Field & Fork Network

Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Take the NY Locavore Challenge!

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm

This September, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) is launching its 2nd Annual NY Locavore Challenge. The NY Locavore Challenge is a first of its kind, month-long campaign aimed at engaging consumers across the state in actively supporting the local organic food movement.  

The Locavore challenge starts with the theory “vote with your dollar,” and takes it a few steps further. Participants will be supporting both local economy and encouraging organic and sustainable growing practices. Every dollar spent on food goes to local farms and businesses, and every social action made helps to make a louder voice to representatives about in the farm-to-table movement. The goal is for 5,000 people to join.

The challenge is customizable. Choose a level and mini-challenges, which can be in a specific community, according to the team’s schedule. Even writing a letter, clicking Like on Facebook, or trying just one new local organic food item during September, helps your favorite farm.

The options are:

Bite-Sized (3 mini-challenges),

Meal-Sized (6 mini-challenges) or a

Feast-Sized  (9 mini-challenges).

Then choose mini-challenges (just 1, 2, or 3 from each category depending upon commitment level) from these categories: Grow, Cook, Eat; Join the Movement; and Take Action.

Registration FREE and is available online at or by calling the NOFA-NY office at 585-271-1979 ext. 512.


In Uncategorized on August 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Set to the background of Blues music a group of women (and one man) recently gathered to re-create the famed Dinosaur BBQ cookbook. With their individual twists, a multi-course meal was served.
Laura and the Dinosaur BBQ Cookbook: An American Roadhouse 

A Thai green curried chili that was the result of cabbage having soaked overnight, spiked with cilantro and flavored with Mae Ploy Sauce, on hot dogs, received praise: “I’m incorporating this salad into my repertoire,” Lynn said. But it wasn’t the “winning” dish.

Slaw and wieners 

Mississippi-Style Catfish Strips with Bacon-Fennel BBQ Sauce captured the attention and palates of dinner goers. Dinosaur BBQ originally created the dish for a fiery food show but some of the ingredients were altered. Although it happened to be Lent when Dino BBQ developed the recipe, I don’t think the Pope would mind having taken liberty with it. In the end, it was sinfully good.

The Fish

1-pound catfish fillets

1 egg slightly beaten

½ cup cornmeal

½ cup flour

Old Bay Seasoning

3 cups vegetable oil

Slice the catfish into ¾ inch wide by 5 to 6 inches long. Toss in a bowl along with the egg. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Fill a bowl with a mix of cornmeal and flour. Pour the oil into the skillet. Slide the oil-filled skillet onto a front burner and get it heating over medium heat until hot but not smoking.

Next, line up the cookie sheet, the cornmeal mixture, and the bowl of marinating catfish. Pluck the catfish from the marinade, drop it in the cornmeal mix, and roll it around in the mixture until coated. Then move the coated strips to the wax-lined pan.

Once the catfish strips are breaded, fry them in the hot oil in batches without crowding the pan. Cook, flipping once, for a total of 4 to 5 minutes until nicely brown. Drain on paper towels. Feeds 3 to 4.

The Sauce

8 strips regular-slice bacon

1 heaping cup slivered red onion

1 heaping cup slivered fennel

Pinch each of sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1 cup Dinosaur BBQ Creole Honey Mustard Sauce

Juice of ¼ lemon

Fry the bacon over medium-high heat just until crisp and brown. Pull it out of the pan, drain it on paper towels, crumble and set aside.

Pour off all but 3 to 4 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan. Dump in the onions and fennel, seasoning with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sizzle over medium heat until brown and caramelized. Stir in the sauce and lemon juice.

Pour the sauce over the fish

Back to the meal

Beer was on tap and so was a Trilogy Red wine from Black Willow in Olcott, NY

Ending the meal with Julie’s Peanut Butter Pie with an Oreo crust (she used graham crackers and Cool Whip instead of Heavy Whipped Cream) was a perfect conclusion to a summer BBQ.

Sausage Spinach Asiago Turnovers

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2011 at 8:40 pm


I get tired of the meat-veggie-starch dinner. It is functional but boring. Like a pair of good walking shoes. They get you where you need to go, but you don’t look very good once you get there. (or on the way, actually, continuing this pathetic metaphor). That kind of dinner is boring to make as well as eat. I am a COOK. I like to try new things, use my tools and be inspired by my food. Most weeks, I try to mix in something that is a little more exciting than the classic three part meat dinner and on occasion, I end up with something really terrific. This was one of those weeks. This dinner was the first time in ages that I have sat down at the table and said “I have to take a picture of my food. This is so good.”

This dish is not something that fits into the “healthy eating” category of my recipe book, but it really is worth the splurge. I use homemade pastry here. It is easy and really worth it. Of course you can buy a pastry dough, but why not just try to make it? If it fails, grab your backup out of the fridge, but if it works, you will not regret the (small) effort required.

Mike summed it up perfectly: “I want to go to the city where this is the street food.”


