Locavore love – Lots of cheese & the Olivator!

Recently was invited to attend a fun Locavore dinner group – with the theme of Sexy Foods for the potluck extravaganza in honor of February. 

After being stumped for a few days I hit the ‘Google’ and found a great list of foods known as aphrodisiacs  - including dates and truffles. 
And in my world – anything that has cheese around, in or over it is damn sexy as well.

If in previous posts I’ve expressed my love of all things pastas – cheese is a close second. In my next life phase I hope to become an artisan cheesemaker… no joke! 
And I figure that trying as many delicious types of cheese as possible during this phase sets me on the right path.

Two of my favorite local cheesemakers are Rollingstone Chevre and Ballard Family Dairy. Both of which wound up in my take on this Truffle Mac n’ Cheese recipe
From a locavore standpoint, the dish included:
- Ballard White Cheddar
- Ferranti Fresh Pasta – Penne
- Basil from Purple Sage Farms
And if you appreciate great cheeses – spend a bit more through Idaho’s Bounty or the Boise Co-Op and snag some of Ballard’s fantastic Cheddar!
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And besides drenching pasta in it – it’s always delightful to shove cheese inside of something.

For the second locavore dish I took some of the Rollingstone Chevre to try and replicate a yummy dish I’d had at Twig’s Wine Bar

Goat cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto. Pit the dates, shove in the cheese, wrap the strips of prosciutto and broil for a few minutes until the proscuitto just starts to crisp.
Super easy and super delicious bite-sized appetizers. Oh, and I got to use my newest random kitchen gadget too! (full disclosure: it was the main reason I wanted to make these!)
The Olivator! Want to shove something delicious inside something else delicious? This is your tool. (Snagged mine at the Pottery Gourmet)
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Idaho’s Bounty Dinner Bonanza IMG00168.jpg

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Just realized our whole dinner comes courtesy our Idaho’s Bounty pickup this week. Love when the foodie stars align! – Spinach spaghetti from Serenity’s Pasta
- Sauce – combo of Nona’s Vodka Sauce (made with Idaho Vodka!), – Parrott Family Farm’s hot Italian pork sausage – Fair Mountain Farm’s Walla Walla Sweets
- and a Barlett pair to top it off

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Red Feather’s Drink Journey Menu IMG00128.jpg

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I must have been unobservant in the past – or maybe the new layout of the Beverage Menu just emphasized its local personality more.
Nonetheless – really love Red Feather/Bittercreek’s Beverage Menu: A Compostable Guide to wine, beer, spirits and cocktails.
In essence – all the beverage options are organized and showcased by their distance to Boise. On the other side of the price is the ‘Miles traveled to your table.’
Love it!!
As the owners explain on the menu masthead – ‘ In the spirit of local thinking we have chosen to organize our wine and beer offerings by their proximity to our Boise home. We hope this inspires you to consider local options as much as possible…and in the event that you are frustrated instead of inspired, please feel free to ask your server for assistance in making a selection.’
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Cheese n Tomatoes Locavore-style IMG00025.jpg

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Nothing better to break up a long work day then a dinner binge on fresh golden tomatoes pulled from the garden (plants courtesy Peaceful Belly) with freshly grilled Idaho Golden Greek Halloumi Cheese from Ballard Cheese. Hmmmmmm
Definitely think my next business will be an artisan cheese shop. What other food group makes people so happy?
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Idaho’s Bounty Bounty

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If you haven’t explored the deliciousness that is the spread from Idaho’s Bounty – take a break from your morning routine and head over to http://www.idahosbounty.org/

Essentially – an online statewide producer network focused on supporting our local economies, our local food system, our health, our environment and our farmer neighbors.
Their marketing speak?
Imagine being able to purchase local organic and / or all-natural producer of all kinds: greens, cheese, chicken, beef, lamb, bacon, ham, sausage, eggs, melons, wine and more from the convenience of your own computer.
Imagine knowing where your food comes from, who is producing it, and what their ethics and farming practices are.
Imagine the tasting the sun-ripened freshness of geothermal greenhouse-grown Idaho greens in December.
Imagine working in support of the health of your local community foodshed where energy stays local and supports our rural economy.

Sounds good to me!
The market ‘opens’ every other week on Thursday morning with a list of various categories of foods available from producers across the state. As you can see from my last bounty – everything from whole wheat pizza crust to buffalo burger, halloumi cheese (Ballard!) to mango peaches are available. We’ve also enjoyed elk sausages, pear chutney, organic eggs, lamb kebobs, year-round fresh greens, squash of every variety and homemade pastas over the past year.

Admittedly, the plethora of outdoor farmers markets in the summer has meant I didn’t order as frequently from Idaho’s Bounty. But as the fall and winter approaches I’ll most likely be ordering every other week when they are open.

While there is home delivery in the Ketchum area, Idaho’s Bounty has Boise pickup (Wednesday nights) at their new warehouse location on Franklin. I made a commitment to try and have at least one local element in every dinner we create – and Idaho’s Bounty has helped me do that year round. If you like knowing where your food comes from and the people behind it – they do a fantastic job with sharing the stories of who is bringing the food to our tables. Check out the producers, their products and their practices here http://www.idahosbounty.org/shop/coopproducers.php

Happy Locavoring!
-Jess