September 24, 2008

Local Flavors, Local Colors

The weather is cooling off, the leaves are starting to turn and fall is on it’s way to the Midwest! Ahhhhh…how I love this time of the year. It’s warm enough during the day, but just cool enough to wear a light jacket at night.

The beautiful fall colors, harvest time in the fields, colorful mums start appearing, pumpkins of all sizes, corn mazes, apple pie, winter produce from the garden….there are so many wonderful parts of the fall!

As you might have caught on recently from reading my personal blog – I’ve become a huge “localvore.” Not that I wasn’t before, but with my job at the Dept. of Ag I’ve learned a lot about eating local and I have truly found my passion in life. (Yes, I know it might sound corny – but it’s true!)

In my job I work with farmers across the state that sell their farm products at farmers’ markets or off their farm. I also help producers become certified organic through the USDA and help our Agri-Tourism operations market their businesses. I get to spend the day at farmers’ markets visiting with the producers, going to do farm tours with specialty crops growers and I have the opportunity to learn something new everyday. I truly love my job and enjoy helping our producers across the state.

I really feel like everything that I have done before this job was preparing me for this position and the work that I now do. Yes, there are days in the office that aren’t so wonderful, but that’s why they call it a job – it ain’t all peaches and cream all the time.

I am just thankful for this position finding me and so thankful for the farmers that I have the opportunity to work with on a daily basis. Ok that said, back to cooking right?

If you haven’t been on the Farm to Fork Cooking Blog, you need to. It’s all about eating local food, with great recipes and stories! I’m addictive…I wish I could get paid to just cook and write about the pleasures of local food. The blog is a part of, which is a great site that you can find lots of wonderful and tasty recipes on.

Today’s cooking treat: Butterflied Chicken! I watched Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network the other day and I knew this was one recipe I knew I would love, plus I have a ton of rosemary in my herb garden that needed to be put to good use.

Butterflied Chicken
By Ina Garten

1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 2 sprigs

3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 roasting chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each), deboned and butterflied
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Mix the chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl to make a paste.

Place the chickens on a sheet pan, skin side up, and loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers. Place 1/2 of the paste under the skin of each chicken. Rub any remaining paste on the outside and underside of the chickens.

Turn the chicken skin side down and scatter the lemon slices and sprigs of rosemary over each chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Roll each chicken up, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Heat a grill with coals. Spread the coals out in 1 dense layer and brush the grill with oil. Unroll the chickens, place them on the grill and cook for 12 minutes on each side.

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