Friday, October 26, 2007

Dark Days Eat Local Challenge

I've signed on to another Eat Local Challenge. This one will be my third. The first was the Pennywise Eat Local Challenge, second was the Eat Local Challenge in September. Now here we are with what might well be the most challenging, though not as challenging here in Northern California as it will be for those in other parts of the country.

Here are the details from the Dark Days site:

It’s a challenge to continue cooking at least one local meal through the leaner days of winter. Your ingredients can come from your freezer, pantry, cold storage or local sources like farmers and other producers.

The rules are simple.

Each participant can set their own rules, but generally they are:
We have to cook one meal a week with at least 90% local ingredients
We have to write about it - the triumphs and the challenges
Local means a 200 mile radius for raw ingredients. For processed foods the company must be within 200 miles and committed to local sources.
Keep it up through the end of the year, and then re-evaluate on New Year’s Day

It has also been suggested that sharing the local meal with others each week is a good idea. I love that idea. I have become so boring to my friends and family with my "Eat Local" preaching. Maybe if I feed them once a week they will be more convinced?

I am a pretty committed locavore as it is, but it will be fun to come up with a special meal each week that is truly all local.

As soon as I've planned this week's meal I will post it here.

Cookie Bars

One rainy afternoon last week my two year old was harrassing me for a cookie, but I wasn't in the mood to go out. I looked around my pantry to see what I had that could be made into a cookie. I found oatmeal, butter, sugar, bananas, some chocolate chips. Here is what I came up with, it actually turned out pretty well! They were really sweet so I gave my son a big glass of milk with his, and I had a nice, hot cup of coffee with mine. Yum!

Banana-Ginger-Chocolate Bars

Preheat oven to 350

3C rolled oats
1C all purpose flour
2C dark brown sugar
2 sticks salted butter, softened

2C mashed bananas (very ripe - about 4-5 small bananas)
1/2t ground ginger
1/8t salt

2T crystallized ginger, chopped
1 - 12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl combine oats, flour, sugar and butter with fingers until combined but crumbly
2. Press 1/2 oat mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 until partially baked and just beginning to turn golden brown, about 15 minutes
3. While oat mixture bakes, combine mashed bananas, ginger and salt in a bowl. Add crystallized ginger to the remaining oat mixture and combine.
4. When oat mixture is finished baking, remove from oven. Spread banana mixture evenly on baked oats, sprinkle chocolate chips evenly on top of banana, taking care not to let them touch the sides of the dish. Finally, sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top of the chocolate chips.
5. Return to oven until golden brown and baked, about 15-20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool, cut into bars.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More Apples

We are still harvesting apples from our tree. This time I got lazy and made applesauce for the freezer. I found this recipe in Martha Stewart magazine but altered it slightly by omiting the butter and reducing the brown sugar, our apples are quite sweet already. It couldn't have been easier, and now I have a freezer full of applesauce to enjoy this winter. Our apple crop is winding down, I'll use the rest of them in a few apple cakes to give as gifts to friends who are hosting us this weekend. The Meyer lemons and grapefruit are just getting started.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Honey Harvest

My father has been raising bees in his backyard in Berkeley since the spring. He just harvested his first batch of honey and boy is it good! It has a lovely flavor, with a hint of anise, which may have to do with the abundance of anise plants growing like weeds in the hills near my parents' house. We had it on our oatmeal at breakfast this morning. Delicious!