Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Dark Days Challenge
The Dark Days Challenge is a cool one. I have another up my sleeve for mid-winter but I don't want to spoil it.
Dark Days Challenge is the invention of Laura at the (not so)Urban Hennery.
This brave gal, Laura, has challenged folks to join her in preparing as close to a 100% local meal once a week and to report about it on their own blogs or to the Hennery. Every two weeks there will be a report. This is my first year being aware of this challenge and I missed the cut off date to participate.
So I was thinking, why not an Atlantic Province Dark Days Challenge. Same challenge parameters: 100% local. If that isn't possible, what can you use that meets sustainable, ethical, humane or organic criteria? Now I struggle with these weasel clauses a bit, because I think there is a lot of green wash out there around what is organic or even sustainable. I leave it to you all to sort out your own versions of what matches your definitions of humane, ethical, sustainable or organic. Be tough on yourselves, the idea is to make this a bit of a challenge not a confirmation of how comfortable we all feel in our choices.
If you check out Local Kitchen http://localkitchenblog.com you will find some really, really good recipes that focus on what is available in Kaela's area of New York Hudson Valley. Kaela also has some pretty interesting links related to food.
Back to the Atlantic Provinces Dark Days Challenge. Here's what I'm thinking. If you choose to make a meal following the challenge, write back and tell me about it. You can do it in comments or as an email. Every two weeks (I hope) I will review what is being said as well as report on how things are going in my kitchen.
I should have planned ahead and started with our St. Nicholaas Nacht meal. We celebrate the Dutch Christmas, having modulated it to meet schedules and isolation. We don't connect with many other Dutchies who celebrate this, so we go our own way. This year we made Beef Croquets (Croquetten) on Rye Bread, Carrots with Butter and Parsley Sauce (Wortels met boter en Peteselie Saus). We had several pickles and a spinach salad on the side. Natasha made a carrot cake with cream cheese icing. It was yummy, but probably not local. Most everything was local, the beef for the croquets, the carrots, spinach, eggs, all the pickled items, the butter and even the parsley which came from our front hallway. What wasn't local was the beer (we could have but we opted for a dutch beer for fun), pepper, canola oil, and probably the bread crumbs. Again, I hadn't planned ahead and made any bread crumbs from our loaf ends. The birds ate those. I had to buy bread crumbs for $3.00 at the local superstore. Really, isn't that awful? $3.00 for 750 g of bread crumbs that in a pinch I could have found in the toaster or on the floor if I wasn't picky.
Actually, I'll probably be reporting on how Steve is doing in the kitchen since he makes the fabulous meals and I make the barely holding it together meals.
Vegetable soup broth with red onions, that's why its pink. Today's meal is one of those barely holding it together meals. As a Julia Childs' vision of culinary excellence it ain't. Cauliflower Carrot Soup with Hard Boiled Egg, Cheese and Crackers. Sounds like I'm searching the back of the fridge. I am.
In order to make this meet the challenge, I gave up the hard boiled eggs in favour of they were too damn boring, and the crackers in favour of an apricot sourdough loaf. Steve is at curling tonight and they are having their pizza party. I think I'm luckier.