23 October 2008

Eat Local Challenge

I was thrilled to see my blog named on Jennifer Maiser's roster of Eat Local Challenge participants who were blogging about their Challenge experiences of the month...and chagrined to think that I have spent hardly any time blogging about my experiences with eating locally this month.

I set out with sterling intentions for participation in this challenge and for documenting that participation. What I have found, though, is that my intentions and my actions have intersected very little this month. I am a mother, student, full-time worker, wife, friend, and dedicated committee member to name a few of the roles I play. Dovetailing my desire to eat mindfully AND locally just has not happened often this month. However, I have not quite given myself up as a complete disappointment in this endeavor. I have learned a lot about food, the way I view and consume it, and how I can improve those habits. Here are a few of the lessons I have absorbed so far this month:
  1. Being too busy to slow down enough to eat mindfully is a state of living that needs to be altered quickly.
  2. There are MANY delicious, simple recipes that can be made quickly using low impact ingredients. What do I mean by low impact? Well, ingredients that can be procured locally and ingredients that are minimally processed.
  3. There is a lot of room for improvement in my community for establishments to commit to using local ingredients. I sense in this a future community advocacy project and will keep you posted.
  4. I can be a culinary magician when necessary. See two (modest) recipes I recently invented, below.
Kitchen Cupboard Onion Bulgur Soup
2 C thinly sliced Vidalia Onion
1-2 t butter
6 C Vegetable Stock
1 C Bulgur
Other cooked, canned or frozen veggies you have on hand
To make:
  1. Saute the sliced onion in the butter in a large saucepan or stockpot on medium high heat until the onion is nicely browned and crisp in some parts. Don't crisp them up entirely.
  2. Add the vegetable stock and veggies on hand, scraping up the browned bits of onion that may be sticking to the bottom of the pot. I used garbanzo beans and frozen spinach. Bring to a slow boil.
  3. Add the bulgur and reduce heat to simmer. Allow to cook for 10 - 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with good crusty bread for sopping up the broth.
Last Minute Inspiration Kale and Onion
1 small, thinly sliced red onion
olive oil for sauteing
2 C torn kale leaves
asiago cheese
To Make:
  1. Saute the red onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the torn kale leaves and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook until kale leaves soften and brighten in color.
  3. Remove from heat and plate. Shred asiago cheese over kale and onions to your desired taste while still warm.
  4. Delicious with a glass of red wine!
The challenge will be on for another eight days. I will do my best to update again before all is said and done. Happy eating!

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