Back On the Wagon

March 30, 2010 § 2 Comments

Alright alright alright. I’m sorry. I told you a long time ago I have a hard time following through on things like this. I’ve been SO busy… working 6-7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, and I caught a nasty bout of the plague on the plane home from NZ…. AND I’m acting in a play this weekend and have been playing catch up on rehearsal….¬†

So… that’s the end of my excuses for not writing. But, guess what? I’m back ūüôā

Spring is right around the corner! Its raining now, but its supposed to be 80 this weekend! Lots of rain and lots of bright sunshine make happy crops, and that makes for a happy locavore. ¬†I was getting a little whiny there for a bit about the lack of variety in my diet, but the truth is… I still love winter food. Maybe it’s because I had a great break in New Zealand and was able to stuff myself with juicy plums and tomatoes, but I am still loving kale and mushrooms. ¬†In fact, I made them for dinner tonight with another one of Bev’s amazing pork chops. ¬†It was (again) so incredibly¬†delicious. A little salt and pepper and a flash in the pan, and ta dah! I’m a brilliant chef! ūüėČ It was an obscene amount of meat for one person though, so I ate half and am saving the rest for a sandwich tomorrow (with plum chutney, mmm). ¬†

In all honesty, it’s been a tough couple of weeks since I’ve been back. ¬†Trying to get back into the groove of cooking, and restocking the fridge, and remembering to make my own food. But Star Hollow is back on an every Saturday schedule, and I’m getting more local food in Sweetgreen every week (now that things are starting to grow) so lunches are easier, and very delicious ūüôā

Sorry for the long hiatus. I promise I’ll be better. ¬†I’ve missed talking to you people! ūüôā I’m ready to get back in here and give you all the advice I can on where to find food, who to buy it from, and why buying local,¬†sustainable¬†food is the best thing you can do for your body, your community, and your tastebuds.¬†

So if you’ve got questions- lay ’em on me. Which CSAs still have availability? When are the farmers markets opening for the season? ¬†What can you expect to be eating in April and May? ¬†It’s all to come. ¬†Thanks for sticking with me!

xoxo Erin


Bev’s Pork Chop with Mustard Cream with Roasted Potatoes and Kale

February 19, 2010 § 1 Comment

Not to be a total bragasaurus, but I made the BEST dinner on Monday night. ¬†At the Dupont Market on Sunday I bought one single, thick pork chop from my darling Bev for $3.50. For the price his high end cuts go for, this may be the best deal at the market. ¬†I decided to make it Monday night because I just really needed a good meal. ¬†I’ve been making a lot of very blah meals the past week or so, and needed that reassurance that I can, in fact, cook. ¬†Well, this was just what the doctor ordered. I’m now getting an inflated ego over this meal, but if I’m going to be honest… the pig really did all the work here. This meal would have been just alright with a chop from any other animal- but with one from Bev’s pig… it was practically a religious experience.¬†

Oh how I WISH I had taken a picture of the pork chop raw. It had this gorgeous 3/4 inch layer of pure white fat along one side, and a frenched bone. It was truly artistic. When seared in the hot pan, the fat got crispy on the outside and meltingly tender in the center. ¬†Oooh… it gives me delicious chills even thinking about it now.¬†

This is also a¬†perfectly¬†seasonal meal, and nearly everything in it is locally and sustainably produced. ¬†The kale is from Sunnyside Farm at Dupont, and the potatoes are from my Star Hollow CSA. The exceptions are the usuals- Maille mustard (it is the best, there is no substitute), chardonnay (from CA), kosher salt. I did get a little fancy and use local crushed red pepper- last month I got a dried cayenne pepper from my CSA and crushed it myself. I feel like I get double points for that one ūüôā¬†

Mustard Coated Pork Chop in a Dijon Cream Sauce, with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Kale

1 EcoFriendly Foods Pork Chop

2 tbsp Maille Mustard (or other good Dijon), separated

1 tbsp pork fat (bacon grease, preferably from EcoFriendly bacon- I have seriously loyalties)

Handful of fingerling potatoes (like 6-8 maybe? Depends on how hungry you are)

1 cup kale, chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1/4 cup milk or cream

1/4 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay, dry Riesling would work well too)


red pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 400. 

