Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dark Days Challenge Recap - Week 3

It's time for the weekly write up for the Dark Days Eat Local Challenge. I'm finding it difficult to decide what to describe this week. There were new three meals plus a lot of leftovers. The turkey soup was really delicious, probably my favorite meal of the week. But, that started with turkey bones and meat that originated in California, so a good percentage was not local. Last night we had Beef Stew. The stew used Oregon grown beef, and all local vegetables from yesterday's visit to the Portland Farmer's Market. But, it was boring - not nearly as wonderful as the last time I made this recipe, so I was disappointed.

The remaining new meal this week was our dinner Monday night. This one actually was close to 90% local and also quite good. Very plain and simple - a classic meat and potatoes kind of meal, but Laura reminds us this week that fancy meals are not what this challenge is about. It is a challenge, not a competition. So, we had T-bone steaks (from our Kookolan Farms beef share), mashed potatoes left from Thanksgiving (farm market Yellow Fin potatoes), and braised kale (also from the last Eastbank farmer's market) with bacon (Pacific Village pork), and onions (farmer's market). The red wine vinegar (Spain) and salt and pepper were the only items that travelled farther.

Braised Kale with Bacon and Onions

(from Epicurious)

2 bunches kale (about 20 ounces total), thick stems and ribs trimmed and chopped, leaves chopped
6 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups chopped onions
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Cook kale stems and ribs in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

Cook bacon pieces in heavy large pot over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Add chopped onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add kale leaves, ribs and stems and sauté until leaves are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Cover and cook until kale is very tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Cook mixture 2 minutes to blend flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

Here's a picture of the aforementioned not very exciting beef stew from last night. I need to figure out why this one was not as good as the last time. Maybe a cheaper wine? using vegetable broth instead of beef or chicken broth? not enough of the orange peel? maybe not cooking as long? Hmmmm.

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