Monday, August 31, 2009
Anyway, on this bright, sunny Monday (thank you, sun!!) I wanted to share the link to the New York Times Magazine article Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch by Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore's Dilemma).
I admit to watching Top Chef pretty regularly, and Iron Chef and other Food Network shows once in a while. But until reading the article, I had never given much thought about how these shows are about competition and conspicuous consumption so much more than they are about cooking and enjoying food - nor had I paid much attention to what the focus on food products, food "games," and consumption (rather than creation) might say about our culture as a whole. As usual, Pollan gives us much to think about - I especially like that he ends by reminding us of the impact a "cook it yourself" philosophy can have on our health and our lives.
If you decide to read the article, I'd love to know your thoughts!!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The New York Times had an op-ed piece about vertical farms that had me imagining what it would be like to see skyscrapers dedicated to growing vegetables, and cities full of places where residents could easily access locally grown food.
And Time has an article about the "high price of cheap food" - I enjoy stories like these, as they remind me of how much impact local eating can have on the world, and of how far we have to go before local, sustainably-grown foods are truly both affordable and accessible on mass scale.
Monday, August 24, 2009
For dinner tonight, we're going to make a spaghetti squash dish that we enjoyed last year - thought I'd share the recipe!
First you need to cook the spaghetti squash - you can roast it, boil, steam, or microwave. Since it's hot today and we'd like to avoid using the oven, we'll probably microwave. You just poke 10-12 holes in the squash, place it on a microwave-safe plate, and cook on "high" for about 10 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes, until the squash is soft on the outside. Then let it cool for about 5 minutes, cut carefully in half (don't get burned!), remove the seeds, and scoop out the squash using a fork to separate it into strands.
Next, melt a few tablespoons of butter in a pan. Add some garlic and chopped onion, and then add cubes of zucchini, carrot, green pepper, red pepper, or any other veggie that sounds good to you. Depending on what you choose, you may have to add them 1 by 1, so that each veggie can cook as long as it needs to, without becoming mushy. Once everything is crisp-tender (or cooked the way you like it), add the cooked spaghetti squash to the pan to heat through. When hot, transfer to a serving dish, top with chopped tomato, serve, and enjoy!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
We have 4 baby zucchini out in the garden that should be ready for harvest soon, so we'll be making the sandwiches later this week. Guessing they'll be quite yummy!!
So here we go -
Zucchini-Parmesan Sandwiches -
2 cups diced fresh zucchini
1/2 cup minced onion
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tbs olive oil
fresh tomato slices
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
4 pieces of toasted bread
Saute onions and garlic, with salt, basil, and oregano, in olive oil until onion is translucent. Add zucchini and saute until soft.
Spread onto toast, topped with thin slices of tomato and a sprinkling of fresh parmesan. Broil and then serve.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Here's the recipe - we used fresh dill from our garden, but other than that we followed everything "as is." Enjoy!
1 cup (4 oz) large shell macaroni (or rotini) uncooked
5 cups (2 large) coarsely chopped cucumber
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup (8 oz) plain yogurt
½ tsp dried dill
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp dry ground mustard
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp white vinegar
Cook pasta; drain. Rinse with cold water to cool quickly; drain well. In large bowl, combine cooled pasta, cucumber, and onion; set aside. In small bowl, stir together yogurt, seasonings, and vinegar; beat lightly with wire whisk until smooth. Stir ½ cup yogurt dressing into pasta mixture. Toss well. Cover and chill, stirring occasionally. Store remaining yogurt dressing in refrigerator for later use. Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Today we're going to use home-grown zucchini and homemade tomato sauce to try a zucchini parmesan sandwich recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook I picked up at a library book sale. Stay tuned for the recipe!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
We're going to use the eggplant to make "Easy Eggplant Spread" - the recipe (from Green Earth Institute) is below. We tried it last year when eggplant was in season, and it's definitely yummy!
Easy Eggplant Spread
1 medium, firm eggplant
1 clove garlic, cracked away from skin
2 pinches ground allspice
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 handful flat-leaf parsley leaves
A drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to highest setting, at least 500 degrees F.
2. Cut 2 or 3 slits into whole eggplant and place directly on rack in the middle of the oven.
3. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Keep the slits facing up so that the eggplant does not loose liquids as it roasts.
4. Remove eggplant from the oven.
5. Using a sharp utility knife, carefully peel skin away from eggplant flesh.
6. Add cooked eggplant flesh and juice to food processor and combine with garlic, allspice, salt, and pepper and parsley.
7. Pulse grind into a paste, add a drizzle of olive oil.
8. Serve with slices of crusty bread. Makes 10 servings.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Also, a little hard to see in this photo (lots of sunshine today!) - but this is our row of snap peas that we planted from seed a little over a week ago, in hopes of a Fall harvest. We might have waited too long to plant, but we'll see - they're already a couple inches tall, so that seems good!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I love fresh salsa, and since we have lots of tomatoes, we'll be making some this weekend - thought I'd share the recipe we use. You can adjust as needed for quantity and to taste, and you can definitely add peppers (spicy or not). Fresh salsa is great as a dip with tortilla chips, or as a "topping" for grilled chicken or other dishes. Yum!
3 tomatoes, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Combine onions, tomatoes, and cilantro.
2. Stir in lime juice and olive oil.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Chill, or serve "as is" at room temperature. The flavors seem to combine best when the salsa is put in a covered bowl and then chilled for a few hours.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I've never tried fennel before, but I think we may try Roasted Fennel (recipe below). The recipe is from my very favorite online recipe source, Green Earth Institute. The recipe section of their site has recipes for every CSA and farmers' market vegetable we've ever brought home, and it has a menu that lets you bring up a list of recipes according to the vegetable you want to feature.
So here's what they say for Roasted Fennel - sounds tasty! Anyone else have ideas for what to do with fennel? Please share!!
Blanch whole fennel bulb in boiling water for 10 minutes and drain. Halve it lengthwise; place in roasting pan, cut side down. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste. Return to oven; roast for 10 to 20 minutes more.
Monday, August 3, 2009
To harvest, they take out one handful (or in Rb's case, spoonful) of compost at a time, search for worms (and worm eggs) to put into the new tray of food, and then put the compost in a separate bin so they can bring it outside. There are other means of harvest (sifting, waiting until the majority of worms crawl up to the next layer of the bin themselves, etc.) - but they find this to be the simplest and fastest way they've tried.
This is the food layer that the worms are going into next. Since the Can-O-Worms has three layers, some of the other worms that are not part of today's harvest have already been working here, so there's a mix of compost, damp newspaper, and ready-to-eat veggie scraps in the tray already. Within a month or two, this next layer will be all compost and no food or paper - and then it'll be ready for harvest too. We add a lot of eggshells to the trays - the worms seem to congregate around and inside them, and that's always where we find lots of worm eggs. Lots of eggs means lots of worms, so that's definitely a good thing!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
But for now, this time of year, we do much of our "grocery shopping" right at the farmers' markets and local farm stands, and many of our meals are either all-local, or include local dishes alongside their non-local counterparts.
R also used the leftover bones from the farm-fresh chicken we've been enjoying lately, plus local carrots, oregano, and onions, and home-grown dill and garlic, to make homemade chicken stock yesterday (that's the photo above, taken just after he put everything in the pot). We'll be freezing the stock, so we can use it in other recipes. It also makes for a pretty good soup - during last December's ice storm, we heated chicken stock from the freezer on our wood stove, and had mugs of warm homemade broth while we waited for the power to return. A happy memory!