Dark Days have arrived! When I discovered the Dark Days Challenge at the (not so) Urban Hennery, it seemed a long way off. I figured I’d have plenty of time to plan and prepare for my first Dark Days Dinner. It was a lot of time, and I did plan quite a few things. I even stocked up on some local items at the Farmers’ Market in the Mercato at the Commons and made a practice dinner last week. Despite my time for preparation, November rolled around quickly!
So, what was the first dinner? Roast cornish game hen from Olds Farm. I stuffed it with thyme and a garlic clove and sprinkled it with olive oil, salt and pepper before roasting it in the oven. The broccoli, also from Olds Farm was simply steamed and sprinkled with salt. The roasted potatoes are redskins from one of the fifty-pund bags of potatoes that I bought at the Downtown Farmers’ Market. They were drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and tossed with fresh rosemary. The salad consists of Providence Farm mixed greens, tomatoes from the Mercato and dressing made with my homemade yogurt, homemade feta, garlic, salt and pepper.
If you read my prequel post, you know that I’ve been trying to find local flour. I searched on the internet for a while and came up with some possible sources, but none of them seemed realistic. Finally, a friend told me about Organic Bean and Grain in Caro, Michigan. She even arranged for delivery for me so that I wouldn’t have to pay for shipping! This was a really lucky break; I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make my bread during the challenge. However, the flour hasn’t arrived yet so I compromised. The delicious bread you see on the plate is not homemade; it is a ciabbatta loaf from Stonehouse bread. Dinner was delicious!
To accompany my local dinner, I purchased a bottle of Witches Brew. Witches Brew is a seasonal, spiced red wine made locally. It’s best served warm and smells heavenly. The spices remind me of fall. You can warm it in a mug in the microwave in a pinch, but for the best flavor and aroma, it really should be warmed in a saucepan on the stove.
For my prequel dinner, I made dessert to finish off our meal. I planned to make an apple pie today, but a couple of things prevented this. One, my local flour hasn’t arrived yet so I didn’t have any local flour to use for my pie crust or topping. Two, cornish game hens take quite a bit of prep time. By the time I got everything else prepped, there wasn’t much time for dessert. Since I didn’t have adequate time to make a “real” dessert, it’s a good thing I’ve spent so much time making delicious apple creations lately. I decided to pull out one of the jars of spiced apples I canned last weekend to round out our dinner.
So, dessert was a dish of chai-spiced apples. They were yummy! The spice was very subtle, but the blend of flavors was good. I will definitely make more of these. I think the apple rings would be delicious served warm on vanilla ice cream. Maybe next week.
Dark Days are here but I think we’ll be just fine. For the purposes of this challenge, local foods come from withing 150 miles of my home in Traverse City. However, I’m not counting the miles as driving miles, but miles “as the crow flies”. My flour, according to Mapquest travels 167 miles to get to me by road. If I drew a straight line from Traverse City to Caro, the distance would be less than my 150 mile limit. Sugar from beets also falls within my radius as do honey and syrup. Other than spices, yeast and oils, I think I can get all the rest of the ingredients I need locally but I’ll let you know if I can’t.