Dark Days

Winter Harvest Comes Through (Again)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

In the early years of our eating local, when we wanted an antidote to rich, heavy holiday meals and even the local greens were dwindling, we’d have little choice but to buy a giant pack of French green beans from Whole Foods and call it dinner.  No more. 

Winter Harvest is full of opportunities to make a light, refreshing meal that even tastes a bit like summer.  Shore Catch is one of those “never thought I’d see it” items to appear on the Winter Harvest product list - locally and sustainably caught seafood.  It was hard to mess up the beautiful piece of sushi grade Ahi tuna that came in our order this week, but we took no chances and made a simple tartare - hardly a recipe with one pound tuna, three tablespoons each of olive oil and lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  We added scallions and parsley, also from our order, and ate it with a potato pancake made with Savoie Organic Farm’s wonderful Kennebecs. 


Posted by Donna on 12/14 at 09:55 AM

End of (Dark) Days

Monday, March 16, 2009

I’m sad to say that I’m ending the Dark Days Challenge not with a bang, but with a whimper.  I managed one local meal last weekend, but nothing this week: my first dragon boat team practice was on Wednesday and I had a Board meeting for work in Baltimore this weekend, leaving me no time to cook.  Happily, I made my last meal of the challenge count by trying something new: yellow ball turnips.


The yellow ball (or golden ball) turnip (from Tuscarora Organic Growers Coop) is a great storage vegetables.  It has both yellow skin and yellow flesh, but basically tastes just like a regular purple top turnip.  I really love grilled turnips, so I turned this into an entirely grilled meal (even though it was kind of cold outside).  The pork chops (from Country Time Farm) were slathered in buckwheat honey from the honey guy at Reading Terminal Market, and the turnips were brushed in olive oil before grilling.

There were other “firsts” for me during the challenge this year.  lots of new recipes (particularly for soup) and trying Vrapple.  There were also lessons learned: that roasting cauliflower makes for a better puree, that frozen asparagus sucks, and that I can make a kick-ass turkey gravy the day before Thanksgiving.  Thanks to Laura for organizing the Dark Days challenge again this year - I had fun!

And now…on to the 2009 One Local Summer challenge, which will once again be hosted here at Farm to Philly!

Posted by Nicole on 03/16 at 12:53 AM

Dark Days: the two week update

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Dark Days challenge is drawing to an end - the last day is March 15.  It’s not that eating seasonally is much of a challenge anymore.  Last year when I was taking sign ups for One Local Summer, I heard a lot of that as reason why people decided not to join the challenge - it wasn’t a hard thing to do, so why bother?  Well…because it’s fun.  Because there are still an awful lot of people who think eating seasonally and locally is difficult, even in the Summer.  Because there are people who think eating seasonally/locally means boring food or plain food or expensive food.  Because I like finding out what other people are doing with their local foods.  So that’s why I personally like challenges - whether it’s the Dark Days challenge or the upcoming One Local Summer challenge.

This Dark Days update covers the last two weeks.  Believe it or not, dragon boat season has already started for me and time is at a premium.  We’re training up the new novice crew right now, and our boats should be in the water within two weeks.  It seems pretty crazy considering the meteorologists are calling for a foot of snow overnight!


My most recent meal was 100% local - a recipe from the latest issue of Eating Well, basically portobello pizzas.  Natural by Nature makes ricotta cheese from local milk, and I’ve been dying to use it for something, so this worked out really well.  The ricotta is really good - very fresh tasting…although I did feel a little guilty for not making my own.  Ricotta cheese is so easy to make!  It was also a great opportunity to use up some of the tomato sauce I canned last Summer, too.  I julienned some baby spinach from Rineer Family Farm for the filling and threw in some dried sage and pepper flakes from last year’s garden, too, and mixed in some grated raw milk cheddar from Green Meadow Farm.  The portobello mushrooms were from Mother Earth Mushrooms.


I’ve also been trying to cook a new recipe from Simply Organic, a cookbook I received for Christmas, each week.  Last week I tried the recipe for Roasted Rutabaga and Lamb Sausage.  Everything was roasted in a mix of raspberry preserves (I canned some last year) , garlic, rosemary, and red onion…but it was just a little too sweet for my tastes.  I used merguez sausage from Jamison Farm, and the onion and rosemary came from Fair Food.


Lastly, I made a roast chicken from Griggstown Farm, and served it with a mash of potatoes (Lancaster Farm Fresh) and celery root (Fair Food) and sauteed cremini mushrooms (Mother Earth).  All yummy!

