Eating Local: Day 1

7:33 am

Kris is in the kitchen. She has been searching through the pantry for 8 minutes.

I’m kidding.  Alright, I didn’t get up until 8:20. Which is when I jumped out of bed throwing my clothes on, stuffed a handful of almonds in my mouth and ran off to kettlebells.

Not a particularly auspicious start to my 100 days of eating, drinking and feeding my dog with local stuff.*   First off, almonds aren’t grown locally and secondly it’s one of my normal breakfasts.  I put exactly no thought into it.   Might seem like I’m just going about life as usual rather than making a life changing decision to affect my life and body.  But, for me, that’s sorta the point.

This dog has no idea the bone he’s enjoying with such fervor is from a local cow 20x his size. (Sorry about the focus – he moves about a lot.)

I’m trying to eat like Gramma.  See, I could have dumped everything out of my kitchen and started over again but Gramma would have kicked my ass with a single look if I had thrown out perfectly good food.  So, I didn’t.  (The only exception to this goal is that I plan on being a far better cook than Gramma.  She was an awesome baker but she never did find a piece of meat she couldn’t kill with a pan.  And now that I think about it – for the sake of writing about it I’m just going to conjoin my MN gran with my southern IN gran – ditto on the baking/killing.)

I also could have planned ahead, and given myself a ramp-up period to switch my kitchen over before I started, but then I wouldn’t be able to give much insight on my process as I go through it.  I’m all about the creative process so I think that’s important.

So here’s where I started.

1) Taste.

2) I love micro-economies!

3) I love supporting people who are proud of the things they make.

4) I’m curious as to how the land that I eat from will change the way I eat. This is one of the things I think is most interesting about taking this on.  I very literally have to be concerned with the actual land the food came from.  (By mid-afternoon I was already thinking about food differently.)

5) I would like to provide a guide for you to do this. We need to take our bodies back from corporate America.  It’s necessary for us to do this.  We handed our food system over to them in the 80s and since then we’ve gotten nothing but diet fads, obesity and disease.  You can tell me that I’m paranoid and whatnot but everyone kept telling me that the market could bear the price of houses going up that high or the lenders wouldn’t finance them.  I kept answering back that the lenders are wrong and it’s a bad idea to artificially boost the economy on the debts of it’s citizens.   It turns out that I was totally right.  I wish I wasn’t but I was and I see the same thing happening with food.  The financial crash was bad enough, we need keep the food crash from happening because that would be way not fun.  The only way to keep it from happening is to take back our food system by supporting people and businesses that we can know personally. **Quietly stepping down from soapbox.**

100% locally grown and produced stuff isn’t reasonable in this day and age.

Here’s my breakdown:

70% locally grown and produced
For me, this broke down to Minnesota, Wisconsin & Iowa. From where Minneapolis is – this just makes the most sense pragmatically and geographically. Wisconsin is right over there, and Iowa is just down 35 a bit.  I’ve researched whats available and this seems like it’s doable for me.

20% regionally grown and produced
That’s the Dakotas, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Manitoba and Ontario.  I took a map – stuck my thumbnail on Minneapolis, my index finger on the Montana/South Dakota border and made a circle around and the states that mostly fit into that space got included. It was a very scientific process.

10% free-for-all
I like olive oil. I like spices. I like Pearson’s Nut Rolls and while they’re made locally – I’ve never heard of a MN grown peanut. And yet the nut rolls exist.  Every now and again I like to eat them.  So, I’m going to.

Beyond that my goal is to have everything be sustainable and organic.   It’s funny that those two words are always together and that they don’t necessarily make any sense together.

What I ate for Day 1

handful of almonds – lunch (chicken @ Brasa) – cherry tomatoes as a snack then…

Dinner | Franks & Beans, Sauteed Chard and Parsnip Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

indian spice mix from Ken
water/broth – homemade

3 dogs from Thousand Hills, cut into slices
a small handful of garlic scrapes

Cover lentils with water or broth, add in a T or so of indian spices.  Cook until al dente and then add in dogs and scrapes. Cook until done. If at anytime the lentils need more liquid add more.

Parsnip Cake


This is basically carrot cake made with parsnips rather than carrots.  It’s very nice.

Over-wintered parsnips are parsnips that are allowed to stay in the ground through the winter and then harvested as needed.  They have less water and their flavor becomes intensified – thus they’re perfect for things like cakes and muffins.

This cake didn’t really need any frosting – but if you decide to go that way then it needs zest and raisins.

4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c olive oil
1/4 c butter, melted
2/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 t pure vanilla
1/2 c buttermilk

zest of 1 orange (I didn’t use this, I just think it would be better if I had)
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t cream of tarter
2 t baking soda
2 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground nutmeg

3 c parsnips, shredded or finely chopped
1 1/4 c pecans, chopped and toasted
1 c golden raisins (Ioptional)

Prepare 9 x 13 pan with butter/oil and parchment paper. Preheat oven
to 350 °f.

Mix together the eggs, sugar, oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract and
orange zest. Sift together all of the dry ingredients in another bowl.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture small amounts at a time
mixing all the while. Fold the parsnips, pecans, and raisins.

Pour into prepared pan and cook in oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until
inserted stick comes out almost clean. Let cake cool for a couple of hours and then ice.

Goat Cheese Icing

DSC_0961 DSC_0958
Hey! Check it out, Stickney Hill cheese is certified cruelty free. I have know idea if this is true, but I can easily drive there to find out.

4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
2 T butter, room temperature
2 c powdered sugar

Whip cheese and butter together with mixer. Add in powdered sugar 1/2 c at a time until mixture is frosting like. If it gets too stiff add in some milk to thin it out. Spread on to parsnip cake, evenly.

Check in tomorrow and I’ll tell you about the pig I got from pig farmers, Michelle and Mike Webb @ Highview Pastures.

*You’ll notice that Mr. Marv is not putting his stomach on the line here and I’m not going to dictate what he eats.  He is however, very happy with the food… so far.


5 thoughts on “Eating Local: Day 1

  1. Pingback: Cooking Minnesota » Blog Archive » dinner + movie 7/2/09 - We think Babe the Blue Ox would have been awesome… braised.

  2. Pingback: dinner + movie 7/2/09 « Cooking Minnesota

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