The Dark Days Challenge has begun! Running until March 31, 2012, over 100 participants will be doing our best to cook and blog/write about one meal per week featuring SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients. Recaps will be hosted by the blog collective Not Dabbling in Normal.
Before I get to this weeks Dark Days Meal that Gail and I ate, I wanted to point out that recaps for Week 1 (here & here) and Week 2 (here & here) have been posted over at Not Dabbling in Normal. It's really interesting to see the huge diversity of meals and ingredients being used by all the participants. Be sure to check out some of their blogs as well.
On to the meal that we had here at Grown Away kitchens:
We had a few ingredients that I have little to no experience with such as jerusalem artichokes and mushrooms. I know mushrooms are a common ingredient and are found in or the base of, countless dishes, but I'm not their biggest fan and have for a long time avoided them all together. The sole exception being my mother's chicken Marsala! I'm trying though, which is why we picked up some mushrooms at the SoWa Winter Market on Sunday. We also had a small napa cabbage to use, as well as some very fat carrots, scallions, and a few surprises!
Truth be told, this isn't one of the meals I am most proud of, but it featured a ton of local ingredients, was incredibly healthy and filled us up. Not all the meals are gourmet, sometimes they are just food, and dinner on Tuesday was just that: food.
I ended up dicing the napa cabbage and mushrooms, and stir-frying them with a bit of baby ginger, and a drop of (non-local) chili-garlic paste.
I peeled the carrots, not just the outside i really peeled the carrots and used the peeled carrots as noodles which I tossed into a mix of sauteed jerusalem artichoke, red pepper, garlic, scallions, ginger, and a dash of Chef Myron's Szechuan Sauce (while Chef Myron's does not use entirely local ingredients in their products they are a local small business & specialty food producer that I am happy to support. I was introduced to their sauces at a local food festival a few years ago, and believe that supporting small local food business' is as important as supporting local farms and farmers markets). Once the cabbage and mushrooms were cooked up I tossed them into the carrot noodle mixture and served everything up in one bowl. On the side I served up our first tasting of homemade pickled ginger & daikon (daikon was slightly sweet and absorbed the flavors well, ginger needs more time to develop).
As I said not our best meal, but it was healthy and full of vegetables and we ate all of it, so I must have done something right!
Spicy Ginger Stir-Fry with Carrot 'Udon' ingredients:
Carrots, scallions & jerusalem artichokes from Spring Brook Farm. Mushrooms from Shady Oaks Organics. Napa cabbage from Heron Pond Farm. Ginger from the freezer via Old Friends Farm. Garlic from Allandale Farm. Daikon for the pickled daikon came from Winter Moon Farm , and the Szechuan sauce was courtesy of Chef Myron's.
Obviously not everything purchased at our trips to the winter farmers markets markets that I highlight on this blog make it into our dark days meals. Many ingredients and items are peppered throughout our meals each week and local foods are a major part of our meal planning.
What's coming next week?? I don't know, but I look forward to sharing with all of you!