Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Garden Delights

So, I feel I have been a bit remiss in my storytelling on this blog. One of the things most important to me about food, besides taste, of course, is sustainability. All of my friends hear me constantly harp on organic and local food, but I'm not sure that I have conveyed that passion here. Let me correct that mistake.

I love food, but it's so important to me that I eat organic and if possible, locally grown food. I belong to a great local, organic co-op (see previous post on Vegetable Husband) and in the past couple of years, one of my favorite past times has been toiling away in the garden for the freshest, most local food I can get. I'm out there almost every morning with my faithful guard dog, who has also gotten very fond of our gardening routine, checking each plant, trying to decide what I should do next, scouring for a fresh vegetable that might be ripe for plucking.

This year, my most successful so far, I started my seeds, most from Seed Savers Exchange, from scratch in the office under a fluorescent light. I found myself tending to those seeds more carefully than some people would a baby. They had to have a heater, and a certain amount of light each day. I almost cried when I had to thin them out.

Then, once the last frost was over, I tenderly began planting them into the gorgeous raised beds that my husband built right in our tiny front yard. We learned last year that while our backyard has the most space, it also has the least sun. I started listening to WHYY's You Bet Your Garden radio show, I read Organic Gardening from cover to cover, and I even started listening to the BBC's Gardener's Question Time podcast (which, admittedly, is a bit silly considering the growing conditions are so very different, but I just love those British accents!) I cannot get enough information about the very best way to grow perfect, organic produce.

And this week, all that hard work and knowledge has started to pay off! I harvested some green Ponderosa tomatoes to fry up for my family this past father's day, and today, I harvested my very first ever okra, along with some lovely, tiny Gold Rush tomatoes. The okra is so handsome, it's an heirloom variety, called Red Burgundy. I cannot wait to fry some up!

It really is so very exciting to step out of your front yard and pluck something ready to eat, and more importantly, you learn to appreciate the enormous amount of work and resources that go into every single bite you consume. Food is one of our most important investments, we eat it every single day, it keeps us healthy and strong, and without our health, we have nothing!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Shed at Glenwood

One of my favorite restaurants in town is The Shed at Glenwood. I'm always quick to share the restaurant with my friends if they're looking for a fantastic local joint. Chef Lance Gummere uses local produce and meats as much as possible, and often, there are meats that you won't find in other Atlantan restaurants. He is a self-professed lover of fried chicken hearts!
My favorite night, and many others' favorite, is Wednesday night Slider Night. Chef Gummere offers an ever-changing seasonal menu of $3 sliders. On a recent visit, I tried a barbecued goat meat slider. I know a lot of people would be squeamish at the idea of eating goat, but you really cannot go wrong with a good barbecue. The meat was tender and delicious, with a flavor very similar to lean beef. I also recommend the fried green tomato, the white truffle chicken salad, and the chicken liver sliders. I love it when chefs take parts of an animal, which are thrown out by most people, and turn them into something delectable.
If you are a true locavore, I recommend Thursday night's Harvest Night. The Shed selects a variety of farm fresh, local vegetables from which you can choose 4 for $10. It's an excellent value and I've had amazing things like buttery sunchokes and heirloom tomatoes. I think it's one of the best vegetarian meals you can get in the city.
Last, but certainly not least, please save room for the Homemade Ding Dong, (the name of which I'm sure the waiters bemoan endlessly.) The cream center is cold and rich, surrounded by moist chocolate cake, and covered in thick ganache. It's one of my all-time favorite desserts!