Mississippi Catfish and Black Mountain Mutton

Oh my goodness, life has been busy recently. Work is intense.... I end each day feeling like my head hurts from thinking too much.

That, plus it's late September, and I've been busy preserving the last of the summer bounty for our winter use. Tomato season is officially over - I pulled up the plants on Saturday, and canned the last three pints of sauce on Monday. I picked up a big load of ground-fall apples on Sunday from Door Creek Orchard, canned 9 quarts of apple sauce on Monday, and I've got a big batch of apple butter bubbling on the stove right now.

I was up late last night finishing the apple sauce, and feeling a little stressed when Stanely said something like "You know you don't have to do all this stuff. You seem to have decided the apocalypse is coming this winter!" He's right. I'm the kind of person who likes to stay busy and active, but I've been really stressed out this month! I think my goal for next year will be to consolidate my efforts. I plan to dig a dig garden in my front yard and not be working plots scattered around the city. I also will try to share my food preservation with others as much as I can rather than do it all myself.

Now to the food. We've had a few meals recently with new and exciting local proteins. the first was a treat we picked up at the North Side farmer's market.....

Catfish cheeks! These tasty morsels were caught from the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien on Saturday and sold to us on Sunday. We ate them Monday night.

Now before anyone comments and chides me for eating Mississippi catfish let me say that I know catfish is a bottom feeder, and eating lots of fish from a wild source like the Mississippi river isn't the best idea. The DNR says that it's safe to eat these fish once a month, so I won't eat more than that. If I were pregnant I probably wouldn't eat it at all. There's a certain defiance in me too, that spurs me to eat what's local and wild and tasty. People have been eating these fish for thousands of years, and I want to be part of that.

The breading didn't stick as well as we hoped, but my gosh was this a tasty meal. Catfish breaded with cornmeal, salt, and pepper and fried in sunflower oil; perfectly baked purple potatoes with butter, and a simple cabbage and tat-soi slaw made with mayo, salt, and pepper. The fish was just awesome - a great treat from a great river.

Interesting and wonderful meal number two:

In addition to an awesome array of heirloom apples, Door Creek Orchard raises Black Welsh Mountain Sheep for wool and mutton. When I went for my annual apple haul this weekend I also picked up a package of mutton chops. At $15.99/lb, they're not cheap, but I've always wanted to give them a try. The black mountain sheet mutton is purportedly very high quality and it has a long history going back to The Middle Ages.

I've never cooked mutton before, and surprisingly, I couldn't find many recipes online to help guide me. Most of the references I found agreed that it's like lamb (not surprisingly), but a little stronger in flavor and tougher. I knew I'd have to slow cook it with some kind of sauce to keep it moist.

So, I looked at what I had in the fridge and started cooking. This was the kind of meal that I love to cook - blind, trusting my instincts and hoping for the best - it's exciting! I browned an onion and a few cloves of garlic, dredged the meat in flour and browned it in the cast iron skillet.

When the meat was nicely browned, I added these beautiful veggies: purple potatoes, yellow carrots, and summer squash from the garden, along with a Italian frying pepper from Tipi produce.

I cooked the veggies briefly with the meat, and then added a bunch of olive oil, a few cups of spicy tomato sauce that I was getting ready to can (the last of my homegrown tomatoes, hot peppers, and garlic cooked down and put through a food mill), and a dash of cream. It all went in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour or so.

Success! I was a little unsure of the sauce, but it turned out beautifully and both the meat and veggies were awesome. The mutton was awesome. We found it to be milder than most lamb we've had. The texture was very fine and lean, but not dry - almost like good venison. A few parts were a little chewy, but overall it was great. I just love discovering new foods like this!

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Breaking New Ground

I hope you can understand that I've taken a few days off. After blogging every day for a month I got a little tired. That doesn't mean that I haven't been hard at work, however. I've been eating good food (not all local, but mostly so), and doing some exciting work on the house and in the front yard.

We've had some beautiful early autumn weather recently, and it's got me thinking about preparing for the next growing season. As much as I love gardening in many different community garden spots, the simplicity of a big garden in my own yard is increasingly attractive - it's just so easy to walk out the front door and have it all at my fingertips! With that in mind I went to Jung's on Sunday looking for strawberry plants. I didn't find any, but I did find a bunch of perennial plants on sale. I couldn't resist.

