Sunday, October 28, 2007

Aaagh! I'm Late!

Posting my Dark Days Eat Local Challenge Meal, #2. I don't know what happened, just one of those weeks that got the better of me.

The Menu:
Roasted Kuri Squash with honey butter
Honey Baked Lentils
Steamed Broccoli
Green Salad

We picked up the Kuri squash at the farmer's market yesterday, having never tried one and feeling the need to buy some of the amazingly cool looking squash on offer. The broccoli and red romaine lettuce for the salad were also purchased the day we ate them, which is cool and made them extra delicious!


Roasted Kuri Squash
Serves 4

1 Kuri squash, halved and seeded (seeds reserved) (can't remember the distance, but local!)
Butter (non-local)
Honey (Davisburg, MI - 41 mi)
S&P (non-local)

Preheat oven to 375. Pour some water into a 9x13" pan. Place squash, cut side down, in the pan. Roast until easily pierced with fork, about 1 hour.

Using a spoon, scrape all the squash flesh out of the shells. Use a potato masher to combine, adding butter, honey, and s&p to taste. Serve!

Honeybaked Lentils
see my last entry for the recipe!

Steamed Broccoli
Ok, I'm not going to go into it here - you all probably know how to steam broccoli! We had ours served with local sunflower seeds sprinkled on top and salt and pepper. Yum!

Our salad consisted of local red romaine lettuce and CSA arugula, which made a great mix. We had it with store bought dressing after I realized that even if I made a homemade dressing it would still be out of all non-local ingredients. ;)

All in all it was a great meal. We had enough leftover roasted squash that we made pumpkin-style squash pancakes for breakfast this morning!!!

Squash Pancakes
(adapted from this recipe on
  • 2 cups local whole wheat pastry flour (Kingston, MI - 83 mi)
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey (Davisburg, MI - 41 mi)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (non-local)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (non-local)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice (non-local)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (non-local)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (non-local)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (non-local)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (Calder Dairy, local!)
  • 1 cup kuri squash puree (local!)
  • 1 egg (local!)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (non-local)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (non-local)
  1. In a separate bowl, mix together the honey, milk, squash, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
YUMMMM! I love when my local dinner spills over into my local breakfast!

Oh, and here is a bonus mostly local meal from earlier in the week:
Spinach-Rice Casserole from the Moosewood Cookbook utilized local spinach, onion, garlic, eggs, milk and sunflower seeds (non-local butter, cheese, Braggs, salt, nutmeg, cayenne, and parika. Oh and brown rice!)

And Roasted Acorn Squash with honey butter (notice a theme here?). Good stuff!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dark Days Eat Local Challenge, Meal #1

Well, our first DDELC meal was a total success!

Roasted Delicata Squash with honey butter and dried cranberries
Honeybaked Lentils
Braised Brussels Sprouts
Tamari Roasted Squash Seeds

Roasted Delicata Squash
Serves 2

2 Delicata squash, halved, seeds and pulped removed and reserved (CSA - 65 mi)
2 T butter (non-local, exempt)
2 tsp honey (Davisburg, MI - 41 mi)
2 T dried cranberries (Not sure on the distance, but they're from MI)

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place squash, cut side down, in a rimmed baking pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until tender when poked with a fork.

After the squash come out of the oven, place 1/2 T of butter, 1/2 tsp of honey and 1/2 T of cranberries in each half. Serve!

Honeybaked Lentils
This recipe comes from someone on MotheringDotCommune. It is the MOST delicious way to serve lentils, hands down. If you use brown lentils (like I did), they come out the consistency of baked beans or so. If you use red lentils, expect to eat this as soup, which is just as delicious, just different.
Serves 4, or 2 with leftovers

1 cup lentils (Kingston, MI - 83 mi)
2 cups water (0 mi!)
2 tbsp honey (Davisburg, MI - 41 mi)
2 tbsp soysauce (non-local, exempt)
2 tbsp olive oil (non-local, exempt)
1/2 tsp ginger (non-local, exempt)
1 clove garlic (CSA - 65 mi)
1 small onion (CSA - 65 mi)
salt & pepper (non-local, exempt)

Option 1: Bake in a covered dish at 350 until tender (about an hour and a half).
Option 2: Put everything in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. When boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 40-50 minutes.

Simmered Brussels Sprouts
from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
Serves 4 or two with leftovers

1-1 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed (CSA - 65 mi)
2 T butter or olive oil ((non-local, exempt)
1 clove garlic, smashed (CSA - 65 mi)
1 T plain breadcrumbs (non-local, freebie)
1 T lemon juice (non-local, exempt)
pinch of dried parsley (non-local, exempt)
salt and pepper (non-local, exempt)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt it. Add the sprouts and keeping the heat high, boil for about 10 minutes or until just tender. Drain and plunge into cold water. Drain again.

