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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week Twelve and 1/2 of Dark Days Challenge

Here are two recipes I just made up based on ingredients at hand. They both turned out so fantastic I have to record them so I remember and can repeat.

Blue Cheese, Portabello Mushroom, Kale and Shallot Stuffed Baked Potatoes

1 cup finely chopped kale, with stem cut out (from our garden)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup sliced shallots (from Klesick Family Farms CSA)
1 cup portabello mushroom, cut in 1/2 inch dice (from Klesick Family Farms CSA)
1-4 cloves garlic, chopped (from our garden)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 baked potatoes, sliced in half (from Klesick Family Farms CSA)

While potatoes are baking (oven or microwave), cook kale in large cast iron skillet with about 1/2 cup of water about 5-8 minutes over medium heat, uncovered, stirring frequently. By this time the water should be mostly evaporated. Move kale to edges of pan, and heat the olive oil in the middle. Add shallots, mushroom and garlic and cook about 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Don't let the shallots and garlic brown (but it's not a disaster if you do). You can add more water if it seems dry. Add salt & pepper and stir in the blue cheese.
Place the potatoes on an oven proof flat dish close together. Pile the filling on top of the potatoes and place under a hot broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.
Now, I figured this would be about two servings - two potatoes and some vegetables, right? But we could only eat 1/2 potato each. So the leftovers came out for breakfast the next morning. They were chopped and heated in a cast iron frying pan, and then 4 beaten eggs were added. Wow! Fantastic breakfast also! There is something about the flavors of shallots and kale together that is complimentary!

Not local: blue cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper

Carrots and Pears with Rosemary

The flavor combinations in this are amazing!
Serves 4 or 2 with big appetites!
Scrub and trim carrots and slice into quarters lengthwise, enough to make about 4 cups, about 5 carrots, (freshly dug in February from our garden)
1-4 Tablespoons butter (local dairy)
1-4 cloves garlic, chopped (from our garden)
1/3-1/2 cup sliced shallots (from Klesic Family Farms CSA)
1-2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (from a neighbor's yard)
2 bosc pears, peeled, cored, and sliced into pieces about the same size as the carrots (from Klesick Family Farms CSA)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the carrots with about 1/3 cup water in microwave until barely tender. Or steam them on the stove. Retain the cooking water. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet over medium low heat, add butter. When the butter is melted, add the shallots, garlic and rosemary. You don't want these to brown, so keep the heat low. Cook about 7 minutes until soft, stirring frequently.
Add the carrots and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring often. Cook about 6 more minutes. Move the carrots to the edges of the pan and add the pears in the middle. Gradually stir together while heating up the pears. Add the carrot cooking water if the mixture looks dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Amazingly good!
Don't skimp on the rosemary, it pulls this all together.

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