Here's what I got. Greek oregano, German chamomile, chives, lemon balm, rhubarb, a clematis, a black currant, and four raspberry plants. I've been waiting my whole life to own a house so that I can plant perennials and see them come to fruition - I'm finally there!

The landscaping in the front yard was minimal at best. I added two beds here on either side of the sidewalk leading to the front yard for the chamomile, lemon balm, chives, oregano, and rhubarb. With any luck they'll be crowding each other next year at this time. The clematis went in at the base of the railing. These beds will eventually widen and expand all the way to the sidewalk - this is just the beginning.

The black currant went in against the fence, bordered by hostas. I'm not super familiar with currants, so I'm excited to see what this one does.

I tore out some ugly variegated shrubbery in this bed, bulked it up with compost, and put in the raspberries. The two shorter ones are a purple variety, the other two are an ever bearing red variety.

Before I go, just a few words about the end of the eat local challenge. As I should have expected, I didn't feel so good the first few days back of refined sugar and starch. My digestive system had gotten used to the purity of fresh veggies, meat, dairy, and fresh ground flour..... pasta and white rice were a bit of a shock. I'm slowly getting back to my "regular' diet, enjoying going out to eat occasionally, not spending so much time cooking, yet at the same time missing spending so much time cooking. Convenience is a funny thing: it makes things easier, but not nearly as enjoyable.

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And So it Ends

Thirty-two days later. I made it! My camera wasn't working this evening, so I didn't get pictures of any meals. They were simple, nothing fancy. Breakfast was yogurt with raspberries, flax, and honey. Lunch was Wisconsin Caprese from the Willy Street deli, and dinner was a similar meal to the first night of the challenge: garden zucchini dipped in egg and then flour and fried in sunflower oil, a sliced Candy Stripe tomato, and three hard boiled eggs.

Tomorrow I can eat whatever I want. That's a bit of a novel concept at this point. I've become used to my all local diet, and as I expected, it became easier as time went on. That's not to say that I'm not looking forward to a bit of chocolate and maybe a small cup of coffee in the morning.... what a treat it will be!

So what did I learn from this challenge? This has been one of the best years yet for my own garden produce, and the first summer that I've had an abundance of home-laid eggs. It's been very satisfying to be able to provide so much for myself, and it's been a joy to garden in close proximity to my closest family members.

Not surprisingly, cheese has played a bigger role in my Wisconsin challenge than it did in my California challenge three years ago. I've discovered many fine Wisconsin cheeses that I might not have tried if I wasn't confined to 100% local: Capri Creamery, Carr Valley, Hidden Springs, Shepherd's Ridge, Blue Mont Dairy, Widmer's... there are so many amazing Wisconsin cheeses, and I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't adequately tried them all until this month. I'm glad I did!

Looking back over the past thirty-two days, I'm amazed to remember just how easy it's been. There have been moments, of course, that I wished I could eat non-local food, and there have been a few cheats, but overall it's been an easy, delicious month. The rest of my life has been stressful to be sure, and I found rather than stress me out even more, this challenge actually helped me relax. Cooking is a stress-relieving endeavor for me, and working with a limited palate is not a hardship when that palate is filled with so many delicious local foods. The eat local challenge forced me to get into the kitchen even when I didn't think I had the energy or time, and the results without exception were awesome.

Endurance locavorism. I like that phrase. I feel like I've run a marathon of locavorism, and I'm coming out the other side with a new sense of self reliance, personal accomplishment, and love of place.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I love Wisconsin! I love hickory nuts and sunflower oil, and eggs laid by my own chickens, and artisan cheeses, and fatty pastured pork, and grassfed beef, and homegrown tomatoes and green beans and potatoes and basil and onions and zucchini, and venison harvested by my family, and freshly caught bluegill, and Washinton Island flax, and milk, and yogurt, and berries, and peppers, and freshly ground flour, and apples, and all of the other amazing foods I've eaten this month. I'm so grateful to live here and have the opportunity to subsist on these things.

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Days Thirty and Thirty-One

I have a headache tonight, and I'm getting a cold, but none of that detracts from the deliciousness of these ribs last night.....

It started on Sunday night with this beautiful rack from Willow Creek Farms.

We would usually do a dry rub on ribs like these, but since there are no powdered spices to be found locally, I marinated instead. I used fresh parsley, garlic, and a chopped paprika pepper along with sunflower oil and salt. The pepper was a nice touch since dried paprika would usually be in a spice rub. It's a mostly sweet red pepper, with a little spice at the finish.

