Tag Archives: locavore

Seasons first canning…

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The first flavors of the summer: Radishes and Rhubarb.

Early Grey Vanilla Rhubarb Jam (adapted from Food In Jars recipe) makes 6-8 jars

  • 16 c chopped rhubarb (about 6 pounds)
  • 2 c brown sugar
  • 1 c honey
  • 2 c double-strength brewed Earl Grey tea
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 packets Pamona’s Universal Pectin (this kind of pectin does not require as much sugar, or any at all)

Directions: Prepare jars and lids in boiling water to sanitize. Meanwhile, bring sugars and tea to a boil in a large pot. Add rhubarb, vanilla, and juice of lemon. Simmer until rhubarb is broken down completely and add pectin as packet directs. Add hot jam to jars, leaving 1/2-1 inch of head space and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

This jam is tasty and tart, but does not have a very strong earl grey flavor. I would suggest adding more tea to the mix, or maybe even the tea leaves themselves. Another note about this recipe is that I used brown sugar, which significantly altered the color. I like the taste of brown sugar and honey  much more, but be prepared to have a much darker product.

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Pickled French Radishes (makes one jar, but is easily adjusted for more)

  • 1 bunch of radishes (i like to leave just a little bit of the green on the top, just to be pretty)
  • 1 c distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • Peppercorns
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Horseradish root (cut into long strips)

Directions: Sanitize and prepare jars. Heat all ingredients until boiling. Stuff the jars as full as possible with radishes. Add the hot liquid. Wipe rim and seal lid. Place in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

I added the horseradish root because I read that it helps keep crunchiness in pickles. I also love the kick of horseradish and thought it could compliment the bite of the radishes.

Happy canning!

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First couple farmers markets…

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The past two Saturdays that wonderful ahhh… I’m home…. feeling has overwhelmed my body and my mind. Market season gives me this odd sense of belonging, of friendship, and of excitement, which I am forced to miss out on for five months of the year. Those five months being filled with potatoes, kale, rain, and miserable days at school.

But, those are all behind me now, and I never thought I would be so happy to see those stands full of everything green. The green now is not that rough, filling, heavy green that the brassicas bring throughout the winter (don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for those veggies). The green now is more delicate, more aromatic, more full of flavor and possibilities.

My last couple of hauls from market (thanks to the wonderful people at Lost Creek Farms, Groundworks Organics, and McKenzie River Organics) include:

  • green garlic: looks like chives but a little thicker. use the same way as you would regular garlic except cook slower and less time because it is more delicate.
  • young green onions: wonderful, light, not as harsh and spicy as the full grown bulb. you can use the whole stalk of these beauties.
  • raab: so many types of raab! kale, collard, brussel sprout, yum yum yum. basically looks like mini broccoli florets, accept these are more tender and not as tough.
  • chard: so beautiful, big, and colorful. I have been cutting up the stalks and adding them as well to add vibrant pops up color.
  • apples: lots still root cellared from last season to help fend us fruit lovers off until the strawberries pop up.
  • young carrots: so sweet, so perfect for canning.
  • salad greens: loving these light airy leaves and this recent sunshine.
  • leeks: great exchange for onions now and add nice flavor for those spring soups.
  • radishes: these are the real punch of flavor for the season. spicy, crunchy, colorful, all shapes and sizes. These are a great addition to any salad or side to a meal.

I also picked up a few of my staples from Lonesome Whistle and Camas Country including the Best honey I have ever had (Buckwheat Honey from Camas that shared an adjacent field with sunflowers, so its light and full of flavor), some colorful fun beans (including the “King of all Early Beans” a white and pink bean), and some other bean varieties.

All of this new fresh produce has been inspiring me to move away from my typical “easy” meal of grains and beans, and add some  more flavor.