Heat the butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the sprouts and the breadcrumbs. Stir until heated through, about 3 minutes

Remove the garlic if you want (I left it in), toss the sprouts with lemon juice, parsley and salt & pepper.

Roasted Squash Seeds
from The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved by Sandor Ellix Katz

Preheat the oven to 325F. Place the pulpy seeds in a bowl of water, and use both hands to remove chunks of pulp and fiber from the seeds. When reasonably clean, drain the seeds. Toss the seeds with your choice of seasoning (I used a squirt or two of Braggs). Spread seeds out on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until seeds are lightly toasted and crispy all the way through.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leftover Pie

Lately I've had this bee in my bonnet about using up leftovers in creative ways. So yesterday for lunch, I did something that made me slightly uncomfortable yet hopeful: I made up a recipe. Ok, ok, I don't always use recipes to the letter, but that's usually when I've made something so many times that I feel comfortable winging it or improving on the original. Yesterday for lunch I went whole hog, and just made the whole thing up as I went.

Which brings us to:
Leftover Mexican Pie!

1 1/2 C pinto beans (mine were from the freezer via crockpot)
1 C leftover rice (any kind)
1 1/2 C leftover roasted vegetables (I used my ratatouille, so peppers, onions, garlic, eggplant)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 chipotle pepper, canned in adobo, minced
1/2 - 1 C shredded cheese (I used TJ's Quattro Formaggio cheese blend)

Cornbread: (recipe from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)
1 1/4 C buttermilk, yogurt or soured milk (just mix 1 T vinegar into your milk and let it sit for a few minutes)
2 T butter or oil
1 1/2 C medium grind cornmeal
1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar or honey, or more if you like sweeter cornbread
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat EVOO in a 10" cast iron skillet over medium heat. When warm, add all the filling ingredients EXCEPT for the cheese. Keep this on medium-low while you make the cornbread.

For the cornbread, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the soured milk, egg, sugar/honey and butter/oil. Stir to combine.

Sprinkle the cheese over the filling ingredients in the skillet. Pour the cornbread batter over the cheese. Pop it into the oven for 30 minutes, or until cornbread is just starting to turn brown on top.

Serve with green salad and/or negro modelo!

This recipe can be easily veganized if you use oil and sugar and soured soymilk in the cornbread and some egg replacer. In lieu of cheese, I'd add some salt to the filling mixture.

Serves 6-8, so we have lots of leftover leftover pie. ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pizza Night

Why oh why did I forget to take a picture of our lovely pizza?!?

I know why: we were starving and stuffing our faces.

Last night we had Magical Leftover Pizza - I made whole wheat pizza dough with the aid of the bread machine, and topped it with leftover arugula pesto and chopped veggies from this weekend's oven-roasted ratatouille, and then some more TJ's Quattro Formaggio cheese blend. Delicious! I love when I can transform leftovers into something totally new and delicious. And I was worried about using up the pesto, and this did the trick.

Now I can turn last week's arugula into pesto, and we can eat the arugula coming in our CSA box today in our salads. Until next week when we get more. Although I'm really going to miss our CSA shares, I've had my fill of arugula for the year.

Speaking of CSA shares, here's what is arriving in ours today:
Acorn Winter Squash
Pie Pumpkin
Green & Red Colored Peppers (sweet)
Arugula (!!!)
Bunch of mixed Asian greens-chinese cabbage, Osaka purple mustard green, red Russian kale, minuza, tatsoi- enjoy as a salad or great to cook with.
Apples-from Brozowski Farms Jonagolds or Empire-both a good eating apple
Ancho Pablano Hot pepper (mild heat)
Brussel Sprouts

So if anyone has any ideas for recipes for any of the above, let me know. I am super excited/scared about the pie pumpkin! I know there is a recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance that uses a pumpkin, so I may have to check that out. I've never cooked with fresh pumpkin before. I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Weekend Roundup

Yesterday we made it bright and early - and I mean EARLY - to the Farmer's Market. We got a parking space in no time flat, and it wasn't too crowded! It pays to be there by 8 a.m. Especially when your toddler wakes up at 6:15 a.m.

We got some lettuce, eggs, potatoes, buckwheat flour, dried cranberries, and honeycrisp apples. Not a bad haul overall. We verified that our favorite bounteous supplier of local organic dry goods (flours, oats, seeds, beans and eggs) will be at the market year round. Hampshire Farms rocks!

Saturday I spent the better part of the late morning prepping fruit to be dried. I halved and pitted about 25 italian plums and peeled, cored and sliced about 6 older apples. About 30 hours later, the apples are delicious and pliable and awesome! Our first drying endeavor is a success. Silas cannot get them into his mouth fast enough, so yay for healthy local snacks for babies. The plums have a ways to go, but they're looking more shrivelly and prune-like every hour.

I also turned 6 other older apples into a delicious, mostly local apple crisp. So good with a scoop of local vanilla ice cream!

