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Daily Archives: February 13, 2012

Eating Locally for Valentine’s Day, in the Dark Days Challenge

Maybe I should title this post, why I can’t wait for the Columbia Wegman’s to open. I will be going out to dinner even less when specialty items are right down the road. (OK, 15 miles but who’s counting?)

Sunday night is the night we relax and have a great meal. And, since my husband teaches on Monday nights, plus we are not crazy enough to try and go out on Valentine’s Day, I decided to do our Valentine’s Dinner on Sunday. For me, as an avid cook of real food using local ingredients, I love to find great inspirations to build a meal around.

Our trip to Wegman’s Friday found us that inspiration, wild caught Chesapeake Bay rockfish. Our rockfish are really striped bass and are a best choice on the Monterey Aquarium Seafood list. It is advised though not to eat large amounts of fish that could contain mercury, so this is one of those “eat occasionally” seafood choices.

The morning after I brought it home, I put together a marinade and placed it all in a plastic bag for 24 hours. The marinade is not local. It is one of the few non-local items on the menu. I used St. Helena Olive Oil and some leftover white wine (Bota box pinot grigio) plus cilantro from Wegman’s, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.

This lovely Bibb lettuce, from Mock’s Greenhouse in Berkeley Springs WV and bought at Wegman’s as well, is the basis for the salad.

We usually find Mock’s greens at the Silver Spring Freshfarm Farmer’s Market, and we were happy to see more than one item of theirs located in the produce section at the Frederick Wegman’s.

The salad was made from this lettuce plus baby beets from our Zahradka Farm CSA, and Mountain Top Bleu Cheese from Firefly Farms. Both of these sources are on our local source page. I used Catoctin Mountain Orchard’s peach vinaigrette for the dressing. I stocked up at Catoctin in December since they take a very long break in the winter and don’t return until spring. I know not all the ingredients in their dressings are local, but the peaches are theirs.

I baked two small sweet potatoes from the CSA delivery, and served them with South Mountain Creamery butter. Sauteed a mess of collard greens in TLV Tree Farm bacon with onion and garlic from the CSA, and plated it all with the baked rockfish. The rockfish was baked in olive oil with a couple of pats of South Mountain butter placed on top at the end to melt.

Dinner was served with a Glen Manor 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. Jeff White used to work for Jim Law at Linden, and his sauvignon blancs are lovely. They have that citrusy note. This wine was big enough to stand up to that cheese as well. We always eat our salads after our dinner, almost as a palate cleanser and the salad went well with the wine. You had to have the fish before the cheese kicked in. That mountain top cheese from Firefly is intense.

All in all, it was a really nice meal, for a fraction of the cost of going out. $20 for the wine, $20 for the fish, and everything else from the weekly CSA deliveries plus freezer and pantry. I like splurging on good ingredients and good wine and making a celebratory meal like this. Less stress. Easy to cook. Really it is easy to cook these things. They just take time. Sundays for us are the perfect night to enjoy the results of my hobby.