Saturday, April 2, 2011

Back to the Point

My computer crashed about a month ago. I have been checking in at the library, but blogging at the library takes a little more planning. However, the break was kind of nice and allowed me to think about the direction of my blog. The original point of this blog was to share with people how to cook for two with seasonal produce on a budget. This winter I really got away from that, but now I am ready to really focus and get back to the point. So with a solid recipe collection already on hand, I hoping to really show how to get the most out of your food dollars.

Stay tuned friends!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sometimes We Like Talking Just to Each Other

Okay okay, I know this is a food blog. But sometimes there are stories in my life that just need to be told. Especially when it comes to the many ways men try to hit on me (trust me, I am not bragging). I could write a whole list of ways how not to hit on women, but for this particular post I have a story with a purpose.

It was a bitterly cold Thursday night. I was having dinner with a dear friend. He is one of those people who when he is done eating - he is ready to go. He doesn't really care to finish his soda or linger over the table shredding up the napkin while we talk about various topics. I, on the other hand, love to linger. This guy is usually politely waits until I realize he is ready to go by the table shaking due to foot tapping. We were paying out when suddenly he says, "I've got to go. This situation is about to get me in trouble." He walks out the door.

I hadn't even put my hat and gloves on. I knew he hated waiting,but jeez! As I got up to put on my coat I finally saw what he was talking about. There was a group of young girls (athletes from a nearby college) and at another table a group of friends. The girls were enjoying their company alone the whole time my friend and I were there. However, when I turned around there was a guy at the table across from them turned around in his chair talking to them. All I could hear was "23?! I guessed right. Where are you guys from?" The girls are begrudgingly giving answers and sinking closer into their food trying to shut this man down as politely as they possible.

So this is what caused my friend to run away in a mad dash. He had to leave before he got angry with this guy. I kind of took my time putting on my jacket to watch the conversation. This guy was a tool. The girls weren't even making eye contact with him. They wanted no part of him. Not to mention that this man was very ambitiouss. Drunk, chubby, and rude and he was trying to hit on not one, not two, but THREE young ladies. So as I walked out I stop in front of him and say, "I really don't think those girls are interested in talking with you." He gave me a cocky smile and leaned back in his chair, "No... I don't think they are." The poor jerk, I think he thought I was sympathizing with him. Then I tilted my head and replied, "Then why the hell are you still bothering them?"

I left after that, hoping I helped him realize he should return to his own friends conversation and leave the ladies alone. I went outside and asked my why he didn't stand up for the girls. He had no answer. Pathetic. Chivalry was really dead in this instance.

However, it made me remember the great speech Julia Sugarbaker gives in one of the first episodes of Designing Women. Check it out!

So listen up fellas... there is a right way and a wrong way to hit on girls. Also, if you see a jerk like this guy hitting on a group of unwilling ladies - then step in and get some brownie points!

Ladies, share your unwanted attention stories in the comments section!

Monday, February 28, 2011

The West End Community Garden

It's amazing to me that while I lived on the farm, I never considered my family as farmers. My mother was a math teacher and worked in a fabric store. I told everyone she was a teacher, not a farmer. It was my grandfather's retirement hobby. It was something I helped with, but never gave much thought. It certainly wasn't something I wanted to do when I grew up. However, as I get older I am starting to miss the pastures and my dirt road. I especially miss my chickens. However, the romance of farming is lost whenever I realize we are in the middle of a drought or a hard freeze. I know that some person's crops and subsequent income are suffering. Regardless, I still have a strong desire to garden and perhaps raise a few chickens. But until I get my perfect little house and yard (tucked somewhere in Southside or Avondale), I will just have to settle with helping other local gardens.

I e-mailed West End Community Garden last summer asking if I could volunteer. They welcomed my help and told me just to come out on Saturdays. That was their designated volunteer day. However, I just wasn't organized enough to make it out there. As part of my new years resolution, I decided that this was one of the organizations I wanted to support. I want to invite you to come join me on Saturdays with the other volunteers as we help get this garden ready for the growing season. Contact me for more information!

Below is a film my friends Anna and Lindsay made, enjoy!

WE: The West End Community Garden from Digital Community Studies on Vimeo.

Fresh food has become one of my true passions in life. I feel that the right kind of diet will succesfully heal our bodies in ways that no pill can. How have you found yourself reconnecting with your food? Do you have a CSA, go the farmers market, or are you simply choosing in season produce at the grocery store? Please share your stories in the comments section.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Community Supported Bakery

I am a big fan of the Tree Hugger website. I love reading about what people are doing to improve their lives in a positive (and earth friendly) way! This lovely little video I am sharing with you made my heart smile. This woman has converted her garage into a bakery where she sells shares of baked goods. Brilliant! If you live in the South Puget area - I am super jealous, because I would totally be buying a share from 8 Arms Bakery.

Watch the video below to learn more!

Do you buy your baked goods from a local bakery or (like me) are you still buying from the grocery store? Share your information in the comments section!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Instant Documentary Marathon

In the last year, I feel that Netflix has really become a  big talking point. Sure, we always thought it was cool. Now that their instant library is becoming so extensive - people are jumping on the bandwagon. People seem to be watching really obscure movies so that they can bring it up in conversation (I myself have started watching a lot of Woody Allen movies). I also love how people will talk about a movie and then say, "It's on Netflix. You should watch it." It's become such a popular statement that I now have to remind people I don't have enough hours to watch the entire instant catalog, but I am trying!