Yesterday for lunch I made Oven Roasted Ratatouille, something I've never made (or possibly eaten) before. It turned out delicious, and it was a fabulous way to use up some of the CSA veggies that I was running out of ideas for.

Oven Roasted Ratatouille
(from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)
4 red peppers, cut in large strips
2 eggplants, sliced 1/2 in thick
2 onions, thinly sliced (I used one yellow, one red)
10 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chunked
1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Layer veggies in a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with thyme, salt & pepper and drizzle with 1/2 cup of EVOO. Bake for 1 hour. Yum!!!

We ate it over spaghetti with leftover italian baked tofu. Good stuff!

This morning Chad woke up sickish (Silas has been sick for several days with a snotty cold, yick) so I decided to try out Isa's recipe for Chickpea Noodle Soup, from the forthcoming Veganomicon for breakfast. Soup for breakfast?! I know, but we're weird like that sometimes, especially when we're sick. It freaking rocks, make it immediately!!!! It totally captures the essence of chicken noodle soup, minus the chicken. I think I added too many noodles to mine, but my husband said "is there really such a thing as too many noodles?!?" And I kind of have to agree. I'm so glad there are leftovers!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dark Days Eat Local Challenge

...which will henceforth be referred to as DDELC (or maybe just Dark sounds so ominous!)...

Anyway! Laura over at Urban Hennery came up with the great idea of doing another Eat Local Challenge, but this one has the focus of using our stores of food that we have put by during the peak season of summer. Which brings us to the Dark Days Eat Local Challenge.

The general rule is to make one local meal per week and blog about it. Laura and friends will be doing a weekly roundup of what everyone is up to each Saturday.

My caveats:
1. The toddler is exempt, getting him to eat is hard enough!
2. Oils and spices are exempt.
3. Local means within 150 miles of my address.
4. I get one freebie non-local ingredient per meal (if needed).
5. We commit through the end of November, and then we'll reevaluate (we're out of town for most of December, so it'll get tricky then).

So stay tuned! With only two more weeks of CSA shares, it's going to get mighty interesting around here. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Whoa, and we're back

Next time we have out of town guests in, remind me that I DO NOT cook for them. No matter what I think/want/wish I will do, I just don't. Unless it's breakfast and/or sandwiches. Geez. My Father-in-law doesn't eat any non-breakfast meal without a beef product of some kind, so that was out when they were visiting. I don't care if you make your own beef product at my house, but I'm not cooking it for you, dig? Then there were just so many places we wanted to take my parents, that I barely cooked at all. Plus, I didn't want to "stick" anyone with the baby while I cooked. I felt odd about that, but there it is.

So after three weeks of mostly eating out, we were only too happy to get back to local food and cooking for ourselves!

Some recipes I've tried lately...

Creamy Broccoli Tahini Pasta Bake from Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook. It was pretty good the first night all by itself, but it improved a lot when we had it as leftovers and added homemade marinara! It was kind of like super-protein baked ziti. With broccoli. Not particularly local, except for the broccoli and breadcrumbs. But it made a ton and was good for lunch the whole week.

Another night I made sauteed veggies in TJ's spinach simmer sauce over jasmine rice. I used local red pepper, red onion, broccoli, parsnip. I also made asian baked tofu (local tofu!), using a recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. And let me just say that marinating tofu is for suckers. I didn't marinate it at all, just tossed the marinating ingredients into the pan with the tofu, covered with foil and baked it for 15 minutes. Then I removed the foil, baked for another 10 minutes, then broiled it for 3 minutes. The marinade totally bakes into the tofu. No need to press or waste your time marinating.

Another day I made Pasta with Arugula Pesto. It was good! I was surprised. I've made it in the past and thought it was pretty "eh." But this recipe I found substituted garbanzo beans for nuts, which made it really creamy and bonus, the baby could it eat. I also used TJ's Quattro Formaggio cheese blend instead of straight parmesan, which couldn't have hurt. We had it tossed with red pepper, mushrooms, garlic and onion (all local, plus the arugula was local). The recipe made a ton of pesto, so I think I'll have it on pizza this weekend.

We also have a bumper crop of apples, so I made an apple crisp the other day, which is SO good. We had it with local vanilla ice cream. yum!

And of course we've been enjoying green salads with fresh local lettuces and tomatoes from our garden.

I can't believe how much of the frozen marinara we've blasted through already! Two quarts and one pint, so far. Holy crap.

Food related stuff we need to do:

Dry our italian plums in the dehydrator.
Make applesauce with the apples.
Bake bread (check! Rye Caraway bread is in the breadmaker as we speak!)
Harvest all the backyard basil; make pesto or dry it
Harvest/transplant the thyme
Harvest/transplant the oregano
Harvest the mint
Use up our:
  • eggplant
  • beet greens
  • arugula
  • peppers
  • mushrooms
  • broccoli
If anyone has any great recipes they'd recommend that utilize any/all of the above (especially the greens!!!), puh-leeze pass them on.