Next time you dine out, think about where the food you are eating came from. I don’t mean what it is, rather where was it grown and by whom.
Was it grown by a local family farm with respect and care, or by a huge conglomerate who’s only motivation is their own bottom line? Was it grown for its flavor and picked by hand at peek ripeness by the same person who planted it months earlier, or grown by a factory farm picked under ripe by machines and shipped across the globe so it will look nice on a supermarket shelf?
Many local restaurants work closely with local farmers and change their menus as the available local ingredients change. Some farmers deliver several times a week to restaurants and many chefs take advantage of the weekly farmers markets in Cambridge, Arlington and Somerville. A few restaurants even own yearly shares of farms such as Steve Parker’s Farm in Waltham. EVOO, in Somerville, has owned a yearly share of Mr. Parker’s Farm since the restaurant opened four years ago and designs nightly menu items around what Steve grows and delivers daily. You don’t have to be a chef to take advantage of the delicious local ingredients, ask for them at the better area markets and go to farmers markets. Using the best ingredients always results in the best finished product.
Here is a great autumn recipe for Hubbard Squash – Apple Bisque that utilizes many easy to find local ingredients. You can substitute any winter squash for the hubbard squash.
3 tb Butter
1 ea Onions, medium diced
2 tb Garlic, minced
1 ea Leek, halved lengthwise, sliced thin
7 lb Hubbard Squash peeled, seeded, large diced
5 ea Apples, peeled, cored, large diced
1 gl Apple Cider
2 tb Kosher Salt
1/2 ts Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 ea Sachet with 2 Bay Leaves, Parsley, Sage and Thyme Sprigs
In a large soup pot over medium heat sweat the onions and garlic with the butter until translucent. Add of the remaining ingredients, increase the temperature to high. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the hubbard squash and apples are very soft, about one hour. Puree, strain, taste, adjust the seasoning.
You can serve this soup by itself or with fried sage, diced apples, creme fraiche, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or fresh snipped chives.
Peter McCarthy is the Chef / Owner of EVOO Restaurant at the corner of Kirkland and Beacon Streets in Somerville, only , mile from Harvard Yard