cafe mama

finding magic every day

local rules . january 01 . 2008

gene thiel beets
True to form I dived deeply, madly, raucously into eating local. I spent days devouring the book and then stayed up late nights watching vidcasts and surfing to discover whether Bob's Red Mill grain really is grown in Oregon? (It's not, I don't think, though I may not care.) I became passionately angry about what I shall henceforward call Big Corn. I decided never, ever to eat CAFO, aka feedlot-raised meat again.

Given my general predisposition toward making a challenging thing even more difficult, I happened upon the Urban Hennery's Dark Days Challenge. Start in October? Phooey! It's way harder to start in the last few days of December. And truly: I'm cooking, and eating, some outrageously delicious things.

So I start our eat local mission -- and it's not a challenge, it's a change, a new way of life -- in the middle of the winter. It is not a resolution, as I never intend to change back to the way things were. I will perhaps make occasional and terrible exceptions (my husband will continue to take the kids to the awful Chinese restaurant where his sister works, where I cannot even write about how un-sustainable are the ingredients), but I will not go back. I will forge forward and discover a new way of living, I will learn to preserve, I will embrace my inner gardener, I will go deeper and deeper into the truth of eating local and seasonal until it is all I know. But for now, some rules:

all my pretty things
Am I surprised? Or unsurprised? That the first products of my new life order have been truly amazing. On New Year's Eve, I went shopping in the early afternoon, idly selecting good things for Jonathan and I: Piccolo Como bread, Strawberry Mountain New York strip (1.05 pounds, $16.80), organic russets and a giant leek from Groundwork Organics, Gene Thiel's heirloom carrots, a huge red onion, local European-style butter (only $3.19). I took them home and started inviting family and friends for an impromptu party. At home, I sliced potatoes thin and coated with rosemary from my garden, olive oil, kosher salt and roasted them in a hot oven. I got out farmer's market shallots and sauteed them in the local butter until they were caramelized. I took out the end of my precious goat cheese from Monteillet Fromagerie; I heated my skillet to searing. I salted and peppered the steak then cooked it, without oil, in my hot hot cast iron pan, 15 minutes on one side, 8 minutes on the other, until it was rare and wonderful. I let it set while I finished preparing the rest of the sandwich toppings, then sliced it as thin as I could. New York strip sandwiches with caramelized onions and goat cheese with rosemary roasted potatoes, as local and as good as it gets.

read my previous post . holidays at home . december 30 . 2007