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Eat Local Challenge, Week 1: Sweet Potato & Sausage Skillet Saute

Posted Dec 18 2008 7:17pm

The first few days of the Eat Local Challenge were not terribly successful, as they coincided with a work conference that required me to eat several meals in a hotel. One lunch was particularly comic in its seasonal schizophrenia, with asparagus atop sweet potatoes. The weekend farmers market visits enabled me to re-stock the fridge with dairy, bread and produce to be better prepared headed into this week.

locally-made coffee cuff, #eatlocal bfst on TwitPic My ulterior motive with the challenge is to be more disciplined in eating not just local foods but healthier as well. My requirement to eat something local at every meal has forced me to eat better at breakfast, which is by far my biggest problem area. I am not a morning person, and despite my love of coffee I do not have the skill or patience to make my own first thing in the morning. So I wind up eating unhealthy pastries along with my morning latte. Now, I could claim compliance by buying the locally-baked pastries at my local coffee shop, but I’m trying to improve upon that by actually eating the wonderful local yogurt I always have in the fridge. A slice of locally-baked bread, toasted, with homemade plum jam rounds out the meal and really doesn’t take all that long. I am fortunate in that my son usually eats his breakfast at daycare, so I have some time to get into a healthy routine before he learns from my bad example!

We have had some good mostly-local dinners. This hearty sweet potato and sausage saute was perfect for a rainy evening. Sunday was grilled flank steak and squash, Monday was the leftover steak in veggie-loaded salsa rice. And for those curious, scroll down to the bottom of this post for a list of the local products we’ve eaten this week, and their sources.

Recipe: Sweet Potato & Sausage Skillet Saute


  • 2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 links Italian sausage, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch tatsoi (or spinach), rinsed
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper

Instructions: Bring a pot of water to boil and cook sweet potato chunks until just tender, about 6 minutes. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat and brown sausage. Remove from pan, reduce heat to medium and add garlic and onion. Cook 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent. Drain sweet potatoes and add to skillet. Place tatsoi on top, pour soy sauce and additional olive oil over top, cover and let cook until tatsoi is wilted, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in sausage, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Serve over quinoa or rice. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Farms of Origin

  • steak, Fauquier’s Finest via Let’s Meat on the Avenue, Va.
  • milk & butter, South Mountain Creamery, Md.
  • sweet potatoes, tatsoi, onions, Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA, Va.
  • squash, tomatoes, Medina & Sons, Va. (@ Alexandria West End market)
  • goat cheese, yogurt & Amish-baked sticky buns, Tom the cheese guy, Pa. (@ Del Ray/West End markets)
  • apples, pears, grapes, Papa’s Orchard, Pa. (@ West End market)
  • rye bread, Uptown Bakers, Md. (@ West End market)
Shop Local Purchase of the Wee k: A locally-crafted fabric coffee cuff (pictured above), at St. Elmo’s coffee shop. And I’ve remembered to keep it in my purse to re-use!
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