Tag Archives: Slocal Food

Foodie

I really don’t think I’ve been fully converted to foodiedom–I still give in to the occasional pop tart or box of mac n’ cheese.

However, I’ve noticed recently that there are a few things at the grocery store that have moved from “that’s fancy and mysterious” to “that’s the only kind I want now.”  Don’t worry, I’m not at the level of truffle oil.  But, I’ve just noticed…a couple things.

Here’s a list of a few of my new norms:

** Clausen dill pickles:  I honestly think these are the greatest dill pickles ever created.  But they’re slightly more expensive because they’re not preserved by heat–so they are in the refrigerated section rather than the center of the store.

** Block cheese:  If I tried to figure it out, block cheese is probably less expensive than the pre-shredded stuff.  Regardless, I only like the block cheese and prefer to shred it myself.  Tastes fresher, melts better.  Could be all in my head, but that’s okay.

** Fresh mozarella cheese:  Have you tasted this?! Have you ever made a pizza with this?!  I’ll never go back.

** Local eggs:  we can buy eggs from two of our friends that keep chickens–brown eggs, blue eggs, white eggs.  They’re so good!  I was super skeptical about there being any difference between fresh and store-bought eggs at the beginning.  Well, guess what?  There’s a huge difference.  HUGE.  If I can help it at all, I want to always try to get fresh eggs or have hens of my own.

**Cheerios:  This is actually Atticus’s preference.  He says there’s just something wrong with generic brands.  Is this true?  I don’t know because I never eat cereal.

**Greek-style yogurt:  Apparently, I’m skin-rash-over-entire-body allergic to the strawberry greek yogurt at our store.  But I still buy any of the other flavors–a big tub once a week.  I never liked yogurt before I tried the greek style and now it’s something that actually gets me to sometimes eat a breakfast!

**Heavy whipping cream:  Atticus grew up in a family that made real whipping cream for, like, every meal or something insane.  I had no idea that there was anything other than Cool Whip in the world before we were married.  I’m fully converted.

Are there “special” foods that you only buy now–things that you never really were into or knew about before?

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Grains I Have Loved

Did you know there’s a magical world of grains?  Did you?  Because I didn’t until about three years ago when I started to love cooking.

Cooking was not something I particularly liked to do before then.  I mostly got through college and grad school through the strategic use of Taco Bells and large pots of Sunday-made Japanese curry.

But, then I got married to Atticus and suddenly I became very interested in every single way I could give something nice to him.  And, through cooking, I figured out how to make really tasty, really healthy, really fantastically interesting food.  Plus, I was shocked at how much fun it was!

I also discovered that the world has so many kinds of real food! And when I say “real food” I mean food that came directly from the ground.  Before 2008, I knew that wheat could make bleached flour and rice was white.  If I was feeling really fancy, I could tell you that multigrain bread had multiple kinds of mysterious… well…grain.

Since then, I’ve discovered many more magical grains–

1. Basmati rice:  the only true Indian food rice.

2. Cous cous:  what the “easiest thing in the world to make”?

3.  Quinoa:  someday I will grow it in my garden–it’s the prettiest grain plant I’ve ever seen.

4. Barley:  can really make a vegetable beef soup.

5.  Wild Rice:  not only does it taste good, it looks good too!

6. Semolina:  Atticus is slowly converting me to hot cereal breakfasts through the use of semolina.

7. Pearl tapioca:  Okay, okay, so it’s really just cassava starch and not a grain.  But it sort of looks like a grain!  And it helped make the best cherry pie I’ve had in my entire life (Thank you Atticus and your baking skills!).

Are there any other amazing grains I’m missing out on?  Because, I’m sort of in love with them…

Pretty Quinoa, huh?

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Forager

Yesterday, Atticus came out to work with me in the marshes and on the way back we decided that it was finally the time to put our mushroom hunting skills to the test.

This was mostly because we were with someone else who knew his mushrooms and because we kept passing patches and patches of what, as I came to discover last night, are actually a highly sought after fungus commodity–chantrelles.  Fact:  chantrelle mushrooms have a freakishly huge amount of vitamin D in them–how perfect a crop to spring up right when the days are getting shorter and rainer here in Oregon!*  I love nature.  It’s so smart.

Yeah!  Chantrelles!  They’re a gorgeous orange color and taste divine.  If you think you don’t like mushrooms, you should try a chantrelle.  Not as “mushroomy” as the stuff you get at the grocery store.

