Saturday, July 26, 2008

Melissa Makes a Local Meal

Okay, most of you know that eating is my forte, not cooking. So the eat local "challenge" was doubly challenging to me. But you know what? It was easy!
I started out with a trip to Via Elisa Fresh Pasta. Got my fave: porcini ravioli. Anyone can make this and it's super delicious. You just boil the water, put the raviolis in carefully, stir once, wait 10 minutes and it's ready. Yes! I chose one of Elisa's sauces - Sofia's Sicilian Caper - to go with it. All of this is available at Whole Foods too.

Honestly, I could just eat the pasta and be happy but it seemed like I needed a salad or something green. I stopped by the Peachtree Road Farmer's Market and, while I saw many great products and even got a glass of homemade lemonade, I couldn't find the simple green that I had envisioned as my side. So over to Whole Foods Buckhead. They had tons of local micro greens from Sweetwater Growers and I selected watercress - my favorite. Then I found a yummy local dressing from Onion Guys. It's called Vidalia Vinaigrette. To add a little color to the salad, I included a tomato bought at a roadside stand in Alabama (thanks, Mom!).

Lastly I chose a wonderful red blend from Dahlonega's Wolf Mountain Vineyards. It was the 2006 Instinct. Delish.

I decided that my golden retriever, Norma Jean, should eat local if I was so I got her some homemade treats from Taj Ma-Hound while at the market. She loved them!
The Whole Foods Eat Local Challenge was a lot of fun and I'm going to try to do it more often!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

PRIDE Grand Marshal Scott Turner Schofield Celeb Bartender At Marlow's Midtown

Staying on the local theme, local celebrity and Atlanta PRIDE Grand Marshal Scott Turner Schofield takes to the bar at Marlow's Midtown to serve as celebrity bartender during Men's Night Out TONIGHT. Any tips he earns while shaking and stirring from 6 - 9 p.m. will go to benefit 7 Stages Theatre and Southern Comfort Conference. Come out and enjoy $5 cocktails, appetizers and beer all night long.

Marlow's Midtown is located 950 West Peachtree Street; 404-815-0323.

Caryn Gets Local

So it was my night to take the Eat Local Challenge, and I was a little stressed. I knew I had to keep it simple if this dish was gonna survive my usual scatter-brained cooking style. I arrived at Whole Foods Market on Roswell Road and my eyes immediatedly went straight for all the signs that screamed "local!" I didn't really come with a plan in mind so I have to say I was a little overwhelmed. After scanning the store, I picked a few of my favorite items, got some great advice from Whole Foods employees and headed home to start cookin'.

Yellow Corn from Suwannee Valley Farms in Bainbridge, Georgia (above).

Broccoli Crowns from Rawls Farms in Lexington, South Carolina and Vidalia sweet onion from Antioch Farms in Claxton, Georgia (above).

Ground Chuck Sirloin from White Oak Pastures in Buffington, Georgia.
Here are the steps to my rediculously simple meal:
  • We started out by boiling the corn for about 20 minutes. Once they were on the plate we added season salt and touch of spray butter to taste.

  • We shaped the ground chuck into hamburger patties (mixed in season salt) and threw them on our tiny Foreman grill along with some rings of our Vidalia onion. We flipped them every five minutes until cooked all the way through.

  • I sliced the tops of the broccoli off and placed into a saucepan with a half cup of water. Put it over medium heat for about 15 minutes, tossing around occasionally. Once they were on the plate we added salt and pepper.

Our finished product....

All in all, I felt good about my local meal. It was nice to know I could step in to any Whole Foods Market location and have tons of options for local products. My selections made a great dinner and I was happy that it was health-concious too! Check these pics and the rest MLA's dining adventures at out Flickr page!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dinner at Tanai's Place

As the Eat Local Challenge made its way to my kitchen, all I knew was that whatever I made would have to be simple or I would be so focused cooking that I would forget to take photos. So, I headed to my local Whole Foods Market with a few of my favorite recipes in mind.

When I got to the store, I picked an abnormally large sweet potato from Haynes & Sons Farm in Cullman, AL; corn on the cob from Branch Farms of South GA; and a beautiful grass-fed flank steak from White Oak Pastures in Buffington, GA. (Yes, I know I am missing my leafy green, but hey, whadaya gonna do. At least it’s all local, right?) After I sat everything out, I admired my selections (right).

On the menu: Grilled flank steak with cinnamon sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob. This is what you’ll need:
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon rosemary
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

First, I preheated the oven to 450 degrees and cut the potato thin slices. Next, I melted the butter in the microwave and mixed with the brown sugar. I spread the potato slices evenly in a 9 inch pan and drizzled with the sugar butter. Then, I sprinkled with nutmeg, cinnamon and a dash of salt. I covered with aluminum foil and baked for 40 minutes, uncovered and baked for an additional 10 minutes.
The next step was the steak. After rinsing, I pat it dry and sprinkled with sea salt, pepper and rosemary. Next, I rubbed to make sure the seasoning was even on the meat. Then, I set it aside to come to room temperature (important for grass-fed beef).

When the potatoes were nearly complete, I removed the husks from the corn and boiled in lightly salted water(with a dollop of butter) and preheated my handy-dandy indoor grill to its hottest temperature.

Cooking with grass-fed beef is different from grain-fed. Click here for more details. I sprayed the grill with olive oil cooking spray then grilled the meat for about 6 minutes on each side (for medium).
Here’s the finished product (below).

