The Eat Local Challenge is a two week quest to source meals from the local foodshed. While anytime is a great time to eat local, the height of the September harvest brings to the table the greatest concentration and diversity of local fresh produce.
My co-op, Outpost Natural Foods, is challenging all of our shoppers to take the Eat Local Challenge. For two weeks, September 1 – 15, the challenge is to eat the highest percent of your food from local sources. At our store, we consider anything from our state of Wisconsin as local. The closer to home and fewer miles traveled, the better.
Another great group, Eat Local Milwaukee, is also supporting that challenge, and you’re not going to find more local food or local businesses in any one place than today at the Made In Milwaukee festival. I’ll be there in a few hours setting up a booth for another great group of local businesses, Our Milwaukee.
Don’t live in Milwaukee? Hopefully you have a co-op nearby where you too can join others in eating locally!
My first meal of the challenge was a fresh corn, potato, and tomato salad served alongside an organic marinated chicken breast from Angel Acres farm in Mason, WI. My local ingredients included fresh sweet corn, golden plum tomatoes, red potatoes, spinach, and a yellow pepper. Even the dijon mustard in the salad dressing was made locally! The only ingredients that weren’t local were the shallots, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. That means along side the chicken, that 70-80% of the meal was sourced locally.
I have to say I was really excited that the salad turned out so well, and I got a bit of extra flavor by roasting the corn and pepper on my stovetop. Hope you enjoy!
Wisconsin Summer Salad
3 ears fresh sweet corn (about 2-3 cups)
2 cups small red potatoes
1 red, yellow, or orange pepper (roasted and diced with skin on)
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 cups assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain, and cut into quarters. Meanwhile while the potatoes are cooking, peel the sweetcorn and cook each cob for one minute in the microwave (or 5 minutes on the stovetop in boiling water). If you have a gas range, roast the corn over an open flame until the kernels begin to brown and carmelize. You can do the same with the pepper over the open flame, roasting it until the skin begins to blister and char. If you don’t have a method of roasting, it’s okay to skip this step.
When your corn has roasted, slice the kernels from each cob, and mix with the potatoes, chopped pepper and fresh spinach. If the potatoes and corn are still a bit warm, they will wilt the spinach a bit, which I think brings out a bit more of the flavor. Refrigerate the salad as is, for about 30 minutes.
Mix up the dressing in a small bowl with a whisk by combining the vinegar, mustard, shallots, olive oil, salt and pepper.
When the salad has chilled down, add the tomatoes and the dressing.
Optional ingredients can include some fresh basil from your garden and/or goat cheese. Had I included those 2 ingredients they would have also been local.