Growing up, I was lucky enough to have cultivated an appreciation for local foods.
I loved Peanut Butter Parfaits from my local Dairy Queen (ahem, still do). I adored the greasy thin crust cheese pizza from my local Carbone’s (MN friends – you know what I’m talking about). I grew a special affliction for the free peanut butter cookies at my local Cub Foods grocer. And I simply could not have lived without the dessert pizza from my local Godfather’s Pizza, which looking back, was nothing more than crust topped with canned cherry pie filling, streusal and icing.
Somewhere in the midst of my 28 years, I grew up and realized that I, in fact, had no idea what it meant to eat locally. Thankfully, I also realized that my metabolism would no longer keep up with my insanely lustful appetite for pizza + sweets. And right there, is where these two realizations crossed: I began shopping more locally and as a result, eating a lot more seasonal vegetables.
I could probably tell you about the benefits of buying / eating / shopping locally, but let’s be real – you know already know them all. Instead, I am going to tell you that I live in a place that makes all of this locally-minded lifestyle extremely easy: the little big town of Madison, Wisconsin.
While I am forced to bear the frigid Wisconsin winters, living in Madison makes it all worth it. It’s a total hippie, liberal town where hipsters AND their grandpas commute by bike and if you’re driving a gas-guzzling SUV, you’ll definitely be honked at by a Prius driver drinking kombucha and smoking an herbal cigarette. We’re also home to the Dane County Farmer’s Market – the largest producer-only farmer’s market in the nation, which is just a small indication of our large love for local food.
We like to spread that love too.
The FairShare CSA Coalition is a local non-profit organization in Madison that works to support community supported agriculture (CSA) and recently came out with a brand new cookbook, “Farm-Fresh and Fast: Easy Recipes and Tips For Making the Most of Fresh, Seasonal Foods.” It’s brimming with vegetable storage + usage tips, menus and resources for making the most of your seasonal produce as well as beautifully designed (that’s the graphic designer-in-training talking).
Plus, it has more than 300 recipes, including Cherry Tofu Breakfast Bread, Rhubarb Coffee Cake, Fennel + Feta Burgers, Bacon + Ramp Skillet Cornbread (hurry before ramps go out of season!), Guatamalan Tomato Chilaquiles, Twice Maple Cheesecake and these Corn + Kale Fritters.
Need I say more?
Supporting your local farmer can be a tasty, tasty thing my friends (see below).
The FairShare CSA Coalition sent me this cookbook for free, but I want to pass it on and give away my copy of the book to one lucky reader. To enter, simply leave me a comment telling me what your favorite seasonal vegetable / fruit is and how you like to eat it. For example, I love garlic scapes and have major plans to whip up this salad as soon as I get my hands on some.
I’ll pick a winner Monday night and contact them via email (***update: GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED).
P.S. I already bought myself a 2nd copy of the cookbook, because I love it that much. And if you don’t win, you should go buy it here ($25 plus S+H) or at the very least, head to your local farmer’s market this week and pick up some gorgeous local produce to eat. Not sure where one is? Check out this handy farmer’s market locator from LocalHarvest.
P.P.S. These fritters are also delicious for breakfast with a Spiced Almond Breeze Au Lait. I speak from experience on this.
CORN + KALE FRITTERS
Slightly adapted + reprinted with permission from Farm-Fresh and Fast
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 t paprika
2 t salt
2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen and thawed)**
2 cups firmly packed finely chopped kale
2 large eggs
2 T butter, melted
2 cups milk
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 cup chopped onion
**As a lovely reader reminded me on my Facebook page, use GMO-free corn if possible. Corn is heavily genetically modified with nasty chemicals, so keep on the lookout for a GMO-free label or buy organic corn (since certified organic farmers aren’t knowingly allowed to plant GMO seed).
Mix the flours, cornmeal, spices, corn and kale in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, melted butter and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring gently until just mixed and set aside. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet, add the onion and saute 3 minutes. Add to batter.
Cover the bottom of a skillet with a thin layer of olive oil (I used butter), and heat it over medium heat. Drop 1/4-cupfuls of batter into the hot pan and flatten them evenly into approximately 1/2-inch patties. Add more oil / butter as needed to prevent sticking. Cook each fritter until it begins to bubble, then flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes more until golden.
Serve warm with salsa, sour cream, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or any condiment you desire. Plain is delightfully delicious too.
Serves 4 to 6 (about 12 fritters)