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Baked Ziti

  • Noodles of your choice, I use whole wheat penne
  • Cottage Cheese (I used local Nancy’s, there was no local ricotta so that is why I used cottage cheese, similar flavor and texture)
  • Willamette Valley smoked cheddar
  • Tons of Spinach
  • Kale Raab
  • Green Garlic
  • Canned whole tomatoes (from last years harvest)
  • Ground beef (Knee Deep Cattle Company)
  • Thyme, Oregano, Salt, Pepper

Directions: Saute herbs, raab, and garlic in butter until aromatic. Add whole canned tomatoes. Smash, blend, or food process the tomatoes until sauce-y.  In separate pan, cook the beef with fennel, salt, pepper, and basil. Once cooked through, add to tomato sauce. Cook the noodles until al dente. Mix all together except a little bit of the smoked cheddar to add to the top. You may also want to add bread crumbs to the top for more crunch. Bake at 350 until melty and toasty. (Thats how I cook, sorry there’s no real “exactness”)

I also made an ahhmazing scramble breakfast. The eggs I got from Blissfully Produced had The darkest yolks I have ever seen. Practically orange and so full of flavor. I sauteed leeks, chard, green garlic, and white elm mushrooms in butter until soft and aromatic. Added scrambled eggs and goat feta. On the side, an early spring salad with thinly sliced radishes and a dressing of pesto frozen from last season mixed with a little mustard and red wine vinegar. To top it off a vegan cheese bagel fresh baked at the Wandering Goat (I dont know why, but their vegan cheese bagels are just the total bomb!).

I have really been getting back into the Kombucha scene too. I go through my phases, and now am fully immersed in this one. I will be starting a batch as soon as a find a baby. More on that later!

Dont forget about your local farmers markets and get your CSAs soon! Happy Spring!

A week of legumes and grains…

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This week of no meat has been fulfilling and just plain filling. I spent about half as much at the grocery store this week and felt fuller most days. I have been experimenting with lots of different grains and bean main dishes. One of my favorite dishes of all time is falafel. There is just so much freshness mixed with so much comfort in these little delights, I can’t help myself. And, little did I know, they are so easy to make.

Megan’s Falafel Extraordinaire (this makes about 2 cookie sheets worth, this is a lot, enough to freeze, so cut in half if you only want some for a meal)

  • 4 c soaked and boiled garbanzos/chickpeas
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 c fresh chopped parsley (or 2 T dried)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon juice and olive oil until right consistency

Directions:

Falafels are so easy I have no idea why I waited so long to try. Put the garbanzos in the food processor, process until fine and grainy. Add the parsley, spices, onion, and garlic. Process until mixed. Add a few teaspoons of lemon juice and add either olive oil or broth until it reaches a workable consistency to shape the balls. Shape the mush into a cookie-like ball. Put on cookie sheet with parchment and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes until slightly crisp on top. At this point you can either (a) eat them like this, (b) freeze/refrigerate them, or (c) pan fry them with a little bit of oil to get that nice crispy edge. I like to serve on pita with cabbage, carrot, and cilantro. Top with a dill+yogurt+salt+pepper mix.

The multitude of non-wheat grains has also been a wonderful addition to my diet. Buckwheat, oat groats, rye berries, teff grain, all wonderful, nutty, rich, and flavorful. My breakfasts have been consisting of oat groats, berries, nuts, and cinnamon. Or when I am feeling ambitious, I’ll make a cobbler: canned peaches, apples, canned plums + cobbler top of ground oat groats, ground flax seed, rough ground hazelnuts, raw honey, little whole wheat flour, cinnamon, and melted butter to barely pull it together. Sprinkle on top and bake for about 20 minutes at 350. So simple and delicious. Also good fresh out, cold, or with nut milk the next day.

My DIY moment of the week, was making my own Rayzen Brann. I love the idea of taking something that people think they have to buy, and making it at home with a fraction of the ingredients. This cereal can also easily be gluten-full or gluten-free.

Home Made No Additive Good Old “Raisin Bran”

  • 1 c fine flour (like buckwheat, whole wheat, amaranth, anything really fine)
  • 1 c course flour (like teff grains, processed oats)
  • 1 c nut flour (hazelnuts, almonds, walnut, etc)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 T-1/4 c honey or brown sugar (I prefer to heat up raw sugar and pour in)
  • Any spice you want: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, etc

Gather all ingredients and mix together. Bam! That easy

Roll out (1/4 mixture at a time) between parchment and plastic wrap. You must use parchment and plastic wrap because this stuff is sticky (I made the mistake of using wax paper and baked completely inedible flakes). Roll out until almost transparent.

