*Cleveland, not Canada
This week, Vitamix invited me to take a peek at their newest Ascent Series blender. (It’s gorgeous, by the way.) Vitamix is a fourth-generation owned company based in Cleveland. So I thought about how could I tie Akron into the experience with our northern neighbors…
During the event, I met other bloggers and marketing gurus from Northeast Ohio. We sampled snacks and drinks made in Vitamix blenders, and we even got to make our own spice blends in their cute new 8-ounce blender bowls. Driving home from The Vitamix Store in Solon that night, I was filled with inspiration to buy local ingredients and put a twist on an Akron dish.
Buying Local in Akron
At the Vitamix event, I made a Chinese five-spice blend… and then didn’t know what to do with it. I picked that option because it smelled really good. One of my friends suggested putting it on chicken, and Brunty Farms instantly popped into mind.
Brunty Farms is in the southwest corner of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Their retail area at the farm is open year-round, or you can find them at farmers’ markets. When I stopped by their farm, I was greeted by an adorable Australian shepherd. I looked at their eggs and meat, and grabbed two boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They work on an honor system there if no one is tending the shop, so I dropped some cash in their box and headed to my next stop.
I found a recipe for ‘Slow Cooker 5 Spice Chicken’ on a blog, and they suggested pairing it with ‘Yellow Jasmine Rice.’ The rice is super flavorful and aromatic from the spices it’s cooked in. Since I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand for the chicken and rice, I went to Hana Asian Market in Merriman Valley.
I love Hana Asian Market. They make THE BEST kimchee. I didn’t buy any on this trip, and I cried a little driving away. However, I did grab some long grain jasmine rice and cumin for the Yellow Jasmine Rice and toasted sesame oil and soy sauce for the chicken.
I had one more stop to make that day (more on that later), but when I got home, I followed both recipes and holy moly! My apartment smelled delicious! And the food was even more tasty. The small blender bowls aren’t yet available, so I’ll have to get some when they come out. I’ll be grinding my own spices all the time now.
Inspired by Akron
One of my favorite places in Akron is The Lockview. They have a great selection of beer and an amazing Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad. (No, I didn’t make beer in a blender.) Vitamix had a beet spread at their event, so I thought I’d put a twist on the salad by making crostini.
First, I made the Sweet + Spicy Beet Spread that’s in the ‘Simply Blending’ recipe book that comes with each blender. (The ‘spicy’ comes from a jalapeno, but I omitted that since I was pairing the spread with other foods.) It requires two tablespoons of honey, so I used Middlebury Red from Akron Honey Company.
For the crostini, I bought a French loaf from Crest Bakery in North Hill. (That was my other local stop.) I sliced it, brushed some olive oil onto the pieces, sprinkled some salt on them and quickly toasted them in the oven.
The salad at Lockview has whipped goat cheese on it, so I found a simple recipe. Then I got to layering: toasted bread from Crest, a swipe of beet spread, a swipe of whipped goat cheese and a pinch of arugula.
They came out pretty tasty! I shared some with my friend Alexis, who is also obsessed with the Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad at The Lockview. Thankfully, the crostini got her stamp of approval.
Special thanks to Vitamix for inviting me to the event and for gifting me their new Ascent Series A3500 blender. They’re having a big spring sale next weekend, so be on the lookout for some deals on their amazing products.