So I know the challenge hasn’t started, but I’m curious to see if I can make a casserole that’s delicious, local and uses up some vegetables in my fridge. Here’s what I’ve got:
– local ground pork
– half a local cabbage
– jalapeno peppers from a local friend that have seen better days
– the most incredible local garlic you’ve ever seen, smelled or tasted
– bag o’ Port Elgin potatoes
– oodles of frozen garden tomatoes
– all the local carrots and onions you can think of
– sage and thyme in the garden that have survived the frosts and light snow
Here’s what I’m thinking: a deconstructed cabbage roll. I’m going to make a tomato sauce from my frozen tomatoes, season it with some sage and thyme, onions and garlic and jalapenos. I’m going to spread a bit of sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan, cabbage leaves (I’m not going to parboil them, not sure if this is a mistake of not, we’ll see!), cooked ground pork, thinly sliced carrots and potatoes (thanks food processor!) cabbage leaves and dump the sauce on top. I’m imagining my sauce is going to be quite runny and watery, since I’m not using a paste. I’m hoping this extra liquid will both help cook my cabbage and carrots and get absorbed by my raw potato slices.
I imagine it’s going to be edible. Maybe not out of this world fantastic, but hopefully palatable. I’m not used to cooking without salt and although I don’t plan to give up the good stuff until January 1st when our 100 Mile Challenge begins, it’s a good test to see what I think of food that has to rely on herbs and jalapenos for it’s seasoning.
Pictures and review to come!
OK, so you start to realize it’s called a “challenge” for a reason. It felt a bit like survival food. So I tried to make the tomato sauce more interesting by sauteeing onions and garlic in unsalted butter, hoping for some richness and body to the sauce. Still, I ended up with a watery mess at the bottom of the pan. Thankfully, the jalapeno peppers added a nice heat and made it spicy enough that you forgot you were missing salt and the bonus dill I had growing in the garden gave it a more authentic, Eastern European feel. On the whole, it wasn’t terrible. I wouldn’t serve it to guests, nor will it ever grace the pages of Gourmet Magazine, but it was hot, hearty and you didn’t feel guilty about heaping it on your plate.