Winter is slowly, but surely, arriving in more states as the weeks of winter go by in this challenge. Some participants are combing their shelves and freezers for the preserved bounties of long past summer crops hoping for a glimmer of sunshine to add to their meals while others are still able to go to farmers markets that have stands overflowing with fresh winter produce.
Be sure to check out the companion post to see what the leaders of the WEST Groups are cooking up this week for their meals.
UPPER New England with Ryan from Phoenix Hill Farm
Barbara from the Crowing Hen week has been full of observations about her animals response to the cold weather and frozen ground. Seems like everyone is doing well, the goats can prance on the hard surface and her pullets have started laying tiny eggs! This week she made a made a Spanish omelette using the tiny eggs from her own flock and other local ingredients.
Anne-Marie from the green(ish) monkeys made Pumpkin waffles with bacon and apples. Her multiple CSA shares provide her family with ample opportunities to bring local and sustainable foods to the table like flour and pumpkins. Rachel from Great Faith in A Seed avoided food waste, used up some leftovers, and invented a great dish she calls Tzaitziki Eggs – scrambled eggs with onion and feta, topped with homemade tzaitziki sauce.
Lindsay from the 100 Mile Locavores made a Dutch Honey Cake with local rye flour, honey, milk and spices. She really likes to make this cake as a portable breakfast or quick snack. As temperatures dropped in New England, Emily from The Finicky Farmer warmed up with a bowl of potato-leek soup, which was garnished with local cheddar cheese and dried thyme.
I agree with Brynne from You Got Me Cookin’ and her sentiment that it is impossible to resist mashed potatoes and cheddar stuffed inside sour cream cheese dough stuffed with caramelized onions. I’m not sure who would disagree with that!
Stephanie from This Little Monkey Went to the Market gave me yet another reason to raise my own duck for meat this year. Her duck ragu using the leftovers from the duck they had the week before, and cheddar beer soup using a local, organic Quebec beer had my mouth watering and excited to have duck to use in the future. Lella from 31 and holding is a big fan of her crock pot and was thankful for being able to make her meal using canned tomatoes from summer bounties and locally made bread.
In their sixth week of the Dark Days Challenge, Lindsay and Erik from eatlocal365 learned to appreciate curly kale. They are big fans of the lacinato/Tuscan/dinosaur/black and Red Russian varieties, but for some reason they hadn’t every felt like trying the standard curly variety. Like most biases, they just had to meet an individual curly kale recipe in “person” to let go of their stereotypes. Oh, also, the chorizo helped!
SOUTH (MD, VA, NC, SC, GA) with The Other Emily from Sincerely, Emily
(I will be “The Other Emily” this week!)
Susan (VA) over at Backyard Grocery cooked Slow Cooker Chicken and Celery Root for her meal this week. With a freezer full of venison she feels like she had been cheating on this challenge. I don’t think so. It’s local meat, and that is how they eat. She decided to make chicken the star of her meal. Working long hours she decided to use a crock pot to cook the chicken, celery root and potatoes. A nice salad made from her first winter harvest from the garden finished off the meal. Head over to her blog to see her detailed receipt and her local resources.
Annie (MD) over at AnnieRie Unplugged used her crock pot and made a slow cooked beef short rib with a boat load of nice veggies. Potatoes, leeks, kale, Red Onion, Napa Cabbage, Carrots! That is one long list packed full of flavor and nutrients. She also added a tomato sauce that was also packed full of other veggies from the garden. She topped off this list with some additional herbs and spices. A perfect meal for a cold night. Stop by her blog to check out her resources.
Victoria (MD) from The Soffritto prepared Egg Noodle Carbonara with Roasted Broccoli. With Return of the Jedi playing the background and only 10 minutes to go, their meal cooked in 9 minutes and at the end of the movie dinner was on the table. Recently they stocked up on local veggies, noodles, grains & honey from Breezy Willow Farm in Maryland. What a great place to have nearby. Visit her blog to see her recipe and more details.
Jessica (SC) from Eat.Drink.Nourish. Between battling yet another cold that is making its way through their household to arriving a tad late to Charlotte Farmers Market for some of her ingredients, Jessica was still able to make Braised Short ribs over Garlic Mashed Potatoes served with a beet, spinach and goat cheese salad. Visit her blog to check out her meal.
Rebecca (VA) from Eating Floyd had a busy day but she managed to pull off a really nice local meal. A jar of preserved asparagus soup saved the night. She paired the lovely soup with a nice pear salad topped with pumpkin seeds and some no-knead bread to make ham salad sandwiches. To me, her meal feels comfortable, warm and inviting. Stop by her blog to learn about her local resources.
Jasmine (VA) over at 40 Shades of Green made a mostly local meal. Sausage with roasted beets, carrots and shallots with lentils. She has searched high and low and has been unable to find a local source for beans and legumes. So, even though the lentils are not local, she did find a company out in Idaho that works to preserve heirloom beans and lentils. Head over to her blog to see her newfound source and read about her meal.
