This week we kicked off the Dark Days of Winter Eat Local challenge. Don’t know about the Dark Days Challenge? Follow the link above. Over 100 bloggers and others will be presenting their local meals on a weekly basis and the recaps will end up at Not Dabbling in Normal.
At our house the challenge is further complicated by the fact that we eat gluten, soy, dairy, legume, corn, and fish free (those are just the highlights) due to our daughter’s food allergies. I know of a few grains I can get locally, but when it comes to making sure I am stocked with GF certified oats and specialty flours like tapioca and sorghum, I turn to our local co-op and natural foods store. The GF oats used in this recipe come from Bob’s Red Mill via our local food buying co-op.
We kicked off the challenge with a meal of maple meatloaf, sweet dumpling squash, and roasted tomatoes. The maple meatloaf I make is based on the recipe from The Gluten-Free Goddess–one of my go-to sources for allergen free recipes. I pretty much followed the recipe, but did not make the glaze. The addition of our own tangy ketchup was a delicious substitution. Everything in this meal was already in my pantry or harvested fresh from our farm. These products were from our own farm:
Tomatoes (some of the last of those picked green from the high tunnel that have been slowly ripening on the kitchen counter)
Products from other local producers:
Ground beef from This Old Farm
Sweet Dumpling Squash from Markle Farm
Maple Syrup from Middleton’s Maple Farm and Longhouse Farm (we do make our own but have gone through all of it)
Other items used: olive oil, spices, GF oats
This was a meal I prepped in the AM since I taught that day and my daughter had an after-school art class. I set the oven to come on at the right time, left the squash in the oven, and my husband (home first) just had to take the meatloaf out of the fridge and put it in the oven. I put the tomatoes in when I got home and we ate about 20 minutes later. Instead of trying to open and scoop out the squash before baking, I placed them whole into a shallow pan with some water in the bottom, covered tightly with foil, and baked. After letting them cool off a bit, I opened the tops as if to carve a pumpkin and scooped out the seeds. Worked like a dream and those squash were the sweetest I have ever tasted.
It was wonderful to eat so many things that we knew originated in our backyard, but also to know and be friends with those responsible for the beef, squash, and maple syrup. There is a level of respect you have for your food when you produced it and/or know the hard work of those who did. Meals like this are a reason for Thanksgiving every day.