Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Locavore Super Bowl Menu (pssstt it’s healthy too)

Standard

One consumerist trap that I am embarrassed to admit (nah, no I’m not) is that I love football season and mostly the grand finale of it all, the Super Bowl (I would have liked it more had it been the Packers or the niners but….).  I also love any excuse to cook and to have parties. I already know what you are saying, “Super bowl menu local? healthy? get out!” And I counter with “yes, yes, and no way!” Most people think seven layer dip and little weenies and doritos, well not in my house. I say let there be dips and soul food!

Hummus Two Ways

  • 1lb dried garbanzos (I used Camas Country)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts (any type of local nut, the typical ingredient this is replacing is tahini so you want a mellower flavored nut)
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional, but recommended)
  • Salt and pepper
  • [Hummus 1] Roasted Red Pepper, cumin, paprika, green onion
  • [Hummus 2] Pesto (or just basil), herb de provence, kale/chard/spinach, flax seed

Directions: Soak garbanzos over night, the next day, boil the beans for about 30 minutes until the beans become a little softer (they will still be pretty tough this is just fine). Strain the beans, and place half in a food processor. Add two or three cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, a few tablespoons lemon juice. Start the food processor and either add olive oil, warm water, or a mixture of both. I put a tablespoon or so of olive oil and used water for the rest (normal recipes call for all olive oil, but I do not think it is necessary, and it saves a bunch of calories to just use the water). Once the hummus is the consistency desired, add the rest of the ingredients.

“Ranch” Carrot Dip (all the flavors of ranch with out all that other freaky stuff)

  • 8oz Greek or Nonfat Yogurt (that has been strained over night through a sieve or cheese cloth so that it become thicker)
  • 8oz cream cheese (Nancy’s has the yogurt and the cheese)
  • 2 c shredded carrots
  • 1/2 c finely chopped fresh dill or 1/4 c dill weed
  • 1-2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1/4 c finely chopped green onion or  2 T onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional) bleu or parmesan cheese

Mediterranean Dip

  • 160z yogurt (done the same as the recipe above)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers (I canned mine this summer)
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke
  • 1 jar olives (these are not local for me, but can be purchased organically and from as near as central California)
  • oregano, basil, salt, and pepper

Directions: Either put peppers, artichoke, and olives in a food processor and process until finely chopped, or finely chop by hand. Mince the garlic. Add all ingredients together and season to taste.

Salmon Burgers with Cabbage Slaw

  • 1 can (14-15oz) salmon (I get the Oregon or north pacific cans) or 1lb fresh salmon
  • 1 onion or 1/2 c green onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1 T Worcestershire
  • Salt, pepper, paprika
  • Slaw: 1/2 cabbage sliced, 1 beet and a few radishes finely sliced (julienne style), 1 T dijon mustard, 1 T lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dill (you can also use mayo in this part, but I am not a huge fan, I always sub plain yogurt for this)

Directions: Puree salmon in food processor (or hand chop) salmon. Mix all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl with hand and add more egg if too dry or more breadcrumbs if too sticky. Form into four 1/4lb patties and grill in pan over medium heat.

Chicken Sloppy Joes (adapted from Rachel Ray Food Network recipe)

  • 2 pounds chicken or turkey breast
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 onion finely chopped, or 1/2 c chopped green onion
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic minced
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, and paprika
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 T honey
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c hot sauce (or I took chili peppers I dried this summer, rehydrated, and finely chopped)
  • 1 c tomato sauce
  • 1 c chicken stock

Directions: Add meat to skillet and cook thoroughly. At the same time in a separate skillet saute carrots and onion with seasonings until softened. In a bowl combine the vinegar, honey, Worcestershire, hot sauce/peppers, tomato sauce and stock. Combine chicken, veggies, and liquid into the pan and stir to combine. Simmer until chicken begins to pull apart and shred with a fork. Pile sloppy joe filling onto buns and top with bleu cheese and pickles if desired.

Got any tasty super bowl/party recipes? Throw ’em this way! Happy winter!

