Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Ready For the Dark Days Challenge

Yes, it's that time of year again. Over at the Urban Hennery, they are once again challenging us to think local, to source local, to eat local. It's the 4th Annual Dark Days Challenge and I'm planning to do it again. Yes, it's tough to find local foods in the dark of winter when the garden is buried under snow and the locally available vegetables consist of kale and, well, kale. I like kale, so that's not a problem, but there's only so much of it one can eat.

One thing I've found from participating in the challenge in the past is that when you forge new local connections for food sources, you tend to keep utilizing them in the months to come. Or you think out of the box and plan for ways to eat more locally in the winter. For instance, I cut the Zucchini That Ate New York into small cubes and put it into freezer bags in my chest freezer. I like to use zucchini with my eggs in the morning, so I can just take a handful out of the freezer and fry them up whenever I need them. That's a great easy way to add local vegetables during a season when I can no longer grow them.

My locavore omelette includes eggs from my chickens, local goat's milk, spinach and tomatoes from my garden, pork sausage from a local pig (in my freezer) and chantrelle mushrooms harvested locally. I'll be finding more ways to eat locally in the dark days to come!

Monday, November 08, 2010

What Bicyclists Lost in the House and Senate

I know that people in many states are feeling strongly about the outcome of the recent elections. But regardless of your political stance, from a bicycling and cycling advocacy standpoint, we lost some big supporters in the House and Senate last week. We  lost our biggest champion on the transportation committee, Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) and more than 30 members of the Congressional Bike Caucus in the House. Congressman Oberstar was instrumental in passing much of the important cycling and pedestrian legislation in the last two decades. Things like Safe Routes to Schools were shepherded through by this tireless public servant.
Here in Oregon, I'm incredibly grateful that Peter DeFazio is returning for another term. He has been a long-time supporter of sustainable bike and pedestrian legislation and in fact my favorite bicycling bridge here in town is named after him. If I lived anywhere near Washington D.C. or had the money to travel there, I would definitely be attending the National Bike Summit to make sure our congresspeople know that cycling is a huge priority for our communities.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Green Bean Bonus Makes More Dilly Beans

Unfortunately, I can never make green beans last around here. I love dilled green beans so much that even if I have a bumper harvest, there's never enough to can. I can eat a jar like this in two days flat. Lucky for me, our green beans took advantage of the late warm fall weather to produce a second harvest. I got a couple of colanders full, and now I have at least a few days supply of dilled green beans.

Here's my easy-peasy way to make dilly beans (from my mom):

1. Save the pickle juice from a big Costco-sized jar of dill pickles.
2. Remove stems from green beans and snap in half
3. Lightly steam them just until tender
4. Throw them in the pickle juice for a few days
5. Enjoy!