The ribs marinated overnight, and then we smoked them on the grill at 210 degrees for about 5 hours. Stanley has a good smoking technique. He uses two pans of water in the grill to steam and keep things moist. During the last half hour we slathered on some apple butter BBQ sauce (apple butter, tomato paste, maple syrup, salt). It was hard to not add vinegar to the sauce, but I resisted since it's not local.

The results were glorious. All local BBQ ribs, mashed potatoes, and a salad of cabbage, Tatsoi, sweet red pepper, sunflower oil, and a little yogurt. The ribs were just awesome, perfectly smokey, tender, and flavorful. I almost didn't miss the vinegar in the BBQ sauce....

Backing up, I should tell you that breakfast yesterday was eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Lunch was yogurt with raspberries, hickory nuts, and flax.

Breakfast today was the same raspberries, yogurt, hickory nuts (the last of them!), and flax. Lunch was three apples, some Bleu Mont bandaged cheddar, a pear, and a maple steamer.

Tonight's dinner was hamburgers with cheese (Bohemian Blue on mine!), grilled sweet onions, boiled purple potatoes with parsley and butter, and a sliced Candy Stripe tomato. Delish!

Only one more day to go! Hopefully I'm feeling better tomorrow so I can enjoy the official last day of the challenge.

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Day Twenty-Nine ~ Grazing

I don't do this very often, but today I grazed. No real meals, just little snacks throughout the day. When I woke up I ate a custard cup topped with leftover fruit salad from yesterday's dinner. Then I went to the Northside Farmer's Market where I picked up some apples and raspberries. At about 10am I had a hard boiled egg and an apple with aged Marieke Gouda. Then I went with Meg to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. More on that later, but rest assured that there were sheep related goodies to be sampled.

When I got home I had a Candystripe tomato (yep, they're still going strong in the garden!), with cottage cheese and chopped parsley. At about 6pm I had the last custard cup, then at 7:30 another apple, this time with Capri Moo Bear Muenster and a pear with Hidden Springs Bohemian Blue sheep cheese. Finally, at around 9:30 I made popcorn with butter, hickory nuts, and maple syrup.

Now a few pictures from the Sheep and Wool Festival. Meg and I went looking for local yarn, and boy did we find it! There were tons of vendors, some with local fiber, some with not. My big handiwork plan for the winter is to knit a local afghan, and I was interested to see if there were any local farms are out there that raise animals, and make the fiber into yarn that I can buy. I found a few good prospects, but instead of buying I took a lot of business cards. It's not going to be a cheap endeavor, and I want to make sure I have a good pattern before I buy the yarn. It will probably end up being a wool alpaca blend... so soft!

When we were finally overwhelmed by all the yarn for sale, we explored the other buildings, tasted some lamb meatballs, and finally ended up at the junior sheep show.....

It was interesting to see how the judges determine the superior sheep. There were two main categories, wool sheep and meat lambs. The meat breeds were judged mostly on muscle and bone structure, the wool breeds were judged mostly on their fleece. The sheep (even the winners) mostly just looked confused and unhappy to be there.

Before we left we caught this sheep cheese sampling. Ewes milk has more fat, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E than Cow's milk, and it makes a dreamy cheese. We sampled cheeses from Carr Valley, Hidden Springs, Cedar Grove, and a creamery I had never heard of: Shepherd's Ridge Creamery in St. Croix Falls, WI. Meg and I agreed that the cheese from Shepherd's Ridge was the best - a complex flavor with layers of earthy, tangy, and almost spicy. Yum. Apparently this is a new cheese maker, the cheese isn't even on the market yet. I can't wait till it is!

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Day Twenty-Eight

No pictures today, just a quick update.

Breakfast was custard (it's not too sweet and makes a great breakfast!), and an apple. Lunch was the last of the leftover venison stew, and dinner was pancakes, bacon, fruit salad (apples, pears, yogurt, and honey), and eggs. I snacked on an apple with some Carr Valley apple smoked cheddar.

I have to admit that I'm getting a tad bit tired. Some nights all I want in the world is to go out to eat, and not have to think about cooking, but I've persevered. I think it takes a full month to really cement new habits, so although it seems like an awful long time, I know it's for the best. It's like endurance running - endurance locavorism.

I'm almost to the finish line, only four more days to go.

