Monday, February 15, 2010

Dark Days - Week 13

This week was a little odd.  The continuation of "Snomaggedon" (or snOMG, which I think is a wee bit hilarious) meant that dlb and I were home Monday - then both had horrificaly complicated commutes getting to work Tuesday (neither involving our car, still buried in snow), then gave up and stayed in both Wed and Thursday.  Friday dlb HAD to get in to work... since unlike me, his office hadn't ever been declared "closed" and he can't work remotely and staying home again would mean not getting paid again!  So he pushed through the pathetic skeleton of public transportation to get to DC, while I stayed in again and worked from home.  As I write this (SIX DAYS after the snow stopped falling), we have still yet to get the car out onto the roads.  (although it is a goal of ours, since we're both planning on getting to work tomorrow... today was a planned day off for me since dlb's office is closed for President's Day.)

ANYWHO.  This week was odd, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't some good local eating happening.  It was just in little random bits.

Wednesday morning I decided I was going to make Bittman's polenta pancakes, which had been recommended to me on a local food thread I follow.  Throughout the snow storm people were posting what they were cooking at home and it was wonderful inspiration!

Adapted from Mark Bittman's Polenta Pancakes :

1/2 cup cornmeal (I used yellow stoneground grits we had purchased on a trip south)
1 tablespoon sugar, optional (I used local maple syrup instead)
1 1/2 cups flour (here I used  a mix of 2/3 local roasted cornmeal, 1/3 local whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk, more as needed
Butter or olive oil as needed.

1. Combine cornmeal (or grits) in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth while bringing to a boil over medium heat, then continue to stir for about 10 minutes. Turn heat off and let cool.

2. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. In a bowl, mix sugar, flour, baking powder and a little salt. Beat eggs into cornmeal, then stir in milk. (here it made more sense to me to stir in the cold milk first, thereby cooling the grits enough to not cook the eggs).  Add to flour mixture and stir to combine, adding milk if necessary to make a batter.

3. Add about 1 tablespoon butter or oil to griddle. When hot, add batter by large spoon. Cook until lightly browned on bottom, 3 to 5 minutes, then turn and brown second side. Repeat, using more butter or oil.

Yield: 4 servings.
Over these cakes I served up strawberry syrup, made by simply taking about a cup of frozen locally hand-picked strawberries from the freezer and heating them up with just one TBS maple syrup.  YUM!
THEN, last night dlb prepared a VERY delicious Valentine's Day meal for us - the absolute highlight of which was this 100% local dish he called Potatoes Anna.  He layered very thinly sliced potatoes and apples(using a mandoline) with onions, mushrooms, salt, pepper and a bit of cream into a pie dish and baked it forever (loose recipe, obviously).  I was way too busy swooning over the intense flavors of this dish to pay too much attention to the exact details of how it was made.  Why Potatoes Anna?  That's what they called it on the internets where he found the base recipe.  He altered it a ton though according to what we had on hand.


  1. everything looks great! I especially like your strawberry syrup idea - I froze some strawberries not knowing what I was going to do with them.

    And Potatoes Anna looks really good! What else did you eat with it?

  2. We had lamb chops and roasted cauliflower, neither of which were local. For some reason he was dead-set on making lamb (1st time for us, aside from some lamb sausages one time), and he looked for a local source, but it's not quite "in season" yet I guess.