Humans of Family Dinner

Humans of Family Dinner

Good Morning!

The most amazing part about Family Dinner isn't the logo, it isn't the weekly treats or the terrible jokes from the staff. It's the folks in this amazing community, all of you, that make this so special. Over 350 members in 50 towns all loving on local food and the folks who grow it. 

We wanted to make more of an effort to connect you to each other (no we're not gathering in the parking lot for trust falls) and highlight some of the incredible things you're doing. Maybe we learn something from each other, maybe we find a little inspiration. Or maybe the world can seem like a dumpster fire and it's nice to be more and not less connected to interesting people doing good things.  

We hope you enjoy :)

Erin + Tim

HUMANS OF FAMILY DINNER

Meet Leigh Belanger (photo cred: Gabi Valladares), culinary wizard, mom and entrepreneurial juggernaut.

Leigh is a writer, editor, and content strategist who helps food companies and mission-driven organizations tell their stories. Her work in the food world has included stints behind a cheese counter, in a restaurant kitchen, running non-profit programs, editing magazine stories, and writing two cookbooks. She's also a long-time Family Dinner member and supporter (Merci, Leigh!). 

Her book "My Kitchen Chalkboard: Seasonal Menus for Modern New England Families" is a delightfully written and approachable answer to the nightly question "What's for Dinner?". By tackling that question in advance, Leigh finds it easier to save money and time and rediscover joy in the kitchen. ( And get yourself out of the rut of turning everything into a damn quesadilla already, Erin!)

Leigh has a monthly newsletter called Care & Feeding, which is an elegant and eloquent examination of self-care, care for others and the planet and of course - food. Reading it monthly is a brief but wonderful escape from the day's demands. And it's all very real, once she wrote "sometimes dinner is just nachos." And I love that. First of all, because nachos are delicious. Second of all because we have to all give ourselves a break sometimes.

For more Leigh; she is also the co-host of the Made Fresh Podcast, which features work lessons from creative women in food.

We love following badass ladies like Leigh and hope you can find in her culinary wizardry something that sings to you.  Maybe it's nachos. Or perhaps it's her recipe for grits, below.

WHAT'S IN THE BAG?

HALF SHARE

Omnivore Protein - Bacon and Eggs from Feather Brook Farms
Pescatarian Protein - Albacore Tuna from Red's Best; Eggs from Feather Brook Farms
Vegetarians - Tofu from 21st Century Foods; Eggs from Feather Brook Farms
Paleo Proteins - Bacon and Eggs from Feather Brook Farms
Fruits and Veggies - Baby Greens from LEF Farms,Tomatoes from Five College Farm; Spinach from Brookford Farm; Carrots from Clark Farm and Brookford Farm
Grain - English Muffins from VINAL
Special Treat - Donut Holes from Union Square Donuts

WHOLE SHARE

Omnivore Protein - Bacon and Eggs from Feather Brook Farms; Albacaore Tuna from Red's Best; Yogurt from Brookford Farm
Pescatarian Protein - Albacaore Tuna and Haddock from Red's Best; Eggs from Feather Brook Farms; Yogurt from Brookford Farm
Vegetarians - Tofu from 21st Century Foods; Ricotta from Mozzarella House; Eggs from Feather Brook Farms; Greek Yogurt from Brookford Farm
Paleo Proteins - Bacon and Eggs from Feather Brook Farms; Albacore Tuna from Red's Best
Fruits and Veggies - Baby Greens from LEF Farms,Tomatoes from Five College Farm; Spinach, Beets and Potatoes from Brookford Farm; Carrots from Clark Farm and Brookford Farm
Grain - English Muffins from VINAL
Special Treat - Donut Holes from Union Square Donuts; Spicy Pepitas from Stony Brook

DOUBLE SHARE

Omnivore Protein Bacon and Eggs from Feather Brook Farms; Albacaore Tuna from Red's Best; Sirloin Steak and Yogurt from Brookford Farm
Pescatarian Protein - Albacaore Tuna, Scallops and Haddock from Red's Best; Eggs from Feather Brook Farms; Yogurt from Brookford Farm; Ricotta from Mozzarella House
Fruits and Veggies - Baby Greens from LEF Farms,Tomatoes from Five College Farm; Spinach, Beets and Potatoes from Brookford Farm; Carrots from Clark Farm and Brookford Farm; Spinach( doubling down!) and Kale from Clark Farm
Grain - English Muffins and Granola from VINAL
Special Treat -  Donut Holes from Union Square Donuts; Spicy Pepitas from Stony Brook

RECIPES

The Perfect BLT: My mom bakes her bacon in the oven. I think she's a genius because it comes out perfect every single time. Get your Vinal Muffins and your thinly sliced tomatoes ready. Or BBQ grill your tofu for the vegetarians in the house.

Spaghetti with Spinach and Ricotta: If I didn't have to wait until tomorrow morning for the spinach and the cheese to come in from the farms - I would make this right here, right now at 8:16 am on a Friday. 

Shrimp and Grits from Leigh

* In lieu of Shrimp you could do scallops, chorizo, chicken sausage seared Tofu or Tempeh or even just a runny egg (That's just Erin's two cents!)

Serves 4

Delicious and super-satisfying, shrimp & grits also earns bonus points as something easy to pull together for a weeknight meal. But it feels special, too. I like to serve this dish with a quick spinach salad or wilted garlicky spinach alongside. 

Grits

  • 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Shrimp
  • 4 pieces thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 24 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • Kosher salt to taste
  •  Black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup chopped green onions

Make the grits. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the cornmeal and a pinch of salt. (I find that some continuous whisking in the beginning means you don’t have to stir the grits throughout their cooking time.) Whisk until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, then reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cornmeal has fully absorbed the water, is fragrant, and pulls away from the sides of the pot, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the butter. Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally. 

Make the shrimp. Place the bacon in large, heavy-bottomed skillet and turn heat to medium. Cook until most of the fat has rendered and the bacon is brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off heat and place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat (reserve it for another use). Season the shrimp with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Return the skillet to medium heat and add them to the pan. Cook, turning once, for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the shrimp. They should be pink, but not totally opaque, after you’ve seared them. 

Transfer shrimp to a plate, reduce heat just a nudge, and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the onions and garlic have softened, adding up to a tablespoon of the stock to keep things from sticking, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining stock, increase heat to medium high and cook, stirring, until the stock has reduced by half, about another 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and return shrimp to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the lemon juice, butter, and Tabasco sauce. Cook, stirring, until sauce has thickened, about another 1 to 2 minutes. 

Right before serving, reheat the grits if necessary over medium-low heat, stirring until they’re warmed through. Divide portions of grits between bowls, then top the bowls with the shrimp and sauce. Garnish with bacon, chopped green onions and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve with more lemon wedges and hot sauce at the table.