Wednesday, February 25, 2009


THE FAT GUY challenged me and other foodies in his latest eGullet newsletter,, to go shopping in my pantry.
I would not dare show a photo of my pantry.  It's loaded, therefore messy.  We could eat for weeks off the dried pasta, cereal, cans of veggies and tuna, the odd assortment of jams bought around the world, all the flavored honey from Bee Blessed.  And the dogs have their stash, too.
But lately, I haven't been able to freeze extra chili or gumbo, because freezer space is gone.  Thanks to Dan and Amy, we've got loads of blueberries and pecans from their Finch Nursery and farm in Bailey.  Pounds of greentail shrimp fresh-frozen at our coast.  Some meats from local farmers.  And peaches and more peaches I froze during their season.  
So I have to ask myself, what am I waiting for?  We are in the dead of winter, with spring weeks away.  Time to really lay into those luscious peaches and blueberries - not just the polite foraging I've been doing, to make them last longer.
So, when the Fat Guy laid out his challenge, this Carolina Foodie said, bring it on.

I'll go one-up on the Fat Guy.  I can do local, too.
I've got a hard cheese, called DEGAS, from Sleepy Goat Cheese in Pelham, NC, left from my last visit to the Wake Forest farmers market.  I'll toast some of the Finch Nursery pecans, and that's my appetizer.
Those pork chops came from Triple B Farms north of Oxford, sold at the Wake Forest Farmers Market.  I'll use an onion I have in cold storage that I bought at the State Farmers Market to saute with the chops, and bake a few sweet potatoes from Dan and Amy.  (I think I should invite them to dinner, don't you?)
Then for dessert, how about a blueberry & peach cobbler, with ice cream? (See recipe below)

Veggies & they always have to be local?
I'm trying to be a good steward of the earth.  We buy local, albeit most times, when it is convenient.  I'm thinking of joining a CSA for this summer's harvest, but am concerned about how much I will be away from home, researching a new book.
This week, a big treat has been these big, juicy navel oranges bought at Costco.  I know they traveled all the way from California, but for goodness sakes, we can't grow oranges here.  And the big bag of firm yet juicy Bosc pears came all the way from Oregon.  But I did not find any pears at any NC markets this fall, and the laborers swiped all from my grandmother's tree on the farm.
So how do we balance the need for being good food stewards, with our tasteful desires and good nutrition?   I feel I'm better off eating a navel orange for my afternoon snack than I am a bag of potato chips.  So why do I feel guilty?  Lemme know your thoughts.

RECIPE - BLUEBERRY & PEACH COBBLER, adapted from THE OUTER BANKS COOKBOOK, by Elizabeth Wiegand, 2008, Globe Pequot Press.  Copyrighted.
During baking, this cobbler does a flip-flop; the fruit and juice go to the bottom and a cake-like layer forms on top.

For the Batter:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

For the Fruit Topping:
1 1/2 cup blueberries
2 cups sliced peaches
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup fruit juice (OJ will do, but also try peach or apricot nectar)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Spray or lightly butter one 10x5x3 inch loaf pan
3.  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in alternately with milk, and mix just until smooth.  Pour batter into prepared pan.
4.  Place fruit over batter, and sprinkle with the 1/3 cup sugar.  Pour fruit juice over top.
5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until to is browned.
Serves 6

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