Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Locavore Experiment #1

...failed miserably. My objective was simple, for one week make my (and my fiancee's) evening meals with as much locally sourced products as possible. After my weekend runaround I figured I had enough food to get me through the week. Well, I lasted a day and I'm proud of this wonderous accomplishment. Day 2 failed due to (1) a late night at work meant an easy meal was in order and (2) I really wanted salmon and live salmon does not come anywhere near Florida.

But at least I got a little creative on my one locavore day. We had tons of tomatoes and herbs from "la viejita" so I thought tomato sauce. So a simple tomato sauce was created with tomatoes, thyme, oregano and rosemary (all from FLA), garlic and olive oil (from somewhere else) topped off with parsley (from FLA). So the sauce was at least 90% local. I wanted to add some kind of meat (I'm a meatball fanatic) but wasn't sure where my local Publix's ground beef came from. We had some rock shrimp in the freezer (rock shrimp from FLA!) and figured they're about the size of small meatballs. A few minutes later tomato sauce with rock shrimp "meatballs" served with fresh pasta from Mr. Pasta (on Collins near 71st St. on MB).

We had tons of produce that we'd purchased over the weekend and had I really wanted to make this locavor week successful I couldn've just eaten salad every day (or bought more substantial produce). That obviously didn't happen. What did was this salad made from arugula (la viejita) and heirloom cherry tomatoes and radishes from Redland Organics. 100% South Florida salad (with the exception of the olive oil obviously).

My last use of local ingredients failed miserably. We had two canistels (eggfruit) and, after reading Carolina's mother's experiment on the Menupages blog I decided to give canistel ice cream a shot. I've made simple ice cream from mamey and figured canistel, with its similar consistency, would come out pretty much the same. So into the blender went the canistel, milk, demarara sugar, vanilla and a little salt. From blender to ice cream maker then the addition of sum rum-soaked raisins (basically a ripoff of Gaby's Farms Creme de Canistel ice cream). The results were strange. On first tasting the ice cream was delicious, rich and creamy even though milk was the only liquid used. But the aftertaste, which hit about 3 or 4 seconds later, was awful. It was rough and bitter, kinda like the taste you get when in college you take a shot of some alcohol that you don't really know what it is, but it's alcohol so you down it anyway. We couldn't eat it. It's sitting in my freezer waiting for some inspiration to hit me on how to save it. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!
So what did I learn from the locavore experiment? That it's probably possible to get through a week of dinners using mostly local ingredients. We have access to local produce, fish, seafood and eggs. The only thing missing that I haven't been able procure is local meat.
Considering the number of pig roasts I've been to I know it's possible to get a local whole piggie, but not sure where to get local beef or chicken. Once that's covered I think the locavore experiment will have a much higher chance of success.


Carolina said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry that the canistel ice cream didn't work out.

The only thing I can think of is that maybe it wasn't ripe enough. The CSA newsletter said that if the canistel isn't ripe enough, it can be pretty bad. My mom let hers get very, very mushy before scooping the flesh out.

I'm not sure how to go about fixing it; I've made some ice creams before, but I'm certainly no expert. But if you dare try again, I found one recipe that looks pretty good:

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

That pasta looks great. I got CSA and other produce out the blowhole, but I have to say the canistal (thanks for the correction) was the homerun so far. I ate mine super-soft, looked almost rotten actually (on the counter for more than a week), like a black sapote, but it was sweet and mellow. Nice try on the ice cream, though. Keep up the loca, loco.