Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Menu for Earth Day

Earth Day is today, Wednesday, April 22, 2009. In celebration of the day Martine Marcus and Judy Mancini of Burden Free Foods created a special menu using ingredients that come from within 100 miles of their home-base, Morristown, New Jersey.

Earth Day Menu

  • Local, Organic Squash & Apple Potage
  • New Jersey Free-Range, Organic Chicken Soup with Local Potato Dumplings
  • Local Herbed Polenta Toast with Sautéed Pennsylvania Mushrooms and New Jersey Aged Gouda Cheese
  • Salad of Local Greens Drizzled with Local Honey Vinaigrette
  • Apple, Blueberry, Maple Compote Over Local Cornmeal Pound Cake

These dishes are available today and tomorrow at Drip Coffee, 5 Hilltop Rd., Mendham, New Jersey, 973-543-3747. For those of you who don’t live in the Mendham area see the recipe below for Herbed Polenta Toast.

Local Livingshot5mush

‘Living Life Locally’ is a motto that more and more of us seem to be embracing. Since I decided to start this blog I have noticed an explosion of activity having to do with local, sustainable, organic living. There seems to be a real movement afoot. It’s not only due to the current economic malaise; it’s also about our changing climate, and our diminishing natural resources. The numbers of individuals, groups, farmers, foodies, restaurateurs, bloggers, writers and entrepreneurs embracing the local life are increasing daily. It’s our version of the 60s ideal of ‘living off the land.’

Earth Day

Earth Day actually dates back to April 22, 1969 – the date of the first Earth Day celebration. It was inspired by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson who announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment. April 22, 1970 marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement with the goal of a healthy, sustainable environment. Thirty-nine years later the movement is still going strong, and is needed now more than ever.

100-Mile Radius

As mentioned in a previous post, the idea for 100 Miles came about because of my friend, Martine Marcus. To the very best of her ability she lives her life locally only buying food produced within a 100-mile radius of her Morristown, shot3 mushNew Jersey home. Her company, Burden Free Foods, cooks with organic ingredients and specializes in food that is locally sourced. They also have a dedicated gluten-free kitchen and make many gluten-free items. Martine and her business partner, Judy Mancini, create weekly menus for local residents too busy to cook. Their dishes are available at a small, local chain of coffee houses, Drip Coffee. They supply two of the chain’s stores with sandwiches, soups, salads, meals-to-go and baked goods. They also serve their community from early summer to late fall at the Morristown Farmer’s Market by creating original dishes using the market’s bounty. Dishes that can be taken home to eat later, or eaten on the spot. They also conduct on-site cooking demos using market ingredients.

Recipe - Herbed Polenta Toast with Sautéed Mushrooms

By Martine Marcus

In keeping with the living locally credo, try to source the below ingredients to within 1oo miles of your home base. It will be an educational and fun experiment.

Serves 4 to 6

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


  • ½ cup coarse ground polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 oz. grated hard cheese (aged gouda, Reggiano, etc.)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, etc.)

Boil water with bay leaf, salt, pepper and olive oil. Gently stir in cornmeal, reduce to simmer. Cook 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese and herbs. Pour into a small, oiled loaf pan. Pack tightly. Chill for a minimum of one hour (overnight is ok!) Turn out of pan, slice polenta into ½ inch thick slices. Toast slices in oven for 7 minutes on each side.

Mushroom Mélange

  • 4 cups assorted rough chopped mushrooms – we use oyster, white and Portobellos. If they need to be cleaned, just use a dry towel and lightly brush them
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup shredded hard cheese (aged gouda, Reggiano, etc.)
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chives, finely chopped

Put olive oil in hot heavy pan (I swear by my ‘Lodge’ cast iron skillet). Add garlic and chopped dry mushrooms. Add salt and pepper, shake pan while lightly browning mushrooms, cook until medium soft. Spoon mushrooms onto toasted polenta. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Spread a small handful of cheese over the mushrooms and sprinkle lightly with chives.

Bon appétit!

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