The Eat Local Challenge continues to roll along with a mere four days remaining in the month. One of the challenges is to throw an “All Local” dinner party. As luck would have it our bookclub, an ever-expanding group of 20+ women, was scheduled to meet on Wednesday, April 25th, so I signed up to host and do it “All Local” style!
Cooking a meal prepared with all local ingredients requires some planning, while cooking for nearly 20 women requires a certain level of insanity. Combine the two and you’re prone to have a panic attack the night before, finding yourself staring at the ceiling at midnight wondering if you’ll ever have enough food. It’s not like you can just dig in the cabinets and whip up a 7-layer Mexican dip for extra fare when you’re cooking all local!
After a significant amount of online research for recipes & multiple shopping trips to the Farmer’s Market in Marion Square, Piggly Wiggly, Stono Market, and Normandy Farms Bakery, I finally felt at ease that I had purchased enough food. The preparations began on Tuesday and to continued until guests started arriving last night.
The All Local Feast included all these tasty items:
• Baked Kale Chips
• Roasted Beet & Strawberry Salad
• Rio Bertolini’s Spinach Linguine with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter
Suffice it to say, it was plenty of food and none of the 17 guests went home hungry. By all accounts the food was enjoyed and many were exposed to local foods they weren’t aware of or wouldn’t have thought to serve (ie. Big Ed’s over Goat Cheese). And gladly, I didn’t lose my mind in the kitchen!
The challenge was really quite fun, but it wasn’t without its…challenges! There was no “one stop shopping” to get all these ingredients, so I found myself driving all over the Lowcountry to procure the goods. Nor was finding recipes using all in-season ingredients particularly easy. And as you’ll see in the aftermath photos, a lot of “contraband” non-local wine was consumed.
But it’s the spirit of the challenge that matters and I’ll mark this as a success!