Plum Chutney-Hoisin Sauce Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on September 22, 2016

accidental-locavore-plums-halvedPlums are great, but like zucchini there comes a time when enough is enough.

We had a plethora of plums from our CSA (and the friends we share it with don’t like them…) and the Accidental Locavore was afraid they’d go bad.

I came across this brief description of a plum chutney that was supposed to be like hoisin and it seemed like a good use for some of the plums (the others went into a cake—more about that later). It made about 2 cups.

accidental-locavore-plum-chutney-ingredientsPlum Chutney-Hoisin Sauce

  • ½ of a medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 3” piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 serrano, Thai or jalapeno chile, seeded and coarsely chopped (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 small star anise
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup sugar (more or less depending on how sweet your plums are)
  • About 10 plums, pitted and halved

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer 25-30 minutes.

Remove the star anise and put the rest into a blender or food processor.

Process until pureed. Taste and adjust seasonings, chiles as needed.

Serve and enjoy!

accidental-locavore-plum-hoisin-sauceMy verdict: Oops, big mistake! Forgot to remove the star anise before I blended it. I tried to compensate by adding some more soy sauce and the last of the rice wine vinegar, but the taste of the star anise is still pretty strong!

Otherwise, it’s a really good sauce.  Think of it as a cross between a plum sauce (duh) and hoisin.  It would be great on duck and something like a pork tenderloin. Hmm, might be time to do a slow roasted duck and see how this works. What do you think?



Hida Beef-A New Japanese Beef In NYC

by Anne Maxfield on September 19, 2016

accidental-locavore-hida-beef-slicesDo you love red meat?
If you think you’ve eaten great beef, you probably have, but not as wonderful as the Hida beef at EN Japanese Brasserie!
The Accidental Locavore was invited to cover  the launch of Hida beef in the US for The Daily Meal.
It’s an incredibly rich, well marbled beef (think Kobe or Wagyu).
Raised in Gifu Prefecture, in the mountains of central Japan, where they say the 4 gallons of spring water the cattle drink in a day is responsible for the taste of the meat.
Another factor is that the Hida-gyu is raised for 14 months, almost twice as long as Wagyu beef.
Picture large black cattle prowling around the mountains, lapping up spring water for over a year, acquiring their signature “marbling, luster, color, texture and aroma.”
accidental-locavore-hida-beef-chefWe got to try it four ways.
First up, slices cooked in a magnolia leaf with special local mirin, thinly sliced scallions and a hint of ginger, served on a grilled rice cake.
Across the room, a sushi chef draped the beef over flavored rice and hit it with a blow torch to give it a quick sear. Think about the best tuna sushi you’ve ever eaten and you get the picture.
accidental-locavore-searing-hida-beef-sushiAlso raw, a version of steak tartare, with the beef cut in thin ribbons in a light sauce and garnished with uni and tiny pansies. A nice, light preparation of a rich meat.
accidental-locavore-hida-beef-tartareMy favorite dish was the fourth one. It was a trio of seared Hida beef slices, each topped with
something different. One with sea salt, another with Rokusuke salt (a umami blast made from preserved natural matsutake mushrooms, konbu kelp and preserved scallops, condensed with a secret technique and infused into the salt and not apparently sold in the US), the last with ponzu sauce (my favorite of the three).
accidental-locavore-seared-hida-beefAnd what goes better with great beef than sake? A dozen different types will also be launched in Manhattan and, like the beef, be available in limited quantities until they’re sold out.
For something non-alcoholic, there were glasses of iced cold-brew green tea. Not a fan of green tea, this changed my mind and those of most of the people standing around me. It was light and refreshing, not over-brewed, tannic or powdery-tasting and dull, like most green tea.
accidental-locavore-green-tea-for-hida-beefSadly, like the Rokusuke salt, only available on your next trip to Gifu.
If this sounds delicious (and it was), you can experience it at seven local restaurants for two
weeks beginning September 8th or until supplies run out.
Raid your 401K (the beef is sold to restaurants at about $450 a pound) and go out and enjoy this
limited luxury!
accidental-locavore-making-hida-beef-sushiFor more information about events in the city, head for the website:


Zucchini, Mozzarella and Prosciutto

by Anne Maxfield on September 15, 2016

accidental-locavore-zucchini-casseroleZucchini, mozzarella and prosciutto.

