Filed under: Breakfast, Main Dish, October Challenge | Tags: Eggs, green chile, onion, potato, tomato
Well here’s the short version: WE DID IT. We managed to eat very locally for seven full days. It was definitely not easy, but it truthfully wasn’t that hard either. I feel like I still have ideas left to continue on for another few days at least – if not as much variety in ingredients as when we first started. The weekend was a bit of a struggle to maintain motivation – I was tired of spending so much time in the kitchen, and thinking about what to eat next. Not to mention, I was unusually sore after my 20-miler on Saturday, and ready to add some more variety to our plates.
Yesterday all I could think about was “what will I eat tomorrow?” There wasn’t anything in particular I craved, but just the thought of free choice was really nice. However, after our group dinner last night I felt full and satisfied, and re-inspired to continue on with the Eat Local Challenge (100-mile radius, with some exceptions) for the rest of the month. The richness of braised goat, smoky vegetarian chili, three types of roasted squash (kabocha won out for flavor in my book – though smashing the 13 lb blue hubbard beast was a definite highlight yesterday!), and a swirl of mulberry blood orange mead for dessert. I think this week was a positive experience for all of us, and I’m looking forward to the ripples this week will create in my own outlook (and hopefully inspiration for others).
What I ate yesterday:
Green smoothie (kale, blueberries, plums, banana, amaranth, lime)
Potato Egg Scramble (potatoes, eggs, roasted tomatoes and green chile, onions)
Leftovers salad (millet, zucchini noodles, fava beans, corn, beans, roasted green chile, butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, cabbage)
Oranges, grapefruit, sapote, pickles, tomatoes, avocado
Vegetarian Chili, Millet/amaranth, roasted hubbard squash, pumpkin and kabocha, braised goat, potato and summer vegetable pie (potato, roasted peppers tomatoes, eggplant and onion), slow-cooked zucchini, pesto, avocado
Matt made a version of this potato egg dish on Saturday for me after my run, and I tweaked it just a bit with the addition of peppers, onion and tomatoes to move it into the home fries realm. I boiled the potatoes the night before, so it was a snap to put together after our Sunday run.
Potato Egg Scramble
2 cups parboiled potatoes, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
2 roasted green chiles, chopped
6-8 roasted tomatoes (or sun-dried would work great too)
1/4-1/2 onion, diced
4-5 eggs, beaten
Saute the onion over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Add the potatoes after just a few minutes, then add in the tomatoes and pepper. Once its all hot and slightly brown, scoot it over to the side of the pan and add the eggs. Cook gently til done, then mix all together and serve with a grind of pepper and salt. Top with avocado or pesto if you have it.
Filed under: Main Dish, October Challenge | Tags: edamame, frittata, goat cheese, kale, october challenge, onion, potato, tomato, zucchini
Today’s guest blog post comes from Mark Fennell, the instigator and mastermind behind the Eat-from-your-Yard Challenge week.
The only words from me will be what I ate today:
Green smoothie (greens, banana, plums, blueberries, strawberries, scallop squash)
Acorn pancakes w/ elderberry syrup, 2 eggs
Green salad with roasted butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, avocado, balsamic vinegar and leftover fish
1 apple, 1 orange, 1 grapefruit, pineapple guavas
Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce, beans, and roasted eggplant, peppers and onions; applesauce, sapote, canned apricots
Day Four, Kale, Sun-Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Frittata
by Mark Fennell
“But where will you get your protein?” That question was a common response I got after telling people about our Eat-from-the-Yard challenge, and it was often followed by the statement, “Oh, I could never go a week without meat!”
Well, it turns out you can indeed get adequate protein when eating from your yard (and the yards of your friends and neighbors). We prepared for our protein needs by planting several varieties of dry beans, including black turtle beans, kidney beans, and heirloom Pawnee bush beans. The plants grew quickly and thrived in our mild Santa Barbara summer weather. By mid-to-late September, the pods had dried and the beans inside were hard, which meant it was time to harvest. Each day I’d come in with a full bowl, and Gina and I would sit down and pop beans from their pods, occasionally chasing wayward ones across the room.
