Monday, February 6, 2012

Dark Days of Winter Midpoint Review

Happy Monday! Are you happy with the last-minute Giants' win in the Super Bowl last night? To be honest, I wasn't cheering for either team, so I only sort of half-paid attention to the game. I'm one who watches for the commercials, and the social aspect of watching with friends.

 So I'm halfway through the Dark Days Challenge of eating at least one locally-sourced meal a week. By my calculations this is Week 11 of the Challenge, but other participants are on Week 12. I'm not sure how I missed a week. I admit that I've slacked bit in the last couple of weeks. I haven't been to the farmers' market, and I didn't cook any new dishes last week.

I've been eating a lot of leftovers from local meals of prior weeks. Our freezer was stocked with beef stew, lentil soup, potato celery soup, and chili, so we've been eating these and clearing the freezer out. I guess I've been feeling a bit lazy lately too. I don't have any meals planned for this week yet, although there are local meats and veggies in the freezer. 

Actually I did make something new last night--baked apples with a buttery-brown sugar-cinnamon topping. I have a bunch of VA-grown apples sitting in my fridge that are too tart to eat plain, so I've been looking for a simple way to use them while still keeping to the local rules. I found this recipe for baked apples and made a few modifications. I took one apple, halved it, and took out the core and seeds.   

Look how quickly the apple started to brown after I took out the core and seeds. Is that normal?

I put the apple on a baking sheet and spread the brown sugar mix on top. The mix is 1 tbsp of melted butter, 1 tbsp of flour, and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. I then sprinkled a little cinnamon on each half. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

The is the end result. I'm no food stylist, so this is not an attractive picture, but it tasted pretty good! I was worried about how the butter would affect the taste because the local butter I use has a peppery, grassy taste. It tastes great on potatoes or toast but I wondered if the apples would taste weird. They didn't. All I could taste was brown sugar and a little cinnamon. And the house smelled heavenly! I may do this every week just to get the house smelling like cinnamon and sugar. So this was not a typical Super Bowl dessert, but now I know what to do with the rest of the apples.

In other local food news, my neighborhood Whole Foods has started selling this mozzarella cheese made by a small local farm. I've been buying the cheese at the farmers' market, but now I don't have to wait until the Sunday market to buy it. WF is much closer too, so this is a lot more convenient. 

So mid-way through this Challenge I feel like I've hit a plateau. I need to get to the farmers' market next Sunday. I will go, and I'll spend time this week looking for interesting seasonal recipes. Maybe I'll find something inspirational for meals for the rest of the Challenge.


  1. Good going! This is a long challenge - can't believe you're only half way through! Those baked apples sound so delicious. I may have to find some apples to bake! Great idea.

  2. Baked Apples with brown sugar--that definitely gets my vote! The other foods don't sound as tasty, but congrats to you for doing this challenge!

  3. Kudos for eating local, but the middle of winter would Really be a challenge for me. Still baked apples, sounds yummy, and I love lentil stew.


  4. What a great challenge! And yummy! Okay, I think I want some apple crisp now..

  5. Anything with brown sugar, cinnamon and butter gets my vote. I'm never quite sure how to take photos of food either. Glad I'm not alone in that respect.

  6. I buy local beef but feeding a family at Whole Foods costs a fortune so it's harder for me to buy local in the winter. I still have local peaches that I cooked into peach cobbler filling in my freezer than are headed for my belly next week. Yum! Kudos to you for trying to do this all winter. :o)

  7. I like your apple recipe! It sounds like apple pie off the shell! I often prepared a similar dish for my children when they were growing up. Delicious!

    BTW, I responded to the Versatile Blogger Award in my current post and linked to you, though I'm afraid I didn't follow the rules!

  8. Hang in there. You are doing great. I think we in the south (don't ask me why MD is in the south, and you aren't) are blessed with Emily, who encourages us big time.

    Seven of the twelve blogs are still going strong in the South. I found that belonging to a CSA that delivers, and that includes meat and eggs has helped me tremendously.

    Plus, I found rockfish at Wegman's this week. I also found local mushrooms at the store down the road. Finds like these help me stay interested.

    Annie from AnnieRie Unplugged


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