Showing posts with label Eat Local Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eat Local Challenge. Show all posts

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mark Bittmans Roasted Corn Chowder Made Local for Eat Local Challenge: Day 7 & Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

There is a lot to cover in this post--A recap of Day 7, the final day in the Eat Local Challenge that I have been taking this week; this week's soup, Roasted Corn Chowder--part of "Farewell Food"--our last week cooking Mark Bittman's recipes at I Heart Cooking Clubs and made almost totally with local ingredients to fit into the challenge; and, last but certainly not least, the Souper Sunday roundup.

Although I cooked with him well before IHCC, and will continue to cook his recipes long after, it is hard to say farewell to our weekly cooking with Mark Bittman. As much as I am looking forward to cooking with Giada starting next week, a little comfort is needed, and for me, comfort means soup. Since I bought fresh, local corn for the Eat Local Challenge, I wanted to find a soup to make with it and of course Bittman's ginormous "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" had a good selection. I chose the Roasted Corn Chowder, a variation of his basic recipe. I was able to use all local ingredients for it, except for the flour and black pepper.

Roasted Corn Chowder
"How to Cook Everything Vegetarian"
(Makes 4 Servings)

kernels from 6 ears fresh corn, cobs reserved
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1/2 cup chopped scallion
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 quart milk or half-and-half

To Roast Corn:
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rub a little extra virgin olive oil over each husked corn cob before slicing off the kernels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the corn, turning frequently, until the kernels start to brown, 15 to 25 minutes. When the corn is cool enough to handle, shuck the kernels.

Put the corn cobs and 2 cups of water in a pan with a tight-fitting lid over a medium-high heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the water bubbles gently, cover, and cook, checking occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Leave the cobs in the pot until you're ready to make the soup, then remove them and save the broth.

Put the butter or oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the scallion and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the scallion is soft, about 1 minute. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to turn golden and the flour no longer smells raw, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the milk and the reserved broth and turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir or whisk constantly until the flour is dissolved and the soup starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the corn kernels and bring to a boil, then lower the heat so that the soup bubbles gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the soup has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, garnish and serve.

Notes/Results: Creamy, with a nice sweetness and good corn flavor. I roasted the corn in the oven, coating it with a bit of macadamia nut oil. I didn't get it very dark, as I felt it was drying out the corn, but it did pull out some of the sugars and enhance the sweetness of the corn. Lacking fresh local scallions (I forgot to pick some up at the market), I used two small sweet local onions instead. I was able to use local butter, milk, Maui sugar and Hawaiian sea salt. I could have left out the black pepper but couldn't resist putting a bit in, so that and the flour made it not completely local, but very close. A simple soup, that made a nice light lunch for my last day of the challenge. I would make this soup again. Thanks Mark Bittman!

You can check out what all of the other IHCC participants made for their final cook-along with Mark Bittman by going to the "Farewell Food" post and following the links.

So besides the chowder, what did the rest of my final Eat Local Challenge look like?

Breakfast: Local fried eggs over local asparagus and tomatoes and Hawaiian Jade Bamboo Sea Salt. A hearty breakfast, and again I assert my position that greens, even asparagus, are best with runny yolks. I buy local eggs regularly, but I am always struck at the bright yellow of the yolks and how fresh and good they taste.

Lunch: Since breakfast was filling, I just ate a small bowl of the corn chowder for lunch, then had some slices of local papaya (not pictured).

Dinner: What do you do when you have fresh local fish (in this case Hawaiian moi--which was prized and eaten only by royalty in ancient Hawaii) ;-) and leftover bright purple mashed Okinawan sweet potatoes? You make bright purple potato-fish cakes of course! Maybe a little strange to look at, but with the fish, the gingery mashed sweet potatoes and chopped local Thai basil, kaffir lime leaves, Thai bird chilies, lime juice and sea salt, they were delicious. A nice combination of sweet, tangy and spicy hot and tasted great on top of local Manoa lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. The recipe was modified from this one by Mark Bittman--so a double Bittman recipe day.

Snacks: An apple-banana and a Manago-Habanero OnoPop.

Notes/Results: Seven days of eating local went by in a flash. The Eat Local Challenge was a great experience and a good way to be creative with ingredients and eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. It will be a bit of a relief to go back to "regular" eating, and not feel quite so conscious about every morsel of food I eat, but it will continue to make me aware of where my food comes from. Overall, I am pretty good about the amount of local ingredients I use and supporting local growers and purveyors, but I can always do better. And bonus--I lost 2 pounds! ;-) Eating local is a very good thing.

