What is a Dark Days Challenge?

The Dark Days Challenge was started by Laura McCrea at the Urban Hennery.
Unfortunately I couldn't get into her challenge, so I started my own blog.
The challenge is to try to eat one meal per week consisting of 100% locally produced food. I'm choosing to define "locally produced" as Washington State.
In my recipes I tell you the origin of the ingredients I use.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week Ten of Dark Days Challenge

So, what happened to week nine? A head cold, that's what. I didn't have any energy, and instead relied on Sno Isle Food Coop deli for our food. Yum. What delicious salads and enchiladas (black bean-sweet potato).

So tonight I had a little more energy finally. I hope you're not getting bored with my corn recipes. It's been 3 weeks since we had a corn casserole, so I'm ready to try out another version of one. Below is one I found on-line, from Women's Day. It's in the oven right now, so I'll let you know how it turns out.

The corn (3 cups frozen instead of 2 cans) and leeks are from our garden. I substituted Greenbank Farms cheddar for the Guyere called for. The spices and corn starch aren't local but I substituted local honey (1 Tablespoon) for the sugar. The butter, eggs and milk (I used whole milk, not cream) are local.

With this, we're having some Snohomish Bakery Artisan bread (and more Golden Glen Creamery butter, of course!), and steamed cauliflower (local, from the Klesick Family Farm CSA.

By the way, this recipe is definitely a keeper. It is the winner of the Which Recipe Will We Use For Our Local Dinner contest. Seriously, the flavors are an excellent combination - nutmeg, vanilla and a little honey - a perfect marriage with the corn.

Oh, and I almost forgot dessert. I don't often make it (because I eat too much!) but I had Washington apples and walnuts, and the Eastern Washington grown Emmer flour.

Corn and Leek Pudding Recipe
From Woman's Day | December 6, 2005

* Active Time: 15 minutes
* Total Time: 1 hour

Recipe Ingredients

o 2 Tbsp stick butter
o 2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 cup), rinsed well and drained
o 4 large eggs (local)
o ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream (I used local whole milk)
o 3 Tbsp cornstarch
o 2 Tbsp sugar (or 1 tablespoon honey)
o 1 tsp vanilla extract
o ½ tsp salt
o ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
o ⅛ tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
o 1 can (15.25 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
o 1 can (14.75 oz) cream-style corn (or substitute 3 cups thawed frozen corn)
o ¼ cup (1 oz) shredded Gruyère cheese (I used Greenbank Farms cheddar)

Recipe Preparation

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Coat a shallow 1½-qt baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Melt butter in a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Add leeks; sauté 3 minutes, or until soft.

3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, cornstarch, sugar, vanilla, salt, nutmeg and red pepper until blended. Stir in leeks, whole and cream-style corn. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

4. Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes, or until top is golden and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Planning Tip: Can be baked up to 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before reheating in microwave or a 350°F oven.

I like to make Apple Pie Cake - it's not as much work as making a pie crust, and has more apples than a typical cake. It's really a lot of apples with a little batter surrounding them.

I used Washington apples (Gala) and didn't peel them; I used local honey and egg and butter. It's shown here with a dollop of Grace Harbor Farms yogurt.

Apple Pie Cake

* 1/2 cup margarine (I used Golden Glen Creamery butter)
* 3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup local honey)
* 1 egg -- slightly beaten
* 1 cup flour (I used Eastern Washington Emmer flour)
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 cups apples, peeled -- chopped
* 1/2 cup pecans -- chopped (I used walnuts)

Thoroughly grease a 9-inch pie pan. Melt margarine, remove from heat, and blend with sugar and egg. Mix in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, apples, and pecans. Spread into pan.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.
Serves 8 Recipe from "The Lymes' Heritage Cookbook"

Not local: the usual baking powder, olive oil, salt, pepper, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves -no wonder the spice trade was so important!

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