Friday, October 26, 2007

dark days challenge update

It's been a good week for eating locally. Over the weekend we had french toast and bacon in another permutation of local sunday brunch. We've had fresh pasta (from the North Market)with my homemade marinara sauce twice this week, with marinara sauce to spare. Both meals were accompanied by amish wheat bread with local garlic and butter.

Early in the week we had roasted chicken breasts and gravy with broccoli and mashed potatoes (only non-local ingredients were the stock and flour for the gravy.) The leftovers/scraps were reincarnated into chicken and noodles (amish noodles with carrots, onion, celery (non-local), chicken scraps and gravy.) Last night we had even more broccoli (it is so good, but the little green worms freak me out a little) with cottage ham, scalloped potatoes, and spaghetti squash. I cooked the ham in local apple cider and had local butter on everything else.

I also cooked many butternut squash into soup, and then determined that I do not, in fact, even like butternut squash. It is just too sweet for me. I left the soup very plain (just onion, garlic, and veggie stock) and froze it; I plan to season each batch differently, in hopes of finding a combination I like.

For this weekend I must have a few potluck dishes, which I think will include a salad with roasted beets, goat cheese (not local), and walnuts, as well as something involving squash, or maybe butternut squash soup. :-)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

local food shopping in the fall

Yesterday was market day, and as it was the 20th of October, I think we can all agree that it is autumn. The weather is still unseasonably warm, though there have been some cold nights (no frost yet.) Three of my farmer's markets are ending this week (one more will continue until the vendors run out of produce; two other markets will have winter and/or a thanksgiving market day option.)

I went a little crazy at the market this week. It started out innocently enough - late strawberries, late red and golden raspberries, some bacon and cottage ham. The weekly split chicken breast. Four servings of locally-made fresh pasta. Some pumpkin ice cream. The the "getting carried away" part began.

I bought end-of-the-season roma tomatoes (ugly, but they made a wonderful pasta sauce for dinner tonight. It was wonderful! There's enough left to have our favorite local pasta meal for dinner again (local greens with helios radishes; marinara sauce over angel hair pasta; Amish-made wheat bread liberally doused with local butter and garlic.) I did unbend enough to use imported Parmesan (we've eaten all our pasta this summer with shredded local Gouda, which is surprisingly good.)

Oh yes, the marketing. Braising greens, salad greens, leeks, and lovely little heirloom turnips. Chestnuts for roasting. The largest carrots I've ever seen. Broccoli, eggplant, apple cider, green beans. And that's just the first market!

On to the next two markets! I procured 5 butternut squash, a pumpkin and 3 acorn squash (it was the farmer's last day, so I helped buy out her remaining produce.) Two pasture-raised chickens (also the farmer's last day at market; I have four of her birds in the freezer now.) A pound of grass-fed beef. Some lovely red-skinned potatoes with the whitest flesh you can imagine. A giant sunflower head (we may eat the seeds ourselves instead of feeding them to the squirrels.) Pullet eggs! I didn't really need eggs, but I have a weakness for pullet eggs. (They are the first layings of young hens. Very small, very pale yellow yolks, and a wonderful taste.) I also bought the aforementioned Amish-made wheat bread, and a bunch of peppers for the local food bank/community center (they were doing a produce drive at the market.) I also stopped for some local milk.

It will be a busy week in the kitchen - tonight I am blanching and freezing broccoli. Tomorrow I need to make yoghurt and a soup or two; I have ingredients for vegetable soup, potage bonne femme (a leek and potato soup with carrot) and hot-and-sour soup. The latter is the only non-local one, but it will still use local shiitake and scallions. Later in the week I need to parcook all of the butternut for soup and freezing. I should probably blanch and freeze some acorn squash too. And some onion/carrot mixtures for soup and stews. Whew! At least I know that wintertime local meals will be a snap!

Monday, October 15, 2007

local eating, week of October 15

Yesterday we enjoyed our favorite local brunch: pancakes (mix from Quiver Full Family Farm, ~20 miles, some non-local ingredients) with raspberries (Toad Hill Organics, ~70 miles) and peppered bacon (Blues Creek, ~32 miles). Butter and milk from Hartzler's Dairy (96.2 miles) and maple syrup from Pleiades (37.9 miles.)

Tonight's dinner is ham steak from Curly Tail (~45 miles), green lance from Wayward Seed (97.7 miles), potatoes from Flying J (26 miles) and squash from Bird's Haven (29.5 miles). Non-local ingredients: salt, pepper, brown sugar.

Come to think of it, lunch is local too: peppered bacon from Blues Creek, eggs from Quiver Full, and bread from Crumbs (~84 miles.) I'd better eat an apple (Wayward seed) to make that meal a little healthier. :-)

I should really just make a master list of all my local food sources. I'll try to put that together soon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

a winter eat local challenge

(I am failing to get the above button to work, so please follow the link below.)

I really meant to get back to some non-food content now that September has ended, but I just discovered the Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge. The goal is to have one meal a week that is at least 90% local throughout the whole winter. And blog about it, of course. It should be fun!

My freezer is stocked with corn, green beans, peaches and strawberries. There are smaller amounts of edamame, raspberries, stock, tomatoes, and spaghetti sauce. I have local pancake mix, soft wheat flour, oatmeal and corn meal. We are slowly stocking up on burgers, ground beef, and chicken. My stores of frozen soup are growing. I have plenty of honey but I could use some more maple syrup. I need to do a few experiments with root cellar-less root cellaring (I'm going to try coolers filled with sand) so I can try to keep potatoes and carrots (and turnips and beets and whatnot.) I could use a few more hard-skinned winter squashes.

I can't wait to see what the winter market brings! It's the first year for it, and this Columbus locavore is mighty excited.