Photo: Sarah Kaiser/WFIU
Local Food — A Cultural Disconnect
There’s a lot of talk these days about providing more local food, creating sustainable food systems and knowing your farmer. But for many people, local food is not a priority, and for others it’s not really an option.
Some food advocates are concerned that someone important is missing at locally-minded restaurants farmers market: lower-income consumers.
These underserved members of the community are often not comfortable with the local food concept even though they have much to gain, says Vera Massey, a nutrition and health education specialist at the University of Missouri in Columbia. “It could be the cost, but it could be: ‘these aren’t foods that I even normally eat, so why would I go there?’” she says.
Being comfortable with fresh food does matter. Research institute PolicyLink found in its 2008 study, The Grocery Gap, that access to food influences eating behaviors. In short: if the only place to buy food in your neighborhood is a convenience store, your eating habits may reflect what is available there.
More: Read about what the local food system can do to reach out to new consumers at Harvest Public Media.
Christmas In September?
You can pick up all sorts of tomatoes at the market these days. Chef Orr snagged some Roma tomatoes and took them to his home kitchen in Columbus, Indiana. These oblong tomatoes are typically used in sauce recipes, but today we’re pairing them with snow peas to make a colorful cold salad.
Tomatoes And Snow Peas Salad
- 4 cups blanched pea pods
- 3 cups roasted tomatoes
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- handful roughly chopped summer herbs (i.e. basil, mint, cilantro, scallions, chervil, dill)
- salt and pepper to taste
- To roast the tomatoes, slice roma tomatoes in quarters. Toss them with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and fresh herbs (i.e. lavender, summer savory, thyme, rosemary, chervil). Put them under the broiler to let them get caramelized.
- To blanch the snow peas, cook them in boiling salted water until the peas are tender but still crisp (6 to 8 minutes). Drain the peas and plunge them into a bowl of ice water to chill quickly.
- Add tomatoes and snow peas to a bowl. Combine with enough olive oil to coat, garlic, lemon zest, and fresh herbs. Toss together and add salt and pepper to taste.
The Many Faces Of Salmon
According to Chef Daniel Orr’s taste, wild salmon is the best salmon. But there are so many other factors to consider when selecting salmon from the store:
- King Salmon has the highest omega-3 oil content and most velvety texture.
- Sockeye Salmon has the firmest flesh of wild Pacific salmon with a high fat content.
- Coho Salmon is milder flavored and more lean than Sockeye and King Salmon.
It also depends where they are caught. Salmon gain a lot of fat in the ocean to make their journey up, and they burn off that fat as they get closer to their spawning site. So, Chef Orr recommends getting the fish as freshly from the ocean as possible.
A less expensive option is to buy farm-raised salmon. They are kept in the ocean in large netted areas and fed food pellets. Find some that have been fed organic food, says Chef Orr. This will be more expensive, but it’s worth it.
Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon
- 1 cedar plank
- 1 6-7 ounce filet salmon
- 1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup
- 1/4 cup red onions
- pinch salt and pepper
- 3-4 slices Meyer lemons
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Combine maple syrup, red onions, salt and pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Coat both sides of the salmon in the mixture.
- Place 3-4 slices of Meyer lemons on cedar plank. Place salmon on top. (Cover salmon with any leftover red onions if you like.)
- Cook under the broiler for 5-7 minutes depending on the heat. If you are cooking it on a grill, close the lid so the smoke can enrobe the salmon.
- Squeeze fresh lemon on the finished salmon.
Rosemary: Strong Stems, Strong Flavor
“Rosemary plants do get sort of like pine trees,” says Chef Orr. The stems are sturdy enough to be used as skewers for this grilled shrimp dish.
He adds that rosemary plays an important role in his “secret seasoning.” In a pan, combine garlic with some extra virgin olive oil and let it get nutty brown. Throw in a handful of rosemary leaves and let those get crispy. From here, it’s especially tasty to add the fixings for a tomato sauce. “It gives a rustic, homey, Italian flavor to it,” he says.
Photo: Jessie Wallner/WFIU
Shrimp On Rosemary Skewers
- 10 large shrimp
- 2 (or more) rosemary branches
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for the rosemary skewers
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Master Blend
- juice of one lemon
- coarse sea salt
- 1/4 pound mesclun salad, washed and dried
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Peel and de-vein the shrimp, leaving the tails on for decoration.
- Remove and reserve some of the leaves from the bottoms of the rosemary branches. Rub the branches very lightly with oil.
- Chop the reserved rosemary leaves and place in a small bowl; add 1 teaspoon oil, the garlic, chili powder, Master Blend, half the lemon juice and a small pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly.
- Skewer the shrimp on the rosemary branches first through the head end, then the tail end of each shrimp. Place 4 to 5 shrimp on each branch. Pour the marinade over the brochettes and set them aside in a cool spot or in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook.
- Prepare a charcoal fire.
- Grill the shrimp over ash-white coals or cook them in a nonstick saute pan (do not oil the pan). Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on each side of until the shrimp are barely opaque at the thickest parts. Squeeze the remaining lemon juice over the shrimp.
- To serve, place the Barley Salad in the center of a platter, top with the mesclun salad and cilantro. Top with the shrimp brochettes just off the grill or out of the pan.
Barley Salad With Chili, Herb And Lime Vinaigrette
Yield: Serves 2
- 10 asparague spears
- 1 yellow squash
- 3/4 cup barley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon lime zest brunoise
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup diced sweet red pepper
- 1/4 cup diced yellow pepper
- Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes; drain and chill. Cut off and reserve 3-inch tips and cut the stems into thin rounds.
- Cut the yellow squash into small sticks, blanch briefly, drain and chill.
- Rinse the barley thoroughly under cold running water and drain. In a medium-sized saucepan cover the barley with 3 1/2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 35 to 45 minutes until the barley is tender and no longer raw, but is chewy to the bite. Rinse the barley under cold water and drain.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the oil, 1 tablespoon water, the vinegar, chili powder, lime juice and zest, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl combine the chilled barley, asparagus rounds, squash, red and yellow peppers and the vinaigrette; toss well and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Top with the asparagus tips. The salad will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.