For my first Dark Days post I decided to take the easy way out. I made a soup! For the next few weeks I am on a special diet where I cannot have meat or dairy. That makes these first few Dark Days posts interesting.
I went to my local co-op, Mississippi Market and bought the veggies for the soup. I got a small onion and a butternut squash from Wisconsin Growers in Mondovi, Wisconsin- 101 miles away. Then I picked up a 3 pound bag of assorted root veggies (carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas and sunchokes) from Harmony Valley Farm in Viroqua, Wisconsin- 185 miles away.
A note about local food. My co-ops definition of local is: Products grown, made or processed by a business owned and located in MN, IA, WI, ND and SD. My definition is 250 miles, I believe the Dark Days Challenge is 200 miles and hardcore locavores is 100 miles. You should be able to drive to the farm and back in a day.
I was planning on sauteing an onion in butter, but I can’t due to the Daniel Fast. Then I thought I could just use olive oil, my main oil, but realized that’s not local. I decided not to make a trip up the my co-op to find a local sunflower oil and I will not be sauteing that onion. I was planning on putting wild rice in my soup. I have Minnesota grown wild rice. When I looked into the company on the package I found they are part of a corporation that is “America’s leading brand of rice.” Unless I know that corporation is farming sustainably the rice is not going to be a part of my soup.
I cut up all the veggies and put them in a stock pot with some water. I brought it up to a boil and let it simmer for 1.5 hours. It’s also interesting what I didn’t add to my soup. When I make soup I will put celery, garlic and spices in it. I just bought a thing of bay leaves yesterday for soup that I wasn’t able to add. When using local ingredients you need to know where they come from. To Dole, who produced my celery, and McCormick, who produced my bay leaves, these are cooking ingredients not plants. We need to remember that most of what we cook with was living at some point in time, not just seasonings.
After simmering for 1.5 hours I let the pot of veggies cool slightly. I strained out the vegetable chunks and set aside some of the liquid for vegetable stock. I then used a blender to puree the vegetables and added them back to the liquid.
OK, so it’s not my favorite soup. If I could have added some ham, butter and cream it would have been awesome. Or SALT! This is a simple soup and it is good by itself. With my first post for the Dark Days Challenge I see that I will need to do more planning on certain types of ingredients like oil, meat and dairy. None the less, this is a local meal!