And now...let's get into the Souper Sundays kitchen, where there is a good-sized crowd and some new faces to greet.

First up, Denise (aka Denny) from Oh Taste N See made a restorative Chicken Soup to cure all the colds and illness at her house. She says, "Back home in India, this soup is made with naatu koli or game chicken, and this is believe to cure the cold. Not sure about the cure part, but it does warm you from the inside out..and the pepper and the spices are comfort to the sore throat. It is meant to be watery and is a clear soup. The veggies are not traditionally added into this soup, but I feel it adds body and makes it a wholesome meal."

Please join me in welcoming Corina at Searching for Spice, making her first appearance at Souper Sundays with a classic Tomato Soup. Corina says, "I usually like to spice things up and throw a chilli in here or some spices in there. With tomato soup it’s different, no spices, except black pepper, and that doesn’t count as a spice to me, just a little basil and everyone knows how well that goes with tomatoes. It really is a simple soup, but simply good and tasty. It also tastes quite creamy even though it doesn’t contain any cream."

Tigerfish from Teczcape-An Escape to Food made this healthy, colorful Beet Root Soup and says, "In Mandarin, beet is known as 甜菜 - which literally means Sweet Vegetable. Beet has chock-full of vitamins and nutrients too. Other ways to enjoy them also include steaming them for about 15 minutes, or in soups. I made this Beet Root Soup earlier, adapted from Noobcook.Ingredients include: Beet, tomatoes, cabbage shreds, onions; and then "dump-all-in-the-pot-kind-of-soup"."

Joanne from Eats Well With Others tried her hand at Japanese Chicken Curry and says, "The thing about Japanese curry, you see, is that it is not really curry. Really. Deep down. It is really just a stew. A hearty, thick, utterly delicious stew. It tastes surprisingly like the stew that your momma used to make, but with a little hint of something...extra. Something unexpected. Something utterly hypnotic that, try as though you might, you just can't place.
That would be the garam masala, people. And I know I said it wasn't a narcotic. But damn. Is it ever addictive.

Jennifer from Cook, eat, play, repeat. found a great recipe for one of her favorites and says, "I love Hot and Sour Soup! Seriously! I can't get enough of it. I always order it when it's on the menu, and most of the time I'm hugely disappointed. Too vinegary, too spicy, too bland, too thick, too thin. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with restaurant Hot and Sour soup. That is why I am so happy I've found a recipe that works so well that I can just make it at home whenever I want it. I've already made it twice in one week!"

Another new face to welcome is Rachel from Rachel's Bite, joining in for the first time at Souper Sundays out of Chicago. Rachel made a hearty soup to share this week and says, "I was looking for a traditional tortilla soup in the New England Soup Factory Cookbook and found this recipe for Tortilla and Butternut Squash Soup. The author describes is as tasting like nachos so I was intrigued. And also, it's the perfect time of year for butternut squash.The butternut squash and other vegetables made the house smell absolutely wonderful! I like that you add tortilla chips and let them get all soggy. They do add an amazing flavor that does make it taste like nachos."

We are also welcoming, Roshan from Roshan's Cucina, at Souper Sundays for the first time this week and here with a healthy vegetable Golden Soup and says, "Golden soup, as the name suggest is equal to eating gold, said the person from whom i learnt this recipe. Golden soup rejuvenates the body after a brief illness like fever and is a good food for the elderly. With less butter and pure veg ingredients this is a sinless soup that can be had during any time of the day. The croutons in the soup makes it more interesting and crave for more."

It is always a great pleasure to have my good friend Stephanie, The Happy Sorceress from Dispensing Happiness pop by with a soup, like this Cambodian Chicken and Rice Soup. Stephanie says, "Southeast Asian flavors are much-loved in our house. This soup seemed like a good fit. Incredibly simple, especially with the shortcut of rotisserie chicken & already-cooked rice.(we omitted the cilantro, being in the 'it tastes like dish soap' camp) A good, deep chicken flavor with a very faint sweetness & warmth, with a strong basil note."