Serve and enjoy. Simple and delish! Check out more shot of our team's Eat Local Challenge progress on our flickr page. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Atlanta's Woodfire Grill For Sale - Michael Tuohy Sings "California, Here I Come" as He Heads West to Launch Farm-to-Table Restaurant

Goodbyes are tough. Especially when it means letting go of one Atlanta's most talented chefs and his amazing restaurant. Anyone who's dined at Atlanta's Woodfire Grill knows Chef Michael Tuohy thrives on bringing Georgia farm-to-table goodness to the table with Northern Californian flair. Thus, we were saddened, but understanding, as 31-year restaurant industry veteran Tuohy announced his intentions to leave Atlanta to return to his Northern California roots. The San Francisco native has shared his culinary gifts with Atlanta for the past 22 years. Come August, he's heading home to the Golden State to focus on California cuisine and to launch Grange, a farm-to- table restaurant located within the new Citizen Hotel, a 200-room boutique one block from the state capitol in Sacramento. He's not going solo -- he's joining forces with the Joie de Vivre Hospitality Group, California's largest boutique hotel company, and the Rubicon Development Group, on the recommendation of his former boss and mentor, Joyce Goldstein. Tuohy will be in seventh heaven as he calls upon the area's small farms . . . and pulls from a 1,500 selection, all-California wine list!
So where does that leave us? Woodfire Grill is officially for sale, and Tuohy hopes to find a good philosophical fit among prospective buyers. Tuohy will host a "Farewell Dinner" for his longtime friends and fans on August 12, the restaurant's six-year anniversary date. After that, well, Tuohy invites Atlantans to "come on out" and dine with him in Sacramento. On the GPS, that's an hour from both Napa Valley and the Sierras, and about two hours northeast of San Francisco. Chef Tuohy takes with him his passion for seasonally inspired and wood- fired cooking, organics, slow food, and Patti, his wife of 19 years. From his early days with Chef's Café to his current landmark, Woodfire Grill, Tuohy leaves a legacy of influence that still grows strong - including the Georgia Grown Co-op of local farmers, which he helped start, to bring goods from a dozen local Certified Organic Farms to restaurants and markets around our city.

Breakfast for Dinner

As Meryl posted yesterday, our office is taking the Eat Local Challenge that Whole Foods Market Buckhead has issued. This challenge is more than just eating local for me seeing as I am not good at cooking. I went over the few things that I know how to make in my head and decided on French toast. I was able to find all the ingredients at Whole Foods on my way home from work. The French bread is made fresh each day at the Buckhead location I visited and the eggs are from Latta Family Farm in Hillsborough, NC. The milk comes from Sparkman's Cream Valley made in Colquitt County, GA and my special last minute find were blackberries from The Orchard in Cross Plains, TN.

Since I'm not a cook, I don't know how to give the recipe. It was something taught to me when I was growing up so I just play it by ear. No measurements. Here is quick run down: crack one egg for every two pieces of toast, add some milk (but not too much) and top the batter off with cinnamon. See picture below. Soak both sides of the bread in the batter and cook on the skillet, medium heat. Continue adding cinnamon as needed. When finished top with powdered sugar, fruit and syrup. I usually have more patience and time to cook this for dinner, but French toast is also good for breakfast - enjoy! For more photos of our team participating in the Eat Local Challenge, go to our flickr page! Feel free to share your pictures with us. Just tag them with "atlwfm" and we'll find 'em.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Eat Local Challenge from Whole Foods Market

So, our friend (and client) Whole Foods Market in Buckhead has issued an Eat Local challenge, and we here at MLA are up for the challenge! As someone who is an ardent fan of both Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Omnivore's Dilemma, I deeply support eating local and do my part as often as possible. I subscribe to Moore Farms' CSA and shop at the Peachtree Rd. farmer's market on Saturdays, but, honestly, I never truly tried to make an all local meal until last night. And, let me tell you, this isn't the easiest feat ever. True, with the abundance of local produce right now, it is probably easier than ever, but this meal took some definite forethought.

After shopping at the Saturday farmer's market at the Cathedral of St. Philip, I came home with some beautiful eggplant, way too many tomatoes than I know what to do with, an awesome loaf of crusty bread from Holeman & Finch bread company, and a jar of the best basil pesto I have ever tried from Hope's Gardens.

With a little help in the way of a recipe from the kind folks at Hope's Gardens, I whipped a pretty darn good all local eggplant Parmesan! Let me preface this recipe, with a few footnotes. Now, I don't know exactly what the rules are for Eating Locally, but taking my cues from Barbara Kingsolver, I decided that I was going to allow basic pantry items (olive oil, salt and pepper) to count even though they definitely aren't locally made. Other than this, my only iffy ingredient was mozzarella cheese. I bought this freshly made from Whole Foods Market in Buckhead. This counts as local, right?

Without further explanation, here is Hope's Gardens' recipe for Eggplant Parmeasan. (I know, I know - my photography needs serious help!)

1 jar of Hope's Gardens Basil Pesto
Eggplant, sliced into 1/2" slices (from Farmer Jeff)
Fresh tomato slices (from Moore Farms CSA)
Mozzarella cheese slices (from Whole Foods)
Salt and pepper to taste

Arrange sliced eggplant on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, flip slices, and continue baking for another 10 minutes. When eggplant is done, remove from baking sheet and layer with tomatoes and mozzarella slices in a baking dish. Top each layer with a few spoonfuls of pesto and salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and a great local wine. We drank Wolf Mountain Vineyards' Plentitude and the acidity cut the richness of the pesto nicely!

Be sure to check back and see what everyone else whips up as part of Whole Foods Market's Eat Local challenge!