Friday, November 21, 2008

Dark Days Challenge - Week 1

Wow, I really am behind! The Dark Days Eat Local Challenge started on the 15th, eep! Fortunately I have a fantastic and brand-new meal to rave about, complete with a strange and (almost) artfully blurry photo!

This simple and delicious meal featured the autumn sausage (with apples and maple) from our local farmer/butcher shop, Blue's Creek. It was "loose" (or whatever you call casing-free sausage) so I browned it into crumbles in a skillet then gave it some time on paper toweling for fat drainage (because here at Green Leanings we are trying to watch our waistline.) In a separate skillet I braised some wonderful lacinato kale from the good folks at Wayward Seed Farm in apple cider. I was not at all in the mood for vinegar (a normal seasoning for kale and chard), so the kale (which was just past the "baby" stage, nice and small and tender) was only seasoned with the cider, garlic, salt and pepper, and a wee touch of olive oil. I tossed the sausage in at the end and had one of the tastiest meals ever, and one that I made up on the spur of the moment! The sweetness of the apple cider and the slight bitterness of the kale were perfect together, and was a delicious counterpoint to the sausage. The side dish was a mysterious variety of white acorn squash (peyton or some such thing, no idea how to spell it) from Just This Farm. It had a little salt, butter from Hartzler's Dairy, and maple sugar from Pleiades Maple Farm.

One of my goals for the Dark Days Challenge is to come up with new and interesting recipes. It is easy to fall into the meat-starch-squash-vegetable pattern, so I am hoping to find new and exciting ways to combine them. You'll notice that squash gets its own category, along with vegetables and starches. That is because I have a squash problem (I love to buy them), and probably own a good 20-30 right now. I don't serve it with every single meal, but I am trying hard to make it part of every other meal at least.

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