Janet from The Taste Space has another of her healthy grain salads to share, this Bulgur Salad with Cranberries, Lemon and Almonds. She says, "I really liked the salad, albeit a side salad. I was worried it would be dry (where is the dressing?) but it worked well together. The coarse bulgur was slightly creamy. The cranberries were sweet and the lemon zest a bit zippy with the nutty almond crunch. And the grande finale came from the sauteed green onions. They melted down and added that extra dimension (creamy? tasty? buttery? it was great anyhow)."

Erin from EKat's Kitchen is here with a Caesar Salad with Curry-Rubbed Chicken and says, "Simple though it may be, I really love making this as a light meal with some good protein in any number of situations. Be it when I'm tired, when it's hot out, or when we're perchance in need of groceries AND motivation to go to the store. Yum!!! Next time, I might make a yogurt marinade with the curry and let the chicken marinate overnight to really allow the flavors to marry, but yum. I love this anyway."

Tanvi from Sinfully Spicy is back this week with a Pomegranate & Broken Wheat Salad with Mint-Ginger Dressing and says, "With lot of thinking I came up with this salad recipe.It is loosely inspired by the Mediterranean Tabouleh since I decided to add our very own and one of the most underrated Indian cereal ..the broken wheat (dalia) but is primarily a fruity salad with a simple mint and lime dressing.The pineapples give the salad a sweet tartness , ginger gives it a kick and cucumbers keep the juicy texture alive.The pomegranate seeds burst in the mouth and the broken wheat grains provide a bite."

Debbie from Debbi Does Dinner...Healthy & Low Calorie created her Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with Pesto Hummus based on one at Panera Bread and says, "This was amazing. Seriously amazing. Like I could eat it every day for a month kind of amazing. The bread wasn't as fluffy and sweet as Panera but it was still very flavorful and delicious. The pesto hummus would taste good on my shoe. Wow. It was SO GOOD. I didn't miss the meat at all. Nope, not a bit. Go make this. You won't be disappointed."

Another newbie to welcome this week is Roz from La Bella Vita with Prosciutto, Fresh Fig, and Manchego Cheese Sandwiches. She says, "The marriage of flavors in this creation are sweet and savory al magnifico! The sweetness of the fresh figs and fig jam, combined with the savory Italian prosciutto di Parma, Dijon mustard, and Manchego cheese is indescribable. Besides being a delectable lunch/dinner sandwich, another great idea would be to cut the sandwiches into little mini-sammies for party finger food (with toothpicks to keep them held together). Your guests will certainly be impressed when they bite into them!"

And finally my friend Foodycat made Ultimate Steak Sandwiches this week and says, "Now, when we have pub lunches, we both find it quite difficult to look beyond a steak sandwich. At one point I was compiling notes on the various offerings of the pubs in the area, but then I lost my camera with all the steak sandwich pictures and haven't picked up that idea again. But we both definitely Have Views on what makes a good steak sandwich." The result? "Utter perfection with a bottle of Hoegaarden beer."

So many wonderful soups, salads and sandwiches this week! Thanks to everyone for joining in, especially all of our new faces. If you have a soup, salad, or a sandwhich that you would like to share just click on the Souper Sunday logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Note: Souper Sundays is posting a few hours early this week and before the noon deadline due to a work project I have to go do (no rest for the wicked!) ;-) If anyone submits a post after this post and before the deadline, I will add it to the roundup when I get home this evening. Mahalo!

Have a fabulous week!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Week of Eating Local--Eat Local Challenge: Days 5 & 6--Featuring "Tropical Sunshine" a Sweetly Refreshing Juice & Simple Saturday Sipper

I seem to be perpetually behind this week and since it is not going to get any better in the next few days, I am combining my Eat Local Challenge: Days 5 & 6 recaps together, including my usual Simple Saturday Sipper made local.

I am calling my sipper a "Tropical Sunshine" because of its pretty orange hue from the combination of all local ingredients; cantaloupe, papaya, a touch of lime, a bit of honey and mint leaves from the garden. When blended with ice and a little water, it makes for a lightly sweet and refreshing drink.

Tropical Sunshine
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2)

1/2 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cubed
1/2 papaya, peeled, seeded and cubed
juice of one lime
5-6 mint leaves
1 Tbsp honey

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with chunks of fruit and mint leaves.

Notes/Results: Refreshing, and a great way to use up extra fruit before it gets too old. The lime added a nice tangy taste that enhanced the overall flavor. You could also add yogurt and make this a thicker, smoothie-like drink or a little vodka or rum to make it a cocktail.

