Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dark Days 11/12: Week 1

The Dark Days Challenge is underway!  We decided our first meal of local food for the challenge would be Monday, which we've been observing as Meatless Monday  Not too much of a stretch for us as we are vegetable growers!  Looking around, we decided on baked beans, from our stash of 'Jacob's Cattle' which we harvested this year.  Also had a 'Small Wonder' spaghetti squash on the counter, very ripe, so thought we'd use a recipe for a squash pancake that we haven't used in a while.  We usually do a bean recipe with rice and although we do have some local wild rice, we decided to use 'Cavena Nuda', a rice substitute that is actually a type of hulless oat or naked oat!

There is a lot of conflicting information out there on using fresh, dried beans.  We harvested ours late in September, it took us a few weeks to get them cleaned and ready for storage.  Some info says you shouldn't have to soak fresh beans at all and they should cook quickly.  Other sources say you should still soak them for a short period, if nothing else but to remove the sugars that can cause the 'musical' effect.  We did soak them for a couple of hours, changing the water a couple of times.  They plumped up nicely but lost most of their lovely cranberry/ivory color!  We then chose to use our home canned marinara sauce for baking the beans..  This is a multi-purpose tomato sauce from Sherri Brooks Vinton's excellent 'Put 'em Up!'.  All tomato sauce ingredients were from the farm.  We sauteed a bit of our onion and garlic and then mixed beans, sauce and sauteed veg in a baking dish and into the oven!  The mixture was done in about an hour and a half - so very quickly for baked beans!

We roasted our little spaghetti squash (and roasted some butternut, too, for a nice soup tonight!).  We used Molly Katzen's recipe for the squash pancake, from here.  We didn't get the full amount of cooked squash called for in the recipe and adjusted the ingredients on the fly.  Our chicken coop supplied the eggs, our flour is local and organic: De Ruyck's that we get from Two Farm Kids, and we just skipped the salt and pepper.  When I cracked one of the eggs it was a double yoker, and may have made the pancakes a little too 'eggy', but they were good nonetheless.  Alongside were our nude oats, which are an excellent rice substitute!  They are chewier than rice, but a lovely wheaty flavor - and good for you!  A tasty, hearty dinner for one of our coldest nights so far this year!  Have you cooked a totally local meal  recently?  Even if you're not blogging, feel free to join in  The Dark Days Challenge by telling us about it in the comments section!


  1. Looks good, kids!


  2. I'm really impressed with how much food you can pull together that is local. Now that the summer is over and the garden gone I only have a few items to work with from my own stash. Turkey soup was had recently with frozen broth leftover from Thanksgiving. We added the last of our garden carrots, parsley from the garden (frozen in the freezer) and local potatoes. Delicious but we have a long way to go before we have an entirely local meal.