Sunday, October 29, 2006
Stepping back from a volunteer position is always hard. For the past two years I have been the chair of the marketing committee for Cresset Community Farm, which means that when I do my farm chores I sit down at a computer. The job that pays my bills requires that I sit in front of a computer, as do some of my hobbies like blogging, so I was loathe doing the same in my volunteer life. Life is now calling for me to do other things that requre more more dirt digging and less key tapping. It is hard to walk away from a job that you know needs doing, but one has to have faith in the power of community--nature abhors a vacuum. Times like these call for a good dose of soul food.Today’s LunchLima Bean and Mustard Green Soup
Soak 2 cups of lima beans overnight. Rinse the soaked beans a few times and add them to a pressure cooker (an absolute must for cooking beans at high altitude) with enough water to cover the beans. Add red pepper flakes, oregano, and a bay leaf. Do not add salt as it will slow the cooking time. Bring to a boil on high and then reduce heat to medium low for twenty minutes. Turn off head and allow the pressure to drop naturally. Chop one onion and two cloves of garlic and cook in 2 tbsp coconut oil. Add 1 bunch (8-10 leaves) of chopped mustard greens and sauté until tender. Add to beans. Salt to taste and add a little water or stock if the soup is thick.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Don’t Eat Pop Tarts for Breakfast
Recently I went to a naturopath for a wellness visit. She had me keep a food journal for a week. I meticulously wrote down everything I ate even documenting the of ice cream I had for Sunday supper. When I gave it to her the next week, she said “whoopee you are the first client in a long time I haven’t had to tell not to eat pop tarts for breakfast!” I asked her if was really that bad out there. She told me that a significant number of her client’s problems could be improved or eliminated by cleaning up their diet. “Cleaning up” means not eating pop tarts for dinner or drinking a gallon of Coke every few days. Apparently it does not mean giving up a pint of ice cream for Sunday supper now and again. I was relieved.Today’s LunchWinter Vegetable Salad
(This a recipe I submitted to the farm newsletter last year.)
1 head cauliflower steamed
1/2 fennel bulb
1 Dikon radish
1 head endive or sugarhat lettuce
1/2 cup olives
1 tbsp. Capers
1 tsp. Lemon zest
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. Minced garlic
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cups olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
--Adapted from a recipe in the November 2005 issue of Food and Wine
Chop veggies into bite-sized pieces. Mix dressing ingredients and pour over veggies. Allow to marinate for at least an hour. This is a very large recipe. I like to make it on Sunday and eat it during the week.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
As the days get shorter and colder my thought turn to eating more hot grains. A fun way to experiment with grains that you are unfamiliar with is to get a sampler from Gold Mine Natural Foods. This mail- and internet- order company specializes in macrobiotic foods and cookware. They offer a variety of grain and rice samplers with such exotic fair as black buffalo barley, Bhutanese red rice, and blood brothers red sweet corn. Their rice sampler includes a half a pound of eight varieties of rice for less than $20. My latest favorite is Bhutanese red rice described as an “an ancient short-grain rice grown 8,000 feet in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Irrigated with 1,000 year old glacier water rich in trace minerals, this exotic rice has a nutty/earthy flavor, soft texture and beautiful red russet color.” The even better news about this rice is that it cooks in only 20 minutes, but still provides you with all of its whole food goodness.Today’s LunchCurried Bhutanese Red Rice with Buffalo and Broccoli
Mix 1 cup of red rice and 1 cup of water with a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for twenty minutes or until all of the water is absorbed. In the meantime, chop 1/2 onion and cook in a skillet with 1 tbsp of coconut oil for 2 minutes on medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add 1 tbsp of curry. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally. (Cooking curry powder in this manner helps reduce any bitter taste.) Add 1/2 lb of buffalo and cook until browned, about ten minutes. (As I’ve said before game meat is best to cook slowly over low heat.) Chop the flowers from one medium-sized head of broccoli. Strip the stem of its tough outer skin and slice. Add broccoli to the skillet and cover, cooking until the broccoli is tender. Serve over red rice, feeds two.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Apples for Applesauce
We bought a storm door this week hoping that this will ever so slightly decreast our carbon footprint (www.carbonfootprint.com) that we threw completely out of whack by buying our new shiny red SUV. I drove our new car yesterday to a barter bazaar where I traded a weaving lesson and a jar of tomato sauce for some graphic design services. I also swapped some handspun yarn for a dried herb swag and a necklace for a book. I put a jar of canned stewed apples on the table for the gift exchange and in return got a jar of applesauce. To an old friend who attended the bazaar, I gifted a jar of sauce. She regaled me with stories of myself that I have absolutely no memory of, “Remember the Christmas you gave us all pesto, no one knew what that was back then.” I’m glad to know that the self I was fifteen years ago was still trying to share the gospel of food.Today’s LunchGingery Tomato Sauce
