Friday, August 17, 2012

The Best of What's Around

I'm sure there are at least several good CSA's in and around Columbia, but I gotta give (another) shout out to mine, Chert Hollow Farm. They grow such a wide range of products that more than a few meals I've cooked this year have come entirely from their farm. Last night, for instance, I had breakfast for dinner - I made a hash using potatoes, cipollini onion, sweet peppers, and garlic (all from their farm), a simple omelet using their eggs spiked with garlic chives (also from their farm) and I drizzled a basil-pistou (Chert Hollow basil and garlic, evoo, squeeze of lemon) over the eggs. Some of their heirloom tomatoes, sliced on the side with a little fleur de sel. A slice of Uprise Bakery nine-grain bread and Patchwork Farms bacon and voila - a full blown Mid-Missouri breakfastydinner. Love it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

#cropfail

It started out so well. Excitedly digging up the dirt and planting little tomatoes and strawberries and broccoli and other favorites into my small and forgotten backyard garden. Through May and June I checked the plants everyday, stared at them and really enjoyed watching them grow and tending to whatever they seemed to need. Then the heat wave and the drought really kicked in - and you know what, those little plants had more willpower than I did. Getting out there every day and watering and doing whatever I could to keep these plants alive just got to be so much. I'm not proud of it. I can understand just a smidgen of how it must feel to be a farmer in this heat, but of course I have the luxury of having this garden be just a hobby. That's probably a key part of the reason why I had a near total crop failure. Let me go through the ugly details.

The strawberries - I heard these things were easy enough to grow. That's true enough. I really couldn't tell you how they tasted because I don't speak squirrel or rabbit language. Just when they were getting ripe, I thought I'd let them go just one more day and poof! They were gone.


The potatoes - I was really excited when I saw the plants shooting out of the ground. I had just a half dozen plants. They looked good, then they fell over but still looked fine. By the time I learned about "hilling" it was a litte too late. Then when it got really hot I decided to see if I had any potatoes in the ground because I heard potatoes don't like warm soil. All in all I got about a dozen little potatoes. Maybe voles got to them? 


The broccoli - the few plants I had were getting eaten up by these little green caterpillar-like animals that hide underneath the leaves. I successfully fought them off and then I saw some broccoli crowns starting to grow and got excited. But the crowns got sorta brown and odd shaped. They just didn't look right and it was about that time that I gave up.


The tomatoes - I had a few different varieties growing, the most promising being Sungolds. At one point I had maybe 30 little green tomatoes growing and I was getting excited. Some little animal enjoyed some of them, I did manage to snag a few, but the plants really wilted in the heat and dry conditions. Actually, the real issue is that I was the one who wilted. 


The zucchini - This plant never took off. Got flowers but no zucchini. Died of sunstroke.


The herbs - they did/doing pretty well although I can't seem to figure out how to get a high yield of basil. I got confused when I saw the basil plants start to flower (I think that's what it was)...should I cut them off or let them grow or what. I looked it up online and couldn't really figure it out. It was about that time that my CSA came through with professionally grown basil and my few little plants began to matter a lot less.


The bottom line - I learned that it is really hard to grow fruit and vegetables well. There's a lot of trial and error and an enormous value in the accumulated knowledge that farmers build as they work their land over decades. I also learned that it is really hard to get yourself out there every single day of a long and hot summer...I sort of gave up during that long stretch of 100+ degree weather. Also, I'm really quite privileged that I don't have to rely on my own farm for food. On another note, I learned that I really enjoy being out there and keeping a vegetable garden but that I have to try harder and learn more about how to do it well. Next year. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Playing with Pickling

I think I've been posting less because I have been cooking a lot more and in the summer, fresh produce does not need much, or really anything, to taste good. The summer bounty from my CSA supplemented by some of the organic stands at the Farmer's Market has taken over my kitchen and, not coincidentally, my belly. Although, as the New York Times article pointed out today, people do feel some pressure to use up all that produce before it goes bad. I count myself among them, but I wouldn't go as far as the article does in labeling it "vegetable anxiety." But if you are in fact experiencing vegetable anxiety, or even if you are not - pickling really comes in handy.

I'm new to pickling. For some reason I thought it required special equipment and background knowledge and I imagined dozens and dozens of cans and a whole big production. Turns out that's only if you're doing a lot of volume or storing pickled veggies for more than a month.

