Dark Days Challenge recap for the South Region: Week 8

Another week has gone by for the Dark days Challenge and the meals that are being cooked up continue to impress me. The South Region is made of from participants from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. These participants have found many wonderful resources that they share each week in their individual posts. If you are from their state or are in any way interested in where they are finding things, be sure to click on the links to their blogs and read the details.

Head over to Not Dabbling in Normal to read about my individual meal as well as the meals from the other leaders of the EAST. Also be sure to read the detailed recap in the companion post for the participants in the WEST Group.

Susan (VA) from Backyard Grocery has become addicted to cooking meals using local ingredients. One meal was a beautiful Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Oyster Mushrooms! YUM!  She has incorporated her local finds into this meal, including locally grown oyster mushrooms. She roasted the mushrooms to use as a topping for this scrumptious looking soup.  Check out her blog for a detailed recipe and local sources.

Susan (VA) from Backyard Grocery cooked up a 2nd meal this week. It was a nice venison burger served on grilled jalapeno cheddar bread. As she gets more involved with this challenge she is re-defining what “local” means to her as she finds small local businesses to support along with finding local ingredients for her meals.  Head over to her blog to see what local mom-and-pop shops she has found to support.

Annie (MD) from AnnieRie Unplugged found a unique vegetable in her CSA basket. Salsify. What do you do with salsify? I didn’t know, but I am glad Annie did. She made salsify fritters and it is now her new favorite vegetable.  It has been described as having an oyster flavor. I can see how it fit right into the rest of her meal. She prepared beef sausage, baked red cabbage and apples and salsify fritters. She wasn’t done yet. She served pumpkin ice cream for dessert. Head over to her blog to read more about her meal and her local resources.

Liz (VA) over at Family Foodie Survival Guide hit the farmers market this weekend in her area. Even through the size of the market has considerably decreased, she is not letting that get her down. She was able to find some local meats and veggies and went on a local cooking spree. They had a nice Saturday Brunch using local eggs, ham, bread, jam and apple cider. This is a meal they eat regularly and it looks delicious.

For the second meal Liz found some inspiration from one of the cookbooks from the Barefoot Contessa. Liz made some modifications to make the soup work for her. She also tried to use as many local ingredients as she had on hand and tried to keep it as organic as she could, yet still come out with a nice nourishing soup. She used the parsnips they picked up from the farmers market. Those added a notable sweetness to the lovely soup.  Stop by her blog to see her resources and read about her meals.

Victoria (MD) from The Soffritto found her inspiration from herbs she has growing in her gardens – Rosemary & Chervil. Both are growing quite happily right now and were the perfect match for fingerling potatoes and pork chops that she had from a nearby farm. Along with some dried thyme and oregano she says the meal “practically made itself.” Although, if you head over to her blog you will see that she had help when you see a cute photo of little hands washing the little potatoes. You will also see her recipe and where she found her pork chops & fingerling potatoes.

Rebecca (VA) from Eating Flyod has cherished her copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Childs, but until now she has never made Julia’s famous Boeuf Bourguignon! Using venison for her meat, foraged chicken of the woods mushrooms from this past fall, a fine herbs paste that she made this past summer, home made tomato paste and home grown garlic. I know I have left out many of her ingredients, the point is that is a beautiful meal, and memorable, as well as impressive in her undertaking. Julia would be proud! Take some time and head over to her blog, she has a wonderful detailed descriptions and photos of the process.

Jessica (SC) from Eat.Drink.Nourish. was short on time and still managed to pull off and wonderful local meal. She made Polenta Cakes with Red kale topped with Veal Meatballs. Making a mad dash in and out of a regional chain store that focuses on some local food with emphasis on organic options, with no plan in mind and a tired and hungry (but always adorable!) 3 year old in tow, Jessica really came up with a nice meal using things found in her freezer, pantry and items from her mad-dash shopping. Stop my her  blog to read about her local resources.

Jackie (NC) from Southern Fried Goodness had some fun in the kitchen this week. She had some time to experiment and try some new things and her meal turned out great. Grilled smoked pork chops, creamed turnips with blue cheese and kale chips! It sounds like she had a lot of fun getting back in the kitchen and challenging herself. She now has some good energy going from this meal and is looking forward to getting creative with next weeks meal too. Visit her blog and read more about her challenge with this meal and her local resources.

Jes (VA) from Eating Appalachia was feeling a bit under the weather this week.  She did not have the energy to cook anything big and elaborate, for that matter; she didn’t have enough energy past cooking something super simple. She made Broiled Cabbage with a Lime Vinaigrette. What a wonderfully simple meal packed with vitamins to help her feel better. I think the combinations of spice and citrus put a smile on her face. Visit her blog to see the recipe.

We have introduced some theme weeks within this Dark Days Challenge. Next week the theme is One Pot Meal & Soup Theme. I am anxious to see what creativity comes from this group.

How many of you have heard of salsify before? How did you prepare it?

Sincerely, Emily

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8 Responses to Dark Days Challenge recap for the South Region: Week 8

  1. Susan says:

    Our region was very inspired this week! All of these meals look great. I think I need to get my hands on some salsify. Never heard of it until Annie wrote about it. I will probably mash and cream it–my answer to all winter root vegetables 🙂

  2. karenish says:

    Salsify is sooooo yummy! We use it to make a soup.

  3. Salsify was a regular at the farmers market in central PA where I grew up. It was called “oyster plant” and that’s how I use it. Depending on the mood I’ll cut it into half inch coins, nuke it until just tender, then bread and fry it for mock oysters or I’ll turn it into a creamy gratin and bake it. I’ve been on a soup binge and I may have to try it as a chowder since I do love oyster soup!

    • Rebecca, those sound like great ways to eat salsify. I am so glad to be learning about this vegetable. It has me wondering if it would grow here in So. TX. I will start looking for some seeds.

  4. J. Searcy says:

    I am now on a mission to try salsify!!! What an amazing bunch of chefs we have in our group. Rock on 🙂

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