Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Year

I'm 36 today. Things are just starting to get interesting.

I'm writing for the Canadian Unitarian now. Everything is falling into place for Brine, my own little local foods magazine. And as I grow deeper and deeper into relational food, my own eating is undergoing a quiet revolution. From beans to berries to spinach to oats, I'm eating local foods that nourish and delight. The backyard offers worlds of herbs, and I accept.

Speaking of, both Mountain Top and Quebec are doing beautifully in the garlic garden. I sat on my hands to leave the scapes alone (ate BW's instead). I'm impatient to savour the bulbs. A couple weeks ago a clump of pumpkin seedlings popped out of the spinach patch, where Charlie dumped a packet of seeds in May. I successfully transplanted them to an empty bed. Now our pumpkin patch may be our biggest producer.

Time for a birthday Turkish coffee. Guess I'm not eating THAT locally. ;-)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tending My Plots

Local horticulturalist Svenja Dee took one glance at my 'broccoli' from 20 feet away and said, "That's spinach. It's gone to seed. You can't eat it." But next spring we'll have an already-established patch. I think I'll see if we can build a raised bed around it.

In other news, the Citizens Against Uranium Mining blog is coming together nicely. Curses upon you, Triple Uranium!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The UnWrap

My dear husband John is the Master of Leftovers. Which is great, since my cooking and grilling experiments generate so many of them. This is what we enjoyed for lunch yesterday:

Leftover fried chicken, chopped into tidbits


Olive oil (John used some Zatoun we got at the Mahone Bay organic farmer's market)

Shredded cheese (I'd like to say I made my queso blanco for this, but I was too lazy. We slummed with an organic cheddar from the market)

Chopped lettuce (We used BW's organic greens)

Taco sauce

Minced fresh oregano (also from BW's farm)

Warm the olive oil in a cast iron pan over low-medium heat. Toast the tortillas in the pan one at a time, 1-2 minutes per side. Set aside or in a tortilla warmer.

Toss the fried chicken tidbits in a light coating of taco sauce. Warm gently on the stovetop. Leave the taco sauce out for people to add to taste.

Plate the tortillas, one per plate. spoon the warm fried chicken down the middle, top with lettuce and cheese, and gently wrap into a burrito shape. Sprinkle the top with minced oregano, and voila!

Why do we call it an UnWrap? Because the soft, warm tortilla contains its ingredients loosely, leaving room for additions, subtractions, or other improvisations. As an unschooling family, it fits us to a T!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vache Perdu

We spent the whole day yesterday at the zoo. I stood for ages, cooing at a two week old gibbon and his mommy. Charlie went on his first pony ride. Japanese deer with velvet antlers and anime eyes came out of a dark, cool forest to nibble corn from our hands.

We topped off the whole affair with a picnic of organic local strawberries, fried chicken, and biscuits. It was a long, fun, hot day.

And as a result, we were floppy like jello this morning. John made some hot chocolate. We sat around with the paper for hours, sipping his spicy brew and trading political commentary, then eventually I made these french toast sandwiches:

1 stale brioche (I used our standard, from Boulangerie La Vendeenne), sliced thinly

Organic butter

5 eggs (We get ours from Wooly Mountain Farm. The chickens' diet of organic grain and oyster shells produces such a muscular yolk that they're hard to beat. Whoops, I made a punny!)

1/4 C cream

Vanilla to taste (Did you know that vanilla is the sex organ of the orchid, a tropical flower that grows on the sides of trees in the rainforest? I like lots in my french toast--and everything else)

Zest from two lemons (we get organic ones from Peet's Frootique in Halifax)

1 pkg La Vache Qui Ri

Heat the pan on low/medium. Beat the eggs, cream, vanilla, and zest together well. Soak bread pieces in the mixture, turning over after a few minutes. Drop a dab of butter in the pan (I like stainless steel with a copper bottom for this.)

After browning the bread on both sides, remove and plate. Make the slices into cheese sandwiches, using 1/2--1 triangle of cheese per sandwich. Serve and eat by hand. Delicious!

(And a little maple syrup as a dipping sauce doesn't hurt.)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sauce Chartreuse

I modified this recipe from one offered by the monks who make Chartreuse:

2 C chopped tomatoes
1 big onion, minced
3 T butter
1/4 C green Chartreuse
1/4 C heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Sweat the onions in butter with a pinch of salt until mostly soft; add tomatoes for the last 10-15 minutes.

Add Chartreuse and turn off the heat. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir in the cream and serve immediately.

I served this on a grass-fed roast from Kevin Veinotte (ten miles) and boiled new potatoes from the Annapolis Valley (about 70 miles). It was a nice taste, but I thought the tomatoes overpowered the Chartreuse to a surprising extent. I think next time I'll try adding Chartreuse and cream to a simple broth and pan jus mixture. There's something the marriage of chlorophyll and alcohol that just does it for me.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Green Betty Fries Chicken

2.5-3 lbs chicken pieces (We use Kevin Veinotte's free range, organic birds)

Kosher salt

1 minced onion

2 cloves garlic, pressed (This ingredient I grew myself!)

3 C buttermilk

1 t guajillo powder

1 t ancho powder (all our chile powders come from Native Seeds)

1 t cracked black pepper

3/4 C flour

1/4 C cornmeal (both this and the flour are available organically and locally from Speerville Mills)

2 C vegetable fats

1 stick organic butter

Lightly coat the chicken pieces in kosher salt and pile them up in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Combine buttermilk, onions, and garlic.

Rinse chicken well and add to buttermilk. Marinade for between 8 and 24 hours (the longer the marinade, the more distinct the buttermilk/allium scent to the meat. I like it at about 12 hours.)

Combine flour, chiles, pepper, and cornmeal in a big ziplock; shake it all around until thoroughly blended. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, shake off the excess, and shake it all around inside the bag. Put it on a piece of waxed paper for 20 or 30 minutes.

Heat the fat and butter in a 12 inch cast iron skilled on moderately high heat (7.5, on my stove dial). Add 1/3 of the chicken pieces, reduce heat to low (2 on my stove) and cook for 10 minutes. Turn and cook for another 12 minutes (legs and thighs) or 8 minutes (breasts). Transfer chicken to a paper towel and drain before eating or storing.

I took this to the one year anniversary party for Lalanova. The compliments are going to keep me fat-headed for about a week.