In total, we ended up with almost 8 cups of dry beans. At 11 grams per ¼ cup, the total protein content of our dry-bean harvest was 350 grams. Quite coincidentally, that’s about the recommended amount for one adult for a week!
But there are two of us, so we need additional sources of protein. We also planted a 4’-x-4’ bed of soy beans, which yielded about a pound and a half of edamame (immature soy beans in the pod). Plop a handful in salty boiling water, and five minutes later you have a tasty, protein-packed afternoon snack.
Another protein-rich crop we grew, albeit with more limited success, was quinoa. It’s prefers a higher-elevation cool environment, but I like experimenting in the garden so I planted it in a few spots around the yard. The soil quality and micro-climates varied, and some plants grew better than others. The quinoa grains are seeds that form in a large colorful flower on a thin center stalk. We harvested them when they were mostly dried. It was a shame to destroy the pretty quinoa bouquet, but we needed the grain, and after quite a bit of threshing and winnowing, we ended up with a little more than a cup of dry quinoa. That’s enough for a meal later in the week.
But not all our protein is coming from plants this week. Our four lively chickens continue to provide us with 2-3 eggs a day, and we sparingly use the milk and chévre we received in a trade with a friend who keeps pet goats.
So as we finish Day 4 of our Eat-from-the-Yard challenge, we have already enjoyed a bunch of healthy, tasty food and we’re neither protein-deprived nor hungry. Here is a list of what Gina and I have enjoyed thus far:
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs topped w/ avocado & tomato; hash brown potatoes; canned apricots
- Lunch: Smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, grape juice, kale, honey)
- Snack: Edamame, tomatoes, roasted squash seeds
- Dinner: Fresh fish, baked butternut squash w/ goat cheese, sautéed kale w/ onions and garlic
- Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, OJ, nectarines, blueberries, goat milk)
- Gina Lunch: Leftover fish, goat-milk mozzarella, figs, apple, pickled green beans
- Mark Lunch: Fried new potatoes, over-easy eggs, “tangerine Julius” (tangerine juice & milk blended
- Dinner: Frittata (potatoes, eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, kale, zucchini, onion), salad w/ avocado, tomato, and pickled green beans
- Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, kale, grape juice)
- Gina Lunch: Leftover fish, sautéed squash, apple
- Mark Lunch: Leftover frittata
- Snack: Edamame, figs
- Dinner: Spaghetti squash w/ marinara sauce, fish, roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts, salad, goat-milk ice cream
- Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, grape juice, goat milk)
- Gina Lunch: Leftover frittata, apple, figs
- Mark Lunch: Leftover frittata, roasted butternut squash
- Dinner: Minestrone soup (beans, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, new potatoes, onions, oregano, hot pepper flakes)
Kale, Sun-Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Frittata
6-7 small potatoes
3 Tbl. Olive oil, divided
2 c. kale, chopped
1/4 c. oil-packed dried tomatoes
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 c. goat milk
1/2 – 3/4 c. goat cheese
Salt/pepper to taste
1. Boil whole potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain water and smash potatoes to flatten.
2. Place flattened potatoes on bottom of greased pie pan. Put a little oil on top of potatoes.
3. Bake in 400 degree oven about 10 minutes.
4. Sauté kale, onion, and zucchini in olive oil until tender.
5. In another bowl, mix eggs, milk, sun-dried tomatoes together. Add salt and pepper.
6. Put sautéed kale mixture on top of potatoes. Add crumbled goat cheese. Pour egg mixture over all.
7. Bake in 350 degree oven about 30 minutes until done.
Filed under: Main Dish, October Challenge | Tags: beans, eggplant, october challenge, peppers, tomato, zucchini
On Day Three I hit two extremes: very low blood sugar after a workout, and absolute satisfaction after dinner with our group. I needed to do a core workout yesterday, so I headed to The Dailey Method via my bike after a green smoothie. However, by the time I got to work afterwards, all I could think about was the orange in my backpack (that I’m not quite talented enough to eat while riding my bike). Fortunately I know the signs of so-called “bonking” and how to remedy it, but it still wasn’t fun.
