Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gardener's Blog

I have recently been checking out this fun blog called Kitchen Gardeners International. It has a lot of great advice and numerous links to other resources. It includes contributions from Barbara Damrosch, author of The Garden Primer--one of my favorite reference books for home gardening. The site is also advocating for the Obamas to plant a victory garden on the White House lawn in their first 100 days, something mentioned in a previous post as an issue that Alice Waters promoted during the inauguration festivities.

My grandmother sent me a book that she'd saved since World War 2 about how to grow your own victory garden, and it is pretty cool. It is practically falling apart so I don't want to use it too much, but I'll see if I can get a good picture of the cover to post here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Alice Waters at the Inauguration

The Associated Press has an article that ran in today's Buffalo News about local food movement leader and famous chef Alice Waters hosting a big pre-inaugural party with local food. She is also advocating for a victory garden on the White House lawn, as there was during World War II. You can read the article here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Spring Plannings

Although it is about three degrees outside, and Buffalo is covered in snow and slush, now is the perfect time to start making plans for when the world turns green and things start growing again.

Many of the fine farmers who run CSAs are using this time of year to plan out what they are going to grow, how many seeds they need, and how they are going to operate this year. If you are not familiar with CSAs, it is short for Community Supported Agriculture--an farm where non-farmers (i.s. city-dwellers) can buy a share in the farm and then receive a share of the harvest each week. It is a great way to reconnect to the food that you eat and to get to know one of your local farmers, and it is a good way to try new vegetables that might not otherwise make it to your table.

Now is the time to start reserving your share with whichever CSA you choose. There are a number of local operations, some of which have delivery sites in the City of Buffalo. Whitney and Ann were our main CSA "correspondents" last summer, and you can read back through some of their old posts for their comments on what the CSA experience was like for them. I did not sign up for a CSA last year, but this year I think I am going to take the veggie plunge!

If you check our web links on the right, there are a couple that will help direct you to a few local CSAs.

Also, if you are planning your own garden for the Spring, seed catalogs started arriving a couple of weeks ago. Burpee, of course, is the classic source for seeds. Does anyone know of a local source for ordering seeds?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Buying local on Etsy

Greetings from bad blogger Whitney! It's been awhile--cough August, cough cough--but I'm renewing my pledge to post on Buffalo Locavore. You'll be hearing from me a lot more in 2009.

While we focus mostly on local food here on the blog, I thought I'd divert attention away from the edible and over to one of my favorite sites, During this past Christmas shopping season, I tried to buy local as much as possible. What that meant to me was choosing local shops over Target and the mall. I think my gifts were a hit.

In addition to walking the Elmwood strip, I found myself logging onto Etsy and browsing the handmade goods available from crafty Western New Yorkers (for those of you unfamiliar with Etsy, I suggest checking out their information page and browsing the site. In short, it's an easy-to-use eBay for handmade and vintage goods).

On Etsy, you're more often than not buying goods directly from their creators: handknit scarves, beautiful paintings, and artisan jewelry are among the many offerings. And because the Etsy peeps are awesome, you can even hone in on an area of the world from which you wish to purchase your homemade gifts through the site's "Shop Local" page.

After typing in "Buffalo NY," check out these great finds (all made in and around Buffalo):

This "Romantic Cuff" from Paperhill is described as "something that Lizzie from Pride & Prejudice might wear" and "lovely in place of a traditional corsage or be a perfect touch for rehearsal dinner or for the bridesmaids." $30.

Not only are these earrings beautiful, they're incredibly affordable. The shop beadediris describes them as "made with 16mm vintage green moonglow lucite rounds" and recently included them in a special Buy-4-get-Free-Shipping deal. $5.50.

This photograph from Linden Tea, "Twisted," can be ordered as an 8x10 print on glossy or matted paper. $18.

If you haven't bought a 2009 calendar, consider this locally-designed piece from DesignCircus $8.50. and be reminded of your effort to buy local every day. On sale for $8.50.

What are you waiting for? Get over to Etsy!

New Logo

All of us here at Buffalo Locavore would like to give a HUGE thank you to freelance graphic designer Brian Bray who designed our lovely new logo.

Fresh Pasta is Easy and Delicious

As I mentioned in a previous post, I got a pasta machine as a Christmas gift. I have previously tried to make pasta from scratch on two different occasions. The first was when I was in high school and I took a home economics class on regional and international foods. The second attempt was several years ago when I made ravioli from scratch. In my high school class, I had a pasta machine to flatten and cut the dough, but the second time around I had nothing but patience and a marble rolling pin. Back in September one of my food resolutions was to make fresh pasta, and with the help of the right equipment I was able to produce some excellent fettucine.
Making fresh pasta is very easy. I took my noodle recipe from Patricia Wells' excellent cookbook Trattoria. You should be able to find a good fresh pasta recipe in any decent Italian cookbook or online, but Patricia Wells is my personal favorite. It is also the book I used for the sauce recipe, which was essentially crushed tomatoes (a great use for any that you may have canned over the summer) simmered with sauteed garlic and olive oil, and then finished with a pat of butter and freshly grated pecorino romano cheese. It took me about an hour and a half to make the whole dinner, though that includes an hour to let the dough rest (a good time to do the prep work for other dishes).
Pasta is essentially eggs and flour that are kneaded together until smooth. You let them rest for a little while and then you go to work with the pasta machine. The machine helps finish the kneading process in addition to creating the thin sheets that are then cut into noodles. The thin sheets feel soft like silk as they come through the pasta machine, and can then be put through the noodle attachments for fettucine or spaghetti. Some pasta machines have multiple attachments you can use, but you can use a pizza cutter if you want to make ravioli, lasagne, or farfalle. Some cookware stores even have little pasta cutters that look like a cross between pizza wheels and pinking shears.
Fresh pasta takes far less time to cook that dried pasta--between 3 to 5 minutes in boiling water. It has a wonderfully fresh taste that is particularly good with simple sauces.
The picture at the top of this post is my fresh pasta creation served with a skinless, boneless chicken thigh that was sauteed in olive oil with garlic and fresh snipped rosemary (yay for potted herbs).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

WNY Farmer/Chef Conference

Here is an exciting event coming up next month, presented by a group called the Field and Fork Network:

Field and Fork Network's first annual Farmer-Chef Conference will be held on Monday, February 23rd at Byrncliff Resort & Conference Center. Our daylong conference will offer Western New York's chefs and other food industry professionals the opportunity to network with local farmers and artisan food producers.

Our key note speaker will offer advice and inspiration to chefs and farmers alike, and a lunch featuring local products will typify the bounty that Western New York agriculture has to offer (even in mid-February). During the conference, chefs and farmers will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops together that will further their understanding of the local food movement, its promising future, and their place in it.

To register for the conference, please visit our website at and click on the conference page for registration forms. The fee for the conference and lunch is $50 per person. You can download the appropriate form (there is one for chefs, farmers and "other" food industry), fill it out and send it to the address noted along with the conference registration fee. Space is limited so we recommend you register as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us via email or phone with any questions.