Six plants is too many? We two have seven and it's not enough!

Chelee said...

That sounds really good. Isn't it funny how some of the best tasting stuff doesn't photograph well. LOL

OLS West

cookiecrumb said...

Lannae: Let me once again tout you here in public as being one of the best, most dogged locavores in an environment that doesn't exactly make it easy.
And. Let me say: Bacon Fat! Flavor in a pan. Oh my.

Stacie: Oh, it hadn't occurred to me to freeze uncooked tomato pulp. I usually subject it to some roasting, to bring the liquid content down. Well. Guess I'll be buying that chest freezer after all! :D

Meredith: I may be miscalculating. I had six plants a couple of summers ago, and I don't remember any glut I couldn't handle... You are cute.

Chelee: Yeah, pretty tasty, and even the paprika was local.
Y'know, I wrote once about how hard it is to get a good picture of comfort food. Turns out I wasn't alone.

Kevin said...

"And the tomatoes, which I love, but SIX plants for two people?"

My God! How could you so drastically underestimate!?

cookiecrumb said...

Kevin: I know. I sound like a tomato wimp. I guess my fear is that they all seem to come in at once.
Jeez, I've got a Cherokee Purple out there that must have 200 tennis-ball sized 'maters on it, ready to ripen. Perhaps I exaggerate.

Zoomie said...

I used to make tomato juice and bottle it - sounds like a lot of work but it's really pretty easy, it keeps forever in a dark pantry and the taste is out of this world! If those pesky tomatoes threaten to overwhelm you, let me know and I'll try to dig out my recipe!

MizD said...

Ahah. I remember that scramble from last year! (I also remember wondering who the heck "Joe" is, because up here we just call it a scramble, or "sausage and eggs" or "find something in the fridge that you can throw into the eggs.")

By the way, we were given some tomato plants and afterwards discovered that we have volunteer plants in the garden. We now have FOURTEEN. For two people.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: OMG! That sounds great.

MizD: That settles it. I'm a tomato wimp. Fourteen? Jeepers. (Volunteers. Bless their hearts.)

peter barrett said...

We have about 20 tomato plants for two and a half people. (About 10 varieties.) They can and freeze beautifully. Given our short season, I want to be full to the gills with tomatoes before it's over. As for the zucchini, ours are in, and huge. Grill them (without oil) then purée and freeze for magic soup all year long. Your gratin looks killer and I'm totally making that with the baseball bat-sized monster in the fridge.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: Yeah, give the gratin a try. It was yummzer.
THANK YOU for the tip on grillling and freezing zucchini! I will totally do that.
Oh, boy. I'm a farmer! And a preserver!