When my CSA offered its members the opportunity for extra cucumbers I figured I'd scour my cookbooks to see what I could see. Lo and behold, in Alice Waters' cookbook Chez Panisse Vegetables, a great resource in my kitchen, there's a really simple recipe for dill pickled cucumbers. I've checked out a variety of other recipes for pickled veg and the method for all of them is pretty similar.

I used two glass quart jars. In the bottom of the jars, you may add some fresh herbs (I used dill in one jar and tarragon in the other), a fresh or dried chile for some heat, peppercorns, bay leaves, whatever you like that seems reasonable. Slice the cucumbers into rounds or spears and pack the jar with them. Then heat 3 cups of water and 3 cups of vinegar (I'd suggest white wine or cider vinegar, the cheap stuff is fine for this application). Dissolve the salt and sugar in the liquid. Just before the liquid starts to boil, pour the hot liquid into the jars, covering the cucumbers but leaving maybe a half inch of space in the jar. I found that 3 cups water and 3 cups white wine vinegar was enough to fill 2 quart jars. The recipes say you should wait a week or so before trying them, but really who can wait that long? They'll stay good for a while, then they'll get better.

I also really like this simple pickle recipe from Show-Me Eats, based on David Chang's recipe in his Momofuku cookbook. The recipe does not require boiling, uses rice wine vinegar and had a good balance of sweet-sour, whereas the pickles I've made have been more strongly sour.

Of course you can pickle many vegetables and given that I've learned how easy it is, I think I'll try doing some other veggies like okra and green beans.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Links

1. Almost all of the 8.6 billion chickens raised annually for meat in the US are loaded up with antibiotics. This report links antibiotics in chicken to drug-resistant forms of E.Coli that cause recurring urinary tract infections. As a public service, I want to mention that Country Neighbors Specialty Meats out of Auxvasse raises pastured chickens without antibiotics and you can get them at Hy-Vee or Root Cellar.

2. Dan Barber, James Beard Award Winner and Chef at Blue Hill at Stone Barns writes eloquently about the tensions between eating local, eating vegetarian, and sustainability.

 3. Get the most out of your summer tomatoes

4. Garden overflowing with cucumbers? Here's 28 cucumber recipes.  
 
5.Improve your kitchen technique: Check out this very good series on "Kitchen Confidence".

Monday, June 25, 2012

Intrepid Traveler: Kansas City

Took a quick trip to Kansas City last weekend to take in a Royals-Cardinals game at Kauffman stadium as well as check out a few restaurants along the way.

First stop was to Extra Virgin, Michael Smith's convivial wine bar and small plates joint, right next door to his fine dining establishment for which he won a James Beard award. Extra Virgin is fun, eclectic, and has the feel of a tapas bar without serving anything approaching Spanish tapas dishes. If you take a look at the menu, you'll find dishes influenced by the cuisine of Spain, but also Italy, The United States, and Latin America. The small wine list is similarly eclectic but relies heavily on the Old World, which is fine by me. The Charred Bread and Ricotta ($5) was a great start to the meal, as 5 thick slices of wood-grilled bread arrived with a small bowl of soft and mildly sweet (probably) house-made ricotta flecked with green herbs. My dining companion and I also ordered the intriguing Watermelon wedges, feta, and ancho-chile vinaigrette ($5) and it was a refreshing summer salad, the cool and sweet watermelon balanced against the briny feta and just mild heat from the dressing. The Italian-style fried baby artichokes ($7) was less successful...too oily and ordinary. But the Poblano Mac and Cheese ($8) more than made up for this misstep. It was, my friend said, "fucking amazing." It really was. A small terra cotta bowl arrived fresh from the wood burning oven...the tops of the pasta charred, the rest bathed in a rather loose cheese sauce with the subtle heat from the poblano humming in the background. My Braised Pork Cheeks ($11) were terrific, but the Mac and Cheese won the dinner. 4 glasses of wine and 5 dishes set us back about $80 without the tip - well worth it in my view.

