Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dark Days Week 9: Ethnic

Until now, Darks Day 2010 was easy-peasy. But local things are disappearing from the farmer's market - things that I was counting on to be root-cellared are not even there. Now I am scrabbling to find local vegetables and suddenly I realized something that all locavores probably came to a long time ago:
The food ethnic to my area, Pennsylvania Dutch, is based on what's available in the dead of winter: dairy, meat, and potatoes. This may seem obvious, but suddenly I understood all the PA Dutch specialties. And I realized, looking further, that other areas have an ethnic cuisine to match their off-season stores too. It tickles me to realize that even in our modern shipping era, we are still entangled in the roots of what grows here.

So, here is my rather PA Dutch farm meal (well, minus the meat because my family only eats meat occasionally).
I made a gratin with local cauliflower, local broccoli from the freezer, local organic onions, local milk, homemade bread, local organic cheddar, and local butter.

The cheese sauce. . .

to be spooned over the waiting steamed vegetables (I called this a "cruciferous gratin.")

Gratin done, on the table with a side of Pickled Red Beets. This is a very traditional PA Dutch side dish that I canned this summer. My grandmother got the recipe from her mother and maybe it goes back even further - my grandmother doesn't know. This recipe appears in Simply in Season. You must make Red Beet Eggs with the leftover juice, not only because the eggs are magenta, but because they are so so so good.

Thinking local, I recalled my frozen local cherries and whipped up this super-fast, delicious cobbler from More with Less.

Fruit Crumble
In a greased 8x8 baking dish, put 2.5 cups fruit (cherries, pared sliced apples or peaches); a little juice is fine. I bet the fruit could be partially frozen yet.

In a bowl, mix together with fingers:
1 c. (local) whole wheat pastry flour
1 local egg
dash salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar (just right for the sour cherries I used)
1 tsp. baking powder

Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit and drizzle with 1/4 c. melted (local) butter.
Bake for 25 minutes at 375. Good with something cold and creamy (or if you are a PA Dutch farmer type, just pour milk over it).

Ready to mix.

Ready to bake.

Dishing up.

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