Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dark Days Challenge 4- Fish and Cornbread

I mulled over a number of different possibilities for this week’s Dark Days Challenge meal. I really wanted to make pecan-crusted chicken tenderloins served over a bed of greens and sliced apple with a dressing that incorporated apple cider and honey. But since DH and W have gone on yet another sailing road trip, it was just me and B for dinner so I decided to make something more kid-friendly: pot roast with potatoes and carrots. Around noon, I stopped by Earthfare to pick up one of the locally-sourced roasts that I remembered seeing in the meat case. Except that it wasn’t. Nor was the locally-sourced chicken breast I had seen. Going for plan C, I bought a couple of their local trout fillets. I wish I had asked the source, but I had a few more stops to make and not a lot of time. It continues to amaze me that, while they stock local dairy and meat products, Earthfare has virtually no local fruits and vegetables. I scoped out their produce section thoroughly and found nothing to buy. Next stop was Bare Essentials Natural Market. I had originally planned on buying some more of the local Yukon golds I had picked up a couple of weeks ago, but decided to switch to sweet potatoes alongside my fish. Good move since they did not have any more of the Yukon gold potatoes. I wound up buying two vegetables I had never tried before: white sweet potatoes and tatsoi. Tatsoi is a relative of bok choy that can be sautéed or used in salads. I had a bag of salad greens that DH bought at the Watauga County Farmers Christmas Market a week and a half ago. I wasn’t sure if they would still be good so the tatsoi was a back-up plan. The greens were still in pretty good shape so I threw in some of the tatsoi and tossed it with a champagne vinaigrette.

Ultimately, my menu was trout paneed in butter, roasted white sweet potatoes, a green salad, and cornbread muffins. My only non-local ingredients were the oils, salt and pepper, and the champagne vinegar I used in the salad dressing. The trout and the cornbread muffins were both really good. The trout was paneed in butter from the Homestead Creamery. The cornmeal mix was from the Linney Water Mill in Union Grove, NC. Instead of printing directions on the back of the package, they printed a map to the mill so I had to use the directions on the bag of my Martha White mix. I used milk from the Homestead Creamery and an egg from Yellow Wolf Farm and the muffins turned out perfectly -- especially with a bit of that butter. B had a glass of the milk. He is impressed.

These ingredients were acquired from two different grocery stores, a roadside stand, a farmer’s market, and a delivery from a farm. Clearly, I am not going to have time to do that every week. And, lesson learned, you can’t always count on the product you saw last week being there this week. I’ve been building a stash of meats in my freezer and now have a chicken I bought at the Christmas Market, a rock Cornish chicken (which is not the same as a Cornish hen) from Yellow Wolf Farm, and a package of local breakfast sausage that I picked up today at Bare Essentials.

B and I are having breakfast at the annual Flapjack Flip Saturday morning, before (weather-permitting!) heading over to the Ashe County Holiday Market in West Jefferson. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some vegetables to use in the next couple of weeks.


sam said...

I'm impressed - it all looks yummy! I tried our local farmstead market last week - they had squash, carrots, onions, garlic, and about six kinds of potatoes. That was it, other than meat in the freezer. They were out of cheese and eggs, which is what I went in for. I don't do as well trying to create a meal around what's available as I do when I can plan in advance.

HST said...

This looks great! I also use the Homestead Creamery's dairy products. Have you tried their eggnog? It is delicious!!

Thank you for hooking up to my site for this challenge!