As solid as Extra Virgin was, it was only a prelude to Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. Before last weekend I could not say that I had ever had proper Kansas City BBQ. But c'mon cut me some slack, where I grew up, everyone seemed to think that grilling stuff over high heat was the same as BBQ. Since then, I've had some of the real stuff in Texas and I'm a big fan of the vinegar-style NC BBQ...but wow, Oklahoma Joe's was out of this world. The ribs- smoky, spicy, fatty, porky. Just unbelievable. When we got there, the line stretched all the way out to the end of the building (if you've been there you surely know what I mean). The nice KU mom in front of me said a line of that size could be a 45 minute wait. Turns out she was off by half - in the wrong direction. But the crazy thing is that even with the extraordinarily long wait, it was absolutely worth it and I would do it again in a second. It is that good. The outstanding ribs, pulled pork, sides of baked beans and onion rings, two pink lemonades and a jar of barbecue sauce set me back only $30. Roadtrip, anyone?

We also made a stop to Old Westport and recommend that you do too, at the very least to check out Pryde's Kitchen Shop. Two fun floors of kitchen stuff - then take a walk down the block and pick a restaurant. We had brunch at the Westport Cafe and Bar, an accessible-to-the-American-palate French-style bistro, just the type of place I love. If you order off the brunch menu, they throw in a complimentary Bloody Mary, Bellini, Mimosa, coffee or sugar drink (soda). I got bacon and eggs and homefries with a bloody mary ($10) and my friend got a mimosa and properly made omelet (although very strong on the garlic), with fresh herbs and butter, which comes with a plate of reasonably good shoestring frites ($10). The food and drink were good, everyone seemed happy to be there, and we left happy.

Visiting KC made me long for the refinement in food and wine that you really only get in a big(ger) city with a thriving culinary scene - something that KC seems to have and STL does not seem to have. It also made me happy that I'm only 2 hours away. It's a fun town.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Links

1. Check out this funny little blog of one student's daily school lunch.

2. Corporations are people. Money is speech. Pizza is a vegetable.

3. Headed to the farmer's market? Pick up some carrots and use the tops in this excellent pesto recipe. I've been schmearing it on everything.

4. Then use those carrots to assemble an awesome vegetable platter.

5. Either that, or head to Taco Bell and get yourself some Doritos Locos Tacos. They've sold an astonishing 100 million of them in the last 10 weeks.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the sad patio

Wine Cellar & Bistro is unambiguously a fine dining restaurant in Columbia. That is why I just cannot understand how they have let their patio fall apart. Have you walked past it recently? The cheap, green plastic lawn chairs and splintery wood tables look more fit for a forgotten boardwalk than an upscale restaurant. The rusted, severe fence that surrounds those tables and chairs coupled with the badly faded mural make it all the more depressing. It could be a great place to sit out after work with a glass of wine (and I think they have the best wine program in Columbia). Some free consulting advice: spend a few thousand dollars to make the outside as nice as the inside. A fresh coat of paint, new tables and chairs, some new plants and shrubbery would be a good start. When it reopens, advertise a $5 sangria special. You'll sell more food and wine.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

CoMo coffee shops

I spend a lot of time in the downtown coffee shops. One of the great things about my job is the autonomy to work out and about. Whether I'm writing or reading or grading or preparing lectures or doing emails all I really need is an internet connection and electricity. I'm even planning to sponsor an endowed chair at the coffee shop where I wrote my dissertation (pardon my professorial humor).

Typically for me, when it comes to cafes familiarity breeds contempt. A cafe that the first few times feels quaint and cozy can easily feel claustrophobic and filthy by the hundredth visit. But I have to say that all the downtown coffee shops are pretty good.

To my mind, Kaldis has the best coffee and espresso drinks in Columbia. The pastries are a little big and little sweet for my taste but they are quite good. To their credit, everything is baked daily in-house, except for the Jewish donuts, which come from B&B Bagels down on Nifong. The overall ambiance is kinda corporate (and the music adds to the corporate-chain feel) but the product is good enough that, for me at least, it offsets the Panera-like vibe. However, if you're looking for an outlet for your laptop your options are a bit limited - there are just five tables to choose from with access to electricity.

