and behind us too. We are in the middle of winter but there is still some damned fine food to be had.
I'm a newcomer to the Dark Days Eat Local Challenge which has been extended through March. According to the rules, I need to serve one 90% local meal once a week during the leaner days of winter. Since I just came back from a regenerating jaunt to the farmer's market, this week's local meal was a breeze.
Despite the dreary drippy-ness of a Northern California winter, the produce is brighter and cheerier. Maybe eating fruit the color of the sun - mandarins, blood oranges, cara caras, tangerines, and lemons - offsets the glumness that set in after days of rain. Maybe the jewel-toned beets, potatoes and carrots and the vibrant pink of a watermelon radish hold despair at bay. Whatever it is, a seasonal winter meal is a thing of beauty.
Tonight, we popped open a bottle of wine (made with organic grapes) from a local winery. We enjoyed a psychedelically colored salad of lettuce, tomatoes (truly the last of the season), carrots, watermelon radish, broccoli, kohlrabi, crumbled cheese, and roasted pumpkin seeds dressed with Big Paw's Cherry balsamic vinegar. 100% local and organic.
Home-grown mustard greens simmered in home-made vegetable broth (from saved vegetable scraps) and store bought Thai chili sauce (spicy!) accompanied the salad. I love these because a whole mess of mustard greens count as 0 weight watchers points and I'm busying trying to not overeat while saving the environment. 90% local and organic. Hey, this dish would qualify as 100 foot diet food (see sidebar)! Now that's local.
I also roasted some brilliantly hued root vegetables - golden beets, purple potatoes, bright orange sweet potatoes, Yukon Golds, and yellow fingerlings - tossed in Olivas de Oro olive oil, non-local salt and pepper. Here they are before they went into the oven. They come out looking less colorful but so flavorful that I eat them cold, out of the fridge, for snack. 90% local and organic.
It would, of course, be too much for the kids to actually eat all this too. I can coax the smaller one into eating the potatoes and sometimes the salad but the mustard greens, no way! So they ate carrots sticks, apple slices and burritos with farmer's market cheese, dried cranberry beans and a corn tortilla. Only the tortilla was not local. 75% local and pesticide free.
I capped off the meal with non-local (but fair trade and organic!) hot chocolate with local milk. Hey, dark days but cold nights.