Dark Days Challenge Recap for the South Region: Week 3

Dark Days Challenge 2011-2012

Another week into the Dark Days Challenge and many of the participants are creating wonderful local meals. This is the OFF week for me to do a detailed recap over at Not Dabbling in Normal and because I don’t want anyone in our group to miss out on seeing all these wonderful meals I have chosen to do the recap here on my personal blog.

If you head over to Not Dabbling in Normal you will see the detailed recap for the WEST group and will also see a separate post from the leaders of the EAST group with some photos and descriptions of what we have been up to individually – That is where you can read about the meal I cooked this week.

Let’s see what’s cookin’ in the South Region:

Monika (NC) at Windy City Vegan dug into her freezer and simply walked out back to the garden for some of this weeks meal.  Focusing on her mass of beet greens this past week, she used some of them to make a pesto with olive oil, garlic sea salt & pepper. A tip she shared on how to make your pesto a bit creamier – “cut back on the olive oil and add a few tablespoons of your starchy pasta water!” She also whipped up a breakfast smoothie – again using beet greens, frozen summer berries, milk alternative and a bit of maple syrup. On the side, she served roast sweet potatoes. Mouth watering!

AnnieRei (MD) at AnnieRei Unplugged looked at the last few items from her last CSA box and wondered what to make. She came up with a wonderful warm soup using turnip, Jerusalem artichoke and apples. Tossed up a beautiful side salad and served local lamb sausage with baguettes and she had “Dinner Extraordinaire!”

Victoria (MD)  at The Soffritto made another successful local meal. Chili for a chilly day – how clever. I was drooling just looking at the photo she sent me, wishing I had a bowl to eat! Using local meats and home made stock, home canned salsa and peppers, adding herbs from the garden and homemade chili powder she created a great chili. She has found a few new sources that she will check out in the coming weeks, hoping to find some dry legumes. Wouldn’t that be great!

Jes (VA) at Eating Appalachia had a head of cabbage on hand that needed to be saved from an excessive cold spot in the refrigerator. She turned it into a beautiful Indian inspired dish. Using coconut milk and mustard seed she created this wonderful curry. Well done! (and beautiful too!)

Susan (VA) at Backyard Grocery created a Pumpkin Chocolate Chili. How creative! Blending a combination of local and organic foods, this meal looks tasty. She found local pumpkin, onions, Serrano peppers and venison, adding organic tomatoes and chocolate. Making a few alterations to a recipe she found, she has created a great meal and it was a big hit at her husbands hunt club holiday party!

Jackie (NC) at Southern Fried Goodness had a busy week with work and work related travel and was surprised by an expected guest and had to whip up a dinner without a plan, not just any dinner, but a Dark Days Challenge dinner. She made a beautiful chicken with 40 cloves (of garlic that is!) She added some whipped sweet potatoes with ginger and served a nice side salad. I think under the constraints she was working with, even though every ingredient is not local, she did a fabulous job. You can see links to her local resources on her post.

Rebecca (VA) at Eating Floyd tossed up a beautiful winter salad. It was a complete and hearty meal using caramelized cubed butternut squash, toasted walnuts, homegrown lettuce and chard and added flat leaf parsley and cutting celery leaves for addition flavor. She whipped up a nice lemony vinaigrette and finished off the meal with toasted bread topped with a homemade Boursin-style herbed cheese. I love the concept of adding the warmth of the caramelized squash in with a bowl of greens.

Liz (VA) at Family Foodie Survival Guide made a wonderful meal using local ingredients. Pan fried Polish kielbasa with roasted and seasoned sweet potatoes and sautéed broccoli and garlic. She served that us with some local Barboursville Virginia Chardonnay. In Liz’s words “Dinner is served” – yes it is. A great meal.

Sandra (NC) from The Farm Fairy was able to freeze a lot of her summer garden produce and she used some of that bountiful harvest in “A Blink of an Eye Omelet.” Using colorful peppers, summer squash and broccoli florets, she added some local ham to the mix and had a nice filling lunch. It is nice to see the colors of summer in her omelet.

Jessica (SC) at Eat. Drink. Nourish. prepared Ragu on Fresh Fettucini served with Raw Turnip & Arugula Salad. After reading an article in the NY Times, she wanted to try raw turnips in her salad. She set out to her local farmer’s market only to find they had moved out ALL the produce to make way for Christmas tree sales so she had to travel up the road to the next market to get what she needed. She used thinly sliced turnip and paired it with arugula and walnuts. She used homegrown canned tomatoes for the base of her sauce and made fresh fettuccine noodles to bring it all together for a nice warm meal on a frosty night.

Sandra (NC) at The Farm Fairy got a late start to making her DDC meals, so she is challenging herself to catch up. They work at a local community farm and have access to a variety of wonderful produce and meat. It is fun to see the variety of things that she cooks with. She also mixes up her own Chimichurri blend from local co-op herbs and used it on her chicken. Go check out her beautiful roasted chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and chard.

Be sure to click on the links to the individual blogs to read about their meals this past week and see their recipes and ingredients first hand. I have made a note near each name so you know what state they live in. If you are from that state or a surrounding state and want to learn more about local resources that might be very close to you, just click on the links above and each participant, in the post, has listed and linked to the local markets and farms and winery’s (and more) where you can find local foods and supplies. This is a great platform to share local information, be sure to comment on their individual blogs if you have comments or questions for them specifically. There are a lot of talented people in the South Region and I hope they inspire you to look for some local foods and maybe recreate one of the meals you saw here. I know they have inspired me.

Sincerely, Emily

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4 Responses to Dark Days Challenge Recap for the South Region: Week 3

  1. Jane says:

    I just love to see people eating closer to home. The more the merrier:)

  2. J. Searcy says:

    Thank you for posting the recap on your blog! I love seeing what others in our regional group are cooking up each week.

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