Bake at 350 until leathery. Let cool. Once cool, tear into bran sized flakes, and bake again at 275 until crisp.

Once the flakes are dry and cooled. You can add nuts and fruit. I added dried blueberries and chopped hazelnuts, then doused with a little bit of cinnamon.

So tasty.

I still do not plan on being a vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian, raw foodist, or any of the rest, but I am loving these grains, lentils, and beans. Cant wait to share these little beauties at the Food Swap tonight and bring home some tasties for myself. I’ll report back soon and let y’all know about my Food Swap booty!

Spring Cleaning Finale

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Though we have recently had random spells of wanna-be-hail and 5-minute-snow, this winter has been an unusually dry and sunny one. Even with our week of floods in the valley, I’m not complainin’ and neither are the seeds and starts.

All the greens, pinks, yellows, and lavenders popping up everywhere makes this girl (who just finished her last frozen strawberries and cherries *gasp*) very happy and excited for a new season of eating, preserving, and learning.

For my last section of “spring cleaning,” I am taking all my inspiration from fresh sprouts, budding blossoms, and the desire to empty my freezer and cupboards, to do a sort of “self” cleansing. If you know me at all, you could assume that I am not found of and find humor in things like the Master Cleanse, the cabbage soup diet, the all juice diet, the blah blah blah. But after some thought and evaluation of my current diet, and not to mention watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, Shane and I are going to eat vegan/vegetarian for a week or so to kind of “hinder” my current diet cravings and hopefully feel a little lighter. A break from cheese and meat is much needed and monetarily will be much appreciated.

Forks Over Knives is a documentary that basically states that all/most degenerative diseases can be avoided by eating a vegan only diet. The studies seem very well done and the idea that diets can save lives is something I truly believe. In a society of immense obesity, the rising accounts of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer in general only seems to be related in my mind. They also brought up a valid point that consuming the same amount of calories in different “categories” will make the body feel different levels of full (for example 500 calories in oil compared to 500 calories in vegetables can have a significant difference in fullness levels). The receptors in the stomach do not really recognize “calories” so much as they recognize the size and fullness of the organ. Wow, duh, makes sense.

Now, by no means, do I plan on becoming a vegan, a vegetarian, or whatever. This task simply means that I am trying to learn to respect and embrace the protein that vegetables, grains, and legumes have to offer and to utilize them more. As Michael Pollan says, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

This cleansing is also offering me a chance to improve my cooking skills and develop a few more recipes. Because, I mean, how hard is it to make a steak taste good? or bacon and eggs? But now making lentils taste that good, that’s a challenge I am willing to accept!

One important thing to remember though, when replacing animal proteins, is to make sure and create “complete” proteins (those including all nine essential amino acids) in your diet. Making complete proteins with plants usually just involves combining two together. Some good protein combos are:

  1. Legumes+Grains= peanut butter on toast, rice and beans, chili and a roll, tofu stir fry over rice
  2. Seeds/Nuts+Legumes= Hummus (if it has tahini), trail mix, lentil loaf
  3. Seeds/Nuts+Grains= seeded bread, granola with nuts, nut butter (almond/hazelnut) on whole grain bread
  4. There is also Legumes+Dairy and Grains+Dairy

There are a couple plant foods known to have complete proteins: soy and quinoa. As a locavore, these foods are both somewhat “off limits” to me. There are some farmers who grow edamame locally, but most comes from Kansas and most quinoa from South America.

Two books that I have taken a lot of inspiration from are Clean Start by Terry Walters and The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson. Clean Start is an awesome book that breaks down recipes into seasons and really tries to get away from conventional vegetarian recipes (like all tofu and tempeh!) Some of the recipes I have marked currently are: Golden Beet Soup, Daikon Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Peanuts, and Buttercup Squash with Quinoa, Apricot, and Sage Stuffing. The recipes are all very approachable, the photos are great, and her opinions are right in line with what I believe in. Her opening page has a list of tips for a “clean start”

  • eat the colors of the rainbow
  • eat dark leafy greens every day
  • eat all five tastes
  • eat foods that are grown, not manufactured,
  • skip the package
  • buy clean food and leave the rest behind
  • buy and try one new clean food each time you shop
  • know the source of your food
  • buy local and organic when you can
  • be nourished by your food and make peace with your choices

