Wednesday, August 27, 2008

summer summer summer time...

Broccoli, do you have what it takes to be delicious?
Your looks alone frighten people.
Oh Brassica, you have been unfairly frozen and cooked to mush for too long now.
I give you --- Grilled Broccoli.

Cut into long slender pieces, toss in sunflower oil with salt and pepper. Make sure your grill is piping hot and char that broccoli until its blackened on one side. Yum!

and speaking of summer...

Lovely Laura is making a scrumptious heirloom tomato pie for dinner.
Tomatoes are going crazy... so, we're eatin em up. Lycopenes, you fill us with joy!

I made a Panzanella Salad (ie. Bread Salad) today -- Really great summer dish

Cube 4 C stale bread and toast until crisp
Cube 4 C tomatoes
Dice1 Cucumber
Dice 1 Bell pepper
Mince 1/2 C Fresh Basil
Mince 1/4 C fresh oregano
Mix veggies, leaving bread aside until just before serving.

Separately mix Vinaigrette:
2 T minced Garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
2 T dijon mustard
1 T maple syrup
1/4 C red wine vinegar (or whatever you gots)
1/2 C olive oil
Add half of this to veggies and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.
season with salt and pepper to taste.
Just before serving, toss in cubed bread and add remaining Vinaigrette.

Sorry to be cranky about the food systems in the world lately -- But, its not going away.

I have a few tips to help you in your quest to create local systems, while also eating healthier and consequently -- feeling much better.

1. Don't buy packaged food with ingredients you cannot pronounce.
2. Avoid products with High Fructose Corn Syrup ( I know this is repetitive, but seriously folks -that shit will kill you)
3. Don't eat in the car, unless you're falling asleep --Stop at those lovely little rest stops and eat your free range egg salad sandwich in the sun, with the trees and bees.
4. Drive less. There is no reason to drive 3 blocks to grab a 6 pack
5. I like to take a walk for 20 minutes at least once a day after meals.
6. Try growing something in your window seal.
7. Substitute Plain yogurt for sour cream -- and make your own yogurt if you so desire.
8. Eat seasonal fruit instead of sugar laden junk food.
9. Eat seasonally, Period. Why would you eat tomatoes in winter -- they don't taste like anything.

Read up on Heirlooms!

One of my addictions, oh well.
These aren't necessarily local ..though I do miss going for walks in Oklahoma and eating my fill of pecans.
These are simple Maple Spiced Nuts ..which make a perfect snack or accompaniment to a dessert of local cheese and seasonal fruit.

1 C maple
2 t black pepper
1/2 t cayenne
2 t cinnamon
1 t cardamom
1/2 t coriander
2 t salt

Mix well and add 3 C mixed nuts (or seeds)

In a small saucepan, stir over high heat until bubbling. Transfer to lightly oiled sheet tray and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes ..using a spatula to toss nuts and syrup. When syrup starts to thicken and darken, they're done. Remove from oven and use spatula to assure nuts are coated. Toss a few times while cooling to avoid them sticking to tray.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A special day for a special lady

Deb --This moo's for you!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Exercising my 1st amendment

I'm going to try and make this one quick today ... an insight into my obsession with well as my slightly schizophrenic and unsettled mind. :)

Food insecurity has been described as "a condition in which people lack basic food intake to provide them with the energy and nutrients for fully productive lives." (Hunger Task Force)

I walked around the farm this morning, admiring the tomatoes, peppers, and rapidly growing corn stalks. Myself, feeling privileged and proud to not only have at my fingertips, the most delicious and nurturing food, but to also know that I contribute to the system that grows this food.

Meanwhile, also thinking about the rest of the world, this country, my very own community and the desperate situation with food security -- So, read up -- If there one thing that MUST change in this world -- It is the food system degradation. Thinking about the fact that I sit here, with my new computer, piles of coffee mugs surrounding me, books, pens, fish oil in capsule form because I prefer not to taste it ... all of these seemingly simple commodities -- that I can afford to scoff. I recognize my place in this world and therefore it is my responsibility (and yours) to embrace our social and civil duties.

