Monday, March 29, 2010

The End of Dark Days- Dark Days Week # 19

I am amazed it has been 19 weeks since we started this challenge and I feel as though it flew by. I'm sure for some of the participants the dark days seemed much longer than here in sunny San Diego, for which I do feel thankful and lucky! This will be my last dark days spent in this beautiful city, for in July I will be moving to Northern California and experiencing a little more rain and weather change than in San Diego. But don't get me wrong, I LOVE northern California and have been waiting to return for years...I am pretty excited to get up there! One thing that the Dark Days Challenge did help me notice about San Diego is that we actually do have seasons! We always have such a bounty of food at the markets and the weather doesn't change too drastically and it can be hard to pinpoint changes around here, but this year I noticed Spring. I went to the market this weekend and found asparagus at the Sage Mt. Farm stand and was ecstatic! They also had potatoes and across the walk at Suncoast Farms there was baskets bursting with baby purple artichokes! Spring! I had planned a completely different meal for this write up and planned on purchasing a few different items at the market, but there was no way I was passing up any of those offerings. I wanted to finally purchase a chicken from Womach Ranch and roast a chicken and use all the parts and go out with a bang, but I think my Spring meal was a better ending for the end of Dark Days!
I had some alone time that afternoon when we returned home from the market and I took a walk to the coffee shop across the street and almost finished reading "This Organic Life" until it got too cold. Of course while reading I was feeling inspired to cook and when I got home I went straight to the kitchen, I had perfect, fresh, local ingredients that would go well together. I put on the potatoes and an egg ( from the market as well) to boil while I chopped up baby artichokes, baby bell peppers, green garlic, and green onion. I threw those in a skillet with some olive oil and then used the last of it to drizzle the asparagus and threw those in to roast. Last minute I decided to sliver some fresh almonds I got that day from Lone Oak Ranch and tossed them in the saute. Everything was done at the same time and I was overjoyed...probably considered weird to some, but I'm sure you guys understand! I had all sole ingredients except the sour cream, I couldn't resist! The sour cream was Organic Valley and purchased from my local co-op that I do not get to enough, but not local itself! Oh and I also indulged in my salt that I sprinkled atop it all, it was the X Roads salt (from the Philippines) from our local business at one of the farmers markets. The picture may not be pretty, but I was lucky I took a picture at all, I just wanted to eat! Everything was so delicious and I was sad my kids had missed out on the meal, but we have more spring goodies that I can cook for them another day. For dessert I had an Aloha Latte Cookie! I love Aloha Lattes, let me tell you about them. There is an Orange coffee truck in San Diego named Joes On the Nose and they make the most delicious drinks, of which my favorite is the Aloha Latte! It is espresso, soy milk (my preference), mocha, macadamia nut and coconut topped with coconut whip cream! I can not go to one of the weekend markets and not pick up a drink and many days I wish they delivered! They have other drinks that are just as interesting/delicious (check out the menu), a great staff and the orange all around you just exudes happiness. Twice now I have been lucky enough to have Joes pair with another local vendor and offer flavors of their own intertwined with other products. First Viva Pops, a wonderful local popsicle shop and now 410 degree cookies, the company with the best cookies you could probably ever taste! They ship orders too, so if you like cookies at all, even if you're not in San Diego check them out. The cookie they created had all the ingredients of an Aloha Latte and I don't know how I withstood from eating it all day but I did and I was so glad, because it was the perfect ending for a perfect San Diego, end of Dark Days Meal and I was one satisfied SOLE eater!
I am happy for the coming foods and warmer weather, but I am sad that the challenge is ending. I have been so inspired by others posts, recipes, and experiences and I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of this community. I know I will continue to follow many of the blogs and stay up to date on what's cooking in your houses over the months of hopeful abundance to come. I will surely be sticking with a more Sole way of eating and am very much closer to my goals than I was when I started this challenge. I realize when I do have to go to the store lately, it's basically for beverages, pasta and rice and I feel great about that. Thank you to all who have commented, given me tips or advice, and held my hand through this journey! The Dark Days were not only bearable, but fun!

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