Belated Dark Days Week 4: Piles (part 1)

… another “part 1″ because we eat piles so much, I am pretty sure they’ll come up again.

Looking for something easy early last week, I fell back on the category of meals that we call “piles.” Food piles generally consist of leftover meat if there is any, whatever veggies are available, and one of the following:

  • Potatoes — a potato pile is a hash (sometimes served with a fried egg on top)
  • Rice — a pile on rice is stir fry
  • Eggs — a pile built in a cast iron pan easily turns into a frittata or faux-frittata
  • Pasta — a pile tossed with pasta is a variant of carbonara (we often do the thing with the raw egg on the hot pasta)
  • Stock — a pile built in a stock pot becomes soup.

Feeling possessive of our potatoes*, since our crop basically failed this year, we have been eating less hash and more of other types of piles. This week I was inspired to make pasta, so pasta-pile it was.

I made homemade pasta with homegrown eggs (thanks ducks) and organic wheat from Utah, following local food friend Anne’s recipe more or less (I haven’t used olive oil, but I intend to try).

While the pasta dough was resting, I peeled and cubed a medium-sized delicata squash that we grew. I sautéed it in olive oil (not organic) at medium-high heat to get some nice caramelization on the cubes. Towards the end I sprinkled some organic sugar on them to see what would happen, and it made an even nicer brown crispy sweet crust on the cubes. Non-local, but so tasty! I removed the squash cubes from the pan and set them aside.

A quick (because it was COLD out there!!) check outside revealed that our homegrown kale was either uncovered so frozen, or covered so under a sheet of frozen plastic — so, figuring that frozen kale is frozen kale, we grabbed some we’d blanched and frozen this summer when our market boothmates, Terra Bella Farm, had surplus. I added the chopped kale to some chopped market leek from Persephone Farms (Indianola, just off the island) in the same pan I used for the squash.

As the veggies were sautéeing, I boiled the pasta and dug around in the fridge to find some smoked peppered salmon I bought at my favorite fishmonger, Pure Food Fish at Pike Place Market. I don’t know how local the fish is, though it is surely Pacific salmon. I should’ve asked, but it was the end of the day and frantic, and I was trying to catch a ferry …

Pasta pile: market leek, market kale, homegrown delicata squash, market smoked salmon, homemade pasta

I suppose I also could have left the smoked salmon out of this dish, but when the pasta was done and I tossed it all together, the soft, smoky, peppery salmon turned out to go really well with the sweet squash and leek and the toothy kale and pasta.

Homegrown: eggs, delicata
Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market: leeks, kale
Seattle market(s): Smoked salmon
Organic, non-local: wheat, sugar
Unknown: olive oil, salt, spices on the salmon. And the parmigiano cheese obviously, but we just can’t manage to give it up.

* We have since secured plenty of storage potatoes from other farmers, and are feeling well-armed now.

  6 comments for “Belated Dark Days Week 4: Piles (part 1)

  1. December 17, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Piles rock! And so does this dish from the looks of it.

  2. December 18, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I like the pile idea :-) And glad your potatoes are well stocked – its been a rough year for those, and they are such a staple.

  3. January 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    now that is funny! I never thought of calling my creations “piles”! I like that concept a lot. We do a lot with eggs around here – I particularly like a pile made like a frittata using leftover pasta.

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