Eating locally is easy during the summer. Farmers markets are around every corner. Cherry tomatoes are ripening and corn kernels are swelling in the garden. But then the apricots give way to apples at the farm stand, and local choices begin to dwindle.
The Dark Days of Winter Challenge is a project of the blog (not so) Urban Hennery. The challenge is to eat at least one Sustainable, Organic, Local, Ethical (SOLE) meal per week, and then share it with each other. I am taking on the challenge, every week from now until April 15th!
I am very happy that food delivery company Spud.com has joined me as the sponsor of my weekly SOLE posts. They focus on sustainable, organic and local foods, so we will be great partners on this project. I am looking forward to see what they send me every week to cook with!
A few notes on the challenge: I define "local" as approximately 180 miles, from British Columbia to Portland, Oregon. I will try to ensure that most of the ingredients in a recipe were locally grown and produced, however, I will be using spices, salt, oils, and other staples from my own kitchen. These items are not local, but I already own them and feel that to not use them would be a little silly.
I use the word "sustainable" as a bit of a double entendre in this challenge: the foods I use should be produced locally and in an ethical manner, but I do not mean to create $100 pots of soup or spend all day searching for groceries. My SOLE cooking practice should be sustainable as a way to make dinner for my family, or else I will end up with an empty wallet and a bad mood, and no one will be inspired.
I hope that you will follow along with me and be inspired to use locally grown foods for your own dinner once in a while. If there are ingredients that you want to see me use, leave me a comment and I will see what I can do!
Without further ado, here is my first (far from perfect) SOLE of Winter meals...
Spiced Carrot Soup with Salt & Pepper Wings
Spiced Carrot Soup
1 pound of carrots
2 stalks of celery
1/2 of a yellow onion
1 tablespoon of oil or butter
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
dash of salt, black pepper and red chili flakes
cilantro or parsley to garnish
Heat the oil or butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cut the vegetables into large chunks. Add the vegetables and the spices to the pot and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the stock, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and simmer until the carrots are soft.
Use an immersion blender, or transfer the vegetables with a slotted spoon to your blender, and blend until smooth. Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve hot.
Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings
12 chicken wings
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cut the chicken wings at both joints. Save the wing tip for broth or discard.
Toss the chicken wing pieces with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until cooked to the bone. Half way through cooking, turn each piece over to evenly cook both sides.
SOLE Notes: The chicken for this recipe was "free range" and grown in Washington. The carrots were from Nash's organic produce in Sequim, Washington (and I also tossed in the rest of the baby carrots I had in the fridge) and the onion was grown organically in Washington. The stock that I used for the soup was made from the leftover turkey bones after Thanksgiving and had been saved in my freezer. I served the soup and wings with bread rolls I had in the freezer left over from Thanksgiving. Nothing is more "sustainable" than using what you have and avoiding waste!