December 26, 2011

creamy parsnip soup

2011.12_parsnip soup ingredients
Local food in the middle of winter while traveling for the holidays?! That's crazy!  That said, while we were in Chicago, we managed to find a few fairly local ingredients at Whole Foods without exerting too much effort. And that my friends is huge because when I attempted a local diet just four years ago while living in Chicago, I could not find any local produce at Whole Foods even during the middle of summer!  So yes, we celebrated by making a rich parsnip soup.

parsnips (from Wisconsin)
onions (from Wisconsin)
mushrooms (from Illinois)
butter (arguably from Wisconsin)
heavy cream (arguably from Wisconsin)
white wine
lemon juice
radish sprouts for garnish (from Illinois)

Cook the parsnips, onions, etc and blend. Add the cooked mushrooms after everything is blended.  Garnish with radish sprouts.

December 25, 2011

homemade lip balm

2011.12_homemade lip balm
I made these lip balms with a friend. It's super easy! We heated up apricot oil, beeswax, honey, alkanet root for color, mica for sparkle, and rosewater for fragrance. Then we poured the mixture into tins. I am giving them as x-mas/solstice presents! Happy holidays!

December 19, 2011


Eric and I went to the Denver Handmade Homemade Holiday Market back on December 10th.  We saw it advertised through the Denver Urban Homesteading group which is a group I keep meaning to check out...

The HaHo Market is really interesting because it seems to successfully subvert legal blocks on cottage industries.  It does this by requiring that anyone who attends the market be a member. Conveniently, membership is free and registration laptops are set up at the entrance. There is a little check box at the end of registration that says "By signing up for this free membership you acknowledge that nothing at this market has been approved by the health department or regulated in anyway and that you assume all inherent risks."  Not sure how people might be able to apply this tactic in other states (maybe consult a lawyer), but its something to look into if you really want to sell your jam that was cooked in a regular kitchen rather than a commercial kitchen!

December 17, 2011

sweet potato patties

2011.12_sweet potato patties
The last batch of farmers market sweet potatoes I bought spoiled pretty quickly.  This batch stored just fine.  Strange...  Anyways, I was compelled to use these sweet potatoes in a comforting, colorful meal.  Why?  To somewhat compensate for the week I spent sitting through non-stop meetings and to slightly make up for the darkness I encountered every time I set foot outside.  So, there you have it!  Orange, yellow, green, and purple! And vegan!  And mostly local!  (thanks Self for freezing spinach and corn this summer)

Sweet Potato Patty Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb. sweet potato, pealed, cubed, boiled, mashed
1 T. honey
1 T. margarine (not local)
1 t. salt (not local)
1 t. cumin (not local)
1/2 t. corriander
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. frozen spinach, thawed
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1/2 a small red onion, diced, caramelized
2 eggs worth of Ener-G egg replacer (not local)

Mix it up, refrigerate, shape patties, and pan fry in oil.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Ingredients:
1 small purple cabbage, sliced thin
apple cider vinegar (not local)
salt (not local)

Basically just steam the cabbage in honey, vinegar, and salt.

December 10, 2011

local cheese and homemade crackers

2011.12_local cheese and homemade crackers We picked up 10 lbs of local wheat flour (Farmer John/Butte Mill) and some cheese (Windsor) at the winter farmers' market last weekend, so I've been working on perfecting cracker making with local ingredients. I've been using a recipe from the New York Times, minus the sesame seeds, as a base recipe:

1 1/4 c. whole-wheat flour
1/2 t. salt (not local)
5 T. olive oil (not local)
4 to 5 T. water, as needed

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, mixer, or food processor. Add olive oil and mix. Add water and mix. You should be able to form the dough into a ball. Roll out the dough as thin as you can (I roll out on a flexible cutting board and then transfer to a baking sheet, then I roll out more with a small, maneuverable rolling device). Then perforate the dough into cracker size pieces with a pizza cutter--don't worry about actually separating them, that will happen on its own when baked! Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 F or until crispy.

This is a great base recipe for cracker experimentation. As is, the crackers are great for eating in soup or with cheese, dips, jam, or local mushroom pate. And if you add flavors like dried basil and fresh garlic, the crackers are great on their own too. If you add sesame seeds and sesame oil as in the original recipe, they taste like those sesame sticks found in bulk bins. I'm planning on trying a nut yeast version sometime as well.

And yes, this counts as a meal; we ate cheese and crackers for dinner!