September 22, 2007

Squash dish the kids will eat

I had a going-bad squash I had to roast off the other night, right after picking it up.  No fault of the farm - it's a delicata squash - so just as the name implies - it's fragile!

Slice the squash, seed it, brush w/ olive oil and season
Roast in a 400 oven until brownish
Cut into chunks or dice (more camoflauge-ready)
Store for future use

Future use #1:
Whole wheat pasta
Toasted walnuts
Roasted squash
Parmesan cheese
Toss. Done!
I toasted the walnuts in one pan ... then added olive oil and sauteed the squash a little to reheat and carmelize a little more ... then added the pasta straight into the pan with a bit of pasta water so it wouldn't be too dry.  No herbs in this one,  but sage would be yum.

The kids eat it because they think the squash are tomatoes! LOL!

September 20, 2007

I Don't Get It

Anyone know the answer to the following quiz?

Apples (organic. .69/ea) bought at an 'alternative grocery store' (for lack of a better term) in mid-September, in Northern California originated from:

a/ Washington State
b/ California
c/ the Southern freakin' Hemisphere
d/ New York

If you guessed C - you're a winner! And I'm the loser for having bought them and not realizing it until we were home and eating them.

This really, really irked me. Is there anyone out there that can explain the economics of this? How is shipping apples from New Zealand, in September (where apples are not even in season there!!!!!!) to California economically viable?! HOW? There are so many things that defy logic, here. How is it less expensive to ship and store them vs. sourcing them locally? They are in season here for goodness sake - apples are falling off all the trees in my urban neighborhood.

How do they justify the environmental cost?
How do they justify the loss in flavor during that long voyage across the whole Atlantic Ocean?

I feel compelled to write to aforementioned store, but they are notoriously secretive and private and sneaky? so I doubt I would get a response. Maybe if Michael Pollan or Alice Waters wrote to them, then they'd listen. Hmph.

September 15, 2007

The Line?

A few weeks ago, prompted by my blogmate and this article, I set out to make homemade butter. It's harder than he makes it sound, his notion probably being that of hours spent over a wooden churn. I've tasked my husband with building an appliance that could do this for you, but he's not interested yet. I'll wear him down.

The results, were indeed worthwhile. Yes, the taste of the butter was amazingly fresh, though I'm probably spoiled by European Style butter. But to me, the fresh buttermilk is what will motivate me to dirty several bowls - and you try to knead butter over a strainer. (A. It gets warm in your hands. B. It extrudes through the holes in the strainer and looks like riced-potatoes.)

I'm not sure when I'll do this again... after my machine is built? How hard could it be?  You'd need a chamber to do the whipping, above a chamber to receive the whey. You could then switch out the whisk for a kneading hook to finish the job.

We were out of town for a week and when we returned the remainder of the butter was rancid. I'm not sure what the trick would be to keep it fresh.

Oh, and while panicking that all my glass containers were in use and I'd have no where to store the butter it occurred to me - duh - that I could wrap it in parchment paper.  

Now we come to the portion of our programming where we ask: is this task sustainable? Can I take time out of my weekly schedule to make butter? And does it make a difference when I can buy pre-made, european-style butter from the same, local creamery? That stays fresh for several weeks at a time? Or is this something I hold off on doing all but occasionally until we get the cow? (I'm only half kidding.) I think I've answered my own questions.

September 7, 2007

I was reminded that it is indeed September when I went to pick up my CSA box last night. A true sign of September is to be able to buy corn and tomatoes and squash all together - and they all taste great since they are still in season. This is my favorite time of the year because of all the late summer produce that is still in abundance.

Here's another crappiest-blog-photo award contender! (Really, I don't know how people take the beautiful shots they do. Plus? It's really time consuming!)

Those are nectarines on the right! They totally look like apples - can't wait to try them.

And, yes people - The Omnivore's Dilemna is now in paperback. This is the book that really sent me over the edge as far as trying to eat local. If you are wondering what all the fuss is about, this is where to start. If you have never read any of his books, Michael Pollan is an amazing writer. He keeps you engaged in a subject matter that is often technical and dry (politics!).  I can't recommend this book any more strongly!