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Days Twenty-Six and Twenty-Seven

I missed another day - bad, bad blogger. The food wasn't all too exciting: breakfast was a half a muskmelon, yogurt, an apple, and some hickory nuts. Lunch was leftover venison stew, and dinner was grilled chicken from Nami Moon Farms, potatoes wrapped in foil and cooked in the coals, and steamed broccoli and green beans.

After dinner I made these six pretty little custards. The eggs have been piling up in the fridge, and we had lots of half and half on hand, so it seemed a fitting dessert to make. 6 eggs, 3 cups of milk (I used half and half since that's what I had), 1/2 cup maple syrup, and a little salt. I baked them in a large baking pan filled with hot water. I thought they were great - unfortunately I was the only one in the house who liked them. Stanley's comment was that it tasted like scrambled eggs in a cup, not what he was wanting for dessert. More for me!

Breakfast today was another custard cup, and a half of a Wisconsin Pride Melon (more are coming out of the garden!). Lunch was Wisconsin Caprese salad from the deli, a Honeycrisp apple from Future Fruit, and Sassy Cow milk.

Now for dinner.....

I should start off by apologizing to Stanley. Friday nights are a night that he works and I stay home alone. Sorry sweetie that I bought this beautiful Filet Mignon all for myself, I'll cook you one soon!

It wasn't that big of hunk of meat, but I wanted to wrap it in bacon, so I cut it in two and wrapped it in Willow Creek bacon (of course!). I seared it in the cast iron skillet, and then cooked it a 400 degrees along with a sliced eggplant, zucchini, garlic cloves, and Paprika pepper. I also threw in two leftover potatoes from last night.

While I waited for it all to cook, I nibbled on this awesome blue cheese and a pear.... a perfect combination!

Ta-Da! The meat ended up overdone, I guess the fancy new digital thermometer that I bought doesn't work that well.... it was still nice and tender though. I'd never had paprika peppers - they're a really nice sweet peppers with just a hint of spice. I'm sorry sweetie!

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Day Twenty-Five ~ Fresh Caught Bluegill

After a long days work today Stanley invited me to go fishing with Elwood and him. Imagining a lazy couple of hours basking in the autumn sun by the water, I agreed, and I insisted that we bring the dog too. In the end, the combination of a playful dog and an ever more playful three year old wasn't quite as relaxing as anticipated, but it was still a good time. The best part was the four bluegill that Stanley caught and brought home for dinner.

He filleted them, breaded them in a little local flour and cornmeal, and fried them up in the cast iron skillet. When I've had bluegill in the past it usually still has the bones, and I find it so difficult to eat that it's tough to enjoy the flavors of the fish. The fillets made all the difference. There were no bones to worry about, so I was able to savor every bite. Bluegill really is a delicious fish....

We ate the fish with cheesy garlic oven fries (made with the purple potatoes from the garden!), and a salad of cabbage, sorrel, escarole, and sunflower oil. Yet another amazing 100% local meal!

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Day Twenty-Four ~ Venison Stew

Today was chilly and blustery, more like October than the beginning of September. Stanley was home working on school stuff, and making this wonderful venison stew in the crock pot.

This is the last venison roast from last year's hunting season. After this all we have left are a few bags of trim, which we'll make into sausage.

He cooked it in the crock pot with some homemade beef stock, sweet corn, sage, shallots, garlic, and hot peppers. The peppers are from the potted plants out front. Surprisingly, they're producing really well!

From order to chaos. He started the stew at about 1pm. At about 6pm we added some flour and heavy cream, and a Candystripe Tomato. At 8:30 we ate an amazing dinner!

Breakfast was yogurt with applesauce, hickory nuts, flax, and maple syrup. Lunch was Red Potato and Sorrel Salad from the deli along with a hunk of Roth Kase Gruyere and a whole milk maple steamer.

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Day Twenty-Three ~ Peppers and Tomatillos

As we get nearer to cold weather, my food preservation efforts have stepped into high gear. Stanley walked into the kitchen today and said something like "Wow, it looks like food processing plant in here", and indeed it did. Tomatoes in the crock pot cooking down into sauce, tomatillos and poblanos roasting in the oven, bell peppers being cut and frozen, the first apples of the year being made into sauce.... lots to do. The weather turned cool at just the right time. Two weeks ago I couldn't have stood to be in the kitchen with the burners and stove going all afternoon. Today it was cool enough outside that the extra warmth was pleasant.

Today was the first time ever that I've had the crock pot and the food processor out and running at the same time.