Uprise Bakery is a gem, but probably not technically a coffee shop. Their smallish and not too sweet muffins, airy and buttery biscuits, and scones are just terrific. The coffee and espresso drinks? Well, not their forte. Sometimes their coffee tastes stale. A lot of faculty and grad students go there to work, as there are six or seven tables along the right wall, a large table off to the side, and another table near the bar that all have electricity access for all your facebooking...err, work, needs. To plug-in though, one has to crawl underneath the bench that tracks the right wall, which always feels so uncivilized, particularly when I'm dressed up for class. Still, I love this place.

I've spent the least amount of time in Lakota Coffee, probably because the first time I tried their coffee it was weak weak weak. I cannot comment on their pastries but I've always liked the rustic ambiance and that they hire the dude who plays saxophone outside. Seems like they have a lot of regulars. There are outlets available throughout the place and the back left wall has four little cubicles perfect to get work done, each with their own outlet. I've recently spent a bit more time in there and I'm coming around to it.

Last but not least is Coffee Zone. There's a reason why they refer to the coffee as "rocket fuel" and that is a well-deserved nickname - the coffee is quite strong. I haven't tried their espresso drinks but I like the chai quite a bit. The baklava is too heavy and sticky and not flaky enough for me, I'd suggest you stick with the rugelach. The great strength of Coffee Zone, from my standpoint, is their electrical outlets. This place is perfect for someone working alone, as there's nearly a dozen 2 tops near outlets to plug in your laptop. The bathrooms, however, are disgusting. I'm no germophobe, but it's gross, and I can't help but think of when I heard Anthony Bourdain explain that a good judge of the cleanliness of a restaurant kitchen is the bathroom, "and they let you see the bathroom."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Links

1. How to get the most out of your CSA.

2. Sorry Big Corn, the FDA denied their request to rename high-fructose corn syrup "corn sugar."

3. Noted fascist and Mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg, plans to ban large sugar drinks in restaurants, movie theaters, and food carts.

4. Thirty no-bake dessert recipes. I usually just go with a little dark chocolate, or some yogurt, granola, berries, and cajeta.

5. Seven no-cook salads.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Making Pizza at Home, the No-Knead Way.

Garlic Scape, Ricotta, Shiitake Pizza
Pizza is like sex, even when it's bad it's still pretty good...and when it's really good, it can approach transcendence. I just learned a new technique that takes my pizza up a whole nother level. To paraphrase Chris Rock from a totally different context, and to continue the metaphor, "This is some Cirque De Soleil pizza now."

Up until now, my pizza dough recipe was pretty standard...3.5 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon active dry yeast, few teaspoons of salt, just over a cup of warm water and I'd usually throw in some honey to give the yeast something to eat. Put it all together in a bowl, knead for 6 minutes or so, then let it rise for an hour or so, split it in half, let it rise a bit again and now you have dough for 2 pizzas. Sturdy, serviceable, and reliable pizza dough.

I've heard of the "No-Knead" bread recipe developed by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC but just a few months ago he dropped another bomb on the baking world - No Knead Pizza Dough. Let me tell you, if you make pizza at home - try this method. The recipe comes from his new book My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home.

3 and 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon (!) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 and 1/2 cups water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, then add the water until it's all mixed. It will look pretty ragged, but pay it no mind. Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 18 hours. Then turn out the dough, divide it in 4. For each portion, take one side of the dough and fold it towards the center. Then take another side and do the same. Do that for all four sides, then flip the dough over so the seam is facing down. Shape it into a round. Let the dough sit for an hour, then stretch it out, and voila - dough for 4 pizzas. You can hold it in the fridge for a few days or put it in the freezer.

What was amazing about the dough was not just the unusual technique that allows for slow-fermentation without kneading, it was that the finished pizza crust was just so fucking good. Pizza crust should have crunch as well as chew, and a little char is certainly welcome, and this crust has all of that and is packed with flavor. This is the best pizza dough I have ever made. I should mention that I changed my technique in another way. Usually I set my oven on 500 degrees with the pizza stone on the bottom rack for a half hour before I put the pizza in the oven. This time, per Lahey's instructions, I put the stone in the top 3rd of the oven and let it blast at 500 for a half hour, but then then turned on the broiler just before I put the pizza in the oven.

