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Pumpkin Spice Overload

by Anne Maxfield on October 17, 2016

accidental-locavore-pumpkin-spice-bagelsPumpkin Spice:

Cinnamon.

Ginger.

Nutmeg.

Allspice.

Cloves.

Warm spices.

All good stuff– makes your house smell wonderful.

But….

accidental-locavore-pumpkin-spice-teaThese days, it seems that there is almost nothing that wouldn’t benefit from some “limited edition pumpkin spice.”

Tipping point for the Accidental Locavore?

Possibly the sneakers.

Or maybe the fact that you could make at least one day’s meals, along with cocktails, snacks and after-dinner drinks entirely with pumpkin spiced (processed) foods.

And between meals, do a wash and brighten your clothes with pumpkin spiced Clorox*.

accidental-locavore-pumpkin-spice-oreosWhat could be better than this? “Pumpkin Gingerbread is scented with the enticing aromas of holiday baking”. Are you sitting down? It’s dog shampoo (and comes in caramel apple too).

Can we all agree that this is way too much of a good thing?
Between People Magazine’s Comprehensive Guide to Pumpkin Spiced Flavored Foods” a 58 slide show and Eater’s “65 Pumpkin Spice Foods That Have No Business Being Pumpkin Spiced” you’ve got 123 items (okay, some may be dups, but you get the point) and that’s just stuff you can eat or drink!

Actually, making a pumpkin spice blend is a snap.

accidental-locavore-pumpkin-spice-ingredientsThis from Betty Crocker: To start, you’ll need all of three minutes and the following ingredients: 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves. Mix the spices together in a small bowl and take a little whiff.

Don’t you love the part about the little whiff? I’d also take a little taste and adjust according to your taste.

Now that you’ve got that, your own imagination is all that stands between you and __________.

Add some to sugar and sprinkle on buttered toast. Isn’t that better than a pumpkin spiced English muffin with PS cream cheese? It would also be good with oatmeal, granola or cereal (and taste a whole lot better because you’re using real spices).

Or go the savory route and sprinkle some on chicken or lamb. It’s a combination used in a lot of Middle Eastern and Indian dishes.

And there’s always pumpkin pie…

 

*Trick or treat. This may not be a real thing.

 

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A Local Apple Relish Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on October 6, 2016

Accidental Locavore Red Hook ApplesThis apple relish came last year when I was playing golf with friends, it’s simple and a nice way to use up a couple of apples.

The Accidental Locavore decided on a condiment to go with the two chèvres I had from Goat Cheeses of France. The Red Hook Golf Club was originally an apple orchard, and hundreds of apple trees still line the fairways. This has been a terrific year for apples and there are literally thousands of them, ripe for the picking. I grabbed a bunch of Romes and McIntoshes from my favorite trees (around the tee box on the fifth hole) and made a simple relish for the cheeses. This made about 2 cups:

Apple Relish Recipe:

  • ½ cup of sugar, more or less depending on your apples
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ pounds tart, crisp apples, peeled and cut into 1/2” chunks
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Accidental Locavore Apple RelishIn a medium sized pot over medium heat, heat the sugar and vinegar, stirring to dissolve.

Stir in the apples and cook for about 5 minutes, until the apples are cooked but still hold their shape. Stir in the ginger, taste and add salt as needed.

Cool to room temperature. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Although I’m not generally a fan of “stuff” other than bread or a plain cracker with cheese, this was a nice addition.

The apples had a nice fresh flavor that contrasted well with the rich funkiness of the cheeses. Leaving them in chunks kept them from turning into mush (aka apple sauce).

The ginger added a hint of spice and some brightness. Now that I’ve done my posts for the Goat Cheeses of France, I can sit back, relax and enjoy their wonderful chèvres my way, with a baguette. The rest of the relish I’ll use to garnish a duck, or go more traditional with some pork chops or smoked pork tenderloin.

What would you use it with?