Weirdly, I’ve been in the mood for salads lately - funny, since so much of the greens we got in last year’s CSA went right into the compost.  There’s something nice about seeing baby lettuce after a long Winter, I guess.  So I’ve been eating lots of salads of lettuce from The Common Market and baby spinach.

Posted by Nicole on 03/01 at 11:55 PM

I Love Gratins

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Although I was raised in the upper midwest, I can’t make a decent casserole to save my life. But I discovered that I can make a gratin out of farmer’s market finds and scavenged stuff from the fridge. Tonight’s has leeks, portobello mushrooms, and potatoes from Highland Orchards (sticking it out all winter at the Fitler Square Farmers Market!), plus some cheese, parsley, breadcrumbs, and milk. The key seems to be covering the bottom of the dish with breadcrumbs (which were just bashed up bread ends left to dry)—it goes a long way to keeping the first layer of potato slices from fusing to the dish forever.
I didn’t have much more than a cup of milk, but the vegetables added their own moisture. About an hour in the oven at 350, and I’ve got dinner for at least 3 days!

Posted by Allison on 02/22 at 12:11 AM

Dark Days: Alternate Universe

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Dark Days challenge update for last week is chock full of alternatives: a meat alternative and an alternative sweetener.  My foray into vegetarian scrapple resulted in a pretty great pot pie, and even though a brownie cannot be considered an entire meal (well, it can…but not in normal circles), replacing some of the refined sugar with locally made maple sugar made for an excellent brownie.


Does the halibut I made the other night for dinner count toward the Dark Days challenge?  Well….maybe, but it’s doubtful.  Halibut do live in the North Atlantic, but because of problems with sustainability, most halibut bought on the East Coast is really from the Pacific.  That said, the potatoes in this potato-wrapped halibut (you can get the recipe in this month’s Bon Appetit) are local, as is the bacon grease I used to cook the dish.  The spinach and garlic on the side are also local.  All things considered, I’d guess this is maybe 50% local rather than the 90% local required for the challenge…but the meal is so pretty I had to include it!

Posted by Nicole on 02/16 at 09:28 PM

Dark Days: Soupy Galore

Sunday, February 08, 2009

My Dark Days Challenge update really is two weeks worth of local eating - the last two weeks have been fairly hectic and I didn’t get a chance to post an update last Sunday.  I might just call this the week of soups.  My stock of homemade canned chicken stock is most definitely being depleted!

pastasoup (by farmtophilly)

First up is the soup I made nearly two weeks ago - a simple soup of Kuri squash, mustard greens, pasta, and chicken stock topped with bacon and a little cheese.  The recipe, from Sunday Soup, was a special request from my husband.  He wanted something that wasn’t too (as he puts it) “interesting”.  Everything except the pasta was local.

Last weekend I made a soup that did not make it the the photograph stage: sausage, kale, and bean soup.  I was excited about this one because I finally used up all the dried beans from last year’s garden - including the pretty Akahana Mame beans.  The sausage was Jamison’s Farms’ Merguez Sausage, a spicy lamb variety.

carrotsoup (by farmtophilly)

Lastly, I made a super simple carrot soup spiced with curry and flavored with maple syrup.  I used the recipe over at Foodie NYC.  The entire recipe is basically just carrots cooked in curry powder and glazed in maple, then blended with stock.  I stirred in a little of the new yogurt the Fair Food Farmstand is carrying from Pequea Valley Dairy.

The Fair Food has also been getting in some great locally grown salad greens lately.  I tend not to eat a lot of salad during the Spring and Summer, but in the middle of Winter seeing those greens is a thrill - I’ve been eating salads like crazy!

Posted by Nicole on 02/08 at 11:57 PM

Dark Days: A Single Gratin

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I really thought this Dark Days challenge update would be about the week of gratins.  I had a plan!  Of course, one gratin does not a ‘week of gratins’ make.  I’d like to say I was busy doing exciting things (you know, like saving the world), but it was mostly just a lot of knitting and getting ready for a 30 minute rowing test for dragon boat season. 

My one gratin?  It was a pantry buster: a gratin of potatoes, Kuri squash, fennel, and onions….with a whole lot of milk.

kurigratin (by farmtophilly)

It seems that I have an endless supply of winter squash on the back patio, remnants of last year’s CSA share.  Even after this gratin, I still have three kabocha squash and a butternut.  The only thing that wasn’t local was the fennel and brown sugar.