Not too confusing or outlandish right? Now The Vegetarian Option is a  more straightforward cookbook with lots of amazing photographs and some pretty ritzy recipes. These recipes are definitely not for the faint of heart, and add a little pizazz to the vegetarian world. Recipes like beet jelly with dill and horseradish cream or spinach mousse with Parmesan cream are among some of the more “foodie” recipes, but there are definitely some tasty ones to try at home: ricotta and spinach crepes or asparagus frittata and soft cheese with chives.

To start off the week and the veggie recipes to follow, I will leave you with this…

Lentil Loaf (adapted from Sue’s recipe at Camas Country Mill, makes two loaves)

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 T oil
  • 4 c cooked, drained lentils
  • 1 c whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 c nuts or seeds (I used chopped walnuts)
  • 1 tsp sage, thyme, and oregano
  • 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c broth or water
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1 T soy sauce or 1-2tsp salt
  • 2 T toasted seeds (I used pumpkin)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions in oil until browned. Mix all ingredients together except toasted seeds. Shape with fingers and place in a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle top with seeds. Bake 30 to 40 minutes. So easy and so tasty, even Shane the carnivore likes it.

Got any great, protein rich veggie main dishes?

Spring Cleaning Part 1 (of many)

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So this is the first part to a (probably) many part series, starting a little before spring. My first main tasks this late winter, in preparation for spring, was to focus and clean up my blog, and organize the last bits of my summer preserves.

So thus, here is my new blog and new name. I would like to broaden my focus and try to invite more participation, so that, when this thing we call a “perfect capitalist society” collapses from lack of oil or just sky-rocketing prices, we will be ready as a community to source locally: food, products, services, etc. We will know how to live without all those luxuries by remembering what the basics are, and how to complete those tasks successfully, and maybe even with some pizazz. Sewing, cooking, preserving, cleaning, running a household, foraging, being healthy, all things will be explored, learned, and taught!

Cleaning the kitchen was no easy task; it was no sweep/mop/dish combo. Everything was taken out of drawers, cupboards, and cabinets in my kitchen and completely overhauled. I pulled about two boxes worth of doubles, unused gadgets given to me through numerous parental moves, and boxed cakes (from who knows where), and will put on the street in a free box on the next sunshiney day. I was able to put all canned goods and preservation items together, baking goods lay happily next to each other now, and I paired down my overflowing dish set to a manageable size. Also… my greatest accomplishment… I moved my record player into the kitchen. Hey, its where I spend the most amount of time, so it only made sense.

I realized a couple things while doing this, (1) I need to start using up the food I have in massive bulk (this includes mainly lentils, carrots, and pickled things), (2) I would love to step up my game in the thrift store department (or the friend-mooching department) and find a mortar and pestle, fondue pot, and meat thermometer, (3) there are many more things I want to try and do (soon to come jerky, spice rack making, gyros)!

But, one step at a time now, so I made some good use of my carrots:

Carrot Muffins (makes about 3 dozen)

  • 2 c whole wheat flour (Camas)
  • 1/2 c buckwheat flour (Camas)
  • 1/2 c white wheat flour (Camas)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 c plain yogurt (I used NF Nancy’s)
  • 3 eggs (Blissfully Produced)
  • 1 T butter (Rose Valley)
  • 1 c milk (Rose Valley)
  • 2 c carrots, grated
  • 3/4 c honey (I actually used half honey and half maple syrup because I was a little short on my honey supply)
  • 1/4 c flax (Camas)
  • 1/4 c walnuts (farmers market)

Directions: So I am a really basic baker, I literally just mix the dry, mix the wet, and then combine them together. Taste the batter, add whatever other spices you would like: nutmeg, clove, almond extract, etc. I baked these at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (I had a tiny muffin tin, so it may take longer with a bigger size muffin). I also did the math on these, and figured that if you get about 3 dozen muffins each one is approximately 75 to 80 calories. These are by no means sweet muffins but they are absolutely wonderful in the morning with butter or jam and pretty healthy at that.

