It’s the Dark Days, Not the Dull Days

Week 2 of my Dark Days Challenge, and I already have to make a clarification. Last week when I announced the challenge, I said that only 2 non-local ingredients would be permitted. I would now like to announce that salt does not count. And I guess I’m going to go ahead and say that oil doesn’t count either.

The way I figure, even in the days when eating local was the norm, things like salt and oil (or some other form of fat for cooking) would have been pretty readily available, right? I’m still going to try to minimize the use of oil on Dark Days Challenge days, but to be realistic, if a recipe calls for seasoning meat with salt and cooking it in a bit of olive oil, I now declare that this is acceptable.

Moving on then. Today’s locally sourced meal was actually a bit of a challenge. I did need to think through what I was doing, taking inventory of what I had in the refrigerator and what I had picked up in groceries this week. But I was actually very impressed with what I was able to come up with (she said so humbly).

Who said Dark Days meals had to be boring? Not I. I remembered to marinate the meat and put it in the fridge before I left for work this morning and there it was waiting for me all marinated and happy when I got home.

Flank Steak Salad with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

For the steak…
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 1/3 cup honey (local VA honey)
– 1/4 cup soy sauce (non-local)
– 2 cloves garlic (locally grown)
– 1 flank steak (about 2.5 pounds) (from Wolf Creek Farm)
1. Mix together the marinade ingredients and pour into a large plastic bag. Score the meat by cutting shallow diagonal cuts about 1/2 inch apart on both sides. Add the meat, close the bag, and massage the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. When you’re ready

For the potatoes…
– 6 fingerling potatoes (from Meadow Run Farms)
– olive oil
– 1 large sprig of rosemary (from my backyard – 20 feet)
– sprinkle of salt
2. Preheat oven to 375F.

3. Slice each potato in half. Toss together with a drizzle of olive oil, the salt, and the rosemary. Bake for about 30 minutes on a baking sheet, flipping halfway through.

For the dressing…
Admittedly, I have no idea how to make warm bacon vinaigrette, but I did the best I could. It turned out rather well.
– 4 slices good quality bacon, small dice (locally sourced and processed by The Organic Butcher)

– 1 green onion, finely chopped (from Meadow Run Farms)
4. Heat the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat to let the fat render out. Once the bacon is cooked, add the green onions at the last minute. Keep the heat on low until you’re ready to assemble the salad.

Back to the steak…
5. Did you remember to save the marinade? Put it in a small saucepan and heat to boiling. Let it boil and reduce down.

6. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet. When it’s hot, add the steak and cook about 8-9 minutes per side. Remove to a cooling rack set over a plate and cover with foil for 5-10 minutes to let the juices redistribute.

Assemble the salad…
– half a head of romaine lettuce (from Meadow Run Farms)

– 1 large carrot (from Meadow Run Farms)
7. Wash the lettuce and chop into small pieces.

8. Use a vegetable peeler to peel long strips of the entire carrot.

9. Add a handful of lettuce and carrots to each plate. Top with sliced steak and a few potatoes. Add a spoonful of the reduced marinade to the warm bacon and then carefully drizzle the warm bacon, fat, and onions over the salad – you’ll only need a little.

Looks like a lot of steps, but it’s actually relatively straightforward.

What did you make this week using local ingredients? Remember there are two ways to share: post a comment describing what you made and how far away the ingredients traveled, or email a photo of what you made to jkelliottinfood [at] gmail{dot}com and I will share it in a post. Forgot to make something this week? Join me next week or any week from now through March (review the guidelines here)!

And remember, whether fancy or simple, eating local is definitely possible – it just might take a little bit of planning. Cheers!


One thought on “It’s the Dark Days, Not the Dull Days

  1. […] sourced meal each week. Previous meals have been full plated dinners (such as this one-pot wonder, this lovely salad, a different part of the chicken here, and this simple idea), but breakfast is certainly a very […]

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