It was super easy to make, which is always handy.  I used a mandoline to get super thin slices of all the vegetables and just layered them into a casserole dish.  In between each layer was a topping of butter and brown sugar.  And then I poured milk into the casserole until it came halfway up the sides of the dish and baked it until it was all gooey and melty and good.

And, of course, I finished my gratin meal with some locust eggs, er, tapioca pudding.

Posted by Nicole on 01/25 at 11:44 PM

Dark Days: nothing goes to waste

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sometimes simple is the way to go.  For this week’s Dark Days challenge update, I only have one meal to report on - and it was simple.  A roast chicken.  Some sauteed swiss chard with garlic chips.  Bread stuffing with mushrooms.


I was thrilled to see the freezer filling back up at the Fair Food Farmstand after it broke the week prior.  There were some Meadow Run Farms whole chickens, so I picked one up for Sunday dinner.  The swiss chard was from Green Meadow Farm, the garlic was from my garden.  The bread for the stuffing was leftover from a week old loaf of challah bread from Four Worlds Bakery, with mushrooms from Mother Earth Mushrooms and onions from Landisdale Farms and dried herbs from last year’s garden.

Whole roasted chickens are one of my favorites - they’re just so useful!  The leftover chicken gets made into some kind of chicken salad or chicken soup, and the carcass gets used to make chicken stock.  I’ve never had a chicken that had much in the way of fat, so there’s no opportunity to make schmaltz.  I do tend to stockpile my little bits of meat fat, though, all in the hopes that I collect enough to render a decent supply of fat.

It was a busy week, followed by a busy weekend.  I visited my mother’s house in upstate Pennylvania.  I was pretty surprised to see a little market just outside of Nescopeck advertising that LeRaysville Cheese Factory cheese was in stock.  I guess I shouldn’t be: there are a growing number of farmers in the area who are raising certified organic and natural meats, and growing organic and heirloom variety vegetables.

Posted by Nicole on 01/19 at 12:00 AM

Local Eating - Even in Winter!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Last night I had a dear friend and neighbor over for a festive meal to celebrate her birthday (happy birthday!). It was an excellent opportunity to use up some of my CSA goodies and make a local meal, despite the limited produce of winter. On the menu was tortilla española, a green salad, marinated beets and for dessert crepes with apple butter and lemon.

A tortilla is a great thing to make in the winter: eggs, potatoes, onions. (A lot of) olive oil and some salt go into this dish, which is not necessarily local (though I harvested sea salt from the Jersey shore this past summer!), but the rest is readily available in the winter and for this meal the ingredients came from my organic, local CSA share. It is easy, filling and delicious, if perhaps a little time intensive for all the chopping and slicing, and perfect for entertaining, because tortilla only gets better the longer it sits (and can be eaten, warm, cool or cold!). I recall picnics in Spain of cold tortilla on bread. The very first time I made my own tortilla I discovered that the left overs were even more delicious than the original meal. The salt and onion flavors settle with time.

Phylann, the Keystone farmer, has started growing lettuce in greenhouses, so I was able to offer a local green salad (in the winter!). I dressed it with a simple vinaigrette. The beets were from a previous share as well. I roasted them, chopped them into inch cubes and tossed them in a little olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

The entire meal was reminiscent of Spain with the tapas-like nature of the individual dishes. My friend contributed a carrot, coconut milk soup, made with carrots, onions and garlic from her CSA share (also Keystone Farm).

Dessert too was local! I get Pennsylvania flour from the Four Worlds Bakery, so I was able to make a totally local batter (minus pinch of salt): flour, egg, water, raw milk. The other day I made apple butter from my backlog of CSA apples. The crepes were delicious with a sprinkle of lemon juice and apple butter. I was always intimidated by crepes, but I’ve been shown the simplicity of the batter and I think I have mastered them! (No pictures of the crepes, but of the apple butter…)


While in California I fully embraced the local avocados (tears flood my eyes as I think of their ripe, green, luscious availability), fawned over the lemon trees lining the streets and marveled over the variety of local produce available in late December. The average Californian probably eats about 100% better than the average East-coaster. In retrospect, however, I realize that eating well is based totally on convenience and not on awareness or a desire to eat in tune with the environment and season. It would be wonderful if healthy, local ingredients were the norm everywhere, but they are not. I imagine that those who unknowingly consume better quality “eco” foods would eat the same non-seasonal, non-local foods that most other less fortunate eaters do were they to leave food paradise. Here in Philly (and beyond) there is a strong locavore and ecovore movement. People are making efforts to inform themselves about food origin and local food resources. Once the puzzle pieces fall into place, eating local is actually not that difficult.

