I think the saying goes something like, “think globally, eat locally,” and I try to. Eating locally often creates a situation where you’re eating seasonally as well, and that’s a good thing.
A summer meal:
A winter meal:
During the spring and summer months we often eat lighter, and along with that, we drink lighter. Guinness and Cabernet go well with nearly everything, especially beefy winter dishes, but when eating lighter fair, I tend to go with a crisp white wine or a refreshing lager or pilsner, or better yet, Bell’s Oberon. The same goes for my cocktails. The bourbon and Amaro driven drinks take the warmer months off and are replaced by gin drinks with a smattering of Rum and Tequila, most likely in the form of the El Diablo or Dark and Stormy, especially when day drinking is involved. Being the dork that I am, I even switch my bitters out.
Gin is my favorite summer, and possibly, all year base spirit. Rye and Rum are close, but Gin seems to be my number two gal, and for this reason, I can’t wait to start stirring up pitchers of Aviation Gin Aviations to enjoy on the porch.
As readers, you will see my menus and ingredients start originating from my Wednesday afternoon strolls to the Maplewood Farmer’s Market held at the Schlafly Bottleworks. It may be called the Schlafly Farmer’s Market now.
I feel Schlafly/Maplewood is the best local farmer’s market as Tower Grove’s is over priced and Soulard’s doesn’t seem to have the local producers like Yellow Tree Farms or Missouri Grass Fed Beef. Goshen Farmer’s Market is by far the best for selection and price. They have some annoying craft venders, but I just ignore them. A trip to Edwardsville to the Goshen version on Saturday mornings is a must if I’m doing any canning. Maplewood’s works for individual dinners, but if I need veggies and peppers to can, in bulk, I’ll drive over, even with gas at the price it’s at, it’s worth it. In addition I get to enjoy some Goshen coffee at 222 along with one of their amazing salami an cheddar croissants.
Its nice to know exactly where your food comes from. For instance, the jalepenos I buy and process are grown on a sunny hill a couple miles from my in-laws and can be had for a song compared to the pricing at the west side of the river markets. Its the small local guys that generally have the best prices. They’ll often be quite a bit lower than Biver Farms on your regular market fair, but places like Yellow Tree and Biver are great for unique items.
Chad Rensing holds court at the Goshen market and sells some damn good meat, check his web page here, I usually meat up with him around Christmas to buy my parents gifts in the form of his 2 plus inch thick pork chops. Fond, which was across the street from where the market took place, used his products. Mill’s is a great vendor as well, they also sell baked treats in case the 222 Bakery item didn’t fill me up. Wether you go to Goshen or Maplewood you’ll likely see some of the area’s best chefs checking out what’s fresh. I’ve seen Gerard Craft or the Niche empire in Maplewood on several occasions, even during the sporadic winter markets. If guys like Gerard are shopping there, why shouldn’t you.
That being said, and the weather being what it is, I thought I’d treat myself to one last wintery mix/meal before I start switching up my proteins and put the stouts, porters, and brown ales away.
So, I cooked a steak, from Baumann’s, as always, on the cast iron, roasted some potatoes, and had a nice salad,
The salad was dressed with a cider vinegar, honey, and mustard vinaigrette. Washed everything down with a Manhattan 2:1 and a heavy IPA. Dessert, in the form of Dad’s Scotch Cookies, was paired with Laird’s 7.5 year Apple Brandy, something I would usually reserve for a fireplace chat. It was a damn fine meal to say goodbye to Old Man Winter.
That was a great meal, but now that it’s gin time, as seen by all the green bellow,
let’s start enjoying more of the best base there is.
I’ll likely be drinking a few more Martinezes before it gets to be Aviation hot, but gin is in wants it hits 70 degrees, kind of like how sear sucker is in wants the Cardinals start playing games that count, you have to embrace the opportunity to make you’re own rules in this world whenever you can. So as a rule, I’m going to make a new gin drink each week as long as it hits 70 degrees.