Friday, April 04, 2008

Dark Days Eat Local Challenge: Weeks 19 & 20

I can tell it's the end of the dark days, not just because the sunlight is returning, but because sundried tomatoes are starting to feature large in my cooking. When one puts up food, there's a sense of rationing at the beginning of winter, trying to be sure that the stores last all the way through. Once the earth starts waking up and plants begin growing, however, summer feels so close you can almost taste it. That's when the abandon begins, as all the carefully tucked away treats come out for tasting.

Roast chicken stuffed with yellow onions, garlic, and sorrel accompanied by sauteed turnip greens with pine nuts, sundried tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

Roast chicken, southern-style turnip greens with salted pork, pasta with sundried tomatoes and feta cheese, and ciabatta bread.

Three cheese pasta with basil, the season's first fresh salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and bleu cheese gougeres.


Wendy said...

I need you to teach me how to cook ....

Ren said...

I keep seeing pictures like the ones you posted, in my head lately! Everytime we eat something that is from the grocery store I see your 0 miles food.:)
It's cool, because several things we're buying now we'll be able to harvest this year. Baby steps.
Now I'm seeing all the lettuces in your hoop house when I eat salad.

Thanks for all the inspiration!

Danielle said...

Awww, Wendy, you're sweet. Trouble is, I like to eat too much for my own good!

Ren, you guys are taking amazing steps, and I still envy your raw milk and butter availability!

Maggie said...

Kent and I have two questions. First, do you make your ciabatta bread in a bread maker? Is it all automatic? Where did you learn how to make it?

Next, do you miss eating fruits and vegetables that are not native to your area? Or are local bananas, oranges, avocados, etc. available?

Oops, that was like, five questions. Oh well.

Danielle said...

Maggie, firstly, I'm no purist. ;)

We like banana bread and oranges and guacamole, so we buy bananas and oranges and avocados. I try to minimize what I buy that's not local and/or seasonal, and my plan is to buy a mini-banana tree, a meyer lemon, and an avocado this year that we'll move inside in the winter. I'm sure we won't be able to keep up with our demand, but it will hopefully ease our purchasing a bit.

What we've found is that the more we produce ourselves and realize how fantastic it tastes fresh, the less we want the pathetic copies available in the grocery. It will be interesting to see if that holds true for the bananas and lemons and avocados as well.

As for the ciabatta, I make the dough in the machine then cook in the oven on a pizza stone.

The recipe I use:

1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
3 1/3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast

I cook at 425° for 20 minutes, brush with water and cook for 10 minutes more, brush again and cook for 5-10 minutes more.