D and I have returned from an August whirlwind of driving. It all started in upstate NY near the Vermont border with a music gig and a tour of the farm that supplies our grass-fed beef. We had a lovely, though all too short, stay in the country where $2.50 milkshakes could be had nightly at the local ice cream shop! (We thought this to be a great bargain what with the manual labor that goes into milkshakes.) Off to Niagara Falls where we got sprayed by mist and then high-tailed it to Indianapolis for the remainder of our vacation.
This was the vacation of the farm.
I found a great raw milk dairy and farm just outside Indianapolis that offers bi-monthly courses on cheese making, milling grains, breads, jams, canning and more. Our stay happened to fall upon a cheese-making course. D, his family and I sampled a range of fantastically hay-scented cheeses, creams
and spreads while we learned how to make ricotta, sour cream, buttermilk, creme fraiche and more. The farm has a cow share program, offering its raw milk to shareholders. We weren’t able to take home the milk, but we made due with some raw (not for human consumption) butter, fresh eggs (the darkest yolks I have ever seen), grass-fed beef, and fantastically rich chocolate milk from a nearby minimally pasteurized dairy.
The Indiana State Fair, as always, was the highlight. Correction: the Dairy Barn at the Indiana State Fair was the highlight. Double Correction: Pioneer Village is always the highlight, but how can you resist 25 cent milk refills?
I took my share of photos containing signs tooting deep fried edibles (Pepsi being the strangest) and we chatted about how the Fair was now frying in non-hydrogenated oils (recently featured in the NYTimes along with a piece about raw milk a few days after I wrote about it). This year’s Fair was “The Year of
Corn” evident from the Agribusiness-touting signs in front of corn stalks all around the Fairgrounds. There was also a room displaying about 30 (even though there are thousands) products chock full of corn. All hail for mono-cultures…
D and I also decided that we would call our country’s other great monoculture, soy, edamame at the Fair, asking folks what they thought about our nation’s great edamame boom. Unfortunately, “The Year of C
orn” had very little edamame praise around. Maybe next year.
The next day, D and his mother made a purchase of a beautiful blue grill that his mother proceeded to call the “Colt Grill” (after the football team). Later that night we apparently made “Colt burgers” though I
noted we probably don’t want to call everything we make on the grill “Colt X.” Other than the “Colt burgers,” which were really beef steaks. D’s mother also mentioned that she had a fabulously memorable salad at a new restaurant in town that contained peaches. That night, we grilled up some peaches to create our own version of the salad.
The salad was truly the highlight of the meal. It was colorful and full of texture and flavors. From the sour crumble of the blue cheese, the sweet syrupy nature of the peaches to the crisp freshness of the
cucumbers. A hit that will be made again before the summer comes to an end.
The next day we witnessed cow milking and some real free-range chickens at a farm that was part agri-tainment. We headed to the farmer’s market on-site where D’s mother proclaimed we needed some meat to make our Colt burgers for the night.
“Uhhh… she’s talking about the football team, we’ll just take some pork chops.”
“You guys must really like football.”
We headed home and relaxed for our last night together, grilling up the last of the season’s “Colt burgers.”
Grilled Peach Salad
Serving Size= 4. Active Time= 15 minutes.
2 ripe peaches (or nectarines)
1 medium-sized head red leaf lettuce (or other lettuce)
1 ripe Hass avocado
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (or like cheese)
1/4 cup mixed (or Kalamata olives) optional
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
salt/ pepper to taste
1) Ready gas or charcoal grill. While grill is warming, prepare salad:
2) Slice peaches into 8 segments. Carefully pull apart each segment and brush all sides with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, set aside.
3) Wash and drain the lettuce, add it to the salad bowl. Slice the cucumber, avocado, crumble the blue cheese and add them to the lettuce. Top with olives, sprinkle lemon juice and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4) Grill the two meat sides of the peaches until blackened, about 3 minutes each side. Careful when transporting peaches to the salad bowl as they will be juicy and can easily fall apart. The sugars will have caramelized adding a fabulous color and scent to the peaches.
Note: No grill? Mimic the grill in your broiler! Broil your fruit about 3 minutes each side, until blackened for a similar great taste!