Monday, August 27, 2007

Flooding and Buying Local

The recent flooding was quite devastating to some of our local farmers here in southern Wisconsin. If you haven't already read about the effects, here are a couple of articles.

Flooding damages organic farmers' crops

Flooding Devastates Organic Farms

What this means is that some vegetables we expect in the late summer and fall will be in short supply. Root vegetables such as beets, turnips, and parsnips and lots of lettuces were hard hit.

So, what can we do?
We can buy local. It sounds simple, but it might require us to change our expectations about what is available and the price we should pay. At L'Etoile, we will adjust our menu compared with what we normally might serve in the fall - the consequences of choosing to buy local.

A big part of buying local is buying what is available. There are some fast growing vegetables such as baby romaine and arugula that can still be planted and grown this late in the season. So we can all pitch in, buy what the local farmers have to offer, and adjust our menus. With this in mind, I've included a recipe for a tasty arugula salad below.

An easy way to buy local is at our local farmers' markets. There is a farmers market almost every day of the week somewhere in Madison.







These are just the markets in the greater Madison area! There are many more in southern Wisconsin which you can find at one of these two web sites.

Arugula Salad
1 bunch Arugula
1/4 pound bacon
1 shallot minced
1 T mustard
1 T red wine vinegar
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 sunny side up egg

In a large saute pan, crisp the bacon and remove to paper towels. In the same pan, saute the minced shallots on low heat for about a minute. Remove from heat and add red wine vinegar, mustard, and the olive oil. Whisk in the pan while still warm. Crumble up the crisp bacon slices and combine with the vinaigrette. In a separate bowl place the arugula and drizzle the warm vinaigrette over the top. Top this off with the sunny side egg and serve. Salt and pepper to taste. Quick and easy.


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