Connecticut produces many delicious and accessible locally grown foods, year round. In an effort to boost the local economy, fund the local agricultural market, and provide safer, less processed foods to consumers, Connecticut's agricultural society, along with many other states, is encouraging a local food movement, emphasizing the importance of purchasing foods from one's home state.
Those July 4th barbecues are a great time to participate in the local food movement in Connecticut. Here are a couple of my favorite July 4th recipes, made entirely from Connecticut grown ingredients!
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
This dessert is a special family recipe -- straight from my grandma's kitchen! It's not red, white and blue, but it's a delicious crowd pleaser, and can be made entirely from Connecticut's seasonal produce.
Pie shell (or 2 cups flour, ¾ cup shortening, 1 tsp salt, ¼ cup cold water)*
2 cups cut up rhubarb
2 cups cut up strawberries
1 – 1.5 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want your pie!)
1/3 cup flour
* Will also need a rolling pin if you're making your own pie shell.
Make or buy pie shell. If you decide to try making the pie shell yourself, mix the above ingredients for the pie crust together – sugar, salt, shortening, water. Then grab a rolling pin and roll out the crust to the ideal size, enough to fill a nine inch pie dish. The dough should spill over the sides of the dish so it can cover the top of the pie filling before you put the pie in the oven.
1. Cut up enough rhubarb to fill two cups and then enough strawberries to fill up two more cups.
2. Mix together sugar and flour.
3. Then mix the rhubarb and strawberries into the flour and sigar mix.
4. Now put a few pats of butter on the mixed up ingredients and pour into pie dish. Cook for 50-60 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Let cool, and enjoy!
Cavatelli with glazed vegetables
This one's from the Food Network
. It's fairly simple, delicious and appropriate as a side dish or meal, and a great option for vegetarians. The recipe also calls for all locally grown Connecticut ingredients.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 pound (1 1/2 cups) ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 bunches scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
6 to 8 small radishes, quartered lengthwise
8 ounces thin asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
Freshly ground pepper
1. Combine the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Add 1 cup ricotta and the egg to the well; gradually mix into the flour with a fork to form a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth ball. Wrap in a kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, blanch the vegetables: Prepare a bowl of salted ice water. Bring a medium saucepan of generously salted water to a boil. Add the scallions; boil until bright green, about 30 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the ice water. Boil the radishes, then the asparagus, cooking each until bright but still firm, 2 to 3 minutes, then plunging into the ice water. Drain the vegetables and set aside.
3. On a clean, dry surface, form the cavatelli (see instructions below).
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cavatelli; cook until they float and are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl (reserve the pasta water) and toss with 2 tablespoons butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm.
5. Melt another 2 tablespoons butter with 3 to 4 tablespoons pasta water in a skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables; toss until warm and glazed. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and more pasta water to make a light sauce. Toss with the cavatelli; serve topped with dollops of the remaining 1/2 cup ricotta.
1. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Work with one piece of dough at a time; cover the rest with a towel.
2. Roll the dough into a long 1/2 inch-thick rope, working from the center to the edges to maintain an even thickness as you go.
3. Cut the rope into 1/4-inch-wide pieces (we used a pastry scraper), pressing down and pushing away with each cut so the piece curls slightly.
Photos: Recipetips.com (top) and Con Poulos