On November 7th, the Accidental Locavore will be one of the locavore guests on Emeril’s Table (11:00 EDT on the Hallmark Channel). Besides being a lot of fun, I learned a lot and met some great fellow locavores. But you want to know what we ate, right?
Since the episode focused on eating local and fresh, we were treated to a lovely fall meal! It started with a creamy turnip and parsnip soup, garnished with thin strips of fried parsnips. Then, Emeril started work on chicken breasts with a pear reduction. Along with a mélange of pears, he used something new to me: pear cider. The chicken rested on a bed of roasted butternut squash, cut into cubes and tossed in maple syrup before roasting.
All this sounds pretty straightforward but don’t worry, there were surprises! First big one: braised radishes. Emeril took whole radishes, tossed them in a sauté pan with some butter and chicken stock, covered them and braised them for about 15 minutes. Right before he got ready to serve them, he tossed in all the radish greens and cooked everything until tender. Besides being beautiful…rosy pink with the greens for contrast, they were delicious! You can’t imagine how good they were, a total transformation from just slicing them and tossing them in salad. Here’s my version.
The other surprise was a special-effects trick that only works if you have an audience and if the batteries in your smoke detector are (temporarily) removed. After he plated the chicken on top of the butternut squash, Emeril took a big branch of rosemary and dipped it in olive oil. He then set it on fire and stuck it into the platter with the chicken, like a giant, fragrant, sparkler! Cool trick, right?
People who know the Accidental Locavore, know I’m a terrific networker. However, I never expected that taping a TV episode would be any kind of networking event. Wrong. In my group were two farmers, Alexandra Zissu who just co-authored the Fleisher’s meat book The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat, and someone whose family has a restaurant where they’re growing most of the food they serve. An interesting bunch, right?
As it turns out, one of the farmers, Ron Stokes from Stokes Farm, is a regular at my local farmers’ market, so we’ve become good buddies (and he’ll save stuff for me — a big help!). The Locavore is now a Thursday regular.
The other farmer, Billiam Van Roestenberg has a big apple farm, Liberty View Farm, across the river from my weekend house. I’m not sure if it’s the only apples-only CSA, but if you’re a big apple fan, you can lease a tree for the season and come pick your crop. If that’s not your thing, how about a yurt (check it out on the website)?
A good time and good food were had by all. Emeril Lagasse is not only an accomplished chef, he’s also a warm and welcoming host. Check out the episode!