That being said, being committed to local ingredients ALL year requires some dedication and innovation. It is exactly that dedication and innovation, however, that makes me truly appreciate a largely local diet in a place that does not benefit from the growing season of California or the south. With my CSA share I am faced with ingredients that I had never considered buying at a conventional grocery store. For example, I receive turnips ad nauseum. What on earth am I meant to do with turnips? Soups - check! Roasted root vegetables - check! Mashed turnips with roasted garlic - check! This last dish was a first for me. Never had I mashed a turnip or even roasted garlic. I love cooking new things. The apple butter too was a first. And boy is it good. I have extra too!! Making meals that compliment and respect the environment is incredibly rewarding for me, and I hope it could be for others as well.

  Tortilla Española

  5 small-medium potatoes (yukon gold or red ones) peeled and sliced thin (1/8 inch)
  3 small-medium onions, diced
  5 eggs
  olive oil
  pepper (optional)

While preparing potatoes and onions heat (medium-high) enough olive oil in a pan with high sides or pot so that the potatoes might be submerged totally. This is a lot of oil, (1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cup), but you drain it later and can reserve it for future tortillas. Sprinkle sliced potatoes with salt. Test heat of oil by dropping in one slice of potato, if it sizzles without browning, it is ready. Carefully drop sliced potatoes into oil. Stir occasionally with slotted spoon (try not to break potatoes). After about 8 minutes add the diced onion. Stir occasionally. Cook for another 7 minutes, until potatoes or cooked, but not burnt and onions glassy. Poor potatoes and onions into a colander over a bowl. Meanwhile gently beat 5 eggs and a pinch of salt. Add potatoes and onions to egg and mix together. It is OK if some potatoes break. Heat (medium high) 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan until very hot (I use 8 1/2 inch, I prefer a fat tortilla, use a larger pan for a thinner tortilla). Carefully pour egg/potato mix into pan and spread. Let cook for 1 minute at higher eat. You should see the sides set nearly immediately. Lower heat to medium low and cook until halfway set in the center (8-10 minutes). Make sure tortilla is not stuck to the sides (should jiggle freely in the pan; if not use a spatula or knife), and flip it. To do this take a flat plat, place it over the pan and (I do this over the sink) flip over onto plate. Then slide flipped tortilla back onto plate, tucking in sides. Cook another 5-6 minutes until a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out clean without any uncooked egg on it. Flip back onto a plate and let cool at least 10 minutes. Trust me, this tortilla tastes better the longer it sets!


Posted by Melanie on 01/14 at 05:22 PM

Dark Days: Soup Weather

Sunday, January 11, 2009

All I wanted to eat this week was soup.  Happily, it gave me an excuse to try some new soup recipes!


Early in the week I made Roasted Garlic Soup with Cheese Croutons.  I was a little freaked out about the idea of using so much of the carefully hoarded garlic from last year’s garden: the recipe calls for five heads of garlic!  How could I resist all that roasted garlic, though?  And it was delicious.  My husband accused me of trying to kill him with all that garlic.  Well, so what if I had severe garlic breath?

5 heads garlic, unpeeled (my garden)
10 shallots, unpeeled (Tuscarora Growers Coop)
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 c. onions, coarsely chopped (Rineer Family Farm)
1 c. dry white wine
3 c. chicken stock (canned from a local chicken)
2 c. baking potato, peeled and diced (Green Meadow Farm)
1 tsp chopped thyme (my garden)
1 c. milk (Natural by Nature)
Challah bread (Four Worlds Bakery)
shredded raw milk cheese (Green Meadow Farm)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove outer skin from garlic heads, cut off tops, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Add shallots drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper to pan.  Cover and bake 25 minutes.  Cool; squeeze out garlic and peel shallots.  Set aside.  Heat remaining oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion.  Cover and cook 15 minutes.  Add garlic pulp, shallot, and wine.  Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.  Stir in stock, potato, and thyme; boil.  Cover, reduce heat; simmer for 20 minutes.  Cool slightly and puree half of soup.  Return to pan and stir in milk, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat for five minutes.  Place bread slices in single layer on cookie sheet.  Lightly coat bread with cooking spray and bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.  Sprinkle cheeses evenly over bread and bake three minutes.  Serve warm on soup.