Cold weather cookin’

Standard

I just watched the first snowflake gently fall upon the over-saturated Eugene soil this morning and decided, yes now is the time. The time to talk about some good ol’ home cook’d warm yer belly winter food. So basically, this is what we, as people of the winter, know: “brr its cold,” “I am even more hungry now,” “Its too cold for anything to grow,” “But man, I am still really hungry.” Well, here is a locavores options for food:

  1. food that farmers (or you!) put in the root cellar to sell/eat at later times. This includes: potatoes, onions, carrots, apples, winter squash, beets, parsnips, turnips, cabbage, garlic, brussels sprouts, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes
  2. food that you (or a friend or a community member) canned, dried, or froze. This is a wide variety and should be utilized to its fullest! Try setting up a food swap if you are waste deep in chutney but got no tomatoes! The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking created an excellent guide to hosting food swaps.
  3.  food that still may have a chance of growing (or is still in the ground) including: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, beets, p0tatoes, green onions, and radishes (sometimes). Also, planter herbs or greens that may be kept inside.
  4. animal proteins including: milk and milk products, eggs, and meat
  5. grains, cereals, nuts, and legumes that have been dried by farmers (or you!) and can still be purchased/used.
  6. food that can be foraged. This is mainly just including some mushrooms and herbs (like rosemary)

Now I apologize in advance because, to me, winter is not a vegetarian friendly season of my year. I like to have that little extra lean meat for the fat and protein, so that I am not constantly seeking out grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chocolates. So here are some recipes/dinners/menus I have put together with my local ingredients:

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (20 min prep 1 hour bake)

  • Pork Tenderloin (mine was about 5 pounds)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2lb mushrooms (whatever kind you like, I used chantrelles)
  • Garlic
  • Seasonings (I used salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, and basil)
  • 1/4 c Parmesan or any type of hard cheese (or no cheese if you prefer)
  • Bacon

Directions: First, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute onion, kale, and mushrooms in a pan with oil or butter,  seasonings, and garlic. Butterfly the pork tenderloin so that it may be split and laid open. Then, tenderize and flatten the tenderloin. Once it has reached desired thickness, place sauteed vegetables on tenderloin in a line so that they may be rolled up. Sprinkle cheese over veggies and roll tenderloin. Once the pork has been rolled, tie up with butchers string (if you do not have this, I managed without it as well). Now, wrap tenderloin with bacon (the tenderloin is so lean so the bacon helps to trap in moisture and add flavor), place in baking pan, and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes (depending on size of loin),  the meat thermometer should read between 145 to 160 degrees (this has been debated forever, if you trust your farmer, 145 should suffice).

I served my pork with acorn squash (which I put in at the same time covered in salt, pepper, oregano, and basil) and steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Bringin’ summer to winter fish tacos (though fish tacos are a notoriously summer and vacation food. I realized it was all very simple for winter though).

  • 1lb Whatever type of fish/seafood is in season (right now its Dungeness Crab, at the time I used rock fish)
  • 1-2 c cornmeal
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • Seasoning (I used salt, pepper, paprika, coriander)
  • 1/4-1/2 a Cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • Queso fresco (its like a Mexican feta, there is a farmer in Corvallis who makes it, but any type of local cheese can be used)
  • 4-6 corn tortillas (I have not tried making these yet, if anyone has any advice/recipes let me know!)
  • Lemon or lime juice (this is my non-local item, but I buy jars of organic juice for canning so I had a bit left over)
  • Green onions and/or cilantro (whatever you can find in season)
  • Nonfat yogurt

Directions: Heat skillet to medium-high heat and oven to 350 degrees. Prepare fish in taco sized portions. Mix seasonings together with corn meal (taste this and adjust as needed). Dip fish pieces in egg and then in corn meal. Fry in heated skillet with oil (you don’t have to use much just enough to sear outsides). Once both sides are seared, place in oven to finish cooking (this should only take about 5 to 10 minutes. While the fish is baking, slice cabbage, shred carrots, and make sauce. I just made a simple kind of “dip” sauce, but instead of sour cream, I used Nancy’s nonfat yogurt and mixed in lime juice, green onions, salt, and pepper for a nice tangy addition. I also had canned salsa that I used for the tacos. I served the tacos with corn that I canned from the summer.  Simple and delish.

Seasonal Sushi (now this one is sort of a cheater dish depending on the rice that is being used, but can still be made with considerable local thought and sustainability)

  • Nori/Seaweed sheets
  • 1 c Rice (now this is a touchy one, you can check out this website to find where rice is grown in the USA or use local wild rice, if enough water is used to cook the wild rice, it will become much softer and easier to use)
  • 1 T Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • Any type of local seasonal fish (we used dungeness crab, oregon coast shrimp that was previously frozen, and canned oregon tuna)
  •  Lettuce, kale, or chard
  • Carrots
  • Green Onion
  • Other options include: cream cheese, apple, pickled ginger, pickled beets, radish, use your imagination!