After work, we headed over to Mark & Gina’s house for trading and a group dinner. I was pretty impressed with our spread: a butternut squash and goat cheese appetizer greeted us, accompanied by carrots and celery. I opened the bottle of elderberry wine that I traded for with my co-worker (thank you Kelly!), and we sat down to a filling dinner of spaghetti squash and sauce, green salad, rockfish, roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts, all doused with a generous sprinkling of goat cheese. (Matt and I decided to make an exception to our no-dairy rule for group dinners.) The real highlight though was dessert: goat milk strawberry mint ice cream. Yes, you heard that right- ICE CREAM. Enough said.
Yesterday’s trading got us: applesauce, pickles, dry beans, sapote, monkey coconuts, bananas, blueberries, rockfish, and arugula.
Here’s what I ate yesterday:
Green smoothie (Strawberries, blueberries, plums, greens, banana)
1 grapefruit, 2 oranges, 2 apples, roasted potatoes, pickles
Spaghetti squash fritters (squash, corn, onion, egg, cornmeal, lemon thyme) with fava bean avocado spread, sautéed brussels sprouts leaves, sauteed zucchini
Spaghetti squash, tomato sauce, goat cheese, salad (lettuce, avocado, tomato, dilly beans), roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts, butternut-goat cheese spread w/ carrots and celery, squash seeds, rockfish, goat milk strawberry mint ice cream w/ caramel sauce (goat milk and honey)
I finally managed to write down a plan for the next two days of what to make and when, so a flurry of cooking last night produced lots of goodies for today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We’re going to a lecture tonight at UCSB by Alex Honnold, so that meant in addition to packing lunch I needed to make dinner ahead of time as well. I’ve been hearing about zucchini noodles for awhile, so I decided to give it a shot. The easiest method involves a spiralizer, which if you’ve never used: go find one. It produced long strands of zucchini that, after sitting in salt for 15 minutes, look and feel exactly like traditional noodles. If you didn’t know they were zucchini, could you tell the difference?
Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables and Beans
3-4 small eggplant, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 bell pepper, cut similar size
1/2 onion, cut into slices
Your favorite tomato sauce
1 can of white or cannelloni beans, or 1-2 cups cooked beans (I used fresh shell beans that I boiled for ~20 minutes the night before)
Basil or other fresh herbs
Toss the eggplant, pepper, and onion with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 375 for about 30 minutes (start checking around 25 to make sure it doesn’t burn). Stir every 10 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, either use a spiralizer to turn your zucchini into noodles, or use a vegetable peeler to cut thin slices. Put noodles into a colander and toss with some salt. Let it sit over a bowl for at least 15 minutes to drain excess water, until soft. Shake off the extra water and put into a bowl for serving.
At this point I tossed my noodles with heated-up tomato sauce, the vegetables, basil, and beans. But you could also plate individually (layer noodles, sauce, veggies, etc) to make it look a little nicer
Filed under: Main Dish, October Challenge | Tags: october challenge, potatoes
Last night we had our Last Supper: clean-out-your-non-local-food potluck and last-chance-to-eat-chocolate brownies with our group. We also did our first trade, which I mostly failed to capture on film. But it was a lot of fun to lay out each of our goods and start sharing. I did take a picture of our spread: spaghetti squash, pumpkins, canned apricots and pickles, guavas, walnuts, frozen fava beans, tomatoes,eggs, corn, limes, and grapefruits (by way of our awesome friend Nancy).
In exchange, we got: frozen plums, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas (Mark’s neighbor has a tree); oranges, dilly beans, apples, patty pan squash, onions, honey, avocados, lemons, and freshly caught rockfish. That’s right: fish. Katie and Ben went fishing yesterday and came back with a huge load. I cooked the fish tonight for dinner – sauteed simply in olive oil with salt and pepper. I’m pretty sure it was the best fish I’ve ever eaten.
So far the biggest challenge for me has been sorting through all my ideas of what to cook. I’m constantly thinking about what I can make, and I haven’t quite figured out the best way to record my thoughts (and then actually make it to my kitchen). Today I made a batch of kale chips, soaked acorns (hopefully for acorn flour), started pea and pumpkin seed sprouts, dehydrated and then pulverized corn (cornmeal?), made smoothies for breakfast and smashed potatoes for dinner. Oh yeah – and biked to/from work. According to my running schedule, this was my easy day!