And on to Day 5:
  • Breakfast: I had a big meeting and was a bit too nervous / excited to eat more than an apple banana. No picture. ;-)
  • Lunch: After the meeting, I ate the second half of yesterday's stir-fry with the last of my Maui ground beef. Part of eating local and in a sustainable way is not wasting food and using up what you have. Still good, but no picture--I was too busy shoveling food in my mouth. ;-)
  • Dinner: Ah, dinner... dinner was freakin' amazing. I had bought a small London Broil cut of Maui Beef and did a simple seasoning of mac nut oil and sea salt and then cooked in in my grill pan to about medium-rare. I served it with some local asparagus and tomatoes. But the pinnacle of dinner has to be the brightly-hued purple Gingery Mashed Okinawan Sweet Potatoes. I roasted the sweet potatoes (two) in the oven, then pressed them through my potato ricer before blending them with a little local butter and milk. They were creamy and sweet already, and since someone on the Eat Local Challenge website recommended adding ginger to them, I grated a two inch piece of the ginger and squeezed out the juice to get the flavor without the "stringy bits." Great call--the kick of ginger put them over the edge from great to fabulous. The entire dinner was filling and delicious.

  • Snacks: No time for snacks. ;-)

Day 6:

  • Breakfast: Yep, my ability to eat breakfast this week was compromised with another meeting across the island, so I drank a papaya-banana smoothie in the car on the way. Running out the door so no photo.

  • Lunch: I rocked lunch with an all-local Thai-Inspired Beef Salad, made with the leftover Maui beef from dinner; Manoa lettuce, Thai basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado and slices of yesterdays mystery produce item that I will reveal at the end of this post. The dressing was lime, mac nut oil, sea salt and a little dash of chili-flavored macadamia nut oil. Good texture, full of flavor and very satisfying.

  • Dinner: A computer meltdown (actually it would be more accurate to say I melted down), had me at the Apple store having the Genius Bar gods replacing the track pad. While I waited, I hung out and watched my friend's son compete in a Chopped-style Cook Local Challenge at Whole Foods where they had to use everything local, both the pantry items and in their mystery basket. Fun to watch! Tate didn't win, but they all did well and impressed the judges. Not in the mood to cook, I took advantage of another company with an Eat Local dish on their menu, The Counter--a build your own gourmet burger place, offering a local Ahi Burger--I got mine as a Burger-in-A-Bowl), without the bun and on top of local lettuce with carrot, daikon and a wasabi dressing. Not completely local, but delicious and a good effort, and nice paired with my Tropical Sunshine.

  • Dessert: A Watermelon-Hibiscus OnoPop. (local ice pop)
  • Snacks: No time or desire for snacks today.

Notes/Results: Another two great days eating local. The challenge is harder the busier I get and while eating outside the house, but I managed to do pretty well overall and got to eat lots of delicious, colorful and mostly healthy food.

Just one more day of the challenge left! Tune in tomorrow for the Day 7 recap including a little "good-bye soup" for our last week cooking with Mark Bittman at I Heart Cooking Clubs--made local of course!

*****Yesterday's Mystery Produce******

Jicama seemed to be the popular guess and it is similar to Jicama, but the mystery item was... (drumroll please...) ... Yacon! A plant from the Andes in Peru, aka Peruvian Ground Apple and sometimes confused with jicama, although it has a sweeter flavor. Yacon is a relative of the sunflower and the Jerusalem artichoke and it is grown now in tropical climates throughout the world. It is full of antioxidants and the syrup made from Yacon is becoming more popular as a healthier sugar alternative as it contains inulin which is supposed to pass through the body as it is not digestible, making it good for diabetics. It's pretty tasty--nice crunch and good combination of fresh and sweet. Fun, right?

Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Week of Eating Local--Eat Local Challenge: Day 4--Featuring "Guess That Produce Item"

Here's my Day 4 recap for the Eat Local Challenge I am taking part in this week. Yesterday was a challenging day since I was out and about at meetings and things most of the day. This causes me to grab lunch from my neighborhood natural foods store, Kale's Natural Foods. They are participating in the Eat Local Challenge in their deli but not as rigidly as I was trying to. All of the vegetables in the stir-fry I purchased were local but the rice and seasonings were not. Oh well! A girl can only do her best.