Its a small example -- but the kitchen crew and all staff ensure that all plant based materials are composted, even our humanure finds a happy home to become rich, nutrient-filled compost with which to feed summer flowers. We feed the chickens tasty scraps in turn for their even tastier eggs. Those loyal, grub loving chickens follow the grass fed sheep in rotational grazing - sanitizing the soil by devouring any potential parasites in the soil and manure. And so on...

It is a beautiful process indeed. One that has kept humans alive and healthy for centuries. Also -- It is a system that has quickly deteriorated. We humans have become lazy and careless about our bodies. No longer do we invest in nutritional foods, support local systems, and use energy wisely. Instead, we have allowed the industry to dictate our "food" system. We are far less frugal with cell phones, cable television, and new cars than we are with the most basic and essential key to happiness --- honest to goodness FOOD. Grocery stores fill landfills with "spoiled food" that is pefectly edible and could feed another 27% of our starving population.
We consumers have a choice. It is very simple. As the most privileged nation in the world, we must use our power of choice to create a more secure system for ourselves, one another, and the entirety of the human race. Globalization does not solve our problems, it only perpetuates our dependency on corporate control. As individuals we can focus on rebuilding our local communities and supporting those who are less fortunate through access to real food.
It is essential that we understand and demand that all humans have this basic right to food and nourishment. It is possible to grow and change --

From nourishment and stability comes a more balanced and peaceful society. Until we, as a human race, unite to bring sovereignty to ourselves and one another, debasement of our society, culture, and environment will continue.

"Certain rights can never be granted to the government but must be kept in the hands of the people...a right is not something that somebody gives you; it is something that nobody can take away"- Eleanor Roosevelt

Having a blog is like having a baby, without all the stretch marks and hormonal changes.
I can say what I want, and if you don't like it -- you can go to your room without dinner.

And thanks to mainstream media --- here I am, saying what I want to on Emeril's Going Green Series.

Due to air sometime in September.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Holla Back .... (UPDATED

with Challah and Yak...
Dr. Oran Hesterman- (check out The Fair Food Foundation) displays his awesome Challah ---which did indeed make me wanna holla. I don't generally get down on bread --- but this was incredibly delicious. Sorry you had to miss it. He used whole wheat, spelt, cornmeal, and sesame for a spin on a classic jewish
Shabbat bread.

In other news....

If you haven't tried fresh blueberries, chevre, basil, and olive oil on your very own woodfired pizza -- you are missing out.


The folks at Vermont Yak Co. are making waves with their healthy and lean meats --I'm excited about these Tibetan treats for many reasons. They are very similar to buffalo and every time I ride my bike down Route 100, I see them grazing in the pastures -- an assurance that these animals are being raised and treated humanely. If Yak isn't available in your neck of the woods -- any shank will do. Assuming, of course, that it is not from a feedlot.
(Sad feedlot cattle)

Now that you know all about sad feedlot cattle, on to preparation-- I coated each shank with olive oil and a mixture of Rosemary, Curry, Cumin, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Next, I seared each one in a cast iron until caramelized on each side.
Finally, I placed them in a 2" baking dish -- with onions, carrots, and garlic --- and finished them with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and Vermont Apple Cider.
Next, cover the baking pan with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 6 hours -- a slow, wet roast assures that the meat will be tender and literally fall off the bone without drying out.

..completing the finishing Yak Touches .. I removed the wine and cider that had previously covered the shanks. In a saucepan, I brought a boil and reduced to 1/2. Wow, it made for a delicious sauce to smother those tender little shanks.
Finally, a dish that Julia Child would don acceptable enough to accompany a nice glass of sherry.
Also, what a woman that Julia!
Spaetzle in Black Currant Sauce

One of the retreat participants brought Black Currants as a gift --- I wanted to experiment, as usual, so I decided to make a savory sauce. Honestly, The best direction I could give --- browning garlic, adding currants, minced sage and rosemary, maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste. I let this sauce thicken slightly and then tossed Spaetzle just before service.
These little dumplings would be excellent with the aforementioned Shank or any game meat. The black currant is tangy but also sweet. I sure love to fruit my meat!
Also, it's nice as a stand alone with roasted beet greens.

