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Conscious Consumers – Living Off Local Farms (Part 3)

Dec 18, 2009

by Adam Criswell, guest blogger
Conscious Consumers, Part 1
Conscious Consumers, Part II

**Only local, seasonal, organic foods, no plastic bottles, no aluminum cans, and no paper towels**

November, I hate you, and me.

What was I thinking? I’m not sure what I was thinking initially but by about the third day I was thinking, ‘I wish I had picked a month when the fruits and veggies I LOVE are in season so this doesn’t feel like so much deprivation.’

In the first three days, my boss and cube-mate told me that if I didn’t go get a latte then losing my job was a best-case scenario and death was not far off. Apparently I can flip a little attitude when not properly caffeinated. I’d already been off of soda since the end of August, so that wouldn’t be too difficult, but clearly coffee was going to be my one vice this month and I wouldn’t be giving it up. My next thought was, ‘Dear God! Who is going to eat all the Halloween Gobstoppers on my desk if not me?’ It seemed as if the first of my concerns was to be the least of them too.

Potatoes, carrots and beets?! This was going to be the worst kind of sensory deprivation torture; the kind where my taste-buds suffer. What was I thinking? I was surprised by our first trip to the farmers market that there was so much green still: chard, kale and my personal favorite (seriously, no sarcasm) Brussels sprouts! Yes! Bonus! Maybe this month wouldn’t be so bad. Now to figure out what I was going to be able to make. Being 26 years old, the recipes that I would call my specialty may not be myriad but I am a pretty proficient cook when I want to be. However, most of my standards are fairly exotic by Western Washington standards. It looks like no Chili-lime Shrimp Tacos for November. Time to consult some recipe books and hit up PCC to get what I need. Below are some local, organic, seasonal recipes I used.

Recipe # 1: Potato + Leek soup
Result: Delectable (if you like potatoes and leeks, which I do). I bought some Washington grown potatoes and leeks at my local PCC Natural Markets store as well as some local milk sold in a glass bottle, some local chicken sausage, and – THANK GOD (and Annette) – local bread made from local wheat. The sausage came wrapped in plastic but this project is all about choices and I chose local, free-range, organic, and wrapped-in-plastic, over trucked in chicken from the other end of the country. Was it the right one? It was for me.

This soup lasted quite some time. I ate it for lunch and dinner for nearly a week. That doesn’t work for everyone, but I was so proud of my first attempt that I couldn’t be pried away from it, or is that “pride away from it”. See what I did there, little play on homophones.

Recipe #2: Whole Wheat Summer Sausage Pizza with Peppers
Making the dough from scratch – a first for me since yeast and I seem to have opposing personalities and I can’t ever get my dough to rise.

Recipe #3: Garlic Chicken with Potatoes and Fennel
The chicken was bought at PCC, the garlic was grown at home in our garden (we have a TON). The fennel and potatoes are from Pike Place Market. I stuffed the chicken with garlic cloves, seasoned it w/ coarse salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning and pan seared it then put it in a lidded baking dish. I quartered my red and purple potatoes, tossed them with E.V.O.O., salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Added in some cherry tomatoes I had lying around. I covered the chicken with these veggies and baked it at 400 for about 40 minutes. If you’re making this and your chicken is still pink after 40 minutes, it’s not done; don’t eat it.

For the fennel I sliced the blub in quarters, drizzled E.V.O.O., coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper then seared it on a grill at high heat and placed it in the oven to stay warm.

Recipe #4: Mexironi and Cheese
I used pasta that I’d purchased at Pike Place Market; about 1 lb. While the noodles boiled I made a roux in a stock pot using butter, flour and milk. Once that was ready I stirred in shredded chipotle cheddar from Golden Glen Creamery (Mt. Vernon), shredded mozzarella, and added some more milk for consistency. I then added some red pepper flakes for heat. I drained the noodles and put them in a large casserole added some sliced, cooked chorizo from Pike Place Market and poured the cheese mixture over the top and stirred it all together. Then I laid pepper jack cheese over the top. Covered it with a glass lid and baked it for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees. All the ingredients were purchased at Pike Place Market or PCC, except the pepper jack that I already had and could have come from anywhere.

I found an awesome cookbook about halfway through November called Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook. The only problem for me was that everything seemed to be mushroom, seafood or squash based and that is pretty much the extent of foods that I try to avoid… Rough… Come Thanksgiving, it was time to talk Turkey.

Stay tuned for Conscious Consumers: Getting through the Holidays

One Comment

  1. YUMMMM.