My newest method for making tomato sauce is to pick the ripest tomatoes, cut them up into large chunks in the crock pot until the pot is full, cook them for a day and a half, put them through the food mill, and then bag and freeze them. All together, I have way more tomatoes than what can fit into the crock pot, but they don't ripen all at once. If I keep filling the crock pot over and over and cooking it in small batches it's been easier and it allows me to use up a little at a time as the tomatoes reach full ripeness.

This is what was in the food processor. Roasted tomatillos. I picked these at The Tree Farm yesterday, and today I roasted them in a hot oven and processed them for freezing.

Just a few seconds in the food processor yielded this beautiful chunky green sauce. I froze it in bags without adding anything - that way we can use it as a base and add spices and flavors to it when we cook with it.

I did keep a little out of the freezer for tonight's dinner..... but first let me tell you that breakfast today was first (at 8am) a half of a muskmelon, and then at 10am a bowl of yogurt with freshly made and still warm applesauce, hickory nuts, flax, and maple syrup. The applesauce was just perfect for the cool morning., and it made the house smell wonderful.

OK, dinner. This was a good one.

Willow Creek pork chops with red bell peppers, roasted poblanos, onions, and big hunks o garlic...

Smothered in pureed tomatillos and slow cooked in the oven.

While it was cooking I made two big chapatis using local flour. These are an Indian flatbread made using whole wheat flour, water, salt, and a little oil. You make a simple dough, knead it briefly, roll it out, and then cook it in a cast iron skillet. I know about these from backpacking with my parents - they probably learned about it in the 70's hippy days. They are good, and they provided the perfect tortilla-like accompaniment to the pork.

The finished product. Yum. Tomatillos are a little sour on their own, so surprisingly I didn't miss the lime juice that I would normally add to a dish like this. We ate it with the chapatis and sweet corn on the cob.

For dessert I made an apple crisp. Since sugar is off limits, I had to make something up that used only maple syrup and honey. I cut the apples into small pieces and first mixed them with a little honey, then I topped them off with a crumbly mixture of flour, butter, chopped hickory nuts, maple syrup, and a little salt. I have no idea what proportions I used - when I make a crisp topping I generally just keep adding things until the consistency is right. This was a little different since there was no sugar, but topped with a little whipped cream it was delicious.

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Days Twenty-One and Twenty-Two ~ It's OK to be Social & Way Too Much Produce

I've missed another two days. Time has a way of getting away from me.... There's been a lot going on, however, and I have a few pictures to share.

All of a sudden and very quickly it is autumn. Last week I was wearing tank tops and shorts, drinking iced tea and still feeling hot, this week my sweaters have come out, I've started making hot peppermint tea, and it is autumn. The coming of Autumn usually makes me a little sad, but after the hot, mosquito filled summer we had, it is welcome. Bring on the apples and the broccoli and winter squash!

So backing up to Saturday. Breakfast was the very last of the fresh peaches, a pear, yogurt, flax, hickory nuts, and maple syrup. Lunch was a quick Wisconsin Caprese salad from the Co-op deli. Sometime in-between I enjoyed a whole milk maple steamer.

And then......

No, this cake is not 100% local, and yes, I had a small piece. The young man you see in the picture turned three on Saturday, and we hosted a party at our house. The menu had to be kid friendly and easy for us.

Watermelon and chips and salsa before dinner, Burgers and hotdogs on the grill, potatoes cooked in a pan on the grill, garden tomatoes, onion, cheese, pickles, and dilly beans for garnish. Simple. The only non-local thing I indulged in was the dilly beans and pickles. I made them from garden veggies, but the vinegar was a cheat.

Along with this cake we made another batch of hickory maple ice cream. It was good, but not quite as good as it was at the eat local challenge potluck. Part of that was because we didn't use buttermilk along with half & half, and part was because the cake overshadowed it. The cake was from Pan y Pan (a local Mexican baker), and it was incredible. Layers of moist cake with coconut, pineapple, whipped cream, and chocolate. The bottom layer was soaked in evaporated condensed milk or something like that. You can't go to a three year old's birthday party and not eat some cake, so I thoroughly enjoyed a small piece.

I had a similar cheat last night in the name of being social. Dave and Meg invited me to dinner at their house. They made eggplant Parmesan with everything local except for some breadcrumbs (locally made bread, but not sourced), and mushrooms in the tomato sauce. I brought a platter of apples and pears with some nice cheeses. Ben and Erica brought a (local) tomato and cucumber salad in a vinegar and oil dressing, and Meg made apple pie for dessert with local apples but not flour. A 90% locally grown meal, but not 100%.