Sausage Spinach Asiago Turnovers

Pastry dough
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick of butter, frozen or very cold
Ice water

1 medium sweet onion, chopped (1-1/2 to 2 cups)
1 lb sweet chicken Italian sausage (use patties or remove the casing from links)
1/2 lb frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed
2/3 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Egg wash
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk

Make the pastry. Cut the butter into pebble size chunks. In a food processor combine the butter and flour. Pulse until the butter is pea sized or smaller. Very slowly, add ice water with the processor running. As soon as the dough comes together to form a ball, stop processing. (It should happen around 3 Tablespoons of water). Remove the dough, form into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Make the filling. While the pastry is resting, in a large fry pan, sauté the onion until tender. Add the sausage and cook through, breaking up with a spoon. Remove to a bowl to cool.

Squeeze the spinach out with your hands to remove as much water as possible. Add to the sausage mixture. Once the mixture is fairly cool, add the cottage cheese, asiago, pepper, nutmeg, and Italian seasoning. Stir well to combine.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Assemble the turnovers. Cut the pastry into five pieces and roll each out into a circle.* Mine ended up being about 8 inches in diameter and less than 1/8 inch thick. Place the pastry on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Position them as you would like them to be for baking. You don’t want to try to move them once they are filled. Pile filling in the middle of the pastry and carefully fold the pastry over to create a turnover. Match the edges up and roll them in to seal. You can crimp these with a fork to ensure that they are sealed. You really don’t want the pastry to break or to seep your yummy filling out onto your cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining 4 pieces of pastry.

Whisk the egg and milk together in a small dish. Brush over the top of the pastry.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Serves 5 (or 2 if Mike is the other person eating with you)

*It doesn’t need to really be a circle, it just needs to be somewhat symmetrical so that the edges match up when you turn it over. No prizes for perfection here – this is supposed to look like street food.

How Does Your Garden Grow

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm

The GREAT (Growing Ripens Empowerment and Togetherness) Garden is under way! In late spring of this year, the Buffalo Museum of Science and the Charles Drew Science Magnet School #59 started a garden that is in all senses a community endeavor.  Funded by the Eco-Schools program, a grant made possible by the National Wildlife Federation and HSBC Bank, the Charles Drew Science Magnet School #59 was started to educate students on how food is grown and how to prepare it in a healthy way.

Now that the school year is over, the gardens are being used by fifth and sixth grade girls participating in the WNY Women’s Fund program educating them on where food comes from, how it’s grown, and the environmental and health impacts that their food choices have. Future plans for the gardens include offering community classes to engage and educate residents on healthy food preparation and food advocacy.

With contributions from local businesses such as Wegmans for a raised bed, Lowe’s on Transit for discounted materials to construct the beds, and plant seedlings from Niagara County Produce, the GREAT Garden really is a great example of community supported agriculture that will provide far more than a weekly basket of produce.

With six raised beds of vegetables and a seventh designated for strawberries, the students of Charles Drew Science Magnet School #59 and the girls participating in the WNY Women’s Fund program are sure to receive a bountiful education on impacts that their food choices make. While the GREAT Gardens may still be looking for bed sponsors, it’s clear that they are off to a great start.

Stay up-to-date on the progress of the garden!

Margherita Pizza

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Excerpted from


This, to me, is the perfect Margherita pizza. The crust is thin, light and crispy. The sauce is thick and tomato-y. The fresh mozzarella is mild and cheesy. The basil leaves are bright and fresh. When I bit in and my mouth filled with saucy, cheesy, herby goodness I’m pretty sure I had a pizzagasm. I’m really excited that the sauce turned out delicious because I basically made it up as I went along. I wanted it to be thicker than pasta sauce, so I figured if I used the whole tomatoes (canned) and blended them with a little tomato paste I could achieve that effect. It worked! I also like the basil leaves to be baked along with the pizza, but you can sprinkle them on top after baking if you prefer them uncooked.

Margherita Pizza got its name in 1889 when Queen Margherita of Savoy was visiting Naples. The queen was served a red, white and green pizza representing the colors of the Italian flag. The simple and delicious flavors of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil have remained a popular combination over 100 years later – taste this pizza and you’ll immediately see why!

Source: Emily Bites Original

1 t extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ c canned whole tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
1 T fresh basil, sliced thin
¼ t oregano
¼ t sugar
1 small bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste
Boboli 12” Whole Wheat Thin Pizza Crust
4 oz fresh part skim mozzarella, sliced about 1/4” thick
8-10  fresh basil leaves, whole
½ t Italian seasoning

1.    Preheat the oven to 450.
2.    In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and add garlic. Cook until golden and fragrant. Combine the canned tomatoes and tomato paste in a blender and blend. Add the tomato sauce, sliced basil, oregano, sugar, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes until sauce is thickened. There should be about ½ cup of sauce.
3.    Spread pizza sauce evenly across the top surface of the pizza crust, leaving at least a ½ inch edge around the outside. Lay the slices of mozzarella across the top of the pizza. Spread the basil leaves on top of the mozzarella. Finish the pizza by sprinkling the Italian seasoning over top.
4.    Place pizza on a foil covered baking sheet, a pre-heated pizza stone (my preference) or straight onto the oven rack (depending on how you like your crust) and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Yields 6 slices. WW P+: 5 per slice