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Cheese Louise: Equal Opportunity Cheese Lovers

by Anne Maxfield on August 7, 2017

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise Hard CheesesI love exploring markets and shops wherever I am and, especially, shops with a distinct point of view.

When I first went into Cheese Louise, I wasn’t expecting to find great cheeses in what I thought  was in the middle of nowhere.

Wrong on all counts.

The middle of nowhere turns out to be route 28 which gets about 23,000 cars a day.

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise Soft CheesesAnd the cheese is wonderful! When asked if she has any preferences to a cheese or region Sam says “As far as being partial to a region or a cheese, I have to say we are equal opportunity cheese lovers. There are so many fabulous cheeses from all over the world, including the United States, that it is impossible to choose. I also find that at times one cheese is ringing my bell for a few months and then it’s another cheese that captures my heart and palate.”

It’s a small store, with goodies tucked in every nook and corner. If want to cook, there are ingredients to make all sorts of dishes and as exotic as you’d like.

If you’d rather go the prepared route, there’s lots to choose from, including my new fave, their smoked trout salad (plated on your own china, no one will be the wiser).

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise Prepared FoodsRick and Sam take good care of everyone, and if you’re one of their regulars, will greet you by name and reach for your favorites.

Along with the cheese, which takes up most of the room in three refrigerator cases, there is a nice selection of pâtes and charcuterie. A small selection of local meats (steaks and chops) are also available.

There are plenty of crackers to go with all the cheeses, and baguettes from a local bakery. I discovered Potter’s crackers on a previous visit and now they’ve become a favorite at my house.

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise Potter's CrackersThe cheese is all in lovely condition and if you tell Rick and Sam when or what you want it for, they’ll steer you in the right direction.

Something I almost always do in any good cheese store is to ask what I shouldn’t leave without. I figure the cheesemongers know what’s particularly good that day and I get a chance to try something new or remember one that might have fallen off my radar. Either way it’s win-win.

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise My CheesesThat day Rick gave me Urgelia, a washed rind, cow’s milk cheese from Spain. I grabbed that and a new-to-me wheel of a triple crémé, Petit Exquis D’Argental, my crackers and a few other goodies, went home and had a feast!

Now that I know it’s only a short hop across the Kingston bridge, I’ll be a much more frequent customer!

 

 

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Three Green Goals for 2017 and Beyond

by Anne Maxfield on January 23, 2017

Accidental Locavore Green Goals EarthThese three green goals are all works in progress for the Accidental Locavore.

And they’re the kinds of goals that should be works in progress for all of us.

No matter why you do it, every step helps the planet (and in these days, it’s going to need help from all of us).

How and what you eat is a big part of that.

So, here are a couple of goals I’m setting. They’re not big, just some small steps in the right direction. How about you?

Support local business.

Accidental Locavore Green Goals Nice Market GuysWhether it’s a local grower, farmer, purveyor, or the small very specialized business down the street, local is better.

And get out of your comfort zone with food.

A green goal might be to try a cut of meat you’ve never had, experiment with an unusual vegetable at your farmer’s market, or go for a different type of fish that might be more sustainable than the best sellers.

Most sellers (especially when it comes to food) are more than happy to explain what it is and share ideas on how best to cook it.

You can’t believe how much I’ve learned from talking to the people behind the counter. That’s one of my favorite things about farmer’s markets and local purveyors.

Clean out your refrigerator, and fill your freezer.

Accidental Locavore Green Goals FreezerOne of your green goals should be to clean your refrigerator.

Believe it or not, the experts say you’re supposed to clean your fridge every time you go grocery shopping.

If by cleaning, they mean shoving stuff around to make room for the new food, I’m there.

You know that’s not it.

We’re all guilty of keeping stuff around past its prime, or not tossing that bottle of ______ that no one will touch.

And how many jars of mustard do you have in your fridge? There are at least 4 in mine (that I can find).

I’m going to do a complete cleaning and toss all the science experiments. Then when I reload it, I’ll do it the smart way, so everything stays fresh as long as possible. If you have questions about keeping or tossing food here’s a useful site (that obviously my mother has never been to).

