Monday, June 2, 2008

The first few days

The first few days of this challenge have been...well, challenging. I started off this month with forgetting that it was June and eating a ton of organic grapes for breakfast- Definitely not local! But then I snacked on some homemade chicken-style seitan (a.k.a. wheat meat or mock duck) made from locally grown wheat gluten to kick off my local menu.

I think the hardest part of this local challenge is going to be finding enough variety at this time of year to keep the whole family happy- It will be much easier in August! We've come to expect strawberries in Spring (even if they're usually not ready in MN until Summer) and carrots year round (but we don't have root cellars!).

This Sunday was our dog Hannah's 3rd birthday and the kids really wanted to have a party for her. So the boys helped me bake a little "canine cake" for her (recipe is in My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminsky) out of locally grown flour. For dinner I wanted to make something that the whole family would love and would meet my local criteria. We had some Wisconsin red potatoes, local ramps (wild leeks), chives from the garden, Gedney pickles from right here in Minnesota and Wildwood plain soy yogurt that is made from Iowa grown soybeans that became a potato salad. I pressure cooked some barley from Whole Grain Milling Co. in Welcome, Minnesota and mixed it with some cherry tomatoes and basil both from Living Waters hydroponic farm in Minnesota. A little umeboshi plum vinegar and flax oil made a great dressing for a cold barley salad.

{I should insert here that I can find no vegan fats that are locally produced except sunflower seeds, so I'll continue to use flax and olive oils. Little condiments like salt, pepper, and spices will stay, too, because I can't imagine they make up too much of a percentage of my diet by weight. When possible I'll use fresh local herbs, though.}

I thought that my cannellini beans were local, so I cooked those up in the pressure cooker with some homemade garden pesto left in the freezer from last year...but alas, those beans are not locally grown. The black beans, chickpeas, split peas, soybeans, and many others are, though.

Here's a picture of the potato salad and barley salad:

Everyone ended up loving it! And Hannah loved her cake, of course. We had enough of these salads left over for me to have them for lunch today.

So here was my menu for today:
  • Steel cut oats (Welcome, MN) with SunButter sunflower seed butter (Fargo, ND) and maple syrup (Cumberland, WI)
  • Leftover potato salad (WI, MN, IA, backyard)
  • Leftover barley salad (MN)
  • Leftover cannellini beans with pesto (far away beans, with backyard pesto)
  • Corn chips (MN)
  • Roasted parsnips, beets, and ramps (WI & MN)
  • Sauteed beet greens with crimini mushrooms (MN & WI)
Not bad!

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