Turn on your largest burner to medium heat and sauté 1 finely chopped cloves of garlic in 2 tbsp of coconut or other high-heat oil for 1 minute. Add 1 finely chopped onion; cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp dried basil, 3 tbsp fresh ginger, 1 tbsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp salt and pepper. Sauté for another minute or two. Add 2-dozen chopped tomatoes or three 24-oz cans of chopped canned tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce the heat to just below medium. Cook until the sauce is the desired thickness, stirring occasionally and adding more herbs or spices to taste. I prefer a thick waterless sauce, so generally cook it for at least four hours (as a child we would place the sauce in a cast-iron pot and put it on the woodstove in the morning and have sauce ready for dinner). For canning purposes it is good to leave the sauce a little runnier so that you may reduce it further with added ingredients when you use it at a later date.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
My Apologies to Al
Last Friday my husband and I went to see “An Inconvenient Truth” the documentary about Al Gore’s convincing presentation on global warming. The next day my husband and I bought an SUV. I spend all day Sunday peering out my kitchen window while preparing jars of apple and tomato sauce for canning thinking, “Is that really my car in the driveway?” I’m still very unsure about this car. It will provide us with more room, power, and safety during our frequent trips to Wyoming to ski. We won’t have to battle the winds in our current gutless wonder of a car. Alternatively, we are sacrificing 4 miles to the gallon in gas and living with a higher tax burden; not to mention the social implications of driving a symbol of all that is wrong with our country. I’m longing for the day when it will be old and battered and we will look lovingly at it thinking of all the miles it has carried us hither and yon and all the memories it holds. It will take awhile for me to stop circling around it like a cat wary of a new object in its boundaries. I’m very sorry Al; I’ll have to make it up to you in another way.Today’s LunchAvocado Coleslaw
Combine the following veggies chopped in desired size: 1/2 of a small head of cabbage, 1 tomato, 1 peeled carrot, and 1 avocado. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and salad dressing of choice.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Enjoying the Rerun
One of my favorite kind of recipe exchanges happened at work the other day. I asked one of my coworkers for her tomatilla salsa recipe. She said, “You know what tomatillas are like right?” I nodded in agreement as she went on, “I always get asked if there is lemon or vinegar in the recipe, but that is just the natural flavor of the tomatilla. I wash up about a bushel and blend them in the food processor lightly then add a couple of chopped onions, a few cloves of garlic, and a few hot peppers. I cook the mixture for a bit and then wash the jars in the dishwasher, set the lids in a pan of just boiled water. You have to pull the jars from the dishwasher when they are barely hot enough to hold, and then fill the jars with salsa slap on a lid. Works like a charm.” The whole time she was saying this she was looking off into the distance clearly seeing all this happen in her mind’s eye and enjoying the rerun of last weekend's work.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
At Loose Ends
I emphatically do not have a problem with commitment. If I say I will do something I will do it, even if you decide you don’t want me to do it any longer. Take this tapestry I’m working on for a friend. Almost two years ago I said, “Sure I can make you a tapestry to hang behind your desk in your new office using a detail from the rug your Uncle brought back from the Afghanistan, no problem.” Actually making this committment come to fruition is still giving me fits I don’t even like weaving tapestries, but I’m doing it by golly I’m doing it. I always hope the lesson from these experiences is that I will become wiser, and more selective about my commitments. It hasn’t happened yet. I’m hopeful that one day the wisdom we are supposed to gain from worldly experience kicks in. Lord knows I’m pretty strong in the experience department.Today’s LunchFried Green Tomatoes
Slice 3 medium-sized green tomatoes in half-inch slices. Prepare two bowls one with a mixture of 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper; and a second with four beaten eggs. Heat a skillet on medium and add 2 tbsp oil (you may need to add more as the tomatoes cook). Dredge the tomatoes slices first in the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture, and then back to the flour mixture. Fry in skillet until both sides are golden brown, generally about 3-4 minutes a side. Drain fried tomatoes on a couple of layers of paper towel. Serve hot or cold. They are particularly good with baked or fired chicken.
Note: Use an oil that can handle high temperatures such as coconut, canola--or if you are lucky enough to find it--refined avocado oil. Oils such as olive oil are not designed to handle high temperatures and can break down destroying their health benefits.