I swear, last weeks dishes are coming soon (roasted beet salad, poached pears, etc.etc.etc.)

In the meantime -- Enjoy the updates from the nearest and dearest to my heart --
it's true, she traded her BWM for a minivan!

Also, don't forget to try out Jeremy's Tomatillo Recipe.

Ciao and enjoy!

Friday, August 8, 2008

what summer's all about

I was just pulling off my pants when I saw this sign in the brush... I decided to refrain.

Besides going for a lovely motorcycle ride and visiting the falls, I've also been busy with the harvest.
I went to an awesome foodie event for the Vermont Fresh Network at Shelburne Farms.
The guys at Hen of The Wood let me cook with them ..I drank too much wine, but I also got to try Goat in a Box.

A quick summer menu for a small crowd

Beautiful Roasted Beet Salad
Cucumber Salad with marinated red onion, tomato, and cauliflower

(sorry it's fuzzy, totally unprofessional)
and for dessert ....

Cider Poached Bartlett Pears with Coconut milk
(or any variety of apple or pear -- Look for regional fruit and at the very least, domestic)

Damn, do I have to type up all the instructions now?
I figure taking pictures should get you going.
Alright... here's the deal. I'm super busy now, but I'm going to come back with recipe tips.

Friday, August 1, 2008

oh, just another day on the farm

birthdays help make the days pass with more excitement than usual.. especially when carrot cake is involved... I am exhausted these days, which is why I haven't been updating much. I promise there will be plenty of recipes and foolish humor soon. In the meantime, check Heck's girl is dedicated.

Thanks to my lovely assistant, Deb, for being born. I made a carrot cake ---4 layers and Laura made a lovely maple creme icing. The farm made flowers and blueberries. I made this recipe up and it turned out quite dandy. If I can remember it, I will post it.

I just can't seem to get away from these griddle cakes ... I was invited to write another recipe for the Captial Area Food Bank Calender.
I actually had to test this recipe, so I didn't just make it up while I was typing. The new calender won't be out for a few months get a sneak peak.

Sweet Corn and Basil Griddle Cakes with Fresh Tomato Jam

It is essential, when thinking about “changing course,” that we support local food systems and utilize the bounty of our land. Most of these ingredients are readily available at local farmers’ markets and can be frozen or preserved for the fall or winter when availability is scarce. In the summer, this dish is simple and highlights the fresh tastes of the season.

Fresh Tomato Jam (Warm Tomato compote in off-season months)

4 Cups fresh tomatoes
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. cayenne
1 Tbs. minced onion
1 chopped and seeded chili pepper (optional)
Salt to taste

Using your hands, squeeze tomatoes into a large mixing bowl to desired jam consistency. Add remaining ingredients and allow to rest at room temperate for 30 minutes. For the warm compote, simply cook onion with seasonings over low heat in 1 Tbs. of sunflower oil and add preserved tomatoes.

Sweet Corn and Basil Griddle Cakes

1 Cup yogurt
1 Cup milk
¼ Cup sunflower oil
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
2 ears sweet corn (approximately 1 ½ Cup)
¼ Cup minced basil
4 Cups cornmeal

Mix all ingredients, adding cornmeal last, to form a thick dough. Heat in a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet and oil if necessary. Using two spoons, drop two inch mounds of dough into skillet and flatten slightly. Allow to cook until deep golden and crisp on each side.

Spoon tomato jam on top of warm griddle cakes and enjoy with an optional dollop of crème fraiche.

Red Heirloom Quinoa!
This is my favorite grain. It is extremely healthy and delicious.
Get some.