Hello August! I used to fret the ticking away of Summer. Now I fear not. I'm a sunshine seeker, and two years ago I moved to Baton Rouge where the sun blazes until Christmas. Perennial Summer! I do miss my farmer friends, though. Happy to have connected with local growers in my new town.
Let's do a little local foods challenge to celebrate farmer's market week: I'm making a conscious effort to focus my menus around the local harvest. As Michael Pollan says, "shake the hand that feeds you." I had the honor of shaking the hands of the Harris brothers who dedicated untold hours to making maple syrup on their farm at the corner of Summers and Greenbrier. The syrup tastes better knowing where it came from and the love that went into every step of its production.
Another favorite West Virginia farm product, J.Q. Dickinson SaltWorks, celebrates five years of making sun-dried salt which seasons dishes across the country. The 'time flies' adage is right at home here. The opening celebration of the salt's revitalization was a family dinner on the gorgeous farm in Malden, West Virginia in 2013. (The salt originated about 200 years ago! Nancy, Lewis, and Paige brought it back to iife after years of quiet at Kanawha Salines). If you haven't tried their salt, it's a perfect way to celebrate farmers year round.
Banh Mi, West Virginia Style*
I discovered this fantastic sandwich on Food52. I tweaked their recipe, omitting the salty fish sauce and soy sauce and instead using JQ Dickinson salt--the results are fabulous and really highlight local handmade ingredients--maple syrup and JQD salt.
Makes 6 servings
- 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, sliced crosswise 1/2-inch thick
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed but still intact
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 green onion, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Tiny ciabatta rolls or baguette (Or lettuce ‘boats’ to make lettuce wraps)
- Garnish: Red leaf lettuce, paper-thin slices of radish and fresh jalapeno, shredded carrot, cilantro
Place the pork slices on a sheet of plastic wrap one inch apart. Cover with second sheet of wrap and pound gently to flatten to 1/4-inch thick (or a touch thinner). Transfer to a shallow dish.
Combine maple syrup, salt, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, green onion, and black pepper in a small bowl, whisking to combine. Pour mixture over pork, turning with tongs to coat. Let marinate for 10 minutes, then drizzle with the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
Heat a griddle to medium-high. Sear meat until deep golden on one side, then turn to brown the second side--about one to two minutes per side.
To assemble, slice rolls in half, keeping a hinge intact. Mound each bun with desired toppings and a few slices of meat. Enjoy and Happy Cooking!
*(in Lousiana I'll get my pork tenderloin from Iverstine's. West Virginia: check with Black Oak Hollow Farm for great pork)