Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let the Dark Days Challenge Begin!

I am excited to be a part of the Dark Days Challenge over at Not Dabbling in Normal this year. I'm in charge of reading and re-capping all the luscious, local and scrumptious posts that participants from the west coast will be submitting. I will do my best to post some of my favorites here at An Austin Homestead, and will be posting every other Sunday over at NDIN. Check us out this Sunday for some tantalizing photos, and be sure to visit all the participating blogs to see what they're cooking up this season.

What is the Dark Days Challenge, you ask?
Cook one meal each week featuring SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients, write about it on your blog and email your happy recapper a link to your post. It’s really that simple, but at the same time, it can really be that hard. Need more details? See the links in the right side bar at (not so) Urban Hennery to the past Challenges.
It's quite a task for me this year, as i have A. no garden B. no chickens C. no farmer's market until mid January and D. limited food put by in my cupboards. BUT i did put up SOME produce, and i do have a little local meat left in the freezer, so i'll do my best and hope to scrape together some yummy, local dinners. Come January the farmer's market opens back up, indoors and i'll be vending my soap! Hopefully i'll be able to convince some farmers to trade me for veggies.

Here's a sneak peak at what one blogger is finding locally in her area: Kamut!

I just started a new job this week (!) and wasn't able to cook up the apple nut bread I'd planned for this post... so stay tuned for that. I'll be using almost all local ingredients, except the flour and salt... which i think will be a problem for many folks trying to source all ingredients locally. NDIN has a nice bit about 'what's local' too:
What does local mean?
Traditionally, local food challenges call for a 100 mile radius. Winter time is more difficult in many climates, especially if you’re new to eating locally, so my default winter definition is 150 miles. You can choose to make your radius smaller or slightly larger as you need. Typical exceptions to the local requirement are oils, coffee, chocolate and spices. If you’re making fewer or more exceptions, please note that on your first post.
What if I can’t find every ingredient locally?
That’s why this is called a challenge! If you can’t find every ingredient, or heck even most ingredients, please still write about your attempts. This is just as much about what we learn, the obstacles we find, and the decisions we make as it is about cooking with SOLE ingredients.
I hope you'll enjoy our adventure and challenges this Winter. Read along, cook along, and join us during these dark days.

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Thank you so much for your feedback, especially if you've cooked one of my recipes or tried one of my tips: let me know how it turned out!