Here’s what I ate today:
Green Smoothie for two (1 orange, 1 small avocado, 8 pineapple guavas, ½ banana, 2 plums, 1 ½ celery stalks, 1 big scallop squash, 3 cups kale, 1 juiced lime), ½ grapefruit
Spaghetti squash with roasted tomato sauce, green beans, bell pepper, fried eggs, roasted squash seeds
1 grapefruit, 1 ½ apples, 1 carrot, pickles, 1 orange, dilly beans, 1 small avocado, cherry tomatoes
Sauteed rock fish, smashed potatoes and roasted tomato sauce, sautéed broccoli with lemon, canned apricots in honey syrup
(There are many recipes out there, but here’s an easy one from 101 Cookbooks)
New potatoes (however many you want to make – leave the skin on)
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Rosemary or other herbs, finely chopped
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add a teaspoon of salt and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil until they are tender enough to slide a knife in easily ~10-12 minutes. Drain the potatoes, and heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Smash each potato with the bottom of a heavy glass. Season with salt and pepper and cook until crisp, and then turn and cook the other side. Sprinkle with fresh herbs (I used rosemary), salt and pepper.
Filed under: Main Dish, Running | Tags: bell pepper, corn, okra, onion, vegan, yellow split pea, zucchini
This weekend I went to the Santa Barbara farmer’s market for the first time in awhile. Its such a good time of year: peaches, plums, grapes, citrus, figs, melons… and that’s just the fruit side of things. I don’t really allow myself to buy vegetables, since we have so many in abundance. But I did buy two that I’ve never used before: tomatillos and okra.
As a kid, I loved fried okra! But I was curious what other recipes involving okra were out there, besides gumbo. A search for okra through Tastespotting led me to this succotash recipe. I don’t really know much about succotash in general, but it’s Wikipedia definition is “a food dish consisting primarily of corn and lima beans or other shell beans.” To me, this is just screaming for substitutions in the form of whatever I have on hand, which usually works out in my favor. And the end result to this dish was really good. But how could I have ever known about the okra slime factor?
Did you know about that? Because I definitely had no idea that okra, when cooked for some amount of time, releases mucilage. Ew. Hence all the fried okra, I suppose. (Or following the directions and blanching it! Oops) Its rare that I’m apprehensive about the dishes I make, so I was extremely relieved that this turned out well – and that Matt really liked it.
We ate this for dinner last night served on top of roasted sweet potatoes, topped with a squirt of Sriracha. I ate it again for lunch today with a fried egg – the perfect recovery food after running half of the 9 Trails course this morning (17 miles of steep up and down in ~ 4 hours). Since giving up meat and dairy, I do think I’m running better and faster, as well as recovering a little better from hard efforts. Normally the transition into runs 16+ miles leaves me feeling wiped, but today I felt really strong at the end. But not strong enough that I wanted to turn around and do the second half!
I deviated from the original recipe by using yellow split peas instead of chickpeas (because I’m trying to clean out the kitchen cupboards before October), and added zucchini (because I have a lot of it). I included the directions for blanching okra – highly recommended to avoid slime!
1 ½ lbs okra
1 small red onion, chopped
2 c cooked yellow split peas (1 cup dried, cooked in 2 cups water for 25 minutes)
Kernels from 2 ears of corn
½ bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 bunch swiss chard or kale, chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 jalapeno or chile pepper, finely chopped
Large handful cilantro, roughly chopped
½ lime, juiced
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding two large handfuls of ice. Boil the okra for about 5 minutes, strain, and then plunge in the ice bath. Once completely cooled, chop the okra into bite-sized pieces. This step can be one day ahead.
2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil or butter and sauté the red onion until translucent. Add the corn, bell pepper, zucchini and a generous pinch of two of salt and sauté for another few minutes. Add the greens and saute til wilted. Add the ginger and jalapeno and cook for another minute.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the okra, cilantro and lime juice.