The second soup was a recipe from Sunday Soup.  The Cold Weather Potato Chowder with Caraway Cheese jumped out at me - mostly because Valley Shepherd Creamery makes a cheese called Carameaway, a gouda-ish cheese with caraway seeds.  The recipe calls for a havarti with caraway seeds, but the Carameaway was close enough.  The only problem with the cheese is that is not the most stellar melting cheese.  It melts but not all the way, and not really that smoothly.  Still, for all that, the soup was delicious.  How could it not be - bacon (I used the double smoked stuff from Green Meadow Farm) is cooked, removed from the pan, and then the onions and celery are cooked in bacon drippings.  Anything cooked in bacon grease is okay by me.


Aside from the salt and pepper, this soup was entirely made from locally grown ingredients.

Posted by Nicole on 01/11 at 07:55 PM

Dark Days: The Leftover Life

Sunday, January 04, 2009

This week’s Dark Days challenge update includes lots and lots of leftovers.  The black-eyed pea and mushroom ragout with polenta made excellent lunches! 

From the leftover lamb from the roasted leg of lamb I made lamb pot pie.  I think it does qualify for the Dark Days challenge, even though I cheated and used store-bought pie dough.  The lamb was, of course, local - but so was the carrot (Lancaster Farm Fresh), onion (Landisdale Farm), parsnips (Lancaster Farm Fresh), beef stock, lamb demiglace, garlic (my garden), flour, and stout beer used for filling and gravy.  And that also made tremendously good leftovers all week!  Seriously, I could eat pot pie every day of the week during the Winter.  There’s something incredibly comforting and warming about it.  I also froze the lamb leg bone for making stock.

With all those leftovers, I really didn’t have to cook much this week.

Today, though, I did head into the kitchen.  I’ve been craving frittata lately.  I have a zillion pounds of sweet potatoes hibernating on the back porch - toward the end of the CSA season with Landisdale Farm, we ended up with many, many sweet potatoes.  I like sweet potatoes just fine, but I don’t really know very many ways to use them.  But this morning it occured to me that maybe I could use them in place of regular potatoes for frittata…plus, I had a few duck eggs left that I really needed to use double quick.


In our cast iron skillet, I melted some butter that I made from local cream (over medium high heat) and sauted chopped onion (Landisdale Farm) and garlic (my garden), along with some sausage (Country Time Farm) removed from its casing.  I threw in some salt and pepper, and a teaspoon of dried, rubbed sage (my garden).  And then I added in spinach (Rineer Family Farms) and fresh cranberries (Paradise Hill Farm), and sauted that for another few minutes until the spinach was just wilted.  I scooped all of that out and layered sliced white sweet potato (I used a mandoline to get the potatoes sliced thinly) into the skillet in concentric circles.  After the first layer, I spooned in some of the sausage/spinach mix, and then just kept layering potatoes and then sausage/spinach mix.

When I got everything layered into the skillet, I let it all cook on the stove for 15 minutes.  While that was cooking, I whisked together the last six duck eggs with a cup of milk (Natural by Nature) and then dumped it into the skillet.  The skillet went into the oven (preheated to 350 degrees) for 40 minutes.  After it was out, I shredded some raw milk cheddar (Green Meadow Farm) over top.

It was better than I imagined.  The cranberries were perfect against the sausage, and the sweet potatoes were great!  And it looks like I’ll have enough to eat for leftovers this coming week!  I guess I know what will be in my report for next week!

Posted by Nicole on 01/04 at 10:02 PM

I Love Pot Roast

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I don’t cook much from recipes, so consider the photo and this little bit of commentary to be a reminder that pot roast exists and, if you’re an omnivore, that you should make it once in a while. The meat is a slab of london broil from Meadow Run Farms that I got through their buying club—grass fed, pasture raised, they take great care of their animals, and you can taste the difference. The vegetables (carrots, brown mushrooms, onions, and potatoes) came from Highland Orchards (DE)—some left from the fall CSA and the rest from Fitler Square Farmers Market. Thyme from my garden, parsley also Highland Orchards. I tossed in some wine (Chile) and capers (provenance unknown) with mashed up tomatoes from summer. Good stuff for a winter supper.

Posted by Allison on 12/30 at 04:23 AM

Dark Days: peas as far as the eye can see

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blame it on my head cold or blame it on the holiday and being at home more than usual, but I managed three meals this week that qualify for the Dark Days challenge.