Though I take this challenge seriously, I don't feel at all bad at small cheats like birthday cake and apple pie shared with friends. It would be no fun to become a hermit just because I have some crazy high food ideals. That's not the person I want to be.

Breakfast yesterday was eggs and pancakes made with maple syrup. I used buttermilk in the pancakes, and they had a more fluffy texture than the last batch of unleavened pancakes. Lunch was reheated pizza from Thursday.

I spent the morning yesterday in the garden. It's been a while since I posted garden pics, so I took some to share....

Ben and Erica's plot on Main Street. We're still harvesting a few beans and summer squash. Dave and Meg cleared out where the cucumbers were and planted spinach. The onions have been replaced by a few rows of beets. There are carrots ready to pull, and the tomatoes are still producing heavily. Not as pretty as it was in the early summer, but there's still a lot of food coming out of this plot!

My tomatoes look a little worse for wear, but there are still plenty of fruit on them. I thought they would be slowing down a little with the cool weather so I hadn't checked them for a few days. Boy was I wrong! There were tons of ripe Ox Hearts and black cherry tomatoes. More sauce for the freezer!

Except for the last row of potatoes that has been covered by collapsing tomatoes, we've dug all of the potatoes now. Mom planted two rows of beets and a row of carrots a few weeks back, and yesterday we planted the rest of the x-potato bed in spinach for a fall harvest. We're hoping to have enough spinach to freeze a little for the winter.

Yesterday afternoon Dave and Meg and I took a trip to The Tree Farm looking for a late summer harvest. I was after broccoli, sweet peppers, poblanos, and tomatillos to freeze. I picked quite a bit of beautiful broccoli (hence the picture at the beginning of the post). As you can see, I also got plenty of poblanos and tomatillos. We were a bit disappointed in the sweet peppers. The wet year has meant a lot of rotting peppers on the plants, and what wasn't rotting had been picked earlier in the day, but we managed to find a few that are usable. The broccoli was blanched and frozen yesterday. The peppers, tomatillos, and the tomatoes I picked at the garden are my to do list for today.

I'm just about out of room in my freezer. This will probably be the last of the summer produce that I put away!

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Day Twenty

All of a sudden it feels like fall. Today was a blustery day, high of 65, and I wore a sweater for the first time in months. I love summer, but this summer has run its course, and now I'm looking forward to the autumn. Soup weather, here I come! This weather also makes me want coffee in the mornings..... only twelve days to go!

Dinner this evening was a lamb chop dipped in flour and fried in the cast iron skillet, two big portabella mushrooms cooked in the skillet, stir fried broccoli and green beans, a Candystripe tomato, and a hunk of Crave Brothers Petit Frere cheese. A bit of a mish-mash, but it was good.

Lunch was more leftover baked eggplant and summer squash. Breakfast was yogurt with peaches, maple syrup, hickory nuts, and flax.

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Day Nineteen ~ Pizza!

Dinner tonight was this beautiful pizza, made with an unleavened crust, homemade black cherry tomato sauce, ground pork from The Rustic Table, red bell pepper, Torpedo onion, broccoli (on my half only!), and Mozzarella cheese.

The crust turned out really good, for not having yeast or any other leavening agent. 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup milk, 4 Tablespoons oil (sunflower of course!), and 1 Tablespoon salt. Kneed it for a few minutes, and then roll into a very thin crust. Bake the crust at 350 for about 8 minutes, then put toppings on and bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes more. Delicious!

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Day Eighteen

Dinner tonight was the second dish that I made on Monday night, reheated. The first dish was layered potatoes, tomato meat sauce, red bell pepper, Ricotta, farmer's cheese, and Parmesan. We ate that on Monday. I made this second dish at the same time but with eggplant, summer squash, and fresh basil layered on instead of potatoes. This works out since Stanley doesn't care for either eggplant or summer squash, and I love them. He was gone for dinner, so I happily ate a big portion of this dish. It was even better than the potato dish.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: layered baked things covered with cheese are delicious. I don't think I've ever made a dish like this that wasn't good. This was no exception.

Breakfast was toast with butter and honey, peaches, and a small glass of buttermilk. Lunch was Wisconsin Caprese salad from the Willy Street deli. I snacked on raspberries in the afternoon and popcorn this evening.

It's getting easier and easier to eat local every day that I do it. I might almost be sorry when the challenge is over.

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