Monday, June 1, 2009

The "Eat Local" meal was more than a success, it was fun and interesting at the same time. Everything on the menu was grown or produced locally here in southwest Ohio with the only exceptions being a little lemon juice, sugar, some olive oil and the salt and pepper.

The salad was locally grown lettuces dressed with homemade chive blossom vinegar and olive oil; tart and flavorful and tasting like spring. The main course was a whole free range chicken roasted over indirect heat on the grill. A mixture of fresh sage, lemon thyme and rosemary was chopped, mixed with some local butter and shoved under the skin and in the cavity. The lemon juice made an appearance here. It smelled wonderful while it was cooking and it piqued the interest of a couple of the neighbors.

There was also the last of the locally grown asparagus. The stalks were sliced into thirds and stir fried in a small amount of butter in a cast iron skillet. The only liquid was from the butter or asparagus itself. This also marked the appearance of the pheasant eggs discussed a couple of posts below. Two of the eggs were gently poached, then cooled in water. They were trimmed to a nice round shape then dropped back into hot water until warmed, then dried and laid on top of the asparagus. A little lemon juice finished the dish. The egg yolk was a bright, vivid orange. The taste was a little stronger than a chicken egg, but it was perfect with the asparagus and the size of the egg was perfect for the serving portion. A chicken egg would have overwhelmed the dish. We both agreed that this was the highpoint of the meal.

The remaining pheasant eggs were used to make a creme Anglaise with local milk and cream. One more outside ingredient popped up here in the form of a couple drops of almond oil. The sauce was cooled and then served over locally grown strawberries. The strawberries were distinct for their depth of flavor and color. Most of what shows up here as strawberries are grown in California and can best be described as strawberries on steroids. They are huge and when one slices into them the centers are white. What taste one gets from them is usually in the outer edges. The local berries were perfectly ripened and red from the outside to the center. They were sweet and full flavored and the acid in them wasn't harsh. They needed no sweetening.

The wine was local also. Having tasted the 2008 Kincaid Ridge Viognier Roussanne last Monday we broke out a bottle of the 2006 vintage of the same wine. The aroma reminded me of a good Condrieu with it's oiliness and slight musk overtones. The taste was the bright lemon and melon mix of Viognier with body and pear added by the Roussanne. The wine did taste slightly green and not nearly as ripe as the 2008 version, but I loved the acid in the wine with the richness of the chicken and pheasant egg. This wine is ready to drink and I will move my remaining two bottles up to the front of the cellar. I'll wait until fall and open one of them along side the 2008 version for a good comparison.

Good meal.

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