we recently finished reading the book Plenty, and it has only spurred our urban homesteading desires further (this is a very excellent book). we love to make things, and to do so from scratch as often as possible. realizing that foods from the other side of the planet don’t quite fall into the realm of ‘scratch’ we’re pushing ourselves to source local ingredients, and be conscious of the seasons as we prepare our meal.
in the spirit of this, we headed out to oak park for a winter farmer’s market. we were pleasantly surprised by a wealth of local cheeses, eggs, winter greens, potatoes, grains, and honey. we somehow resisted the urge to buy everything there, but we feel like we came home with a pretty decent haul.

here we’ve got (all locally produced) oyster mushrooms, whole wheat and rye flours. and what you can’t see: two dozen eggs, some swiss cheese and green kale. we’re thrilled to be able to buy at least a few things locally, even in the dead of winter.
once home it was time for lunch. we had some swiss chard and sweet potatoes that were ready to be eaten, so i came up with this:

simply roasted with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and parmesean. a perfect winter meal. as much as i enjoy a complicated meal with a large variety of flavors and textures, sometimes simplicity really hits the spot.
following an afternoon in the sun (it’s february… 30 degrees and sun is about the most we can hope for right now) doing gardening crafts (see emily’s post below) we dressed warmly and rode briskly to our friend kurt’s apartment in the west loop. it’s amazing that he lives so close to where i work, but we somehow only end up heading down there on the days i would otherwise not have to make my bike commute in the cold again.
it was a lovely evening though. more than a dozen of us showed up, varied ingredients in hand, for what became a rather successful pizza making party. we brought our oyster mushrooms, some of which we simmered in wine, which gave a lovely rustic flavor to a few of the pies.

here’s emily, deftly placing one such mushroom and white sauce pizza on the stone.
the variety of pizzas created would take far too long to describe, but kurt and i did want to use one very unusual ingredient he happened to have in his fridge: caviar.
the final pizza of the night. in the center we have pesto and mozzarella. the next ring further out is olive oil and garlic base, with minced stuffed green olives, and a hard spanish cheese, the name of which i can’t seem to remember. and on the outer ring, placed after baking, is caviar. it was good; the progression from the center of the slice to the cracker-like crust with caviar was quite interesting. not sure i’d try it again, but i am proud to say i’ve made caviar pizza.
the evening ended at gallery cabaret with some new friends, but given my enjoyment of kurt’s porron, those details got a bit fuzzy.

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