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Daily Archives: December 19, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week Four

It’s Sunday night. The night I usually cook my local meal for the Dark Days Challenge

I went way out there this week. Making gnocchi with local spelt. My local sources are on my page linked above on the blog.

Heirloom tomatoes with goat cheese, basil, olive oil and balsamic.
Sweet potato gnocchi with maple syrup and sage brown butter.
Maple pork sausage with onions and peppers.
Boordy Reserve Chardonnay.

Besides the salt, pepper, cinnamon, olive oil and balsamic, everything else was local.

Tomatoes and basil from Mock’s Greenhouse. 70 miles
Sausage and butter from South Mountain Creamery. 35 miles
Maple syrup from Patterson’s Farm, PA. 200 miles (yes, outside my 150, but one of the nearest sources of maple syrup to MD)
Sweet potatoes, onions and peppers from LFFC CSA. 100 miles
Goat cheese from Firefly Farms. 140 miles.
Spelt from The Common Market, Frederick MD 20 miles.
Ricotta from Natural by Nature. 100 miles.
Sage from my garden, 10 feet

Spelt was difficult to source, but The Common Market sells it in bulk, as well as in bags from Shiloh Farms. I bought bulk. I can also get it from Atwater’s by buying bags of Daisy, or by mail from Rodale or Small Valley. I saved the postage and bought bulk, even though they don’t know whether each batch is from PA, OH or maybe NY. In my rules, if I can source it locally, I will sometimes substitute if I can’t easily pick up the item. Having it shipped adds greatly to the cost. Same for maple syrup. There is a place in MD that makes it and sells it. Buying it when I am out costs less than ordering and paying for shipping.

The wine is from Boordy and went very well with the gnocchi. I have to admit, the white spelt which is a pastry flour is way finer than wheat flour, and the potatoes were also very fresh and almost melted when baked. I had to greatly increase the amount of flour to make the gnocchi, but they came out beautifully.

The recipe was from Food Network, with my changes to use spelt.
1 1/2 pounds sweet potato, baked in the oven, then peeled and smashed
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Mix together. Add 2 cups of spelt, 1/2 cup at a time. You may need even more spelt as you are rolling out the gnocchi. Form a large ball. Divide into 4 pieces. Put more flour on the board. Get the right consistency by feel. If they are too wet, add more spelt. Keep on the side on a baking sheet. Heat salted water to boiling. Drop in enough at a time not to crowd them. Fish out after 5-6 minutes, and put under a foil tent to stay warm.

In the meantime, make the maple cinnamon sage brown butter. I used 3/4 stick equivalent of my dairy’s butter, 12 sage leaves, 2 TBSP maple syrup, 1 tsp cinnamon.

Bring the butter to a boil in a large pan, add sage and stand back. Stir and continue browning butter, then remove from heat and add cinnamon and maple syrup. Caution: it does foam up quite a bit, so be prepared to stir vigorously. Pour over the gnocchi and the sausages, which were baked in the oven with a little butter, two small onions chopped, and a few of my last CSA peppers.