A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 3: Carolina Food Only

Here's where everyone else is posting about their week of local food.

Today I was significantly less lame than earlier in the week. I worked at home, so I was able to make a decent lunch:
  • Slices of goat cheese rolled in Adluh cornmeal and fried in some bacon drippings
  • Chopped garden cucumbers and tomatoes with salt and dill seeds. I remembered early this morning that the dill seeds in the pantry were harvested from the garden a few years back.
Tonight's meal was a shrimp purloo. The local shrimp I bought at Publix were a bit past not very good, but we decided to eat them anyway -- I just didn't use the shells for stock, and I rinsed the shrimp and boiled them quickly before sautéing them. It seemed to kill off the yuck. I'm cavalier about bacteria and food safety, and I'm sure someday it'll bite me, but I hate the idea of throwing away food that someone carefully caught or harvested.

I used summer squash, okra, bell peppers, and a Big Jim chile from the garden -- a little unorthodox for a purloo, but both local and historically Southern. I used Carolina Gold Rice, too, and Caw Caw Creek bacon. And I used a bottle of Thomas Creek Multi Grain Ale, and some garden thyme, parsley, and chives.

Since I haven't been able to find local onions, the purloo was missing that all-important oniony flavor structure. In a rich, savory dish, it's almost like the other flavors hang on the onion -- it kind of stretches everything out and makes it more available for tasting. I'd thought about that before, but tonight it was dramatic. The chives did nothing -- added at the end, they made the dish oniony but didn't add anything more the way real onions would have.

Black pepper would also have been good. And vermouth. But it was fine.

Anyway, those tortillas I so optimistically mentioned last night? They were very much like tasty, crispy chapatti. Because they lacked baking soda or baking powder, they were not soft or pliable.

So today I was finishing up a call to the Adluh Flour company for a totally unrelated reason (Free Times cover story -- watch for it) and nearly slapped my forehead: Adluh Self-Rising Flour. Carolina-grown wheat milled in Columbia fits the challenge guidelines just fine, so those extra ingredients in there can sneak right by the censors. I found it at Bi-Lo, the third grocery store I visited. Honey-sweetened blueberry cobbler, here I come.

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