Friday, December 4, 2009

The Dark Days Challenge - Week #3

I started Thanksgiving morning working out on my treadmill ...and watching the Food Network. Hmm, maybe not the best combination! But Emeril Live was on and Emeril was fixing a Thanksgiving meal for New York Fireman. What really caught my attention was his starter, a Smoked Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Wild Rice Soup. Suddenly my week three meal was set in motion.
  I already had the Butternut Squash from my garden and knew where I could get most of the other ingredients locally. But the challenge for me was the wild rice. I thought I remembered buying a locally grown wild rice once so I began with a search on google. Sure enough, up popped Oregon Jewel. A trip to Cappella market and I had my wild rice. What I learned through my research though, was pretty neat. The rice is grown just outside Brownsville, Oregon on converted conventional farm land. The Willamette Valley clay soil that has challenged home and professional vegetable farmers for generations has proved to be perfect for growing wild rice. The clay soil holds water, which in turn eliminates the need for irrigation. The water keeps the weeds down and eliminates the need for herbicides. Native grasses and trees have returned, growing up next to the paddies. And with the return of this food and shelter the biodiversity of the region has reemerged. In fact, the Audubon Society lists the farm as a birding site. Pretty great stuff! And I haven't even mentioned the fact that we have a great source for a locally grown whole grain.

But back to this weeks meal. I followed Emeril's recipe but cut it in half and eliminated the parsely and corn. I think it would have been great with the addition of corn, but I didn't have any frozen away to use. Next year! So here is my "shopping list" -
- Butternut Squash - O miles/ My garden
-Chicken Stock -92 Miles/ Pacific Foods
-Yellow Onions - 16 Miles/Hey Bayles! Farm
-Wild Rice - 20 Miles/Oregon Jewel
- Linguesa Sausage - 3 Miles/Sweet Briar Farm
-Half-in-half - 13 Miles / Lochmead Dairy
- Exceptions - Oil, Salt & Pepper

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