What’s For Dinner Tonight?

February 17, 2009 at 8:47 am

Rob Gardner

From the next room, my wife asked, “what’s for dinner tonight.”  I said, “I don’t know, and usually I have a good idea of what we should have.”  I added, “I cannot think what to blog about either, and I usually have a good idea there too.”  

I know what’s for dinner tomorrow.  We have about eight eggs left from Farmer Vicki’s Genesis Growers before she took her Florida hiatus.   We have three large bunches of vibrant rainbow chard from last week’s winter market.  This local family enjoys eggs scrambled with greens.  Why tomorrow?  Well, we had sauteed chard Saturday and Monday.  We need a chard-less night.

My pressingest of pressing eat local concerns is this damn warming weather.  We still have a root cellar’s in the sky worth of goods that’s gonna be in trouble if it does not get eaten soon.  A bag of black radishes, can dinner come there?  I know I’m putting a halt to any non-local fruit, the bananas and citrus we supplement, until we make a better dent in the apples, but that’s not really a dinner answer.  Besides, we’ve already had two night’s worth of fried apples.  I’ve seen a couple of celery root recipes that might work.  One has you cooking and eating them like baked potatoes.  Another has you stuffing and braising.  There are small orange beets, but I do not relish the work required.

Last Saturday’s market yielded some winter lettuce, but not really enough to support our families love of big salad.  Besides, there is none of the leftover proteins, an extra chicken or slices of meat that make the salad big.  We are not rabbits.

My older daughter had her shortest stint ever as a Vegetarian, going long enough to miss C&D Pastured Pork ham and Vie burgers but eating shrimps by Saturday. She cited three reasons for disdaining meat: healthy eating, respect for animals, and concern for the environment.  I’d add a fourth: cost.  Which all means no meat tonight.  Oh, and nothing’s defrosted either.

On the other hand, I took a Wisconsin raised, smoked trout out of the freezer intending it to be part of our V-Day dinner, but by the time we ate tapas of Spanish white anchovies and a version of Manchengo cheese from Wisconsin, we were ready to move on to the main course.  I had this idea of a salad with some of the Heritage Prairie microgreens we got on Saturday and a kohlrabi aging gracefully in our vegetable bin.  The problem: strange as it sounds, the Localkidz don’t eat smoked trout.

We have a bunch of stock, maybe I’ll make soup. 

Any ideas.  Your help is appreciated.

UPDATE: Thanks for your comments and suggestions.  After a bit of consultation, my wife and I decided on banger’s and mash, with some of the roots in the mash and Amy’s chicken sausage for the local-ish protein.  I think some peas on the side including some from the other night and some more from the freezer.

LATER UPDATE: Thank god I included enough russet potato and celery root for the mash as thirty minutes after dinner, the rutabagas are still boiling away, not soft enough.   The rut-less mash fared well.  The celery roots added a surprising amount of cool weather sweetness to the dish.  Also, to assuage my wife’s diet issues, I made the roots without any dairy, just garlic boiled with the veg, olive oil, salt and pepper–I would add that the celery root would have preferred a food mill.

For updates on my local eating and shopping follow along @ http://twitter.com/localfamily



  1. Mhays says:

    Hmmm…a tortilla de patatas, using your celery root and kohlrabi like potatoes (I’ve never used celery root – would it be too watery?) You could put smoked trout in half of it. That will pretty much kill your 8 eggs.

    If you don’t use the eggs for that, I’ve discovered that puffy apple pancakes are really easy to make, you could do it for breakfast or dessert – that’s 4 eggs.

    Or what about mixed roasted root vegetables? You could have smoked fish on the side…something eggy for the kids.

  2. Rob Gardner says:

    Great ideas Michelle. The eggs though, are committed to tomorrow’s eggs n’ greens. You do give me the idea of a root veg gratin. Which reminds me that my wife talked about doing a potato crusted fish fillet with the yukon golds we purchased at the winter market from Scotch Hill. Sheila’s at Mado today, so we have major slicing issues blocking both ideas.

  3. Aaron Deacon says:

    Salad with winter lettuce, smoked trout, black radishes, roasted beets (sorry kids)
    Sauteed apples
    Whipped/mashed/pureed celery root (maybe throw an apple in there

  4. Mhays says:

    Have you got any winter squash in your stash? We did this recipe for Thanksgiving; it could easily make a dinner. We used fresh apples and added nuts in our filling. Sub your celery root for celery, and toss in diced kohlrabi, stock, bread and it’s dinner (I skipped the soy.)


  5. Rob Gardner says:

    Michelle, our stores of squash, except for one spaghetti squash went kaput see http://www.thelocalbeet.com/?p=1170 otherwise that would be about right.

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