Carrot Curry Soup (makes enough for about 5 people)

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • butter for sauteing veggies
  • 8 carrots, chopped (they will be pureed so no worries about appearance, just make sure they are about the same size)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 5 c chicken broth, vegetable stock, water, or mixture of the three
  • 2 T curry (I only had yellow and green so I did about 1 1/2 of the yellow and 1/2 of the green, but I think red would have tasted the best, go figure)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1-2 T vinegar to taste (I used red wine)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Saute onions in butter until soft and golden in a pot. Add all other veggies to pan and saute until onions become darker and you start to smell the veggies. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn it down to a simmer, add spices, and  put a lid on it (I never thought I would actually say that in context, haha). Simmer until veggies are very soft. Then, either transfer part of the liquid and the veggies to a food processor, or (what I prefer) use a hand blender (wand?) and blend while still in the pot. At this point you can taste and add any spices. I served mine with a dollop of yogurt and kimchi, but would be good over rice, with a green onion/parsley garnish, or just plain jane.

I also plan on making a lentil loaf this week and juicing lots of carrots. Got any great carrot/lentil/pickled things recipe to share?

A Locavore Super Bowl Menu (pssstt it’s healthy too)

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One consumerist trap that I am embarrassed to admit (nah, no I’m not) is that I love football season and mostly the grand finale of it all, the Super Bowl (I would have liked it more had it been the Packers or the niners but….).  I also love any excuse to cook and to have parties. I already know what you are saying, “Super bowl menu local? healthy? get out!” And I counter with “yes, yes, and no way!” Most people think seven layer dip and little weenies and doritos, well not in my house. I say let there be dips and soul food!

Hummus Two Ways

  • 1lb dried garbanzos (I used Camas Country)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts (any type of local nut, the typical ingredient this is replacing is tahini so you want a mellower flavored nut)
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional, but recommended)
  • Salt and pepper
  • [Hummus 1] Roasted Red Pepper, cumin, paprika, green onion
  • [Hummus 2] Pesto (or just basil), herb de provence, kale/chard/spinach, flax seed

Directions: Soak garbanzos over night, the next day, boil the beans for about 30 minutes until the beans become a little softer (they will still be pretty tough this is just fine). Strain the beans, and place half in a food processor. Add two or three cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, a few tablespoons lemon juice. Start the food processor and either add olive oil, warm water, or a mixture of both. I put a tablespoon or so of olive oil and used water for the rest (normal recipes call for all olive oil, but I do not think it is necessary, and it saves a bunch of calories to just use the water). Once the hummus is the consistency desired, add the rest of the ingredients.

“Ranch” Carrot Dip (all the flavors of ranch with out all that other freaky stuff)

  • 8oz Greek or Nonfat Yogurt (that has been strained over night through a sieve or cheese cloth so that it become thicker)
  • 8oz cream cheese (Nancy’s has the yogurt and the cheese)
  • 2 c shredded carrots
  • 1/2 c finely chopped fresh dill or 1/4 c dill weed
  • 1-2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1/4 c finely chopped green onion or  2 T onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional) bleu or parmesan cheese

Mediterranean Dip

  • 160z yogurt (done the same as the recipe above)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers (I canned mine this summer)
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke
  • 1 jar olives (these are not local for me, but can be purchased organically and from as near as central California)
  • oregano, basil, salt, and pepper

Directions: Either put peppers, artichoke, and olives in a food processor and process until finely chopped, or finely chop by hand. Mince the garlic. Add all ingredients together and season to taste.

Salmon Burgers with Cabbage Slaw

  • 1 can (14-15oz) salmon (I get the Oregon or north pacific cans) or 1lb fresh salmon
  • 1 onion or 1/2 c green onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1 T Worcestershire
  • Salt, pepper, paprika
  • Slaw: 1/2 cabbage sliced, 1 beet and a few radishes finely sliced (julienne style), 1 T dijon mustard, 1 T lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dill (you can also use mayo in this part, but I am not a huge fan, I always sub plain yogurt for this)

Directions: Puree salmon in food processor (or hand chop) salmon. Mix all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl with hand and add more egg if too dry or more breadcrumbs if too sticky. Form into four 1/4lb patties and grill in pan over medium heat.

