Guess what I picked today?

This is some black seeded simpson lettuce I planted around Thanksgiving.´╗┐ I figured I could get one last harvest for the year in my cold frame, but shortly after I planted it, it got really cold for about three weeks straight and I assumed whatever might have started to grow was surely dead. I didn’t think much about it all winter long, but a few weeks ago, I noticed from my window that it looked like there was something GREEN in my cold frame! Sure ’nuff. I actually thought it might be really bitter, having survived a deep freeze and having been planted since late November, but it was actually really good.

DARK DAYS CHALLENGE: Weeks 11 and 12

I’ve been super busy at work the past couple weeks, but the Hubs and I have made and effort to chef it up on on the weekend when we can take a leisurely pace and enjoy the preparing and eating.

Last Saturday, we made one of his favorite dishes, apricot chicken. It wasn’t local enough for a Dark Days meal, but the chicken was from Almost Heaven Farm in Monroe County.

Sunday, we made one of my favorite winter dishes, butternut squash carbonara. I got the recipe from Closet Cooking last year, and it’s made its way into my regular rotation.

I think this was the best batch of this I’ve ever made. Here’s the recipe link from last year’s Dark Days Challenge when I made the dish the first time.
The pasta was made with flour from Reed’s Mill Flours and eggs from Breezy Knoll Farm, both in Monroe County. The pasta sauce had cream from Homestead Creamer in Wirtz, VA, egg from Breezy Knoll Farm, parmesean from the grocery store, bacon from a pig Jeremy’s uncle had butchered in Clay County, and butternut squash from Crithfield Farm in Jackson County. I actually bought the squash back in the fall when they were in season and have kept it in my garage. They keep very well. The beer is actually Vandalia Ale by Mountaineer Brewing Company in Martinsburg, WV.
Last night, we made one of our favorite winter recipes we’ve found this year: stout-braised short ribs. Jeremy actually made the short ribs and I made mashed potatoes and apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert. We invited my brother to come and eat with us since his girlfriend was out of town this weekend, so I whipped up some apple crisp since we were having company.

The apples were some my mom had canned a while back and needed to be used. I added oats from the grocery store, flour from Reed’s Mill, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. I actually made the vanilla ice cream–no lie. My brother actually got me an ice cream machine I’d asked for at Christmas, and I was ashamed I hadn’t used it yet. I finally got around to it last night, and I was so easy! I made vanilla, but now I think I’m ready to start branching out and experimenting. I can’t wait till this summer, actually, when fruit is in season, so I can make all kinds of sorbet.

The short ribs came from Swift Level Farm in Monroe County, made with organic carrots, leeks and onions from the grocery store. I added a jar of tomatoes I canned last year, some homemade chicken stock and a bottle of Guiness. The mashed potatoes were made from potatoes from Spangler’s Greenhouse in Monroe County, cream and milk from Homestead Creamery and a little bit of all-natural sour cream and some butter from the grocery store.

I was going through the pictures on my phone from the past few weeks to upload onto my computer, and I forgot about this meal: Deep dish pizza.


It’s true. Most of the pics on my phone are of food I’ve eaten. Anyway, I didn’t do a blog entry about it, but it was fairly local, and man, was it GOOD.

I was craving some deep dish pizza a couple weeks ago. I was thinking about our trip to Chicago this summer, and decided to find a crust recipe. You can’t use a regular pizza crust recipe if you want to be authentic, because Chicago deep dish pizza crust contains cornmeal. I found a recipe on┬áthat turned out nicely. The pizza had sausage from that same pig from Jeremy’s uncle, frozen bell peppers and spaghetti sauce from the grocery store, organic onions and smoked mozzarella that was on “manager’s special” because it was getting ready to expire. Score. The smoked mozzarella made the whole dish because it was something a little extra snd different that you could taste. Delicious!

Also, I am so excited, because yesterday … I started tomato and pepper seeds!!!