Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dark Days: Inspired

The other participants of the Dark Days challenge are cooking such amazing stuff with local ingredients that they finally inspired me right out of my local-but-ordinary rut! For this week’s local meal I chose homemade calzone and salad.

I’ve found that through these dark days of winter I’ve had to relax my standards on what constitutes a "local" meal. I had counted on fruit and vegetables from my favorite farm stand since they remain open through the winter. However, my last two visits have been disappointing as all they had were OK looking carrots, moldy onions, sprouting potatoes and mealy apples. On a tip from a reader, I found a small grocery store that labels most of their produce by origin. Very nice! But the store aisles are tight and I just can’t take Hurricane Munchkin in there until he gets a little older. I went in today (by myself) looking for salad ingredients and the only produce I found from Oregon was cabbage, leeks and fennel, and I don’t know what to do with fennel. I could have made a cabbage salad, but I didn’t want to waste Scott’s favorite iceberg lettuce (already in the fridge), so the only local ingredients I included in the salad were carrots and leeks. Oh, well, the calzone is the real star.

For the calzone, I made bread dough using Oregon whole wheat flour, Oregon white flour and local honey. The yeast, sugar and salt were not local. I filled Munchkin's calzone with cheese. For the rest, I used a mixture of local sausage (our pig), local grass-fed ground beef, Tillamook cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, local leeks since I didn’t have local onions (I like leeks better, anyway), CSA garlic and non-local olives and mushrooms. (I've got a phobia with local mushrooms – they’re probably safe and delicious, but I'm still afraid of them!) After baking the calzones, I topped them with my last bag of spaghetti sauce, made last summer from CSA tomatoes, onions, peppers and I can't remember what else, but it had enough spices in it to cover up the fact that I forgot to put the seasoning in the calzone! Overall, it tasted great. I don't think I've made calzone since Munchkin was born, though, and I'd forgotten how much time it takes. Fortunately, we've got leftovers for another meal. :)

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