What I love most is the mass availability of good documentaries. I am addicted to documentaries. Especially green/food documentaries. For today's post, I thought I would talk about the documentaries that are available to watch online through Netflix. Remember, these are just the ones I like that can be found on Netflix. There are a ton more out there to watch, but I'll save that list for another day. All of these films helped deepen my commitment to real food. Some of them I have watched several times because they always inspire me to analyze my life and figure out what else I can be doing. Enjoy!

  • American Experience: Earth Days - This is a PBS documentary that shows how the green movement really got started.
  • Food, Inc. - Yes, I know you have heard about it. Yes, it will make you want to stay away from the meat counter and any conventional grocery store. However, it will truly inspire you to find and enjoy food grown in sustainable ways.
  • Dirt! The Movie - I know this sounds weird - this is a cute but serious documentary. It shows how deeply we are connected to dirt and how humans are basically destroying and compromising everything good about dirt.
  • King Corn - Corn is in everything! EVERYTHING! These two guys from the city buy an acre of Iowa land and grow  commercial corn. They document the growing process and where there corn will go. Along the way, we learn about some of the mainstream practices that are killing small farms.
  • The Gerson Miracle - This film is very special to me. It's about a clinic who is curing cancer with a raw vegan diet. I had actually started researching vegan diets weeks before my mom died. I had planned to graduate college, move back to the farm, and heal my mom from the inside. I have talked to a lot of people about this treatment and I get a lot of weird stares. However, when you realize someone you love has no other options you'd be lusting after this treatment as well. My main point - food is the ultimate healer.
  • Food Matters - This is sort of a companion film to The Gerson Miracle. They talk about super foods, vitamins, and how important it is to choose natural foods. For a short while after I watched the film, I would drink a glass of water as soon as I woke up. Guess you'll have to watch to find out why!
  • No Impact Man - This follows a man who blogged about reducing his impact on the planet as much as possible. Even though he goes to some extremes (like shutting off his electricity in his New York apartment), he does come around at the end and talk about what would really work in an everyday house hold.
  • The Garden - The film documents the end of this very large community garden in LA. It brings up a lot political issues about land abandonment and ownership.
What are some of your favorite green minded documentaries?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Braised Cabbage with Chorizo and Beans

I made two cabbage/bean/chorizo recipes in a row. This one came from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express. This is a great little cookbook. I think it's a great book for people just learning to cook seasonally and wish I had seen this book long ago. I actually halved this recipe - because Bittman doesn't really make clear how many or how much is a serving. I wish I would have cut the cabbage into slightly smaller chunks, I think it would have helped speed up the cooking. I used Mexican chorizo instead of the smoked Spanish chorizo it describes - all was well, my friends. I used breadcrumbs that I had made from an old hard rock French loaf. With the breadcrumbs sprinkled on top, I found pure comfort in a real winter dish on a cold night. [To make it gluten free - just use Parmesan instead of breadcrumbs.]

Are you still just making slaw with your cabbage? Shame on you!

Braised Cabbage with Spanish Chorizo and Beans
(Serves 3-4)

Sliced smoked chorizo into quarter-inch-thich pieces, then cook in olive oil until it begins to crisp. Slice a head of green cabbage into weight wedges and put it on top of the chorizo; add a couple of cups of cooked or drained canned cannellini or other white beans, spreading to surround the cabbage; cover and cook for a few minuages, then flip the cabbage and stir the beans. Continue cooking until everything is warmed through, season with salt and pepper, and serve topped with toasted breadcrumbs or croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

White Bean and Cabbage Soup

Simmer down! This is not the horribly bland cabbage soup recipe you used that summer after freshman year when you were trying to quickly drop the added pounds. It is, however, a very comforting and hearty bowl of soup that will knock these winter nights out of the park.

It also comes from my new favorite cookbook Recipes from the Root Cellar. I halved the recipe and used the other half of the cabbage for a recipe that will be posted on the blog soon. I used Mexican Chorizo instead of Spanish. The difference? Mine was crumbly like hamburger meat and not really like smoked sausage. Honestly, you should never feel like you HAVE to have the exact ingredients. Cooking is all about making what you have work for you. I will say that I think the recipe needs more broth... it just seemed to be more like a stew. I also forgot to put the white beans (which I cooked at home) until after I had my first bowl. So that may have been why the broth to ingredients ratio seemed off. Oops.

I am telling you people to give cabbage a chance. I have a friend that says he can't get excited about cabbage, "It's just cabbage" he says. I used to be the same way, but now I know if you add the right ingredients cabbage is as tasty as you can make it. I am excited because I am about to cook with my first head of red cabbage soon!

Have you made cabbage a part of your winter diet?

White Bean and Cabbage Soup
(Serves 6-8)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small head green or savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (6-8 cups)
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 pound thin-skinned potatoes (do not peel), cut into 1-inch cubes
8 ounces Spanish chorizo, andouille, or other full-flavored, fully, cooked sausage
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, or 1 (15-ounce) can, rinsed and drained.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cabbage and onion and saute until beginning to color, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the broth, potatoes, and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and summer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

3. Stir in the beans and simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve hot.