Jes (VA) from Eating Appalachia stopped by her favorite place up the mountain in Floyd and picked up some fabulous ingredients for her meal. Spaghetti Squash with Brazil Nut Basil, oven Roasted Tomatoes & Spinach. She creatively tossed her spaghetti squash with her homemade basil pesto. Check out her blog to learn about her favorite place up the mountain for local foods and the surprise flavors in her pesto.
with Susy Morris from Chiot’s Run
(click on the photos to be taken to post with recipe)
Here in the Ohio Valley Area – the Dark Days are officially upon us. Up until now, the weather has been more spring like. We’ve been having bright sunny warm days. As I sit and write this recap however, the sun is hidden behind the clouds, the wind is howling outside my window, the snow is drifting by the back door, and the temperatures are dipping down into the single digits – BRRRRR. No doubt this is why our numbers are dwindling in this group, perhaps everyone is snowed in?
Allison from The Life of a Novice went to Whitefeather Meats (the place that processed the half a hog I ordered earlier this winter) to get some delicious local sausage.
For her other DD meal Allison’s husband made a venison roast, which she wasn’t too keen on in the beginning, but ended up enjoying. Here at Chiot’s Run we only eat venison as Mr Chiots is a big hunter.
Gabe from life, from the ground up. always has wonderful creative recipes and these last two weeks have been no different. When I read the title Spelt “Risotto” with Butternut and Sage I was ready to make some for dinner. Butternut and sage is one of my favorite combinations (especially if you throw in some browned butter). It looks like his little boy will grow up loving it as much as I do! How wonderful for kids to be able to experience REAL food along with their parents!
For his second meal Gabe rolled up his sleeves and made some pasta – which is something I love seeing people try. Once you make it at home, you’ll never be able to go back to store-bought – it’s well worth the effort and I would highly recommend giving it a go. He topped this pasta with some delicious lamb meatballs and homemade tomato sauce.
Margo from Thrift at Home celebrated cast iron cooking with her first DD meal. I loved seeing this as I’m a huge fan of cooking in cast iron. She made roasted butternut squash and greens, it looked heavenly (and there was some bacon thrown on there for good measure).
I’ll let her describe her second meal in her own words because they’re perfect “The black eyed peas were cooked long and slow, salted, and then thickened at the very end with a little milk and flour batter. They were plain and creamy. Then the collards were spicy, meaty, and touched with vinegar. A lovely counterpoint.” All this goodness was followed up with Peach Kuchen – that’s one lucky family!
LOWER NEW ENGLAND/MID-ADLANTIC (NY, CT, DC, NJ and England)
with The Other Emily, from Tanglewood Farms
It sounds like the Mid Atlantic and Lower New England groups have had the same mild weather we’ve had here in Michigan! Still, this doesn’t affect the availability of warm-weather foods, much, so we’re all tucking in to our winter recipes together.
I’d like to start this week’s recap with Angela (DC) from Bumblelush, who recently took a pre-holiday holiday to Iceland with her husband! While she was there she enjoyed a local meal of Icelandic Fish and Chips, and while revisiting her photos after the trip realized many of her meals enjoyed overseas were from local foods, as Iceland is remote and has to be fairly self-sufficient as a result. How cool!
Our next Dark Days Dabbler is Samantha (NY) from Listen, Foodie! She recently posted about an adventure in making baked beans from scratch and I just can’t wait to give this a go. She’s a fantastic writer and made this recipe seem super easy and approachable. Can’t wait to try it!
Many of our Dark Days participants are struggling with finding local grains and flours, but it seems that Stacey (NY) at Fessenden Farm has found local flour and made some scrumptious looking Blueberry muffins with it. She also did a post prior to her muffins about using fat to make lard. Her final photo of the cracklins made my mouth water! You’ll have to head over to her blog to see what I mean…
Monica (NJ) over at Monica Tries to Cook whipped up a batch of beans and cabbage this week using cabbage and potatoes from her farmers market, CSA shallots and some of the beans she used in the soup she posted about prior to this. The beans were more suited to this meal than the soup, and it looks like she got a very delicious meal from them!
Gaelen (NY) from Kitchen Jam has admitted to not being able to necessarily eat SOLE every dark days meal, but this one counts in my book! Feast your eyes on Pork Ribs with Pesto and Tomato, using local hydroponic tomatoes, frozen summer pesto and local pork!
I saved the post by Karen (NJ) from Prospect: The Pantry for last because, well, it’s just about the most unique Dark Days post I’ve seen yet! She has used spruce needles to … ahem … spruce up her cabbage stew, and she sourced her spruce needles from her locally grown Christmas tree! Of course, in order to do this you’d have to make sure your tree wasn’t chemically treated at all, but she provides substitution info for juniper berries too… Super inspiring!
Have you found any new and exciting local resources in your area?
Read Full Post »