Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dark Days 2008 Post #1

Did I kick off the week with something unbelievable? Creative? Brand-new to my palate?


I made Honeybaked Lentils, which I've made about 100 times before, including my Dark Days Meal #1 for 2007! Ha! They are just so delicious! And easy, easily adapted, healthy, etc. I'm a honey-eating vegan, but you could soooooo easily substitute agave or maple syrup or rice syrup for the honey. Or sugar. Really. It's that kind of recipe.

We were amazingly able to find a bunch of washington grown legumes this summer at one of the farms we visited for the King County Farm Tour. Black-eyed peas, white beans, pink beans, 2 kinds of lentils, some pearled barley - I'm kicking myself for not buying more when we were there! And I know that Washington is a big place and it might be more than 200 miles away. But you know - I'm vegan! We need legumes!! And these were grown in my state. I don't know why more local farms don't grow affordable* legumes, but they don't so far. Something we will investigate further as we look for land to start our commune! Bwahahahaha!

*I've seen some legumes for sale at my local farmer's market but they are $6-8 per pound! OMGWTFBBQ?!?! I think we bought the others for between $2-4 per pound. Not sure if its the yuppie mark-up or what, but I can't afford that, folks.

Back the meal - So the lentils, delicata squash, shallots, and garlic are all local and with the exception of the lentils are from our CSA share (we got a storage share, woo-hoo!). And did you notice that bread there, in the bowl? Didya? I made it! Woo-hoo! And it rose and everything!!!! I'm counting this as 90% local, since the flour is locally sourced (Stone-Buhr, for those in Washington).

Here's a gratuitous shot of my first successful bread experiment in months:
It was soooo good! I can't believe we ate it all in under a week. Eesh. There are only 2 adults and 1 2-year-old in the house, just for context.

I think my success was attributable to these factors: 1) I used a sponge method for the bread, something I've never done before 2)I used leftover grains in the recipe, in this case brown rice (not local, eeks!) 3) I preheated my oven briefly and then turned it off, and let the bread rise in there. Since we keep our thermostat set at 62-64F, it's just not warm enough for the bread to rise in this century.

Local Food Meal Honorable Mentions

Chile-Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Po Boys
So here we have some local tofu dredged in some liquids (non-local) and then locally purchased cornmeal (from when we lived in MI) and some spices. That was baked and then combined with homemade crazy pickles (from cukes from the CSA), some homemade coleslaw from local cabbages and carrots, and the aforementioned homemade bread. Soooo good!

Sloppeh Joes with Smoky Collard Greens
Ok, so the tempeh is NW produced but 229 miles away - still within my local foodshed bullseye. That was combined with some local onions and garlic, ketchup and spices. Over the magic homemade rolls. The smoky collards consisted of local collards, shallots, garlic, non-local mushrooms and a host of spices. Still, the bulk of this meal with local, so I'm pretty psyched about that.

I know I've promised you memes, and now I have TWO to catch-up on! Bethany, you're killing me! I'm kidding. I swear I will do them soon, along with some other non-local food catch-up. My parents are coming this weekend and as our levels of cleanliness are not exactly matched, we have a lot of cleaning to do. Wish me luck!


allularpunk said...

yum yum yum yum yum! all looks wonderful, girl! and the 2 adults in my household could totally devour that bread within a week. no worries.

jmanca said...

why on 90% local?

Jenn said...

Wow, you've got such awesome local goodness.
Dark days, here we come...

Katy said...

Seeing all your local goodies makes me miss Seattle even more!
I'm definitely going to try those lentils. Yum!!!

jessy said...

wahooooooooooooooo for bread success, Chessa! damn! that's one fine loaf of bread, indeed! your buns look mighty fine, too! ahahhaaha! hooray!

jeebus, i keep forgetting to pick up collards! i keep kicking myself for not getting some yet, too - i sooooooo want to make your smoky colalrds! i'm gonna have to put it on the menu for next week. mmmmmmmmmmm! the honeybaked lentils sound super yum! dan & i are both lentil fans - so we'll give this a try. i'm think'n some agave should do the trick! yay! oh yeah - your Chile-Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Po Boys! hot damn! they look super stellar - and have me wishing i had stuff on hand to make that myself RIGHT NOW!

better get a move on with the memes! :)

Melissa P. said...

Sooo funny Chessa! Small world to see you on Laura's Dark Days challenge--its Melissa from Tilth COG class! We'll have to get together for a Dark Days Challenge Dinner--and I'll have to try your lentil recipe! How's your gardening going? My garlic is coming up and I have cilantro too! The arugula's pretty slow but the cover crops are going gangbusters! Take care! Mel P.

Bethany said...

I joined the dark days challenge.

I'm still super sick right now, so I don't know when I'll be in the mood for cooking anything - local or unlocal. Most food tastes gross to me right now.

which farm in king county grows legumes? I know about western washington growing 1/3 of the lentils in the US, but didn't think our county had the right temperatures for growing them.

Chessa said...

allularpunk - so glad to hear the bread comment, I was seriously a little freaked!

jmanca - I think the idea is to get as close to 100% as possible, but with the realization that most of us can't do that quite yet. It's hard to get all your spices, oils, and other incidental flavorings from a local source (at least for me!) It's a goal, but a hard and fast rule. :)

Jenn- Thanks!! Here we come, indeed.

Katy - The lentils are awesome! Sorry to make you miss Seattle. I'll give it an extra hug for you! :)

jessy - I know, my buns are FINE! hahaha. Yeah, the lentils are the bomb, and they totally work great with agave (or maple syrup, or even brown sugar!). And you gotta make the po' boys! So good!

Melissa P. - Ha! So glad you found my online home! My gardening is not coming along at all - I went down to visit my parents for a week and my cilantro died a slow agonizing death, completely ignore by my husband. We haven't figured out if we're going to do a backyard thing, a container thing or hope and pray that the P-Patch for South Seattle Community College goes in in time for spring planting (with staff getting first dibs - my husband is on the planning committee, woo-hoo!) So we're kind of in garden limbo. But I am beginning to drool over seed catalogs! Oh yes, a girl can dream. ;)

We should totally get together for a dark days dinner! Maybe after all the holiday madness cools down in January?

Bethany - I totally hear you on the being sick and uninspired and food tasting gross thing. That is SO me lately, I just can't motivate to do anything in the kitchen!

So glad you joined the Dark Days Challenge! Oh and no farm in King County grows legumes that I know of. ;) I bought some in Enumclaw that were labeled "washington grown." I think it's the best we can do for "local" legumes, I think they require the hotter, drier weather. I did just buy 6 lbs of Alvarez Farms (of Yakima Valley) beans at Pike Place two weeks ago - I was super psyched to get them even that close - around 185 miles. I'm calling it close enough for this local-eating vegan.

Bethany said...

185 is very close! Way closer than I would have guessed.

I think the smartest approach is that you try to get just about everything local. for luxury items that aren't local, try to minimize as much as possible.

For things like legumes, you do what you need to. If WA didn't have the proper condition to grow them, I think it would be ok to get them out of the local radius.

I'm still sticking to my Cafe Flora local menu (dinner only, i think) cheater post :) when I'm not sick and can enjoy it.

Bethany said...

and I forgot to say the bread looks amazing. I'm envious.