Since we have so many participants in the Dark Days Challenge this year we’re breaking it down into two different groups (East and West) for the participant recaps and for the writers here at Not Dabbling. No doubt you’ve already received an e-mail from your host, but if you haven’t comment on one of these two Sunday Posts please! If you haven’t signed up today is the deadline. Head on over the (not so) Urban Hennery and do it! If you’d like to know which group you are in, head on over to the Dark Days Challenge page and find out.
Here at Chiot’s Run we’re seasoned Dark Days eaters. Over the past couple years I’ve been working hard to shift our diet to more local seasonal food and thus about 90% of our meals during the winter are Dark Days appropriate. As I try to be more mindful I notice the subtle changes in what my body tells me it wants. In the winter it craves bitter greens, starchy potatoes, roasted rood vegetables, long simmered soups and much richer food. For my first Dark Days Meal I used the bones and leftovers from our Thanksgiving smoked turkey and made a rich smokey stock, it smelled much more like ham stock and turkey stock. This stock was divided up into 3 batches, one went in the freezer, one was made into a lentil soup with lots of homegrown carrots and spinach and the last of it was simmered with homegrown potatoes and onions into a wonderfully simple potato soup (recipe over at Chiot’s Run today). I put the plate outside to grab a few quick shots with decent light as the sun was starting to set in the West.
While I was at Local Roots in Wooster, OH I found these beautiful little mini butter head lettuces. Instead of my usual balsamic dressing I whipped up a buttermilk herb dressing with fresh buttermilk from the farm along with fresh herbs and garlic from the garden. It was simply delightful! As you can see after finishing my dressing it was dark, so this was a true Dark Days meals enjoyed by the warm glow of the dining rooms light after the sun had already gone down.
On Wednesday I (Sincerely, Emily) made a very simple, yet wonderful local pork roast. I rubbed it down with local olive oil and threw in some onions, sage and thyme. It would be so easy to reach in the cupboard to grab a bag of organic noodles or make some noodles, or even toast up some homemade bread – STOP – those are not local. Instead, I am lucky to live in South Texas where I can have a wonderful winter garden. I walked out back and picked some fresh chard and sauteed that up. Perfect. A great local meal. You can read more of the details and find links to TX olive oil at Sincerely, Emily.
While we were in the Smokey Mountains for Fall Break, I (DeeDee) bought a beautiful cheese pumpkin from an orchard we visited. Being much more inexperienced in real food than the other contributors here, I’ve (gasp) NEVER used a pumpkin for anything other than a jack o lantern! A few days ago, I baked the pumpkin and ran it through the Victorio Strainer I have “indefinitely borrowed” from my mom. Thursday evening I made it into soup! I’ve always wanted to try pumpkin soup… I loved it, but unfortunately the 5 others in my family weren’t fans.
This challenge is truly a new experience for me. I’m using it to prove to myself and my family that we can eat good, real, local food without spending a lot of money. I paid $2.50 for the pumpkin… although it wasn’t actually local from where I live, it was local from where I bought it on vacation so I’m going to say that counts!
Last Saturday I took our two younger boys down to the Winter Farmer’s Market at Trader’s Point Creamery to buy some vegetables and some of their creamline milk (ingredients I needed for the soup). I must admit the one non local ingredient in my soup was store bought maple syrup. I’m still going to consider this a big success for my first week… it’s progress!
My oldest son loves pumpkin seeds, so we also soaked the seeds in saltwater over night and baked them. He is responsible for packing his lunch for school, and each day this week he took the pumpkin seeds until they were gone! They were a much bigger hit than the soup, but we’ll keep trying… Here’s to better luck next week! In the mean time, I have a lot of soup to eat!
If you’re in the EAST group for the Dark Days Challenge please post a link to your meal in the comments below, we’d LOVE to see what you’ve been cooking up!
leader: Susy Morris from Chiot’s Run
life, from the ground up.
The Life of a Novice
Put Em’ Up: A Chronicle of Making Stuff
Life On Fire After 40
Our Rural Home
SOLE for the Soul
Thrift at Home
Martha who’ll be adding her meals in the comments
leader: Emily Jenkins-Bastian from Tanglewood Farm
Late Bloomers Farm
Bumble Lush Kitchen Garden
Monica Tries to Cook
Prospect the Pantry
A Lighter Footprint
NOFA-NY Locavore Challenge
NY Locavore Challenge
Knit and Be Happy
the suburban road less traveled
Belle Jar Canning
Gardening to Preserve
Barefoot City Girl
Sunny Hill Farm Blog
Cross Creek Farm Family
From Scratch Club
Living my Dreamlife on the Farm
leader: Ryan from Phoenix Hill Farm
The Finicky Farmer
31 and holding
You Got Me Cookin’
Grown Away – Adventures in Food
Nine Lines n More
The Luddite’s Apiary
100 Mile Locavores
Great Faith in a Seed
The Onion Flower
This Little Monkey Went to Market
Adventures of the Kitchen Ninja
Nicole Carey’s Blog
the crowing hen
leader: Emily Sauls from Sincerely, Emily
Southern Fried Goodness
Flight of the Seabirds
Windy City Vegan
Eat. Drink. Nourish.
Keeping Up With K
40 shades of green
Family Foodie Survival Guide
Nancy – maintaining progress via emails and comments