Two meals centered around the pound of dried black eyed peas from Margerum’s that have been hiding out in my cabinet.  One was the Black-Eyed Pea and Potato Curry I posted about a few days ago, and the other is Mushroom and Black-Eyed Pea Ragu served over polenta (lunch today).  As with the curry, the ragout was almost entirely local - the exceptions were the wine, tomato paste, and olive oil. 


I feel very lucky to be living so close to Kennett Square, the center of the universe when it comes to mushrooms.  Pretty much all year round, we never have to worry about being without mushrooms.  Sure, I sometimes wish citrus and avocadoes grew in Southeast Pennsylvania, but the mushrooms make up for it!

Today I’m just starting to feel a little better, but I don’t think I was ready to stand over a pot of polenta for half an hour.  It was totally exhausting!  I used the great toasted cornmeal sold at the Fair Food Farmstand for the polenta.  Good stuff!  I even have a little left over to serve with the ginormous amount of leftovers from the ragout.  Seriously, I could have fed an army from that recipe.

Dark Days meal #3 was dinner last night - slow-roasted leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic, and fingerling potatoes with a side of broccoli.  Again, all very locally sourced.  And economical, I might add.  I managed to get the leg of lamb at a half price sale, and it’s big enough that I have leftovers to make a lamb pot pie (which will be dinner tonight).

My sort-of New Year’s resolution for 2009 is to declutter the house…so I’ve been looking through my twelve tons of food mags and transferring the recipes I want to keep to We Gotta Eat (and then getting rid of the magazines - woohoo!).  The good news is that I’m finding all sorts of recipes that will work great for the produce that’s available around here right now.  Is there bad news?  Well, maybe - in that I may end up gaining 20 pounds due to the very awesome dessert recipes I’m also finding!

Posted by Nicole on 12/28 at 09:32 PM

Dark Days: The heartbreak of frozen asparagus

Sunday, December 21, 2008


This week’s entry for the Dark Days Challenge includes the meal pictured above, as well as several meals that were not documented.  I had a lunch yesterday of local duck eggs and bacon (just like last week), as well as dinners of canned soup from local ingredients.  I realized early in the week that I’ve been stockpiling soup as if nuclear Winter is just around the corner - and not eating any of it.

I can’t be the only one who does stuff like that - you know, hoard food.  But I’m making a concerted effort to actually eat the food that I can and freeze!

The meal I actually photographed is what I had for dinner last night - proof that I’m trying to use the food that I put by!  The lamb loin chops are from Meadow Run Farm.  I brushed them with non-local mustard and Worcestershire sauce, and then broiled for about five minutes per side.  I served the lamb with a side of sauted mushrooms from Mother Earth Mushrooms and asparagus from Landisdale Farm.  The asparagus was from my freezer - and I remembered why asparagus is really only good when it’s fresh.  The taste was OK, but the texture was awful. 

Posted by Nicole on 12/21 at 08:41 PM

Dark Days: Soupy and Dippy

Sunday, December 14, 2008


My first Dark Days challenge meal of the week was early in the week - an on-the-fly soup using stuff that I had in my kitchen and pantry.  Onions, butternut squash, Kabocha squash, tomatoes, thyme, bacon, butter, and chicken stock. 

It kind of shocks me sometimes that Winter squash like butternut and Kobacha is so hardy.  Those squash were leftover from the last few CSA share boxes!  And I still have a few more Kobacha squash out on the patio.  The tomatoes were from the CSA share, too, but they were canned (the chicken stock, too).  The onion and bacon were picked up this past weekend at the Fair Food Farmstand.  The thyme was from my garden, and I made the butter from some locally produced heavy cream.  All thrown together, it made a really great Winter soup.  Even roasted, Kobacha squash really retains good texture.


My second meal of the week was lunch yesterday - bacon and eggs!  I’m not normally a huge bacon eater, you know, just plain old bacon.  But I do love the thick, double-smoked bacon available through Fair Food every once in a while.  And the eggs were duck eggs!  I picked them up at the Fair Food (do you see a running theme here?) - they are from Hares Valley Growers

I’ve never had duck eggs before, so I wanted to try them in a way that would be simple: poached.  Interestingly, the yolk tasted pretty much the same but the white tasted different.  I can’t say how exactly, it was just different.  Even though I didn’t think the yolk tasted much different, there is a difference: the yolks are larger than in a regular hen egg (although the eggs themselves are the same size) and the yolk seems thicker.  For poached eggs, this is a great quality (I’m a toast dipper)!

Posted by Nicole on 12/14 at 10:20 PM

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