Chicken Sloppy Joes (adapted from Rachel Ray Food Network recipe)

  • 2 pounds chicken or turkey breast
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 onion finely chopped, or 1/2 c chopped green onion
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic minced
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, and paprika
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 T honey
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c hot sauce (or I took chili peppers I dried this summer, rehydrated, and finely chopped)
  • 1 c tomato sauce
  • 1 c chicken stock

Directions: Add meat to skillet and cook thoroughly. At the same time in a separate skillet saute carrots and onion with seasonings until softened. In a bowl combine the vinegar, honey, Worcestershire, hot sauce/peppers, tomato sauce and stock. Combine chicken, veggies, and liquid into the pan and stir to combine. Simmer until chicken begins to pull apart and shred with a fork. Pile sloppy joe filling onto buns and top with bleu cheese and pickles if desired.

Got any tasty super bowl/party recipes? Throw ’em this way! Happy winter!

Cold weather cookin’

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I just watched the first snowflake gently fall upon the over-saturated Eugene soil this morning and decided, yes now is the time. The time to talk about some good ol’ home cook’d warm yer belly winter food. So basically, this is what we, as people of the winter, know: “brr its cold,” “I am even more hungry now,” “Its too cold for anything to grow,” “But man, I am still really hungry.” Well, here is a locavores options for food:

  1. food that farmers (or you!) put in the root cellar to sell/eat at later times. This includes: potatoes, onions, carrots, apples, winter squash, beets, parsnips, turnips, cabbage, garlic, brussels sprouts, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes
  2. food that you (or a friend or a community member) canned, dried, or froze. This is a wide variety and should be utilized to its fullest! Try setting up a food swap if you are waste deep in chutney but got no tomatoes! The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking created an excellent guide to hosting food swaps.
  3.  food that still may have a chance of growing (or is still in the ground) including: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, beets, p0tatoes, green onions, and radishes (sometimes). Also, planter herbs or greens that may be kept inside.
  4. animal proteins including: milk and milk products, eggs, and meat
  5. grains, cereals, nuts, and legumes that have been dried by farmers (or you!) and can still be purchased/used.
  6. food that can be foraged. This is mainly just including some mushrooms and herbs (like rosemary)

Now I apologize in advance because, to me, winter is not a vegetarian friendly season of my year. I like to have that little extra lean meat for the fat and protein, so that I am not constantly seeking out grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chocolates. So here are some recipes/dinners/menus I have put together with my local ingredients:

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (20 min prep 1 hour bake)

  • Pork Tenderloin (mine was about 5 pounds)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2lb mushrooms (whatever kind you like, I used chantrelles)
  • Garlic
  • Seasonings (I used salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, and basil)
  • 1/4 c Parmesan or any type of hard cheese (or no cheese if you prefer)
  • Bacon

Directions: First, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute onion, kale, and mushrooms in a pan with oil or butter,  seasonings, and garlic. Butterfly the pork tenderloin so that it may be split and laid open. Then, tenderize and flatten the tenderloin. Once it has reached desired thickness, place sauteed vegetables on tenderloin in a line so that they may be rolled up. Sprinkle cheese over veggies and roll tenderloin. Once the pork has been rolled, tie up with butchers string (if you do not have this, I managed without it as well). Now, wrap tenderloin with bacon (the tenderloin is so lean so the bacon helps to trap in moisture and add flavor), place in baking pan, and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes (depending on size of loin),  the meat thermometer should read between 145 to 160 degrees (this has been debated forever, if you trust your farmer, 145 should suffice).

I served my pork with acorn squash (which I put in at the same time covered in salt, pepper, oregano, and basil) and steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Bringin’ summer to winter fish tacos (though fish tacos are a notoriously summer and vacation food. I realized it was all very simple for winter though).