Even if you think you’ve had enough zucchini now that it’s cooling off, it’s a great excuse to make this casserole/gratin recipe!

Joyce, from Quattro’s, our local butcher, gave the Accidental Locavore this recipe. It’s super easy and might have served 4, but Frank and I ate the whole thing because there was no more room in the fridge for leftovers.

That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

Zucchini, mozzarella and prosciutto recipe:

  • 1 large or two medium zucchini
  • 1 ball of mozzarella (about a pound)
  • 3 ounces of prosciutto, thinly sliced (if you buy it packaged that’s the size, otherwise go for ¼ pound)
  • Bread crumbs or panko
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sized garlic clove (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese for the top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°.

If you have really large zucchini, slice in half across the middle, stand on the cut end, and slice into 1/8” long slices. Otherwise, just cut off an end and stand it up and slice it. If you have a mandoline, this is a good time to pull it out.

Slice the mozzarella into 1/8” slices*.

Pour some of the olive oil into a plate and pour about a cup of bread crumbs into another plate.

accidental-locavore-zucchini-casserole-prepRub a medium-sized gratin pan with the cut garlic if using and lightly grease with some of the olive oil.

Dip a slice of zucchini into the olive oil and then the bread crumbs. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini.

Make a layer of zucchini in the pan. Top with a layer of prosciutto and a layer of mozzarella.

Repeat, ending with mozzarella on the top.

Sprinkle with Parmesan if using and any leftover bread crumbs (also optional).

Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the zucchini is cooked and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Serve and enjoy!

accidental-locavore-zucchini-casserole-ready-to-bakeMy verdict: Might not have been the prettiest dish ever, but you can’t eat pretty! The fact that there was nothing left tells you that it was really good!

We decided that it would be a great platform for a lot of different variations. Italian sausage could take the place of prosciutto, eggplant could sub for the zucchini etc.

Joyce used a particular Italian zucchini which didn’t have a lot of seeds, we used a very large unknown variety that had some seeds but wasn’t watery. If you’re going to use standard zucchini, go for the smaller ones.

*Mozzarella slices much easier with a serrated cheese knife like this one:accidental-locavore-cheese-knife






16 Top Tips For Shopping a Farmers Market

by Anne Maxfield on September 12, 2016

accidental-locavore-farmers-market-apples-and-pears Are you sad because there may only be a few more weeks left for your local farmers market?

The Accidental Locavore wants to give you her top tips for making the most of them.

accidental-locavore-farmers-market-haul16 Top Tips For Shopping Your Farmers Market:

  1. If you want something special or the best selection, shop early
  2. When you find a farmer or stand you like, ask for a card. That way you’ll always know who has the perfect tomatoes.
  3. Bring bags, both big and small. A plastic box is always handy for carrying precious berries
  4. Bring cash, small bills and change
  5. Leave kids and dogs at home if at all possible
  6. Park bikes
  7. Give yourself time to cruise the market and then go back to make purchases
  8. Ask the farmers for advice and don’t forget to admire all their hard work!
  9. Even if you’re in a hurry, hand money directly to the person behind the counter. Don’t leave it on the counter or wave it in their face.
  10. Don’t shuck corn. Corn in the husk stays fresher, gives you more cooking options and is actually easier to shuck once it’s cooked.
  11. As tempting as it is to squeeze the tomatoes, if you don’t buy it, it will end up like a water balloon by the end of the day.
  12. Ask to taste something, but take the box you tasted it from if you’re going to buy it.
  13. Try something different. If you’re not sure what to do with it, ask the farmer.
  14. Be clean. Don’t leave trash or coffee cups on the counters.
  15. Wash everything when you get home. Store in clear containers or bags so you’ll see it and use it.
  16. Enjoy! There’s nothing better than food straight from the farm.

accidental-locavore-farmers-market-lettuceAny tips you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’d like a sheet to print out, click here. accidental-locavore-farmers-market-apples