Breakfast: On the go--two small apple bananas and a hard-boiled local egg. No time for photos!

Lunch: The above purchased stir-fry with beet greens, bok choy and other assorted Asian greens. I ended up bringing it home and eating half of it with some of my leftover Thai-spiced Maui ground beef from yesterday's lettuce wraps on top. Very filling.

Pupus: I did a demo at Whole Foods, cooking two all-local dishes. I made a version of yesterday's Thai lettuce wraps--done pupu-style on mini lettuce leaves and grilled Maui pineapple drizzled with Waialua Extra-Dark 70% Cacao. Both went over really well. Unfortunately I got busy cooking and answering uestions and the samples went really fast so no photos but I did manage to snag one of each to try. If you haven't ever grilled slices of pineapple and drizzled it with dark chocolate, i insist you do so ASAP. It is ono! (delicious)

Dinner: I bought some local fish--Opakapaka, which is Hawaiian pink snapper, at Whole Foods and just cooked in in the pan with a little macadamia nut oil, sea salt, and a squeeze of local lemon. Served on top of salad greens with tomatoes and cucumber it was perfect. The fish was moist and so flavorful. Opakapaka is considered to be a ocean-friendly, more sustainable seafood choice, and although a bit more expensive than some of the other fish in the case--well worth it.

Dessert: a Pots Au Chocolat (see yesterday's post).

Notes/Results: Another delicious day of eating. Though it was nice to not cook lunch and to pick up a mostly local dish from a participating business, it is much easier to control the "localness" of my food when I make it myself.

Can you identify this produce item?

My friend Natalie, the marketing person at Whole Foods suggested we try this brown, potato-looking item in the Thai lettuce wraps we demonstrated. We used my julienne cutter to cut it and cucumber and put it on top of the hamburger mixture on the lettuce leaves for some crunchy texture.

Any guesses as to what it is? This one was grown on Oahu. I brought the the portion in the photo that we didn't use home--we used the last one in the store until the next delivery comes in this week. I had heard the name before but it was not familiar to me. It can be eaten raw, or cooked and discolors quickly when cut unless coated with something acidic like citrus juice. And that's all I am saying. ;-) Leave a comment with your guess and I'll tell you tomorrow what it is if no one gets it.

Tune in tomorrow for the Eat Local Challenge: Day 5!


A Week of Eating Local--Eat Local Challenge: Day 3--Featuring (Local) Pots Au Chocolat for Food 'n Flix: "Chocolat"

One of my concerns about taking part in the Eat Local Challenge this week was fitting in a few blog events that I wanted to take part in, and finding recipes that I could adapt with local ingredients. A big one for me was the new monthly Food 'N Flix event, founded by my friend girlichef. This month's movie is a personal favorite of mine (and in my foodie movie collection), "Chocolat" based on the book by Joanne Harris. I won't go into a movie review here, but if you are a foodie and haven't seen this charming movie, you must do so immediately. Chocolate and Johnny Depp... enough said!

I had a favorite recipe in mind to make when I heard we were doing this movie, the aptly named Pots Au Chocolat--basically a fudgy, pudding like, but fluffier, decadent little dessert from a cookbook I bought when I was first getting into cooking, "Classic Home Cooking" by Mary Berry & Marlena Spieler. Imagine my delight when I realized I could make this dessert (sans the whipped creme topping) with all local or locally produced ingredients. Yep, we grow us some chocolate here on the islands--in this case it is Waialua Chocolate on the North Shore of Oahu. I used their Extra Dark 70% Cacao for this dessert, along with Kona Coffee, a vanilla bean from the Big Island, Naked Cow Dairy Butter and fresh local eggs.

Pots Au Chocolat
"Classic Home Cooking"
(Serves 6) or 4 ;-)

6 oz (175 g) semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
3 Tbsp strong black coffee
1 Tbsp butter
a few drops of vanilla extract
3 eggs, separated
2/3 cup (150 ml) heavy cream, whipped until stiff to decorate

Put the chocolate pieces into a saucepan with the strong black coffee. Heat gently, stirring, until the chocolate melts. Leave the chocolate mixture to cool slightly, then add the butter, vanilla extract, and egg yolks and stir until well blended.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold gently but thoroughly into the chocolate mixture. Pour the mixture into 6 small custard cups, ramekins, or other serving dishes (or 4 slightly larger tea cups), and leave to chill for about 8 hours.

