Saturday, August 23, 2014

Locovore: Loco for Local

No, not a typo. I recently had friends over for the last largish meal I made before leaving Rhode Island to return to my desert home for the academic year, and realized that, without even trying, every single thing we ate was locally produced. On an island (Conanicut, otherwise known as Jamestown).  Don’t you just love that? 

It was hot in the morning, and the forecast was for thunderstorms. My friends don’t care for the heat. And my cottage is little and, of course, doesn’t have air conditioning. So I decided to make a dinner that I could cook before the rain and serve at room temperature. What a great excuse: that’s actually one of my favorite ways to eat.

My friend Wayne (source of the mussels) had called me up and offered me some fresh-caught Bluefin tuna “head steaks”; I learned that this was the meat right behind the head that was cut off in preparing a giant tuna to be sold. My friends may not like the heat, but I knew they liked tuna, so of course I said yes.  Wayne swung off the bridge to drop me the fish on his way out to another fish-spotting gig.

Now, Jamestown has a surprising amount of meat and poultry for such a tiny place: grassfed beef, pasteured pork, chicken, and lamb.  And your usual lot of summer vegetables, plus the early gift of fresh-dug potatoes. Surprisingly, tomatoes were early this year. Surprising because of the brutal winter—did that do something to speed them up?—and just because. I usually have to return to school before the really nice tomatoes are in—and these are field tomatoes we’re talking here, beautiful in early August.The meat and produce are from Windmist Farm,and Hodgkiss Farm.

So here is the menu, with some pictures of ingredients. While I made a very satisfying visit yesterday to our own impressive farmer’s market here in Tucson, I have to say, to paraphrase Dorothy, there’s no place like New England.

A Jamestown Dinner

Dinner for Friends on a Muggy Day Threatening Thunderstorms

Tuna Tartare on potato chips

Figs with goat cheese sweetened with honey and fresh thyme

Everything-grilled salad of chicken, beef, onions, peppers, yellow and zucchini squash, and corn (see this post)
Green beans marinated with olive oil and fresh oregano
Tomato and mozzarella (from Narragansett Creamery) salad  

Ciabatta from Venda Ravioli
Organic Blueberries and Peaches with Maple Sour Cream


racheld said...

We've played the Locovore game quite a bit here in Indiana---the beans and Deckers and all this Silver Queen corn, bursting into the pan at the lightest touch of the knife.

And of course, my own life pre-HERE was one of absolute---our several-acre garden in Mississippi provided so much of our food that it was a simple matter to step out an hour before supper and gather an apron-ful or a basket (with a little kid tagging along behind to lug a melon or little wheelbarrow of roasin' ears.

I tried so hard to see the top pic of the beans, but it will not enlarge---I can just SEE the just-picked freshness of them, with the velvety skin stretched tight over the green-with-just-a-touch of-cyan. THOSE are perfection on a plate.

I try to imagine your desert home, with the dry winds and the cool evenings and sunsets, but on an abrupt departure from all the bounty of your coast-home, don't you just THIRST for all you left behind?


Jane said...

Yes, I do thirst for all I left behind. And I imagine you do too, for your personal larder of a big garden in Mississippi. It is not that what we have now--here in Tucson and there in MO--is bad, but we both know--it's not the same.