Last week we were able to read (and drool over) what the WEST prepared for the sweet challenge. You can read about their adventures last week here.
On Guard… step aside… it is now time for the EAST to show off their creativity.
SOUTH Region (MD, VA, NC, SC, GA) with Emily from Sincerely, Emily
Attempting to reduce the clutter in her refrigerator, Annie (MD) from AnnieRie Unplugged challenged herself to cook as many local meals as she could and if she didn’t have local, then she used items from small local businesses or organic – and she made it through the entire week with impress meals. Grilled sausages and potatoes. Omelets. Pasta and salad. Chicken noodle soup. There was also a sweet treat of local seasonal ice cream for her husband. Her official sweet treat was peanut brittle. What a nice sweet treat it looks like. Visit Annie’s blog to see her posts throughout this self-imposed challenge with her refrigerator, but also for her beautiful peanut brittle.
Susan (VA) from Backyard Grocery was up for the challenge this week. She made two versions of a sweet treat. She poached some local pears in ginger syrup and created a type of ginger poached pear parfait using apple butter and freshly whipped creams in her layers with the poached pears. The other version was beautifully presented poached pears with freshly whipped cream. Those would brighten up the day for anyone. Head over to her blog to see her method and links to her resources.
The Valentine’s Sweets week was a challenge for Jessica (SC) from Eat.Drink.Nourish. Fruit is what usually comes to mind when she thinks of anything sweet and she found just what she was looking for when she was at the market; blackberries. Locally grown, flash frozen blackberries that were so big and juicy she was amazed. She made buttermilk cornmeal biscuits, filled with blackberries, walnuts, goat cheese and honey. I can hardly finish typing that description without drooling. Visit her blog to see her local sources and read her recipe.
Victoria (MD) from The Soffritto made some nice looking cornmeal cookies for this sweet treat challenge. She used local cornmeal and flour (and other local ingredients) to make this treat. Using a cookie cutter, some of them were shaped like dinosaurs (special for her little kitchen helpers 4th birthday) and some where shaped like hearts especially for this challenge. Stop by her blog to read more and check out her local resource on the right side of her blog.
Rebecca (VA) at Eating Floyd made a beautiful fountainbleu cheese topped with homemade whole raspberry preserves. Rebecca has made this dessert for many years because it the perfect way to showcase in season fruits. There is some time involved, you need to start this dessert a minimum of 24 hours in advance. Starting 48 hours in advance is even better and I can see why. Even with the time involved, there is very little effort and very few ingredients. (Don’t tell anyone that though) Visit her blog to see her tried and true recipe.
Jes (VA) from Eating Appalachia made a strawberry chocolate raw cheesecake. The other 2 challenge she is up against is gluten-free right now and she has been under the weather, so finding local ingredients in general, let alone when you are sick, is a challenge. Finding the local strawberries was a sweet treat in itself and she kept everything else sustainable, fair-trade and organic. This was her first attempt at preparing anything raw also so visit her blog for more information about her cheesecake and the recipe. It was a success!
leader: Susy Morris from Chiot’s Run
For my own Dark Days Sweet I made some hand pies for Mr Chiots. I used soft white wheat from a local farm that I ground and sifted the bran out of. I filled them with some caramelized apple marmalade with thyme that I made last summer. Since Mr Chiots is a huge fan of apple pie he LOVED them.
Everyone else had some tasty looking sweets they whipped up the DD Sweet Challenge, though our numbers are dwindling down to a few hardy folks. I’m guessing a lot of folks didn’t realize how Challenging Dark Days were going to be.
Jenelle from Delicious Potager made Hillbilly Blondies since they contained black walnuts and bourbon (luckily it’s within range for her DD meals). For her other DD meals Jenelle whipped up Italian Sausage with red onion gravy and a side of potatoes. She came in with breakfast and dinner as well on another Dark Day with tomato gravy, which she declares as something we should wait no longer in making if we haven’t already. She also made Fettucini Alfredo, something I must add to my menu as it’s been way too long since I’ve had a serving of this on my plate!
Gabe from life, from the ground up. made Honey Shortbread (one of my favorite sweets since it’s not so sweet). You can’t go wrong with such a simple recipe, only 3 ingredients needed all of which should be fairly easy to source locally. For his other DD meal Gabe made Mushroom and Goat Cheese bread pudding, being a bread pudding fan I found myself wanting to make up a batch of this myself. Braised Short Ribs with root vegetables were also on Gabe’s DD menu this past month, something that is just perfect on a dark cold winter day. It seems our bodies really crave earthy root vegetables, fatty meat and long slow cooking.
Margo from Thrift at Home made a cherry pie for her sweet but didn’t get it posted in time. So her DD meals were Leg of Lamb (can we all say MMMMMM to that one?) served with spinach and mint jelly. For her second meal she used a meaty lamb bone and some dried beans. Add a salad and some flat bread on the side and you’ve got yourself quite a delicious meal. Looks like her kids enjoyed it as well!
LOWER NEW ENGLAND/MID-ADLANTIC (NY, CT, DC, NJ and Eastern Canada)
with The Other Emily, from Tanglewood Farms
Well, the pickins were super thin this week in my region, but that’s just fine by me because Karen from Prospect: The Pantry made up for it by posting some gorgeous sweets on her blog that I just can’t get over! Her first post was a Pumpkin Flan that I can’t wait to try (I still have two winter pumpkins in my pantry, too!)
Her second sweet was just a gorgeous as it sounds: Lemon Verbena Sorbet, Cranberry Sorbet and maple candied cranberries. Mmm! I wish our house were warm enough to justify making frozen treats to eat (alas, it is currently 48º in my living room – we were late lighting the wood stove today!) She has recipes for each of her sweets on her blog, so definitely check them out; The photos here link to the individual posts so you can find the recipes easily.