Garlic Scape, Ricotta, and Shiitake Pizza

For the topping, I took a handful of garlic scapes (Chert Hollow Farm) and put them in the food processor with a squeeze of lemon and salt, and then added olive oil until I had a garlic scape paste. I turned it into a bowl and added some fresh ricotta I made from goat milk (Chert Hollow Farm). Get out your pizza peel (if you're going to get into homemade pizza, this makes the job much, much easier) and put some cornmeal down on it, then put the dough on top. Give the peel a gentle shake every few minutes to ensure that the dough will slide off easily onto the pizza stone. Once I had my dough ready, I spread the ricotta-pesto mixture on the dough, then added some shiitake caps (Root Cellar) and scallions. Given the 500 degree oven and the broiler going, you can put these on raw as they will cook quickly right on the pizza. I topped it with a lot of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Italy, by way of World Harvest Foods) and slid the pizza into the oven for 8 minutes, turning it 180 degrees when it was halfway done. While the pie was cooking I put some raw saute greens (Chert Hollow Farm) in a bowl and lightly dressed them with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and some salt. I added the greens on top of the pizza as soon as it came out of the oven so they would wilt a bit. The results:

Making pizza is one of the great pleasures of home cooking. Every so often, with pizza and with other foods, you try a technique or do something different and realize that you've taken your cooking to the next level. That's what this pizza dough did for me, and what's amazing about it is that it's easier than what I was doing before. Try it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Links

1. The owner of World Harvest Foods has been sentenced to three years in Federal prison because he sent $200,000 to his family, friends and to charities in Iraq during the sanctions between 1991-2003.

2. I fully agree that Thomas Keller's focus should be on his food, not his carbon footprint.

3. It's that time of year for strawberry recipes.

4. How to grill the perfect steak.

5. So you want to be a sommelier?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's the little things.

With the start of local spring produce I've been doing a lot more cooking lately. The nice thing about cooking with fresh and seasonal product is that they don't need much to taste good - and it's in these coming summer months that I tend to cook with by theory of value that explains, "less is more." Yet there are a few staple ingredients that, I've learned, if I have them on hand, greatly enhance whatever I'm cooking.

One of my favorites is compound butters. These are so easy to do, they make everything better, and they even act as a quasi-preservation method for fresh herbs. Last time I made it, like a good French grandmother, I put a mess of tarragon, thyme, chives and a squeeze of lemon in my food processor and pulsed it a few times while adding just enough olive oil. Then I cubed up a soft stick of butter, threw it in the food processor and let it rip until everything was mixed. Scooped it into one of my old Goatsbeard Farm cheese containers, but I could almost as easily rolled it into a log and wrapped it in plastic wrap. If I had used the same method but all oil instead of butter - I've just made a pesto. Voila! The possibilities are endless - you could do a combination like chili powder, lime juice, and cilantro for a tex-mex twist.

On a recent Saturday night, like a good Jewish grandmother, I stayed in and made schmaltz. Schmaltz is nothing more than rendered chicken fat - a great base for cooking. I save the fat pockets from whole chickens (the chicken skin also works) and put them in a freezer bag, just adding as fast as you cook chicken. When I had the fat from about 5-6 chickens I took them out of the freezer, defrosted them in the microwave and cut them into small pieces. Then I put them in a small pan with maybe a 1/2 cup of water. I brought it all to a low simmer and eventually all the fat rendered, the water evaporated, and I was left with a cup or two of liquid culinary gold. The cooks' reward for this? The crispy little solids that get strained out of the schmaltz (called gribines - they alone are worth the price of admission for this culinary work). Cook some latkes in the schmaltz, poach an egg to go over each latke, a few pieces of bacon and a salad - and you'll be eating what I had for dinner last week.

Also, too, I want to give a shout out to house-made salad dressing. This is a component that is so much easier, better and often cheaper to make in your own kitchen than buying it at the local megamart. Like a good Italian grandmother, I tend to make balsamic or red wine vinaigrettes. I start with an old glass jar or tupperware - and pour in some vinegar, sometimes I add a scoop of dijon mustard and sometimes I add some honey, maybe a little garlic or some shallot. Always, salt and pepper. Then I add extra virgin olive oil (use at least as much vinegar, plus however much suits your taste). Sometimes I add a little bit of water just to thin it out without the oil being overwhelming. Put the lid on the jar and shake it up. Then take a salad leaf and dip it in the dressing. How does it taste? Follow your instincts. Make a week's worth and you'll find yourself enjoying salad more (and likely eating more of it).