Also, I learned yesterday that people wait for chantrelle season like they wait for salmon season.  It’s apparently a big deal here!  Who knew?  Some folks even take weeks off from work to hunt and gather chantrelles to sell to big mushroom buyers who dry them to send to chefs all over the world.

And we got to eat them fresh and free.  Bwaha!

Our chantrelle haul!

We made a chantrelle/sausage pizza last night and it was amazing.   Aaaaaaaamazing.  You might want to get a plane ticket and come see us today so you can have a bite–it’s that amazing.

And I think I’ve discovered a new hobby–foraging.  It’s really really fun to do once you know what you’re doing in the first place.  Cousin Dave and I foraged blackberries for a pie last month, I’ve had a lunch of wild plums and salal berries at work, and now it’s mushroom season.  Bring it.

*It’s probably also why people are obsessed with them here.  People literally guard their patches and get crazy looks in their eyes when they find a bunch.  Like starving people.  Starving for vitamin D maybe.  I’ve heard stories…

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(Not-totally-but-kind-of) Epic Fail

Just so you know…

Chiogga beets, while they may look like beautiful rubies when you pull them from the ground…

though they may have perfectly concentric rings of white and red when you slice them….

and produce the brightest fuchsia colors when you grate them…

They turn into a nasty brown-green pus when you apply any sort of heat.

I’m sorry borscht recipe.  You may taste like awesome, but you look like moldy mud.

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Garden: June 15

Salad, peas, salad, peas...we eat a lot of it, but soon we'll have our beets for some summer borscht!

Inside the greenhouse we have the green beans on their way, two tomato plants (striped roma and glacier), alyssums, and cucumbers (not in shot)

And some shots for comparison:

March 15

May 1

May 15

I’m very excited about the garden this year because of the cool heirloom vegetables we’re growing along with the standards.  These aren’t your regular, grocery store veggies.  These are different:

Purple lettuce! (Oak Leaf)

Yellow...er..green beans (Yellow wax bean)

Orange striped tomatoes! (Striped Roman)

Zebra beets! (Chiogga)

And "alien-like" (from the catalog) spiky, neon broccoli! (Veronica)

Gardens are rad.

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Garden: May 15

With our newly built tunnel greenhouse for the tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans. And can I add that, right now, only ten days later, those peas on the left side are at least 8 inches taller than their trellis.

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CSA Experiment update:

Mmmm. Veggies

Mmmm. Veggies

For the past two weeks, our weekly CSA farm notes have been apologetic, assuring us that they were just waiting for some more sunny days to let the vegetables take off and then we’d “see the boxes fill.”  This was a bit of a shocker since we already were overwhelmed with the “lightly loaded boxes.”  Well, this past Friday, we got a little hint of what a full box means*…

And I’m shocked but giddy to report that our grocery bill for this entire week was exactly: $10.23 

Actually, our Saturday “reload” bill was only $5.03 for the week, but then we concocted an “Iron Chef” competition with some friends to help us use up the vegetables before we head to CA on Friday.  We decided to make a veggie lasagna…and well…the cheese put us over $10 for the week.  That’s just what cheese does.

BUT STILL!  I mean, we honestly did not need anything other than milk, bread, and a $1 can of spaghetti sauce on Saturday.  Crazy.

CSAs: Forcing you gleefully into a rockin’ budget since the 1980s.**

*Namely, 3 huge cucumbers (the best I’ve ever had.  Ever.), 2 pints of blueberries, one HUGE walla walla onion, a bunch of green onions, 2 heads of lettuce, 6 large tomatoes, huge zuchinni, huge summer squash, 13 carrots, 2 head broccoli, 1 head cauliflower, 7 beets, parsley.  That’s in addition to the veggies we still had from the week before: 5 carrots, 1/2 onion, 2 bunches of green onions, swiss chard, summer squash, 6 turnips, 3 beets, 1/2 pint of strawberries, and a whole lotta snap peas.

**”Community supported agriculture began in the early 1960s in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan as a response to concerns about food safety and the urbanization of agricultural land. Groups of consumers and farmers in Europe formed cooperative partnerships to fund farming and pay the full costs of ecologically sound, socially equitable agriculture. In Europe many of the CSA style farms were inspired by the economic ideas of Rudolf Steiner and experiments with community agriculture took place on farms using biodynamic agriculture. In 1965, mothers in Japan concerned about the rise of imported food and the loss of arable land started the first CSA projects, called teikei (提携) in Japanese – most likely unrelated to the developments in Europe.

The idea took root in the United States in 1984, when Jan Vander Tuin brought the concept of CSA to North America from Europe.”  ~Wiki Pedia

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