Friday, July 29, 2011

Buy Local Challenge Check Up: Think Global, Eat Local

I didn't want to let the week go by without checking in on how we actually did this week, in our challenge to buy and eat local foods.  As I'd noted, the weekend was challenging - we were barely home at all, and in no shape to find one of the few restaurants we know of in the area that promotes local food choices (and I'm sorry that's the case too - it would have been fun to fulfill the mission while supporting local-food restaurants!).
But for the rest of the week we have done very well, I think, and eaten like royalty.

Summer produce this time of year plays very well with around-the-world cuisines, and ours landed in Mexico and India, with their shared love of chiles, cilantro and tomatoes.  I also did a little bit of preserving, which worked out haphazardly, but still tastes might fine.

I also kinda sorta failed at preserving my bounty of peaches - only kinda sorta, because the result tastes good.  I tried to make some freezer jam, and didn't get the details totally right so it failed to gel.  Which is A-Ok, because instead I have a lot of insanely delicious peach-nectarine SAUCE in my freezer to use for whatever I want to.

On Monday, I made Chile Rellenos using local poblanos, eggs and even cheese and onions to stuff them with.  We had these with homemade refried black beans, and a fresh pico de gallo (again, local tomatoes, jalepenos, onion and cilantro - although I am not sure if the cilantro itself was local).

Tuesday was Indian food!  Rogan Josh - a lamb and tomato curry has been my nemesis for years now.  My daughter and I loooove it, but my previous attempts have been sort of meh.  Now here I was with some lovely local pastured lamb and I was so afraid I'd mess it up - but it came out perfectly seasoned and simmered.  We ate that with brown rice, a cucumber raita (local tomatoes, homemade yogurt), and some homemade flatbread.

(So far, that's two days where everything not local was homemade at least, and less grocery store groceries than would fill one bag)

I also made up a little batch of vanilla peach ice cream to see how my 'peach sauce' tasted in something.  Answer: like peachy summer heaven, that's how.

Wednesday was pretty much all-American, with oven-baked chicken, patty pan squash, egg noodles, and corn on the cob.  It was a lot like my the sort of evening meal my mom fixed for us growing up - except the chicken wasn't breaded with Shake and Bake, and the veggies weren't canned. But it still yelled old-fashioned comfort food to me.  The 'local' part was the squash and corn.

Thursday was leftovers - chicken, a couple veggies (local), and a big ol' salad - local lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and a local creamery's feta cheese.

Today, we're going over to a friend's house - so it's back to grabbing a few cherry tomatoes and a peach to make sure I fill the challenge.  But I'm also doing some food prep so we can eat local LATER, too.

I really, really, really wanted to try some real canning (yes it scares me, yes I am well armed with knowledge enough to avoid actually killing anyone) but I need a rack to make sure hot water gets under the jars, and have to put things off til then.  Meanwhile, I still had a whole lot of plum tomatoes that need to be dealt with, so away with my thoughts of spaghetti sauce... and in with two racks of halved tomatoes drying in the oven.  The house smells insanely good right now.

I'm also going to turn the rest of the fresh jalapenos into pickled jalapenos (fridge style), and try making a bit of mayonnaise with some pastures eggs.

Tomorrow is Farmer's Market Day - I'm hoping some berries will be in, and will continue to scoop up the summer squash and cucumbers while we can.  We have plans to plow deep into some of these boxes (we're both 'grr grumble, can't get to my books' at this point), and dinner will be brats (local farm), home made rolls, German potato salad (a friend gave us a bunch of potatoes out of his yard!), and some sauteed cabbage and shallots - both local.

Sunday, I'm not exactly sure on yet... it's the last day of the challenge, and also Lughnasadh Eve - First Harvest, the grain harvest.  So I'm thinking a Three Sister's Stew of some sort, full of fresh corn and black beans and some squash (summer style since it's too early for winter varieties, I'm sure), along with some corn tortillas

All together - quite a winning challenge, I think, and one we'll try to stick to as much as we can.  Talking to people in other places and of course, knowing my own experiences where I was just living, we are terribly blessed to have the option to support local agriculture  - and to have a robust local food shed to support.  It would seem criminal and flatly ungrateful to me to not do so... and I am growing increasingly worried that if we don't, we (generic all-of-us we) may not have that option anymore.

1 comment:

  1. This is almost torture! I'm in school, at the library, and it is super cold in here. I might be a bit hungry too. Then I see you are following me one Twitter and decide to visit. I browse around and run into your yummy recipes. I'm drooling...

    Yum, yum!