  • 1lb Whatever type of fish/seafood is in season (right now its Dungeness Crab, at the time I used rock fish)
  • 1-2 c cornmeal
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • Seasoning (I used salt, pepper, paprika, coriander)
  • 1/4-1/2 a Cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • Queso fresco (its like a Mexican feta, there is a farmer in Corvallis who makes it, but any type of local cheese can be used)
  • 4-6 corn tortillas (I have not tried making these yet, if anyone has any advice/recipes let me know!)
  • Lemon or lime juice (this is my non-local item, but I buy jars of organic juice for canning so I had a bit left over)
  • Green onions and/or cilantro (whatever you can find in season)
  • Nonfat yogurt

Directions: Heat skillet to medium-high heat and oven to 350 degrees. Prepare fish in taco sized portions. Mix seasonings together with corn meal (taste this and adjust as needed). Dip fish pieces in egg and then in corn meal. Fry in heated skillet with oil (you don’t have to use much just enough to sear outsides). Once both sides are seared, place in oven to finish cooking (this should only take about 5 to 10 minutes. While the fish is baking, slice cabbage, shred carrots, and make sauce. I just made a simple kind of “dip” sauce, but instead of sour cream, I used Nancy’s nonfat yogurt and mixed in lime juice, green onions, salt, and pepper for a nice tangy addition. I also had canned salsa that I used for the tacos. I served the tacos with corn that I canned from the summer.  Simple and delish.

Seasonal Sushi (now this one is sort of a cheater dish depending on the rice that is being used, but can still be made with considerable local thought and sustainability)

  • Nori/Seaweed sheets
  • 1 c Rice (now this is a touchy one, you can check out this website to find where rice is grown in the USA or use local wild rice, if enough water is used to cook the wild rice, it will become much softer and easier to use)
  • 1 T Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • Any type of local seasonal fish (we used dungeness crab, oregon coast shrimp that was previously frozen, and canned oregon tuna)
  •  Lettuce, kale, or chard
  • Carrots
  • Green Onion
  • Other options include: cream cheese, apple, pickled ginger, pickled beets, radish, use your imagination!

Directions: Cut veggies and fish into small manageable pieces, usually in matchstick shape. Make rice like normal. When finished add vinegar and honey and mix well, this will help to make the rice stickier. Line bamboo mat (these are fairly inexpensive everywhere, but if you do not have one you can use something like  a place mat) with saran wrap. Lay sheet of nori down and spread rice on nori so that it covers all but about a 1/2 in on top. If desired, you may quickly flip the sheet over so that the rice is on the outside (this may not work if you are using wild rice). Now add a fairly large strip of herbs, veggies, and fish at the bottom edge of the nori/rice (I noticed that the strip looked much larger than I thought I should make, until I rolled it and realized that it was perfect, maybe about an inch to an inch and a half thick). Then start rolling: roll the top edge over with the mat and pull in to make sure its tight, keep slowly working down the sheet until you have a tight roll. Cut in 4-6 pieces and enjoy with slices of homemade pickled ginger or plum sauce.

Root Vegetable Creamy Soup

  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 2 beets (optional- only if you want pink slightly earthier tasting soup)
  • 4 c water
  • garlic
  • onion
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 3 c milk
  • seasonings: salt, peppers, paprika, basil
  • optional: sausage, bacon, or cheese (we will get to this later)

Directions: Ok, so I make my potato soups a little different, if you want to use a crock pot for this, you can just exclude the 4 c water and add everything to the pot. If you want to make it for dinner in an hour though, follow my directions. First, start pot of water boiling. While water begins to boil, ready vegetables. This includes peeling rutabaga (and beet if using), scrubbing all other veggies, and cubing. I rarely peel my potatoes because I like the rustic-ness of them, but you can feel free to peel if you like. Next,  boil the roots until somewhat soft (not mashed potato soft). Remove from heat and strain vegetables. Set aside. Put pot back on burner and saute garlic and onion, once soft and fragrant add milk, stock, seasonings and half of the set aside root vegetables. Then, with a stick blender (or a potato masher) blend up vegetables and let simmer  to infuse flavors and let thicken. If desired, cook bacon or sausage in pan and add to soup. You mace also add cheese by tempering it in (meaning adding a little hot soup to a bowl of the cheese little at a time until it mixes with the soup, then adding the tempered mix back to the pot). Before serving, add the rest of the root vegetables, let them come to heat, and then serve.

You may also add kale, pumpkin, or apple for a sweeter soup.

I would love to hear your local winter recipes! Happy eating!