Monday, April 30, 2007

A completed challenge, and a new personal one

Well: The Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge is over, and I'm kind of glad, really, because we eat approximately 75 percent local all the time, and it's kind of nice not to have to think too hard about that remaining 25 percent. The temptation is to cook something really spectacularly unlocal tonight as a reminder of all the wonders the modern world makes available to us (at the expense of petroleum usage and general wastefulness), but actually I'm just going to step outside of the frugal part of the challenge by heating up some local smoked brisket (a special treat at about $8 a pound). There's no need to range far afield on the veggies, either--I'm thinking slaw and sweet potatoes.

At any rate, here's how we wrapped up the week:

Breakfast yesterday was my Nana's rice pudding, made the previous night with Carolina Gold rice, South Carolina milk, and (yes) a dab of white sugar. Soooooo good. For those who didn't write the recipe down last time I mentioned it, that's:

Mix together 1 qt. milk, 6 Tbs. sugar, and 4 Tbs. rice. Bake at 325 degrees F for 3 hours. Do not be alarmed at caramelizing/ballooning action.

If all recipes were that simple, people might actually cook! Heh.

At dinnertime, we rounded out the challenge with a quiche filled with eggs, milk, a little bacon, purple sprouting broccoli, and garlic-basil goat cheese. I had never put soft goat cheese in a quiche before, and OHMYGOD it's the best thing ever.

So now that it's all over, the s.o. and I are talking about setting out a new challenge for ourselves. We thought of it when I was making the rice pudding. Before Nana died, she compiled a cookbook of family recipes for all us grandkids. Many of the recipes in it are as familiar as the back of my hand (her pie crust, which I use more than weekly; the abovementioned rice pudding). Others I know, but it's been years since I tasted them (broccoli salad, strips-of-beef casserole). Still others are downright weird--is that WINE I see listed as an ingredient in zucchini cake? And what exactly is a potato chip cookie like? Have I eaten that, at some Christmas past?

We are going to make them all. All 30 of them--or rather, 28, since we've just made the pie crust and the rice pudding. No time frame is imposed, but I'm hoping we can knock it all out in a couple of months. All mentions of "oleo" will be reinterpreted as "butter" (this, at the insistence of both of us). All "Crisco" will be read as "organic palm oil" (a very good substitute, if I do say so myself, and full of healthy monounsaturated fats). Brazen usages of corn syrup, cream, and MSG-laced chicken noodle soup mix will be replicated faithfully.

Hmm. I can see already that I am going to have to buy some sour cream.

We will report on our progress. In the meantime, does anyone know the best way to grind raisins?