Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winter CSA Cooking: Winter Harvest Meatloaf Bites and N. Shore Weekend Picks

You might just be asking, "Where's the bacon?". No worries, more bacon is on the way. In fact, I have so much bacon I have to spread it out, otherwise those who don't treasure the treat as much as I do may get sick of my singing its praises.

This recipe is near and dear to my heart because it featured a litany of locally-sourced foods. That is why this is my entry into a fabulous CONTEST. Yes, I said contest, with prizes. Our Cook Quest is dedicated to bringing a spotlight on the local food movement, and help local farmers and businesses succeed. Here's the deal, you have until MONDAY to enter this lovely competition featuring one or more local ingredients. The full rules and the PRIZE list are here. Please enter, it's a great chance to get involved and help local folks and therefore help out the community you live in.

I digress, however, why is this such a big deal? For those of you just joining us, Lighter and Local is less about lighter in calorie foods (but we sure try) and more about the lighter side of eating local. It's something I've talked about in length in the past. You see, I want everyone out there to figure out some way to get involved in the local movement, but it does not have to be all or nothing.

My pantry and refrigerator still have plenty of non-local products in them. There is no shame in that. We are not superwomen, or supermen, or superpugs in this household. I still need pasta, French cheese and Italian wine. Do I try to buy all these things from local purveyors? Of course I do. Do I still make a run to my local grocery store once a week. Yes, I do. Would you find some boxes and containers of processed foods in my house? Guilty on that count as well. Baby steps towards a larger goal.

Here's the deal. Getting into the local food movement can be as simple as choosing local or regional products in your grocery store to get started. You can move into the local farmers' markets from there and then maybe a CSA at a farm of your choosing. You can start with produce, then maybe cheese, and finally meat. There is very little, if any right now, non-local produce or meat in this house. Produce comes from the Winter CSA, meat from various local farms. It doesn't have to be about politics or the environmental good (and there's plenty, I could go on and on) that you're doing until YOU want it to be. Start off with the premise of better food, and grow from there.

I'm lucky to live in New England where this movement has taken off with amazing momentum. I can buy flour, cheese, butter and dairy from Vermont and Massachusetts right in the normal grocery store. I also understand that other parts of the country haven't hopped on board yet. It takes research and a love of your community and maybe a little hard work to pull off. Through making the switch to local products I've met so many wonderful people in my little area that I would have never met before.

I'll get off my soapbox now and give you this awesome husband-approved recipe. It's made from some fabulous local ingredients. The ground beef and pork, and the parsley, come from Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, MA. The carrots, parsnips, onions and garlic come from our Winter CSA share at Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH. The milk and cheese are from Vermont dairy farmers.  And please, if you have a great recipe made from local ingredients you'd like to share, please check Our Cook Quest out.

Winter Harvest Meatloaf Bites
Makes: 9 "bites"

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Franks Red Hot Sauce (or similar)
1.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 springs of fresh thyme
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (or saltines, or homemade breadcrumbs)
1/8 cup milk
1 large egg
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped fine (I threw the carrots and parsnips into a food processor and gave them a whirl)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar (as always I love Cabot's extra sharp)
1 puff pastry sheet, defrosted (if you'd like to make your own, please go ahead, I'm not that talented. You can also use pie dough here if you'd like)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put that 1 teaspoon of olive oil into a large skillet and heat it up over medium heat. Add your onion, cook for 2-3 minutes, add garlic and cook until fragrant, another 30 seconds. Set it aside. Now turn the heat up to medium high, and add ground beef and pork. Cook until just about browned, set aside too cool.

In a large bowl, combine cooled onion, garlic, ground beef and pork with all the rest of the ingredients from salt down to the 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar. You can use a spoon to combine everything, I use my hands, it mixes so much easier.

Now take a muffin pan, grease it and set aside. Take your thawed puff pastry sheet cutting it length-wise along the folds and into three. Now, cut those three long pieces into three longer pieces, you'll end up with 9.

Place each of those rectangles of pastry dough into the muffin tins, letting the corners hang over each tin. Now spoon about a tablespoon and a half of your meat mixture into each. Go back and continue to fill until the mixture is all set.

Pop into the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes until your pastry is nicely browned.  

North Shore Bloggers Consortium Weekend Picks 2/18-2/20

Friday 2/18
Free Wine tasting at New England Wine and Spirits
4-7 p.m.
155 State St
Newburyport MA, 01950

New England Wine and Spirits always has a great selection  of wines to try on Friday afternoons/evening. Check them out!

Saturday 2/19
The Wonder and the Wow of Bald Eagles
Sat, February 19, 10:00am – 12:30pm
Where: Joppa Flats Education Center, One Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA. 
Fee: $17. Preregistration is required.
2nd Annual We're Pouring Cats and Dogs
Busa Wine & Spirits, 21 Trader's Way Salem, MA
Help animals and drink wine at the same time. Sample wines with cats or dogs on the label for a donation to the Northeast Animal Shelter. The Northeast Animal Shelter is amazing. It's a no-kill shelter. They can always use donations, but they're particularly looking for gift cards to Pet Supply Stores, Home Depot and supermarkets. Canned dog & cat food (no salmon for cats) is needed; Nutro brand for dry puppy, dog, kitten and cat food.  

Check out the rest of the picks from other bloggers in the area!

Check out Joey C’s Picks on Good Morning Gloucester here.

Media giant Seth gives up the best of Lynn at Lynn Happens.

North Shore Kid: Weekend Picks

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Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

These are adorable and I could eat about 7 of them now! How creative!

Kate @ said...

Oh my I could eat up all of those. They look yummy good!
This is a great recipe...thank you for sharing!

KitchenArtistry said...

Wonderful looking photos. We'd love to have you feature some of your dishes at

kita said...

These look absolutely scrumptious and all in one bite. Mmm

Laurel {Make and Takes} said...

Mmm, yummy! And beautiful pictures. I'd love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight:

Jessica said...

This looks so great! How creative! Yum!

Kimmy Bingham said...

Thanks all - and yes, they're super easy to eat several of in one serving as my husband and I found out!

Biz said...

My husband would love these! Thanks for posting. :D

Mefghan@travelwinedine said...

These are so cute! And they look delicious.

Julie ( said...

These look so good! Bookmarking this! :)

Mefghan@travelwinedine said...

These are so cute! And they look delicious.

Jessica said...

This looks so great! How creative! Yum!

KitchenArtistry said...

Wonderful looking photos. We'd love to have you feature some of your dishes at