Why fill your freezer? A full freezer works better and more efficiently than a partially full one. Mine must be working pretty well….

Swap plastic for ___?

Accidental Locavore Green Goals Food WasteHere’s where I could use some help with my green goals.

We go through an amazing amount of plastic food storage bags, and while I’ve made some inroads in swapping some Ziplocs for small, reusable containers, I’m always tossing plastic bags.

What do you use?

The problem for me with glass containers in my crowded fridge is that if it slides off the pile, it breaks. I’ve found that Ball jars work for a lot of things, fridge or pantry. And swapping styrofoam take out boxes (which I hate) for plastic ones, may not be the best, but it’s a step in the right direction.

With the GIR lids, covering glass or china containers in the microwave has stopped being a problem.

What about the grocery store/farmer’s market? My ChicoBag is always with me to gather groceries, but once I get them home, if the lettuce and scallions aren’t in a clear bag (i.e. visible) they get overlooked and quickly become food waste.

Do you just try to minimize the plastic bag use, and make up for it somewhere else?  I’d love your ideas.

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Shopping My Freezer: 8 Weeks and 23 Meals

by Anne Maxfield on May 2, 2016

Accidental Locavore Freezer InsideYou know that moment when you open the freezer and the last thing that was shoved into it drops on your foot. You howl in pain and vow to clean it out—pronto! That was the state of the Accidental Locavore’s freezer. As a challenge, I thought I’d see how long we could go eating what we already have, buying vegetables and perishables only.

The unofficial start was March 12th – with a grape leaf “pie” from Ottolenghi’s Nopi cookbook (delicious!) made with ground beef and a marrowbone from the freezer – and is still going on as we reach the end of April. We have eaten out several times, and I haven’t really counted the nights we ate leftovers, but so far it’s been over 20 meals created from what we had on hand.

Accidental Locavore Grapeleaf PieI have bought fish three times, some (extraordinarily tough) chicken thighs and a couple of pork tenderloins, but that’s it for the meat and seafood section of the market in eight weeks. Needless to say, our grocery bill was significantly lower too.

So what does a month of shopping the freezer look like?

  1. The aforementioned grape leaf pie
  2. Albondigas I made for Frank before I left for France and an avocado with dressing.
  3. Lunch of salad with feta (homemade), and leftover steak
  4. Indian chicken, basmati rice and roasted broccoli
  5. Guests for dinner of pulled pork and mac and cheese
  6. Pasta Puttanesca with Italian sausage (from the pig class)
  7. Moroccan lamb shanks with artichokes, butternut squash (from freezer), dried chickpeas (balance now in freezer) and couscous
  8. Leftover grape leaf pie
  9. Chicken with cilantro chutney
  10. Meringue cookies with chocolate from freezer, cornflakes from cupboard, egg whites from hollandaise sauceAccidental Locavore Freezer Door
  11. Broccoli soup with stock from freezer
  12. Lamb stew with spinach and basmati rice
  13. Lasagna, sauce and Italian sausage from freezer
  14. Pork roast with hoisin sauce
  15. Cod wrapped in banana leaves (from freezer) with cilantro chutney
  16. Amazing Tartine Bakery bread for toast
  17. Lamb-stuffed grapeleaves
  18. French onion soup
  19. Another batch of pasta Puttanesca with Italian sausage and a couple of meatballs
  20. Lasagna with the leftover Puttanesca
  21. Chocolate salted-caramel mousse with chocolate from the freezer (and some tuiles I whipped up
  22. Rao’s meatballs with ground beef we were going to make burgers from
  23. BBQ spare ribs

Accidental Locavore Sealded FoodMy verdict: Without my FoodSaver (sealer) almost all of this would have suffered from freezer burn–it is worth the money! All the pork, lamb and beef we got locally was either sealed or well wrapped in butcher paper. Even with all these great meals, the freezer is still pretty packed. We could/can go at least another month and let me tell you, shopping from my freezer is a whole lot easier than running out to the market every other day! Besides, I like the challenge of working with what I’ve got. How long do you think you could go shopping your freezer?

 

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