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Posting for later reference

potatoes (obviously), diced bite-size and boiled 20 minutes
dressing: 1/2 mayo and 1/2 sour cream, in appropriate quantities to the potatoes
v. small sliced onion rings (from the stem part of a CSA onion, in this case--scallions, chives, or leeks would do just as well)
dried smoked garlic (from Chelsea Market Baskets in New York)
smoked salt
zest and most of the juice from 2 small lemons

To do today: reconstruct the squash ceviche recipe from Mitsitam--not provided in their cookbook, unfortunately.
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Last week was our first full week with a farm share.  We are splitting with our next door neighbors, but I was still a bit worried about my ability to iron chef a random assortment of vegetables every week.  I am therefore pleased to report that we managed to cook and eat everything in exactly seven days, and that it was all tasty. 

One item made me about as smug as I've ever been in the kitchen: the kale/chard mix of cooking greens.  I've never cooked greens before in my life--I generally like my leaves raw, and S considers the usual run of cooked spinach and so forth horribly revolting.  But you can't really leave kale uncooked.  I had this sample of quick-sauteed cooking greens at Whole Foods two years ago... and I managed to reconstruct it: just enough peanut oil to coat the leaves, a couple splashes of soy sauce, sesame seeds, ground garlic powder, chili powder, and powdered ginger.  (I know, but the point is to get as much spice stuck to the leaves as possible, and fresh won't have the same effect.)  Leaves stir-fried just long enough to be moist and barely wilted.  Delicious and crunchy and gingery, and S loved it.  I win at cooking.

This week, I need 101 things to do with leeks, and I only have 50.  Suggestions welcome!  Also instructive anecdotes about kohlrabi.
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Day 7 was just breakfast and lunch--omelet and leftovers, respectively.

The Challenge was worth it for the things discovered alone--same-day corn, farmers' market potatoes and garlic, etc.  It's also left a distinct impression on my eating habits in the week since I supposedly finished.  Some of this is good, and much of it is inconvenient.  I have a whole new appreciation for flour, salt, olive oil, and cinnamon.  I definitely wouldn't want to eat purely local on a long-term basis.  On the other hand, most of the things that can be found locally are better that way. 

The thing I enjoyed most about the Challenge was non-factory farmed meat.  I really don't want to go back.  This is slightly awkward, as I can't actually afford all-local-free-range-organic.  Both Nameseeker and I need regular meat for mood maintenance, so we're not about to go vegetarian.  However, I have been experimenting with less-meat options, and more vegetarian meals--it's possible that we can afford a diet with better-quality meat, but less of it.  So far I've managed to go a week without buying conventional meat, but this has involved a certain amount of freezer-raiding, plus a convenient sale at Whole Foods.  I've been experimenting with a cooking style that's a bit different than what I'm practiced at, and we'll see how that goes.  But replacing the factory-farmed stuff in our diet with local-free-range-organic has definitely become a long-term goal.

On a more purely aesthetic level, several sorts of processed food have stopped looking edible to me.  This is probably healthy, but definitely awkward.  For example, prior to the challenge I generally grabbed a Lender's Bagel on my way out the door in the morning.  They didn't taste like much, but they woke up my metabolism and that was all I needed.  Now, after a week of omelets, my body wants real food in the morning--except that I don't want to keep getting up early to make eggs.  So far I've been baking something breakfasty on the weekends and using that for breakfast--the last of the cornbread first, and coffee cake this week. 

The most notable thing about an all-local diet, unfortunately, isn't the taste or the ethics.  It's that it's freaking expensive.  My food budget doubled for the week of the challenge.  Admittedly, I had to buy a lot of staples that I normally wouldn't have been purchasing all at once.  On the other hand, I got most of my meat for barter, so it probably evens out.  If I didn't make a professor's salary, I couldn't have afforded to do this even for a week.  The fact that I had the time to cook from scratch in the evenings helped, too.  I am not the first person to point out that it really sucks when the average person in this country can't afford a diet healthy either for themselves or those producing it.  But, you know, it sucks.
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Things learned today:  Life is better with flour.
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Things learned today:
-Local flour and cornmeal can be found in Dekalb.  This is our third attempt at flour, and actually seems to be successful.  It's also the cheapest of the options, so will save us a great deal of trouble next time.
-Local oil is sometimes available, from the same place that makes the flour.  Unfortunately, it was not available today.  Another thing that will be useful for next time.  (Relevant to a learned-thing mentioned in the comments earlier--you need to add oil to your peanuts in order to make peanut butter.  Who knew?  Don't answer that.)
-Sugar is awfully good when you haven't had it for a week.
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I have learned today:
-why my ancestors were obsessed with schmaltz.  Unfortunately, I have also used it up.
-that not all my cats can be trusted with venison scraps.
-that salt is more useful than one might think, at least if one is me.
I miss olive oil, mayonnaise, salt, and dried spices.  On the other hand, I'm not looking forward to going back to normal meat, butter, and garlic.


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