What I love about these little value-added ingredients is that they reside in the background.They enhance and deepen the flavor or whatever else I'm eating. Plus, they're so easy to do, and actually kind of fun on a weekend afternoon with a glass of wine or a beer.



Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Links

1. In case you missed it, The Tribune had two good articles on Columbia dining outside of downtown. Marcia Vanderlip goes north to the Business Loop, Scott Rowson goes south to the Peachtree area.

2. The best pizza in Columbia could be coming right out of your own kitchen (with a little practice (and a pizza stone)).

3. Seven cookbooks with great veggie dishes right here.

4. Musings of a stoked wino.

5. Finally, where the fuck should you go to eat?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My First Foray into Vegetable Gardening

My backyard has space for a small garden of about 4 feet wide and maybe 12 feet long. It had been, unfortunately, neglected for at least a year before I got my hands on it. When I moved in it was filled with huge weeds, the previous autumn's leaves, and miscellaneous debris, but it also was something I wanted to do something with. I've never had a garden of my own before.

My mom kept a vegetable garden next to our shed. A small and triangular plot with probably less growing space than I have here, every year she planted tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and green peppers, watered them, then like magic we had more than we knew what to do with. Her only rule was the tomato plants had to be in the ground by Mothers Day. She was no master gardener, consulted no books or websites, yet we had fresh produce from our backyard every year. I'm kinda trying to do the same thing as my mom, except for the very first time - just putting stuff in the ground and seeing what happens.

I spent a weekend clearing out the space. I don't think I properly tilled the soil although I did take one of those small rake-like tools (with the three prongs) and sort of dug up the dirt and turn it. There were a lot of worms so that seemed good. Also small rocks, lots of roots of unknown origin, twigs, decomposing leaves and other matter. It is sorta clumpy with rocks and worms - not sure if that's good but the gentleman at Westlake Ace Hardware didn't seem too concerned (although he did recommend a massive bag of manure)

So then I picked a few things and put them in the ground. I got a few varieties of tomatoes, some yukon gold potatoes, one zucchini plant, some broccoli plants, and then just recently I added some strawberry plants. It's probably way too many plants for such a small space. I'm hoping that the spacing guidelines are the sort of thing nobody really pays that much attention. I think I planted the tomatoes too early but they somehow made it through the chilly nights that could have brought a frost a few weeks back. (Note to self: next year buy plastic tarps to cover plants just in case).

But everything is growing! I was pretty excited to see the potato plants shoot out of the ground. My tomatoes plants are getting bigger although the leaves on the lower branches have brown spots on them. The good folks at Wilson's Garden Center said it's probably some sort of fungus and I could either use a fungicide or clip off the brown-spotted branches (I chose the latter). They also recommended I mulch everything with hay straw - which I bought but have not done yet. The broccoli looks ok although I think the bunnies that hop through my yard in the mornings have eaten some of the leaves. I just planted the strawberries and I have my fingers crossed.

I also have a 3-4 foot garden box that I'm using to grow herbs. Basil, flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, and then the previous tenant had rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano that made it through the winter. And a separate container holds catnip for the cats.

I'm a firm believer that we learn a lot by doing; and pretty much have no idea what I'm doing. But I'm doing it. I should and probably will pick up a book for Vegetable Gardening 101. The financial investment has been minimal - all these plants cost less than 50 bucks and at the very least it's bought me some quality time outside getting my hands dirty - and that feels really good.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shout Out to MO Purveyors

Mostly for the last two weeks I've been eating spring produce grown right here in Missouri...leeks and scallions (among other alliums), spinach, sorrel, asparagus, herbs-a-plenty. A spring pizza with a chive oil base, spinach, asparagus and fresh goat cheese. Fettuccine with sorrel pesto and thin sliced leeks. Scallion pancakes. Potato leek soup. Salads with baby radishes and black walnuts. BLT sandwiches. Quinoa tabbouli. Roasted chicken with butter and herbs. I feel so connected to Missouri when I eat food that was grown, cared for, and harvested here. A huge thank you to Chert Hollow Farm, Deep Mud Farm, Goatsbeard Farm, The Root Cellar, Country Neighbors, Patchwork Family Farms, Uprise Bakery. Also, too, Boulevard Brewing for providing some suds.