Decorate each cup of chocolate with a piped rosette of whipped cream before serving.

Notes/Results: A deep, dark, delicious chocolate delight. Fudgy, but not too heavy and full of great flavor. The coffee adds more of a richness than a strong coffee flavor. This is an easy dessert to whip up--then it just needs some time in the fridge to set. It does use raw eggs, but I feel comfortable with the local eggs I bought from a small farm CSA share and pick up at the farmers market each week. Instead of vanilla extract, I scraped a vanilla bean into the chocolate/coffee mix. Since I don't have access to local cream, I skipped that as a topping and instead topped a couple with chocolate mint leaves from my garden and a couple with some black lava Hawaiian sea salt. I wondered if the salt might be too much but just a tiny sprinkle was perfect with the dark chocolate. Yum! I have made this in the past, substituting green tea for the coffee--also delicious. I will certainly make it again.

Check out the Food 'N Flix site where girlichef and Terianne from Milk, Sugar, Musings and Love will be rounding up the entries soon.


So how did Day 3 of the Eat Local Challenge go?

Breakfast: On the go with a hard boiled local egg and a smoothie with local papaya and frozen apple bananas and a little local milk.

Lunch: Leftover grilled ahi, layered with sliced avocado on greens with leftover vinaigrette.

Dinner: Thai-style Local Lettuce Wraps with Maui ground beef and all local veggies (cucumber and daikon), local lemongrass, kaffir lime, lime and Thai chilies, and herbs from my container garden (cilantro, Thai Basil and mint). Delish--I made a variation of this recipe for a demo at Whole Foods tonight that went over really well.

Dessert: Mango-Habanero Ono Pop (my pots Au Chocolat were still setting).

Tune in tomorrow for my Eating Local Day 4 recap. ;-)


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Week of Eating Local--Eat Local Challenge: Day 2--Featuring An All-Local Ahi Nicoise Salad

Here is my recap of Day 2 of the Eat Local Challenge I am participating in this week. The goal of this challenge? To bring awareness to the importance of building a sustainable food supply in Hawaii. This is critical because as I have mentioned in previous posts, the Hawaiian Islands import about 85% of our food consumed, and if for any reason shipping and air freight were cut off to Hawaii, the food supply would only last about 12-14 days. Also, if everyone in Hawaii bought even 10% of their food from local sources, it would bring millions of dollars of revenue to the economy and also open up a few thousand jobs.

Many of you have pointed out that I am lucky to live in a place where such good food is readily available and that is very true---it would be much more difficult to do this challenge living in other areas. Still, it isn't easy to eat exclusively local, it requires planning, sourcing local ingredients, doing without some regular favorites, and when purchasing certain items, it is more expensive. But all that being said, it has been a fun challenge and it is exercising my organizational skills and creativity, and the resulting meals have been pretty terrific.

Especially the Ahi Nicoise Salad that was last night's dinner. Absolutely delicious and well-worth making even when not in challenge mode. Grilled local ahi tuna, steamed green beans, slices of roasted Okinawan sweet potatoes (filling in for the regular white potatoes in a typical Nicoise), local eggs, tomatoes and cucumber, served on a bed of local greens. The dressing is a vinaigrette comprised of Oils of Aloha Macadamia Nut Oil, local Meyer lemon juice, tarragon, rosemary and chives from my herb garden and a little Hawaiian sea salt. Drool worthy for sure!

The rest of my day:
  • Breakfast: Watercress sauteed in a bit of Naked Cow butter, topped with an over-easy egg sprinkled with Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt and served with tomatoes, GMO-free papaya with a squeeze of lime. Delicious and according to Dr. Nicholas Perricone on Good Morning America watercress and eggs are two of his anti-inflammatory foods that keep wrinkles at bay and prevent disease--whoo hoo! (The other foods are green tea, coconut oil, cinnamon, turmeric, and salmon--just in case you were keeping track!) I am pretty sure I looked at least a couple of years younger after breakfast! ;-)
  • Lunch: Leftover mini-Maui beef patties, with leftover guacamole and feta cheese, wrapped in lettuce and served with cucumbers and tomatoes. To drink, a cooling honeydew melon and mint yogurt lassi. Tasty and easy to throw together on a break from work.
  • Dinner: The Ahi Nicoise Salad mentioned above and that was more than plenty! ;-)
  • Dessert: A locally made (& with mostly local ingredients) Mountain Apple-Rose OnoPop.
  • Snacks: an apple banana, a few slices of sweet potato with sea salt.

