Friday, October 08, 2010

Eat Local Ohio Week, Day #7

So here we are at the end of the Eat Local Ohio Week -- with a beautiful day and another farmers' market Saturday right around the corner. What a treat!

With the gorgeous weather, it was hard to stay inside and focus on baking, but I managed to wrap up everything except the last minute bakery baking scheduled for tomorrow early -- and still got out for a couple of walks to bask in the sunshine. What a way to celebrate!

--Up early to bake off more cheese-herb bread, pumpernickel loaves, and rolls -- man, do those smell good first thing in the morning!

--Enjoyed a hearty breakfast of hash browns (potatoes from the OEFFA Male's farm) with kale (Autumn Harvest Farm), Miami Erie Canal cheese (Canal Junction Farmstead), and egg (Autumn Harvest again) plus a cup of tea.

--Once the baking was done temporarily, enjoyed a sample roll filled with chèvre (Lucky Penny Creamery) laced with pumpkin spice syrup (from Local Roots), walnuts, and dried pears -- so tasty!

--Dropped off the day's inventory, ran errands, and returned home for a light lunch of the remaining Uzbek carrot-beet salad and another chèvre-pear roll.

--Took the now-dried pears out of the dehydrator and starting drying rosemary and thyme.

--Made two trips to the Renaissance Man's back porch to mill wheat berries into flour, so now that bucket is full and ready for next week!

--Cleaned a little more out of the refrigerator for dinner, making pita pizzas with homemade sauce (emptied the jar), slices of zucchini (Autumn Harvest Farm), and shredded mozzarella (Ohio Farm Direct).

--Capped off the day -- and week! -- with gingersnaps (Morgan's Munchies) smeared with pumpkin quark (Blue Jacket Dairy) and served with cider (local orchard) that is starting to get a little "happy"!

So, overall, I met my three goals for the week: at least one meal from garden produce (actually managed two), snacks made from local ingredients (between my breads and local fruit, that was covered), and preserving one local food for winter (dried pears, then herbs).

In addition, I worked on an unspoken/unwritten goal inspired by other people's challenges: cleaning out the refrigerator before I wasted too much food. That more than anything pointed out my biggest lesson for the week. Eating locally doesn't have to be a game of one-upsmanship, a case of being "localer than thou." Sometimes eating locally just means making the best of what you've got -- either in simplifying your cooking or in restraining yourself from buying extra ingredients on a whim.

For example, for my last meal in the week, I was tempted by a recipe that my food-loving friend Mr. Clean sent -- a zucchini taco. I could use pita breads instead of tortillas, but otherwise I had everything in the recipe except an avocado, and surely I could run out and get one of those! But I also had the remains of a jar of pizza sauce, a dwindling block of cheese, and an everlasting love of pizza -- and I decided that I would not just "make do" with that for dinner, it would taste really good and be very satisfying. So, I "made do."

With a little more time earlier in the week, perhaps I could have "made do" a little better by planning meals ahead and throwing something into the slow cooker -- using some dried vegetables from the cupboard and ending up with something not quite so heavy on the carbohydrates. But I did what I could with the time, energy, and food I had available to me at the time, so I'm not going to beat myself up (any further) about it. It was a good lesson.

No matter how much I've progressed in making my eating habits more local, I find there's always still more to try or to learn. So the next time the challenge rolls around, I'll have to see what else inspires me!

Did you take the challenge this week? What did you learn? Please share!

(And if you're interested in reading more about this week's challenge, you can enjoy this person's local foods tour or enjoy reading about the local foods scene in my little town, as written up in the fall issue of Edible Columbus!)

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