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Inspiration for Eating Locally

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We are coming into the end of the winter, and our Eat Local Challenge will be winding down in a few weeks. Eight of the ten group members from our cyber circle in the South and East have been posting fairly regularly about their meals. A couple of recent posts have inspired me for future meals.

I always turn to Backyard Grocery to find inspiration for using the venison in the freezer. Susan is a master of cooking with venison, and I found something on her website to use the venison neck roast. Pulled venison with blueberry barbecue sauce.

Other than the strange coloring, the recipe looks to be pretty interesting. Look for it to show up around here in a week or two. I have used her recipes when I made things like black bean chili with pulled venison. The venison was a shoulder roast slow cooked for a day, shredded, then slow cooked again to make the chili.

brisket and plantings 005

It showed up on the table for two dinners and a lunch last week. Basic chili recipe with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, black beans, spices and the venison. Much of it was local. My tomatoes. Farmstand onions. The venison. Yes, the beans, green pepper and spices weren’t, but still in the spirit of eating locally.

As for a new inspiring menu, just in time to take advantage of the kale we are supposed to be getting this week in our early bird CSA, I turn to Jes, at Eating Appalachia. Love her blog for new recipes. I picked up a butternut squash to try out her fritters. Her recipe for kale winter slaw will be on the menu soon as well. Breezy Willow Early Bird begins Wednesday. I will be posting pictures of what we get, and next week the Eat Local Meal will feature many of the goodies.

The Early Bird CSA is an added value CSA, getting us through those last weeks until markets open, and helping us plow down through the bottom of our freezers. Besides cold storage and high tunnel veggies, we will be getting some citrus from down South. It is a welcome addition to the pantry. Can’t wait.

My freezer in the basement is down about a third, with almost half the tomatoes gone, a good dent in all that pesto, and interestingly enough, lots of fruit left. Remember all that basil last summer? Still jars and bags of pesto cubes in there.

pesto and raptor red 007

As for fruit, it seems I didn’t really use it the way I envisioned. I am now defrosting bags every week to use in salad dressings and making fruit drinks from them. Lots of peaches left though. I do also have quite a bit of greens, jars of broth and stew starter, and will be set until I get that huge influx of veggies in the summer CSA.

The other major cooking day this last week was Thursday when I slow cooked a brisket from TLV Farms. With dry rub and cooked in beef broth defrosted from the freezer. A few onions and carrots from England Acres. A small jar of my oven dried tomatoes. Plopped in the crock pot for ten hours. Here is the container with the leftovers.

brisket and plantings 026

I didn’t take pictures of dinner. We had some of it again last night, and I saved the last of the brisket for sandwiches this week. As for what I did with all that extra broth? Yesterday it became the basis to cook couscous for a salad. We will get three or four lunches from that salad.

Eating locally most of the time these days. At least the main ingredients are local. Whenever someone asks me how we use a CSA share with just two people, these are the types of things that make it worth the money. But, you do need the time to do this cooking. Thankfully, time is something we have lots of, as retirees.


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

4 responses »

  1. But isn’t it fun? Being retired and now time to relax and cook properly, finally!

    Watching the weather, wonder what happens with our CSA pick up Weds if the weather is bad (another great thing about being retired, I can be a weather wuss)

    • We used to call them “four flakers” when I worked in DC. Four flakes hit the ground and they wanted to go home, or they didn’t come in.

      Although we did have some awful commutes. During an ice storm my husband’s bus took more than six hours to get out of DC on 16th St. Got on the bus at 4 PM, left off at Columbia Mall at 11PM.

      Who knows when we will get our veggies? They have no idea how much or if we get snow, or if it will be rain.

  2. I love reading about how you have found inspiration for some of your meals through the challenge. That is wonderful! I can relate to so many of your comments about your main ingredients being local. The same is true in our house. I am thrilled to have local resources for meat and more. I am also thrilled to be able to preserve things in the freezer to use throughout the year. Your chili and brisket look wonderful!

  3. I hope you like the pulled venison with blueberry sauce. The color is a little odd, but you won’t care once you taste the sauce. Yum! That chili does look good too.


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