Notes/Results: Another delicious day! Sure, some capers on my Ahi Nicoise would have been wonderful but even without them, it was pretty perfect. I also decided I need to cut back a bit on the local dairy as I am pretty sure it is stuffing me up--why I cut back on my dairy in the first place. I still plan to use what I bought but a bit less each day. I am still getting lots of salad and greens in, and the Okinawan sweet potatoes are a nice starchy bulky item that helps round out some of the "salady" meals. An after-challenge resolution is to roast a bunch of the sweet potatoes to snack on more often. The hardest part of the challenge so far is taking all of the pictures. ;-)

Tune in tomorrow for Tuesday's recap and my local Pots Au Chocolat for the new monthly blog event Food & Flix, featuring the movie Chocolat.


Monday, September 27, 2010

A Week of Eating Local--Eat Local Challenge: Day 1

This was going to be a much longer post about the comedic elements of my chasing around stocking up like a madwoman on local produce, meat and other ingredients for the Eat Local Challenge I am participating in this week. But work stuff got in the way, then my MacBook and Wordpress (where Cook the Books is hosted), had a little falling out and my "Climbing the Mango Trees" round-up post that should have been pretty quick, took forever.. hours waiting for pictures and links to load... then I lost half of it... had to walk away for a few hours before I hurt something... then more time waiting before I finally got it finished.

So now I am tired, slightly grumpy and not really in the mood to go into great detail about how I stocked up to enable me to eat only food made from local ingredients for seven days. But trust me, it was kind of humorous and took visits to the farmers market, Kokua Market (my local co-op), and Whole Foods and two other grocery stores. And, because bread, rice, pasta and other carbs made from grains are not grown locally and therefore off the menu for the week... I felt that a "goodbye cupcake" was in order and stopped to get a banana-caramel one from Cake Couture (which was a little cake from heaven by the way).

You would think I was planning on eating just local foods for months from the goodies I have stuffed in my fridge. But if I learned nothing else from Girl Scouts, I learned to be prepared, so stocked up I am!

Which brings us to my Eating Local Challenge: Day 1 recap of Sunday's food:

  • Breakfast: Smoothie made with all local ingredients--honeydew, GMO-free papaya, frozen apple-bananas, Naked Cow Dairy yogurt, Waimanalo honey and mint from my container herb garden.
  • Lunch: Two poached local eggs over sauteed local Tuscan kale with tarragon and scallions from my lanai container herb garden, and Hawaiian sea salt cooked in a bit of Naked Cow Dairy Hawaiian Sea Salt Butter, served with tomatoes. Key learning: eggs are hard to poach neatly without vinegar (not local) and if you are offended by runny yolks, get over it--it is the best way to eat eggs over greens--you have to mix that yolk in. Mmm...
  • Dinner: "Burger in A Bowl"--or a "bun-less" burger. Two mini Maui Beef patties served over a bowl of Nalo Greens--their "Healthy Mix" lettuces, with caramelized local onions (in local butter), local Japanese cucumber, local tomatoes, feta from Naked Cow Dairy, and guacamole made with local avocado, cilantro from my herb garden and local lime and red sea salt.
  • Dessert: Figs, sliced, grilled and drizzled with Waimanalo honey and sprinkled with a little Naked Cow Dairy feta. OMG--yum! I nearly knocked over a few people getting to these last two figs at a booth at the farmers market and I whimpered pathetically when I found out the rest had sold--They were from the farmer's grandmother's tree and were juicy, sweet and perfect.

  • Snacks: an apple-banana and a Japanese cucumber
Notes/Results: A day full of delicious food--I enjoyed everything I made and didn't feel deprived as we do have such a big variety of local food available here. I am missing bread a bit, but everything I ate was so fresh and good, it wasn't hard at all to eat almost completely local. (Chances are the starter for the yogurt wasn't local but the milk is and it is produced by a local business, so I think it meets the spirit of the challenge.) Another bonus to doing the challenge--my consumption of veggies--particularly those nutritious leafy greens, will be going up considerably this week! ;-)

Tune in tomorrow for Monday's recap, including my Local-Style Ahi Nicoise Salad.

Hope you are enjoying your week!