Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dark Days Call for Comfort Food

I'm chomping through the Dark Days Eat Local Challenge and, to be honest, for a town mouse like me living in Northern California, it is not much of a challenge to eat local in the winter. I have several year round farmer's markets within easy driving distance and a garden that still spits out broccoli, lemons, oranges, greens, lettuce, and the occasional under-ripe baby carrot. Life is good.

The challenge is still a challenge, though, because, left to my own devices, we would dine on local super salads every night. You can really only post about salad in so many different ways. Therefore, to prevent burnout - my own and that of you lovely folks reading this, Dark Days forces me to unearth new recipes, use different ingredients and cook up other equally delicious, seasonal meals.

This week, we nibbled on local carrots - chubby little Oxhearts and the brilliant Cosmic purples - with my famous, or at least very tasty, Indian cilantro chutney (local cilantro, backyard lemon, vinegar, sugar, local garlic, bulk peanuts, local chiles).

We also indulged in homemade, gluten free corn bread baked from mostly local ingredients: local corn ground at a local mill, local milk, local eggs, local honey as well as non local rice flour, home ground buckwheat, salt, baking soda and xanthan gum. Smothered with local honey and local butter, corn bread will warm you on the darkest days.

Finally, we enjoyed dinosaur kale and potatoes, simmered in local, homemade broth with a splash of the ubiquitous (at least in my house) non-local Thai chili sauce. Hey, a girl likes a little kick to her greens.

Gotta go. Leftovers are lookin' to comfort me on this cold, dark day.


CindyW said...

dinosaur kale? Is that what you tell the boys or is that for real?

Yesterday I took my kids to the bookstore and browse some cookbooks. We too are tired of salads and steamed vegetables, and are looking for inspiration. To be 100% honest, since my husband cooks for the family, we were seeking yummy recipes so that he could serve us better :)

Found Mark Bittman's book - How to cook every thing vegetarian. It had some very exciting but simple vegetable recipes. Heard his interview a couple of times recently and really liked his attitude about food in general. So I maybe biased. Check out his 5 Q/A's on Amazon.

kale for sale said...

I thought it was going to be a much bigger challenge eating local in the winter too but, like you, I have three year round farmers' markets a week near me. What luxury! The biggest challenge is not buying more than can we eat and figuring out ways to eat all those darn winter squash I stored up in the pantry! Next year -- less winter squash.

arduous said...

that sounds delicious!!

Green Bean said...

Cindy: It really is called dinosaur kale (or at least I've seen it called that) plus it makes it much more appealing to the kiddos. ;-) I'll have to check out the Bittman book. Thanks for the rec.

Kale: I'm with you. I have SO much winter squash. I finally pureed and froze all mine so now it's clogging up my freezer instead of my pantry. I still don't know what to do with it though and my husband has sworn off pumpkin soup.

Blessed Wife and Mother said...

That's it, Im coming to your house to eat!

Jennifer said...

Oh, you are making my Colorado tummy whimper! All we have that is local right now is BEETS. Beets and potatoes... and cabbage if you look right. LOTS of borscht on the menu!

I do love a good salad. :) I want to start some salad greens on the window to go with the herbs I started today.

Chile said...

You need winter squash ideas? Use it anyway you'd use pumpkin:
Bread, muffins, and soup are obvious. But what about stirring just a little into a stew to help thicken it? Or use it as a fat replacer in other baked goods (use half as much squash puree as recipe calls for oil or butter). Cookies. Risotto.

My CSA has a great recipe database. Scroll down the page for the "Squash, Winter" and "Pumpkin" recipes.

Green Bean said...

BW&M: come on over! :)

Jen: beets aren't bad - the first few times. ;-) Ahh, but spring is in the air, isn't it?

Chile: thanks for the resources! I'm drowning in pumpkin here. Great ideas on that database.


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