Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Preserving the Seasons: October, Week 4

Now that the harvest season is mostly over around northeastern Ohio -- produce is still coming in, but with farmers' markets at the end of their year, it can be more difficult to find fresh local foods now -- it's finally time to do some more cooking.

The weather has been consistently cool lately (downright frigid at times), and we even saw our first snow today. Brrr! So coming home at the end of the workday and turning on the stove or oven to cook something warm and comforting for dinner has great appeal.

Over the past few days, I've managed to eat several almost entirely local meals. I just haven't bothered to take photos. But here's a sampling:

--an Indian feast for the Renaissance Man and a friend, featuring baingan bhartha with CSA eggplant, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, and garlic along with local butter and cream; spiced CSA potatoes with homegrown kale; and coriander-cilantro flatbreads with CSA cilantro, homegrown coriander (cilantro seeds), and local spelt flour

--a fry-up of CSA potatoes (shredded), spinach from the farmers' market, and local eggs

--buckwheat pancakes with local buckwheat and spelt flours, milk, egg, and butter

--and tonight, eggplant parmesan with CSA eggplant, topped with a fresh sauce of CSA tomatoes and garlic plus local spinach; steamed market broccoli drizzled with local butter; and homemade wheat-spelt hazelnut bread

Add to those meals the occasional local cider or a dessert of delicious pumpkin pie or leftover Indian pudding, and you can understand why I've been so content to cook and eat lately.

I still have plenty of fresh local produce sitting around -- I confess, it's all a silently nagging reminder that I haven't spent enough time in the kitchen lately -- so I'm sure I'll be coming up with some other good local eats soon.

There's still time to head out and pick up local foods that will keep, like potatoes, squash, onions, garlic, and apples. But as we head into winter, you'll want to think outside the box a little for local foods. You'll also want to take some time this winter to look around for other sources of local foods, either for next year's growing season or for staples that can be bought year round.

This would also be an excellent time to start thinking about next year's garden or even starting some seeds indoors right now. I'm hoping to plant some kale seeds in a pot this weekend to have fresh greens by the holidays (I hope!).

In the meantime, enjoy the last of the variety from the local farmers' market -- or the continuing bounty, if you're lucky enough to live near a year-round market -- and keep stocking up.

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