Almost Local

We are past the halfway mark of the Dark Days Challenge. How is it going? Buying local is becoming a habit for me. The challenge seems more like a routine and I’m easily finding recipes that work with ingredients available. It has taken some research to gather resources, but I feel more comfortable and know where to go for specific foods. Buying for one entirely local meal a week means that I’m making a lot of “almost local” meals with the ingredients I’m purchasing. These are meals that have all local ingredients with one or two exceptions.

My boys don’t know the difference and have no idea that our meat is coming from people who recognize my name when I place my order. They don’t know the conversation I had with the “honey guy” about the health benefits of honey or the son of the beef farmer who told me about the time he tried to become a vegetarian. They are passionate about what they do and I’m supporting people who live near me, instead of a big corporation. On a recent trip to the Farmer’s market, I was told I bought the very last package of short ribs and that they are busier than ever.

The boys are also surprising me with what they are eating. For one recent meal, I made a Cheddar Apple Frittata, which I came across in Everyday Food. I was excited to find that all the ingredients were available locally, but wasn’t sure if the boys would eat it. I’ve made frittata with vegetables before and the boys ate it fairly willingly. Using apples seemed risky. I don’t think it was their favorite meal, but we didn’t have leftovers.

On the vegetable front, the boys are definitely expanding their horizons. Son #2 prefers rutabagas over carrots. Son #3 likes turnips. They definitely have their opinions and favorites when I roast chicken with vegetables. Why don’t kids like cooked carrots? Is it an acquired taste? I keep trying, but can’t get any of the boys to like carrots in any form except raw. A new dish for all of us was celeriac gratin. We got the celery root from the CSA share, along with the suggested recipe. Sons #1 and #2 ate it and liked it, but Son #3 wouldn’t touch it.

Celeriac Gratin

1-1/2 lbs celeriac, cubed in one inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tbsp flour
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, or thyme
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Boil the celeriac cubes for about five minutes, until fork tender. Drain. Butter a 5 x 9 baking dish. Melt the butter and add the flour cook until flour browns, add the stock and stir until thickened, Combine the cream,and garlic with the stock and bring the mixture just to a boil. Pour over the celeriac. salt and pepper and top with cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes or so, until browned.

We’ve welcomed another eater in the family. Son #4 has graduated to cereal and various pureed foods. The squash from our CSA share is coming in handy. I’ve cooked a big batch and froze it in ice cube trays. He’s doing well and it is getting fun introducing him to new foods. I’m hoping he is as easy as his older brothers have been to feed.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Tammy said,

    That is the cutest baby ever! I love your dark days meals.

  2. 2

    […] of our contributors. WoohooTofu made Cheddar Apple frittata (oh yum), and a wonderfully creative Celeriac Gratin. Sanborn Sanctuary described their meal (pork chops, sweet potato mash and spinach salad) better […]


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