Guest Post: Adventures in Eating Locally with the Proctors: Week 2
Meet the Proctor Family! They're a family of four in Bloomington-Normal trying their best to eat entirely local food one day each week, and they've graciously agreed to share their adventures.
Follow Neal, Maggy, Lydia, and baby Adalyn as they shop, chop, dice, grill, and even grow local food this summer in an effort to not only eat fresh, wholesome meals, but to support their community, and live a little greener. Each week, they'll share their stories and their creations right here on our blog. Are you up for eating locally once a week? Follow the Proctor Family and find out.
Week 2: Breakfast Two Ways
May 7 - 13
And we’re back for week 2 of our Local Eats adventure. We came into Saturday morning slightly more prepared then last week. We knew the only meat we wanted to purchase was going to be for breakfast. Our plan was to either purchase meat for supper from our local meat shop or to use our leftover package of bone-in pork chops we had from last week.
Our farmers market haul this week
Squeezes out the excess water in the freshly shredded hash browns is an important step in creating extra crispy edges.
We had a tentative brunch plan of eggs, meat, potatoes and a green vegetable to put in the mix. Maggy ended up with a delicious three egg bacon and asparagus omelette with a side of fresh cut hash browns. Of course no omelette is complete with out some fresh cheddar cheese, but unfortunately for Maggy our 2 month year old (Adalyn) has an aversion to dairy.
Maggy's breakfast omelette with a side of hash browns
We were also hoping to include some sauteed mushrooms but the only supplier was fresh out by the time we got there. Apparently mushrooms this time of year are a hot commodity. We are going to need to corral the little ones earlier then 9am if we want to get the pick of the litter. On with the meal. I went with a three egg, bacon & sauteed asparagus skillet. I don’t mind omelettes but definitely prefer the creaminess of fried eggs mixed in with crispy hash browns and a nice slab of farm fresh bacon. Lydia scarfed down whatever combo of eggs, bacon, hash bowns and asparagus we put in front of her (she's not picky).
Three eggs sunny-side up with crispy bacon, hash browns, and asparagus
Again, this early in the year, available produce is generally limited to your basic root vegetables, radishes, and a handful of leafy greens. While this is the case, we’ll plan on using the same template of a meaty centerpiece with a starch and some kind of vegetable to round out the meal. With our plan in hand, we walked directly to PrairiErth farms. This early in the year, they have the widest range of produce available at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers Market. We opted for some fresh carrots and a couple of pounds of turnips. Our previously bought bone-in pork chops paired perfectly with our roasted vegetable combination.
Back at the house, Maggy and I have kind of an unspoken rule of thumb; I prepare the meat, she takes care of sides and sauces. This week, however, Maggy decided to take on the entire operation. I was slightly concerned, as Maggy has a history of turning perfectly good cuts of meat into jerky. I will say though I was pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out. While she missed the “sear” on our pork chops, she made up for it with a delicious bourbon, ketchup, and brown sugar glaze that was nicely caramelized the meat. The veggies were tossed in some combination of olive oil, dijon mustard, and various spices. If you’ve never had turnips before, once cooked they kind of take on the starchiness of a potato with the sweetness of an onion. They are such an underappreciated vegetable in my opinion. They're versatile, last forever in the fridge, and best of all, they are one of the lowest priced vegetables at the market, so they deliver a lot of bang for your buck. The few larger turnip chunks that were under-cooked still had a somewhat bitter taste to them, but I’m confident this can be overcome by refining my sous chef skills.
Glazed pork chops with roasted carrots and turnips
½ lb Bacon (Destiny Meats, Danvers IL): $4.00
1 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes (PrairiErth farms): $3.00
1 Bundle Asparagus (Can’t remember): $3.50
½ Dozen Eggs (Irwin Family Farms- for sale at Carl's Ice Cream): $1.75
Per Person Breakfast Total: $4.08/person
1.12 lb Bone in Pork Chops (Destiny Meats, Danvers IL): $8.15
Roughly 2 lb Turnips (PrairiErth farms): Roughly $3.00
Roughly 1 lb Carrots (PrairiErth farms): Roughly $2.00
Per Person Dinner Total: $4.38/person
Per Person Total: $8.47/person
All in all, I think we improved on our goal of eating local, delicious, economical food. The freshness of the vegetables can’t be matched and the bone-in chops are by far the tenderest pork loin cut I’ve ever had. The smoked bacon was much leaner then most bacon I’ve had, therefore lacked a little bit of crispiness, but I’ll take that if it means a healthier option. While we did lower our total cost, we kept things pretty simple this week. Because we did not improve on our meat cost and paid roughly the same for our veggies, I’ll give us a C again this week on the economical side of things. We’re still waiting on our lamb supply, and our garden is 1 week closer to providing some delicious produce. We’ll see what next week has in store for us!