Melt bacon fat in a hot cast iron/heavy bottom, oven proof skillet. Slice potatoes in half and put them cut side down into the skillet. Leave them alone while you prep the pork. Pat pork chop dry, then rub down all over with 1 tbsp mustard, and salt liberally (for real, don’t get stingy here). Check potatoes, the underside should be crispy and browned. Flip the potatoes, push the to the outside of the pan and lay the the chop in the center. Cook it until well browned on each side (about 2-3 minutes on high heat),add the kale the the pan, then throw the skillet in the oven for about 4-5 minutes. ¬†Mince shallots while you wait. Pull the skillet out and transfer the chop, the kale and potatoes to plate.¬†

Add shallots to pan (and more fat if needed).  Deglaze the pan by pouring in wine and letting it bubble away. Once reduced, add rest of mustard and milk or cream. Stir together, let reduce a little more, then pour over your pork chop.  

This meal is only local, seasonal, delicious, fast, and easy… it also only uses 1 pan (I hate doing dishes). Plus if you use cast iron you just have to pour in a little water while its hot and wipe out with a paper towel. It doesn’t get easier than this. (BTW, if you wash your cast iron skillet with water and soap, please stop before you break my heart.)

Restaurant Review: Taqueria Nacional

January 28, 2010 § 4 Comments

So, having been sick yesterday (and still fighting it off), I was a little groggy when I left the house this morning and failed to pack myself anything for lunch. 

For most people, this just means going to the local deli and grabbing a sandwich (Like Taylor Gourmet… mmm… it’s my mission to get them to buy local, sustainable meats. Then I will eat¬†there EVERY DAY).¬† But of course, I cannot do this (yet).¬† BUT, after a little searching around DCCK’s Union Station to Penn Quarter neighborhood… I found an even BETTER solution than a sandwich.¬† PORK TACOS.

Taqueria¬†Nacional, the now famous little taco stand hidden behind Johnny’s Half Shell and owned by the always sustainable-friendly Ann Cashion, uses Bev’s pork from EcoFriendly Foods!¬† I had heard this rumor before, but to be sure, I called Bev to verify.¬† Yep, all in the clear.¬† I couldn’t believe my luck!

I’ve been eating¬†at the Taqueria¬†since I started here at DCCK almost 2 years ago, but I had no idea until now that they source sustainable meats.¬† I don’t know where everything¬†comes from (pollack for fish tacos…?) but I can at least know I am good with the pork. And the pork is soooooo good.

I normally get their Hibiscus aqua fresca to go with my tacos, but skipped it this time because I have no idea what’s in it.¬† To get the same effect, I drank a Black Forest Berry organic tisane, made in¬†Pennsylvania by¬†the very socially responsible Bethesda, MD- based Honest Tea company.¬† It is only very lightly sweetened with pure organic cane sugar, and even uses organic Fair Trade Certified hibiscus… I actyally just realized this a hibiscus based drink- I can’t believe I had it in my office all this time and never drank it until now, it’s like it was waiting for these tacos! ūüôā

Where did the corn tortillas and green salsa come from? I don’t know.¬† But I’m betting that if they go to all the trouble and expense¬†to buy sustainable¬†meats, they probably care about where the rest of their food comes from.¬† When eating sustainably, the priority goes to meat/poultry/fish, then dairy and eggs,¬†then¬†produce and the rest.¬† Other important factors are additives like preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup.¬† So since I couldn’t be sure their Hibiscus aqua fresca didn’t have HFCS… I went with the Honest Tea (and I’m so glad I did, this stuff is awesome…).

It’s all about choices. Especially when you forget your lunch and start to freak out.¬† Good food is all around, it just takes a little more effort to find.¬† But then, most things that are worth it do.

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