I’m participating, along with a whole lot of other bloggers, in (not so) Urban Hennery’s Dark Days Challenge again this year: the challenge being to eat one meal a week that is made exclusively from SOLE (sustainable, organic, local & ethical) ingredients and to blog about it. Since local eating, and with that, sustainable, organic, humane and ethical eating, is the norm around here, the challenge for me is to make more 100% local meals, without any of my standard exceptions (olive oil, citrus, spices), and to make it interesting enough to write about. I eat local meals all the time, but I don’t know how often you want to hear about my slab-of-cheddar-on-crusty-bread-and-a-apple lunch. The additional challenge is, of course, to get the posts up on time. The Challenge is working a little differently this year: we will all make a Dark Days meal about once a week, but roundups will come out once every two weeks, meaning I have an extra week to procrastinate and then cram two Dark Days posts into the last two days before the cut-off date (which, yes, would be two days from now). Aren’t you excited?
Today’s meal, however, is a truly fitting kick-off to the Challenge: my homemade, 100% local pumpkin gnocchi, pan-fried in Stony Brook Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil, topped with shaved scallion & local aged goat cheese. Simple, quick and so delicious. I treated myself to a trio of Stony Brook’s local oils (butternut, delicata and roasted pumpkin) just before Thanksgiving, but this is the first time I’ve used the Roasted Pumpkin variety. A deep, rich red color with a nutty, smoky flavor, this oil is scrumptious, and deserving of a simple preparation like this gnocchi dish. These varieties feature squash seeds all grown in New York’s Finger Lakes region, expeller pressed at low temperatures and bottled by hand at the Stony Brook shop in the Finger Lakes. As far as I know, this is the only oil that is even remotely local to me, although I keep waiting for local grapeseed, black walnut, or hazlenut oil – maybe the success of Stony Brook will convince other local foods entrepeneurs to jump on the local oils bandwagon. I certainly hope so!
For more Dark Days meals, you can see all of last year’s entries by using the Dark Days tag under Categories.
- about 30 gnocchi, fresh or frozen
- 1 tbsp Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil
- 2 scallions, white ends sliced, green ends shaved with a vegetable peeler
- about 1 oz grating cheese, such as pecorino, shaved (I used Sprout Creek’s aged raw goat cheese, Madeleine)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet (you want the gnocchi to be in a single layer) over medium heat until the oil is shimmering, but not smoking. Add sliced white scallion and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add gnocchi (if frozen, do not thaw) and do not stir; allow to cook until browned on one side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Then flip carefully with a thin spatula and allow to cook for another minute or so, until the other side is browned.
- Slide onto a plate, garnish with shaved green scallion & cheese, and eat while hot.
- Even salt & pepper won’t improve this dish. Exquisite and perfect, just as it is.
Best eaten fresh & hot.
Year round, but I find I eat this kind of comfort food in winter.
- organic pumpkin: homemade puree from a Fishkill Farms Hubbard squash
- organic pastry flour & cornmeal: Wild Hive Farm
- ricotta: homemade from organic Stone Wall Dairy milk
- cheese: Ouray, Toussaint & Madeleine from Sprout Creek Dairy
- organic, pastured eggs: Holbrook Farm
- salt: Rhode Island sea salt from Kenyon’s Gristmill
- chile powder: dried & ground organic local chiles from my Ryder Farm CSA
- pumpkin seed oil: Stony Brook Wholehearted Foods
- scallions: Madura Farms, Goshen, NY