The 2011-2012 Dark Days Challenge

Pork ribs with pesto and cherry tomatoes

Although it’s not strictly canning and preserving, I’ve decided to formally participate in this winter’s Dark Days Challenge, preparing at least one meal each week that is sustainable, organic, local and ethical. Sounds simple, right? Well – yes and no.

Because Siberacuse and its immediate environs aren’t exactly a hotbed of produce after harvest turns to solstice, and in consideration of the dietary restrictions I deal with because of cancer treatment, my “local” area will range from 150-200 miles. I can stick to sustainable, and to organic. As for ethical – well, ethos is a very personal thing. ;) I’m not sure if it’s more ethical to support a local business that imports some of its stuff from outside the 200-mile limit, or more ethical to toe the line and use only within-boundaries items that are produced ethically. After all, the local businesses are struggling, too. I’m still working that ethical part out in my head.

To be honest, I don’t know if I can be fully DDC compliant, even for one meal. But I like the idea of trying.

Tonight’s dinner was pretty close to DDC compliant (I think) – boneless country pork ribs braised in olive oil (exempt), some of Albion, NY’s Intergrow hydroponically grown tomatoes and frozen pesto I made this September from the last of the farmer’s market locally grown organic basil. Yes, the Pecorino Romano cheese in the pesto came from Italy – but it’s less than 10% of the pesto recipe, which is less than 5% of the braise. The cheese is sold at the Mediterranean Deli at CNY Regional Market Shoppes, so its use supports a local business (do I get points for that?). And since pine nuts were so expensive and then went into recall at that time, I roasted local squash seeds and used them instead.

I suppose I should get myself a badge. Meanwhile, check out Not Dabbling in Normal every week for recaps of other Dark Days Challenge meals from around the country.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 at 12:21 am and is filed under Gaelen's Kitchen. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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