Thursday, December 26, 2013

From the Farm to Your Holiday Table

By: Amanda Neal 
Level 1 Classic Culinary Arts plus Farm-to-Table Student

The holidays are a special time of year, filled with snowy days and family gatherings. But the most important, and sometimes most memorable, part of the holidays are enjoying meals with the ones you love. Roasted, seasonal vegetables and braised, melt-in-your-mouth proteins are what I look forward to each year, and for this holiday season, I wanted nothing less. It’s a tradition in my family to have a big Christmas Eve dinner where the entire family gets together and enjoys each others company over food and wine. And to make this year’s meal even more delicious, I decided to make a dish using locally sourced product.  

As a student in the Classic Culinary Arts plus Farm-to-Table program at ICC, I’ve learned the importance of knowing where your food comes from. I wanted to practice what I’ve learned in class about environmentally conscious cooking, and this holiday meal was the perfect opportunity to do it. I decided to start at a local farmers market in Cincinnati, OH, called FindlayMarket, the oldest continuously operated market in Ohio. Once there, I saw some incredible Brussels sprouts nestled next to other vegetables. In class, we learned the importance of asking suppliers where their product comes from, so I quickly learned that the sprouts came from a small farm near Columbus, OH. At this point, I knew I was going to make a roasted Brussels sprouts dish with bacon. The golden brown, tender sprouts and crispy, salty bacon pair perfectly together, and they would go great with short ribs and garlic potatoes, two other items we already planned on making.  

As my family got together on Christmas Eve, we talked for hours and filled our stomachs with great food. Everyone loved the idea of having a dish that a local farmer helped produce. This holiday season, I encourage everyone to explore neighborhood farmer and green markets. As well, try cooking with sustainable ingredients, along with some seasonal product to make a well-rounded meal that is great for you and the environment. In the end, I know your belly wont be disappointed. 

Click to learn more about ICC's Classic Culinary Arts plus Farm-to-Table program.

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