Roast Beast

Just like the Whos in Whoville, Our Christmas feast included roast beast, in this case–leg of lamb. We also had roasted carrots glazed with cider molasses (a thicker version of our cider syrup) and mashed potatoes. This meal came mostly from our own backyard with the addition of a beautiful grassed leg of lamb from Thistle Byre Farm. I marinated the lamb with olive oil, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, white wine, garlic, salt, and pepper. The carrots are Napoli carrots from our high tunnel. These are Eliot Coleman’s much lauded “candy carrots” that are sweetened by some heavy frosts and freezes. I harvested them along with some beautiful Jerusalem artichokes on Christmas Eve. The artichokes are heaped with compost in their outdoor bed. Our mild winter made it quite easy to harvest them. The carrots were amazingly sweet and lovely. These holiday gifts from our own farm were a beautiful celebration of the day.

Here’s the official breakdown for the Dark Days Challenge:

Our own farm:
Carrots
Potatoes
Thyme
Rosemary
Garlic
Chicken broth (for mashed potatoes)
Parsley
Apple cider molasses (home canned from Markle Farm cider)

Thistle Byre Farm:

Leg of lamb

Non-local Ingredients:

White wine
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

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Dark Days are Here

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:

Eggs
Carrot
Parsley
Rosemary
Ketchup
Garlic
Onion
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

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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.

CHERRY TOMATOES!! and farm friends

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We have picked cherry tomatoes by the gallon this summer. We also use them by the gallon at the restaurant.  For the past month or so, Small Wonder Farm has been able to produce nearly all of the restaurant’s needs.  Tiny “currant” tomatoes are the Chef’s favorite.  The 2 red currants and 1 gold currant planted in the high tunnel have taken a superhuman effort to pick.  We can easily spend an hour or more on each plant every other day.  We also grew and love our Chocolate Cherry tomatoes and a new variety for the farm–Tomatoberry–both spectacular.

The small cluster of onions pictured are from Egyptian Walking Onions, a perennial onion that forms clusters of onions at the top of the plant to be replanted and a larger bulb at the base to be harvested.   These have been on my radar for a while now. I have read about them and then I saw them growing at Connor Prairie.  I was delighted when I saw them offered by Daniel Fagerstrom ofGreen Gate Garden.  Daniel is an inspiring farmer who often offers things just a little out of the ordinary.  I was delighted to have gotten some Jerusalem Artichoke plants from him this spring as well.  His Green Gate Garden at Fair Oaks Farm is a marvel of diversity, beauty, and bounty.

I purchased the scalloped squashes from Ginny Markle of Markle Farm for the restaurant.  They were too beautiful to pass up and too lovely not to photograph before sending them with the chef.  Many locals know Ginny and her amazing array of beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Ginny and Daniel are enough reason to attend the Saturday market in Lafayette.