October 28, 2007

Plastic Redux

Like all good, neurotic mothers, I worry about my children's exposure to plastic. Years of worry, actually, but a good alternative to plastic food storage containers never presented itself to me. I have antique refrigerator containers from my grandmothers, but they're the ranch-house of the fridge - sprawl, sprawl and more sprawl.

Then, this fall, as I was making pickles, it dawned on me... Mason jars! They're the high-density, high-rise answer to the problem of sprawl! (at least in the fridge... I'll keep my opinons on urban infill to myself) And they hold anything. Crudite, left-over meat, grains, lentils, nuts, flour, rice, cut-up fruit, and my favorite, make-ahead pancake batter.

I have two sizes and I recommend wide-mouth for easy packing and removal.

They're $9.99 a dozen at my local Ace Hardware store, thereby making them cheaper than similarly sized-plastic containers. Yes, I know they could break, and yes, I have small children in my house, but the risk seems minimal compared to buying, using and then discarding more and more plastic.

If I can't convince you, read-up on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

October 27, 2007

No time to write, must cook

My food life has been insane lately. No time to write about it, too busy cooking, soaking, chopping, marinating, eating! (Not to mention washing dishes in my dishwasherless kitchen.)

I've made some big dietary changes (giving up refined sugar, almost entirely) as well as some minor tweaking (like soaking and sprouting my whole grains before eating them).

I'm feeling better. With more energy; you know, that I can channel back in to cooking. And maybe a little documenting along the way.

October 24, 2007

how to start eating organic

The main objective of this blog is how to start eating more locally,...but let's not forget about the organic vs. conventional question that is built into that.  That apple may come from a farm 15 minutes down the road, but is it organic?  I would hope so, since apples have some of the highest percentage of pesticides.  And who eats a lot of apples?  My kids.  And probably yours.  

This is a great article from the New York Times about which products to start with and why.

October 21, 2007

the way nature intended

Oh come on,...it's just a worm ;)
Normally the farm cuts the tops off the corn for us, so we don't have to 'deal' with them.
They purposely told us they didn't do that this week and we were warned there would be worms.
I used the opportunity to show my 4 yr old that worms are important, they make our dirt (ok, maybe not this worm, but whatever) and that it's ok if they are in our food now and then.  
True, no?

October 19, 2007

CSA Contents: October 18

Dried serrano chiles
Butternut Squash
Green grapes
Rome apples
Red kale!

Couldn't be much easier to make a menu around these ingredients! Tonight we are going to have (last week's) tomatillo salsa-poached-fish and some sauteed corn. I love sauteed corn. The farm did mention that this was the last of the corn - I was surprised there was any still around! The kale is so delicious - I put some in a bulgur salad I made for lunch today along with some oven-roasted tomatoes, parsley and a vinaigrette. Voila.

Oh - I did make the egg/collard green dish - but there is no photo. There wasn't one worth taking. I can say for sure that I probably won't make it again. I just hate having to boil the greens for so long, there can't be any vitamins left once they are cooked. I saved the water to feed the plants, but then it rained! Oh well.

October 12, 2007

To Do

1. Hit the farmer's market. The lack of tomatoes due to the Medfly attack on the farm has made me grumpy. I was a little too busy and/or lazy to actually go out and purchase some,...so I better do it before they are totally gone. I think I'll hit the Alameda Market tomorrow morning.

2. Make this recipe with the collard greens from our box and report back here. (ooh - and how about if I include a photo this time? I'll try to remember)

3. Come up with a low carb menu for the week as a family member has been put on a restriction (nothing to really worry about). This is actually easier than I thought it would be. I'll report back, here.

4. Make a healthy dessert. Honey. Apples. Nuts. I hope to come up with something.

5. Scope out turkeys. I, for the first time in many years, will not be making Thanksgiving dinner much to my simultaneous chagrin and delight. However - I still want to make some turkey so I can make turkey stock and have leftovers. Is that weird? I don't care.

[I haven't been doing our 'weekly menu' because our 'menu' has been incredibly boring. Salmon with broccoli. Snapper with salad. Chicken legs and mushrooms. Snoozefest.]

I said something about the apples

Referring to my post from a few weeks ago, I said something to the manager of the store. I sheepishly asked if 'anyone else has complained that the apples are coming all the way from New Zealand?'

Mgr: Why, no. Why should they?
Me: Well, I can drive probably 15 minutes from here and get some - they are in season!
Mgr: Huh. Well, there haven't been any complaints. They are SO delicious!
Me: Ok, but why couldn't they be sourced more locally? I mean, it's not even apple season in New Zealand, is it?
Mgr: Oh, huh. I don't know how they decide where they come from.

I kind of felt like an idiot. And I kind of felt good for saying something. Although it was to the wrong person. Oh well. Since then I've been on a mission to find local AND organic (because apples are leaded with pesticides). It's not difficult if I'm willing to cross town and go to Whole Foods. However - the CSA came through the past two weeks and we finally have apples! Hurray.

October 3, 2007

Our Poor Farm

Not economically poor, but man-does-that-suck 'poor'.

If you've ever been to California, you will have encountered the agricultural customs that all must pass to enter whether it be by plane or car.  There is a good reason for that, as we are learning first-hand.

It seems that a traveler coming from Hawaii was carrying the Mediterranean Fruit Fly.  This fly is 'one of the world's most destructive pests' as it lays its eggs in the pierced skin of ripening fruit.  This Med-Fly made it to Dixon, CA where an outbreak has occurred.  That just happens to be where our Community Supported farm is.  Since this outbreak (which was not actually on their farm, but 3.5 miles away) - they have been unable to pick a large amount of the produce from their late summer crop including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, or stone fruit.  

The first week this happened, I noticed that the box was light before I even looked inside.  They were still able to provide lettuces, onions and potatoes - which I thought was pretty great given the time of year and the situation they were in!  Since then, other local farms have pitched in and have been filling up our boxes a little more - but the tomato scene is definitely over for the season as there are no leftovers from those other farms for we subscribers.

I'm sucking it up and admitting that it IS October after all ... so let the squash eating begin!

PS: Maybe the main point of this post should have been about supporting the farm through good times and bad, how this is a good lesson in how a farm works, etc., etc.  But, I'm hoping that you figured all of that out already ;)