Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Local (sorta) Food - Thrifty 1930s Cuisine

Last week, when I decided that potato leek soup would be on the menu (and it's still there, but hasn't gotten made yet), I picked up a 5 pound bag of Yukon Gold potatoes. They aren't local, but I haven't seen local potatoes anywhere I shop, which makes me sad.

I picked up my CSA share tonight, and in addition to having lots of greens again, there were a few tomatoes, and another small "mess" of green beans. As I stood at the kitchen counter, marveling at how pretty they were this week, my eyes landed on the bag of potatoes and an instant memory of my vegetarian mom and her sisters came to mind. They were Depression Era gals, the entire family was vegetarian because their father believed it was the only way to be. Not a one of them had meat until they were married (and then some of them still didn't), but in the Depression, that was probably one reason this family successfully survived.

I remembered a simple combination of foods that was always a part of our summer dinners when as a child in the 50's and 60's, my family visited those sisters at the Lake Champlain, Vermont, 1950s-style "camp" one of them owned: corn on the cob, tomatoes, and this:

green beans and potatoes, cooked together. I seem to remember that the sisters all cooked it with either whole milk or cream.

I don't.
But the memory is still strong. Boy this tasted good. And I thoroughly enjoyed my trip down memory lane...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Local Food, Local Color!

I dropped by the Roanoke City Market today, as I was a bit dissappointed in my CSA share - I was hoping for winter squash, and apparently they've had a less than stellar year with that.

While I was there, I stopped in first to my favorite bakery, On the Rise:

and was able to get my very favorite bread, Rosemary Sourdough! They were kind enough to slice it for me, too...

I stopped by a few of the local vendors (and you can visit that on my knitting blog if you'd like visit later tonight, it will be up, soon).

And I brought back all this:

(the bread is in the back in a plastic bag...)

I've already put the mustard greens in the freezer. The October beans are on the stove for tonight's dinner - and smell absolutely wonderful! I added parsley and basil from this weeks CSA share, plus a little onion and dried rosemary to season them. I'll have the beans with sliced tomatoes and some of the bread, and a bit of greens.

Then I went ahead and froze the kale and mixed mesclun weeds from the CSA share. There was a huge bag of the weeds, and no way I could eat them all raw...but I'm big on greens because of the heavy concentration of calcium in them. I don't do milk very often and I don't seem to be able to handle calcium pills very well. Some years ago I discovered Susun Weed's book on menopause (NAYY) and learned that weeds and greens can provide so much of the calcium that my body doesn't want to absorb these days, and they work better with my digestive tract! Besides, I think, for all that calcium pills aren't that expensive, the greens are much cheaper...and tasty to boot. Adding in a bit of garlic and red wine vinegar helps me absorb the calcium, too. I'm all about keeping things as simple as I can.

So there's your "lesson" for the day - a bit of Local Food, a bit of herbal folk wisdom, and a touch of simple living health advice!


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Big 'Maters...

In my CSA share this week, there were many tomatoes, as I mentioned before, but there was one...ONE - BIG 'MATER:

For scale? That is my wrist at the bottom left of that photo - the tomato completely covers my hand!

Last night, I chopped two slices and mixed it in with hot pasta, and a thawed cube of the frozen pesto I made earlier in the summer...

And that was a really good meal, but then today? I was craving something a little different:
and I made a BLT.

How much of that tomato is left? About half of it. I will slice it and finish it tomorrow, possibly with mozzarella, but probably just by itself with salt and pepper.

Oh. Did I mention? It was FABULOUS!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Short Reprieve, So We're Told...

There were tomatoes in my CSA share this week! Lots of them, so the blight hasn't gotten all of the plants apparently - and these lovelies were in a little bag in addition to the regular-sized ones (the yellow pears are from my own plants):

So for my report this week for One Local Summer I'm afraid I have to tell you I'm eating tomato sandwiches, and (thanks to two small heads of buttercrunch lettuce from the CSA share) salads with tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing...tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes! There's a lot for ONE person to eat, but unfortunately, not enough to freeze and certainly nowhere near enough to can.
I did put 3 more peppers into the freezer for stuffed peppers this winter:

And blanched and froze another quart of green beans (will this be the last of them?)

And put up two quarts of eggplant for winter, too...

My refrigerator freezer is practically full to bursting!

So the best I could do? Was string these gorgeous peppers for drying...

I'll be away next week, so there won't be a post (or a CSA share). Happy Harvesting!!!