 

 

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Shanghai Short Ribs With Ginger and Soy

by Anne Maxfield on March 10, 2016

Accidental Locavore Shanghai Short RibsAlthough the short ribs from Hammersley’s Bistro (sadly no longer) are one of my go-to recipes, every now and then you need to step out of your short rib comfort zone. The Accidental Locavore saw this recipe in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal, and gave it a try. I halved the recipe to serve about 5 people. If you skip to the end, you’ll see what I did with the leftovers.

For the ribs:
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 5 (16-ounce) beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
• 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger (about 5 ounces), thinly sliced
• 3 garlic cloves, sliced
• 1/4 cup finely-chopped lemongrass
• 1 dried Thai chili
• 3/4 cups soy sauce
• 5 cups water
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 1 teaspoons kosher salt

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy or tamari sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Pinch of five-spice powder
  • 1 dried Thai chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, Thai basil and/or chives, for garnish (optional)

Make the ribs: Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook ribs until golden-brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Set aside.
Decrease heat to medium and cook ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilies until golden and fragrant, 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, water, sugar, salt and ribs to pot. Cover and gently simmer until ribs are tender, about 1 hour.
Accidental Locavore Rib PrepWhile the ribs are cooking, make the glaze. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer hoisin, garlic, soy sauce, honey, five-spice powder, chilies, orange zest and vinegar until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Remove ribs from liquid and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Brush glaze all over ribs, reserving extra, if there is any. Broil until glaze starts to bubble, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to a platter and brush with extra glaze, if you have some. Garnish with chopped cilantro, serve and enjoy!
Accidental Locavore Beef Soy BrothMy verdict: These were really good! I served them with steamed jasmine rice and some broccoli that I steamed, tossed in a little sauce and stuck under the broiler for a minute after the ribs had cooked. You might want to line the baking sheet with parchment to keep the clean-up easier. The glaze is delicious and would probably go well with anything pork (but that’s kind of an easy call). Since my pantry doesn’t have any Champagne vinegar, I just used white balsamic and white wine vinegar would be fine too.
We didn’t want to dump the leftover liquid down the sink because of the fat content, so I put the pan in my auxiliary fridge, aka the back porch overnight. When I went out to grab it, it occurred to me that there was some fine “bone broth” in that pan, so I took the fat off, strained the ginger and garlic out, packed it in one-cup servings and froze it. It will make great stock for cooking rice or stir-fries etc. However, do not use it in anything that you would reduce it in! Because of the soy sauce, reduced it will become unbearably salty. Just saying. The two leftover ribs were stripped, went with the leftover rice and broccoli and made a terrific fried rice lunch!

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Some Peas Like it Hot!

by Anne Maxfield on July 9, 2015

Accidental Locavore Peas and LimesBet you never thought about spicy peas! As you know, peas are not one of the Accidental Locavore’s favorite vegetables, just sort of a benign side dish.This recipes elevates them into the very interesting (and almost-worth-shelling) arena. You will need the zest of the lime, so do that before you juice it. Serves 4:

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed
  • 1 trimmed stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups shelled fresh peas or frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon finely-grated lime zest

Accidental Locavore Spicy PeasWhisk the fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

In a food processor, or mini chopper, pulse the jalapeño, lemongrass, and onion until finely chopped.

In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the lemongrass mixture and stir-fry until soft, about 1 minute. Add the peas and the fish sauce mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime zest, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Spicy Peas and SteakMy verdict: The most time consuming part of this recipe is shelling the peas, so unless you have a bunch from your CSA (like I did), frozen is the way to go here. These were really good and might actually make a pea fan out of me! I had a bag full of chopped lemongrass that my mother had given me from her local Asian grocery, so I just used a couple of tablespoons of that. Because it was already chopped, I didn’t bother to use the food processor and just finely chopped the jalapeño and onion (one less appliance to wash). Because fish sauce varies from brand to brand, it’s better to go a little easy with it at the beginning and add more later, to taste. Ditto the jalapeño and lime juice. Some finely-chopped ginger would be nice with this and it would probably also work well with other veggies, like broccoli, or eggplant.

 

 

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