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Daily Archives: January 30, 2012

Dark Days Week Ten – My Personal Challenge

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This week is the week we are supposed to focus on creating a sweet dish, but I don’t bake or make candies like I did before my metabolism slowed down. Keeping temptation away from me is a good thing. But, I still buy some goodies for my husband who likes ice cream and coffee after dinner. So, his local dessert was seasonal ice cream from South Mountain Creamery.

My challenge this week is to see how many dinners I can make that are almost completely local, and when not local are organic or small family-owned business produced. I will allow myself to add one or two non-challenge items if I need to, but make the vast majority of the meal be local.

Sunday night I started off with only a few exceptions, but most of the meal was local.

The base of the meal was a sprouted whole wheat pasta, made in PA, with Angus beef sausage from MD that was baked using Breezy Willow Farm spaghetti sauce, baby bellos from Kennett Square PA and baby turnips from the Silver Spring market. Italian dried herbs, non-local, seasoned the sauce.

The star of the meal, though, was the salad. Mock’s Greenhouse Bibb lettuce with red onion, Firefly Farms mountain blue cheese, and non-local olives. A homemade vinaigrette from the St. Helena oil and vinegar, with ramp mustard, yogurt and honey.

The dinner was rounded out with a Naked Mountain Vineyard Raptor Red from 1995, the last one in the cellar. Still hanging in there with lots of fruit even though it was 17 years old. Virginia can make excellent wines. You just have to search around and have patience.

Overall, the pasta was a little different. Chewier, even when cooked for the maximum recommended ten minutes. Let’s just say it was an acquired taste. The sausage is so sweet, beef sausage freshly made, is definitely not the same Italian sausage taste that you would get from pork. Breezy Willow’s spaghetti sauce was very tasty, made in a slightly more watery style than commercial sauces bulked up with who knows what.

And the salad was awesome. Mountain Blue is an intense cheese. Red onions and olives added a kick. I also love this homemade vinaigrette, made in a jam jar. I use a 2 to 1 ration of oil to vinegar when adding mustard and yogurt. A tiny squirt of honey takes off the edge. Experimentation in making dressings is easy. Just add a little more of what is missing to your taste preferences and shake again.

I will keep notes and make a few posts this week to see how successful I can be in making more dinners with local ingredients.