Directions: Cut veggies and fish into small manageable pieces, usually in matchstick shape. Make rice like normal. When finished add vinegar and honey and mix well, this will help to make the rice stickier. Line bamboo mat (these are fairly inexpensive everywhere, but if you do not have one you can use something like  a place mat) with saran wrap. Lay sheet of nori down and spread rice on nori so that it covers all but about a 1/2 in on top. If desired, you may quickly flip the sheet over so that the rice is on the outside (this may not work if you are using wild rice). Now add a fairly large strip of herbs, veggies, and fish at the bottom edge of the nori/rice (I noticed that the strip looked much larger than I thought I should make, until I rolled it and realized that it was perfect, maybe about an inch to an inch and a half thick). Then start rolling: roll the top edge over with the mat and pull in to make sure its tight, keep slowly working down the sheet until you have a tight roll. Cut in 4-6 pieces and enjoy with slices of homemade pickled ginger or plum sauce.

Root Vegetable Creamy Soup

  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 2 beets (optional- only if you want pink slightly earthier tasting soup)
  • 4 c water
  • garlic
  • onion
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 3 c milk
  • seasonings: salt, peppers, paprika, basil
  • optional: sausage, bacon, or cheese (we will get to this later)

Directions: Ok, so I make my potato soups a little different, if you want to use a crock pot for this, you can just exclude the 4 c water and add everything to the pot. If you want to make it for dinner in an hour though, follow my directions. First, start pot of water boiling. While water begins to boil, ready vegetables. This includes peeling rutabaga (and beet if using), scrubbing all other veggies, and cubing. I rarely peel my potatoes because I like the rustic-ness of them, but you can feel free to peel if you like. Next,  boil the roots until somewhat soft (not mashed potato soft). Remove from heat and strain vegetables. Set aside. Put pot back on burner and saute garlic and onion, once soft and fragrant add milk, stock, seasonings and half of the set aside root vegetables. Then, with a stick blender (or a potato masher) blend up vegetables and let simmer  to infuse flavors and let thicken. If desired, cook bacon or sausage in pan and add to soup. You mace also add cheese by tempering it in (meaning adding a little hot soup to a bowl of the cheese little at a time until it mixes with the soup, then adding the tempered mix back to the pot). Before serving, add the rest of the root vegetables, let them come to heat, and then serve.

You may also add kale, pumpkin, or apple for a sweeter soup.

I would love to hear your local winter recipes! Happy eating!

A short rant…

Standard

(Please excuse my anger, but the beast must be released sometimes…)

Why? Why? Why has humanity stopped caring? Forgot what it means to be a human? Forgot what it means to be of the animal kingdom?

Last week, I found myself in many small cities and towns across the beautiful (rainy) states of Oregon and Washington. I was excited to be out in the calm, slow,relaxing country, surrounded by cows, and trees, and vegetation. But, my hopes were soon crushed with every town we entered. Walmart, Albertsons, Safeway, Fred Meyers. What has happened to our farm towns? our rural folk? our reliance on community? Instead of relaxing, watching the rain, eating homemade soup, I was forced into the constricting isles of Fred Meyer. Obese assholes shoving their way past the minuscule pathetic display of organic vegetables to get to their “health food” of Yoplait whips, coconut waters, and Kellogg‘s Heart Smart Frosted Flakes. Children pointing and saying, “Mommy what’s that?” “I don’t know *checks tag* its Kale, you put it on a sandwich or something, com’on… what type of Lunchable do you want?”

These small communities and its members that once fed us are now helping to kill us by supporting these disgusting companies and these giant grocery tycoons. People have forgotten the purpose of food. As one of the basic necessities of life, like water and shelter, food keeps us alive; gives us nutrients to be healthy and to continue being healthy. Why have we diverged so far away from one of our most primitive and simple human necessities and given the responsibility of ensuring our life to power hungry money gobbling monsters? These people don’t care if we are healthy, they care if we are alive and have money so that we can purchase  and continue purchasing their product.

I believe that, soon, the world will be much different than the one we know now. December 2012, World War III, I dont know what it will take, but I do understand what it will take to be alive. And that is to know how to feed myself once the supermarkets, processed food, and packaging plants are gone. Gardening, hunting, forming community, sharing, foraging, gathering. I understand what it means to be an animal and a human being.

Ignorance is not bliss. With that, I leave you with some helpful quotes for making educated food choices….

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. -Michael Pollan

Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people. -Elizabeth Berry

We think fast food is equivalent to pornography, nutritionally speaking.  -Steve Elbert

Shake the hand that feeds you. -Michael Pollan