What happens when a journalist-marketer-graphic designer for the culinary and agricultural industries (Tracey Ryder) joins forces with a photographer-advertising executive (Carole Topalian)? A lot. They co-founded Edible Communities in 2002 and spawned the local-seasonal movement in the USA. The company currently has 70 published titles all devoted to eating local. The movement has also rolled out local magazines featuring recipes for food grown locally as well as articles devoted to the artisan farmers who make it happen. You can out more about the movement in your hometown by going to Edible Communities. It's quite a feat to transform the way a large country such as the USA eats. But partly because of Ryder and Topalian, this is a movement that grows every year. It's not surprising that Gourmet listed these two women as "game-changers."
Without knowing who Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian were, I had been picking up Edible Twin Cities at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market for a few years. The St. Paul Farmer’s market would be approved by Ryder and Topalian – you must be within a certain radius of St. Paul to sell your items – unlike Minneapolis which has vendors selling bananas and oranges – decidedly not local!
National Public Radio released food trends for 2012. Eating local was one of them. I had to smile. I thought it had been a trend for ten years. Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian are proof of that. I am not a locavore. To do so, I would have to give up stone fruit! Not happening. But I am mindful of the seasons.
Wild rice and apples are two of Minnesota's most lauded products. When we travel and want to bring something local to our hosts, wild rice is always included. I was happy to see a recipe for wild rice that wasn't "Drowned Wild Rice in Cream." Wild rice is hearty enough - it doesn't need to be doused with anything.
Wild Rice and Apple Salad
3 cups cooked wild rice
1 apple, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small red onion - chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
*optional, 1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinaigrette (below or use your favorite vinaigrette)
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon apple cider
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
As much as I would have loved to have presented this as dinner to "Husband-on Diet-which-means-Hell-has-frozen-over." I knew I need to supply a bit of protein and by the end of the week - another broiled chicken breast just wouldn't cut it. It was time for some winter flavor. (And sausage and grapes are local here - but not so much in January!)
I turned to Lidia Bastianich and her skillet sausage and grapes. This hails from Umbria. Only local in my heart.
Sausage and Grapes Skillet Meal by Lidia Bastianich
(I halved the recipe)
1/8 up extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1-1/2 pound Italian Sausage links (I used 5)
1/2 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
1-1/2 cups seedless green grapes
Under low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and when the garlic is just starting to slowly sizzle, add your sausages. Cover and keep under low heat. Turn them every five minutes or so - to let them work their way into a deep, warming brown. After ten minutes, add the peperoncino flakes - in-between the sausages. Cover and let cook for another 20-25 minutes - continuing to turn them every once in a while.
When sausages are cooking (this slow browning is just the most delectable way to serve sausages), drain the fat and add the grapes. Cover and continue to cook under low heat until the grapes start to just wrinkle and pucker and release a juice or two. Uncover and raise the heat to high. Stir the grapes so they are covered with the leftover deeply browned oil in the pan allowing them to take on the earthy flavor. After ten-minutes, serve.
Husband was happy. Daughter was happy. And while the sausages and grapes might have been miffed about the flash on the camera - I consoled myself with the fact that one must organize priorities and if cooking doesn't start until dusk - so be it. Photographing the food the next day was not an option. There were no leftovers!
Please check out what the other bloggers are doing for Week 32 of Female Chef Gourmet Game Changers. And if you want to join in the fun, e-mail Mary at One Perfect Bite. Mary started this delectable journey.
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds,