Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dark Days of Winter Week 6: No Shell Tacos

I began Week 6 of the Dark Days Eat Local Challenge with a Mexican inspired meal: shell-less tacos. I used the frozen leftover ground beef from Week 1's stuffed pepper meal and added some grated cheese and salsa to complete the meal. 

I made salsa with tomatillos from my own garden, and locally-grown garlic and tomatoes. To make the salsa, I first put four average-sized tomatillos, one garlic clove, and a pinch of salt in a food processor and chopped until chunky.

I took the tomatillos out of the food processor and added about half of a large red tomato (I wanted the salsa to be chunky and didn't want my red tomato blended up). I then added more salt to taste.

This is the block of cheese from the wine and cheese meal (Piedmont cheese from the Everona Dairy in VA). I grated it on top of the ground beef.  I usually use crumbly queso blanco in my Mexican cooking, but it comes imported from Mexico, and there's no way that would be considered local!

No Shell Tacos:
(serves 1)
- 1/4 pound local grass-fed ground beef, seasoned with bell peppers and parsley from my garden (as seen here)
- 2 teaspoons grated cheese (made from sheep's milk, local dairy)
- 4 medium tomatillos (my garden, harvested in early December)
- 1/2 of a large tomato (locally grown hydroponic tomato)
- 1 clove garlic (local farmers' market)
- salt (exception; I've started using Celtic sea salt. A little of this goes a LONG way).

This meal was filling, and it was nice to re-focus on the Challenge, especially after the excessive eating I did around the holidays. But I cannot lie--the dish needed cilantro and avocados.  I didn't mind not having the taco shells, and I didn't even mind skipping the sour cream, but I really missed the cilantro and avocados. I love cilantro but cannot seem to grow it myself, and it's not in season now so I haven't seen any at the farmers' market.  I think this meal made me appreciate avocados and cilantro so much more, and it made me think about how we lucky we are to have access to foods that are not native to our particular region. The Internet is a wonderful thing--I can get on and find small vendors of organic products or even small, organic growers of citrus in California.

I wonder how others are doing on this Challenge when trying to cook ethnic dishes?


  1. I really admire you for sticking with the challenge, and being so resourceful and creative with your meals. I have not joined this challenge, but reading about it has made me stop and think about where my food comes from.

  2. Dear BL, Congratulations on coming so far with your challenge. I was telling my husband about it today, and we have decided to seek out local meats and other locally-grown, organic foods through a publication we found recently. I hope we can emulate your success! P. x

  3. Yummy...great idea! This helps to reduce carbs as well. Thanks for sharing...and happy new year!

  4. @HolleyGarden--thanks for the encouragement! I haven't felt very creative, though. :) Some people are actually making their own bread with local flour and avoiding salt...I don't think I could do that!

    @Pam--oh thanks! Around here a lot of food and farmers market vendors come from PA because it's less than a day's drive roundtrip, and there's good PA food to be found!

    @SageButterfly--HA! I didn't think about that. Somtimes I skip the shells anyway because I just want the yummy filling, but I really missed my guacamole on this dish.


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