Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Certain Requests I'm Happy to Oblige

So in a recent email from a friend she suggested I start a food blog, and since I have no interest in adding yet another blog to my list of blogs to update, and this blog is handily named after one of my favorite food stuffs (cheese… oh god cheese…) I thought I might start writing dedicated food posts here.


It’s an interesting time in my life to be writing about food. I’ve moved out of my own place and am crashing at my parents house, leaving me in this weird limbo. There’s a fridge full of food I didn’t purchase, and most likely wouldn’t purchase, in the house. As well as cupboards full of canned soup, easy mac, pudding cups, canned peas and corn and beans. During a time when I’m trying to save money, reserve resources, it’s tempting to simply subsist off these things. There’s also the inherent problem that after a year or so of eating almost entirely whole meals I cooked myself, using whole ingredients, my stomach wasn’t liking the preservatives so much. Still… I get home around 7pm or so, after leaving at 630 am, with dinner on the stove and the weird gurgling sounds my stomach is making from hunger, and I tend to give in. These meals, though, also tend to be different for me. Unlike the largely vegetable based meals I’m used to, these are meals centered around a meat of some kind (last night, pork in some sort of packaged orange sauce) and then a carbohydrate. My mom makes a lot of bread (one thing I won’t complain about… fresh made bread).


Needless to say, I was getting a bit veggie deficient. Thankfully, the Puyallup farmer’s market is just incredible. The weather hasn’t been great so there hasn’t been a lot of options. But what has been available has tended towards spray free (non-organic certified, but still organic…) or certified organic. The quality of the veggies has also been superb. And the prices… man. They make Boise look like anal rape. My favorite? The $1 bag of mixed greens (and it isn’t a light bag, either), and the $4 free range organic eggs in that beautiful assortment of browns and greens. But there have been other delights: fresh rhubarb (I made a fresh strawberry rhubarb pie using strawberries from my mom’s garden and rhubarb from the market); Mexican zuchini; carrots in oranges, whites, purples; basil (Italian, thai, and purple), rosemary, thyme plants for my own herb garden; fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries; rainier cherries! (which we eat by the bagful at my house).


So, Saturday trips to the market have allowed me the supplies to cook the kinds of foods I enjoy. And, as in grad school, limited time has left me cooking a big batch of something on Saturday or Sunday, and eating it throughout the week. I’ve made a carrot top soup, letting me utilize both the carrots and their tops. I made fresh pizza—where I infused olive oil with fresh garlic for the sauce, then sliced tomatoes, mushroom, red pepper, spinach, onion, and an asiago/parmesean cheese blend. Most recently, however, I made veggie burritos where I sautéed fresh garlic, onions, red peppers, zuchinni, mushrooms, potatoes. Then cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin and finally tossed in some quinoa & chili sauce. Then I made an apricot (fresh from the market) salsa using tomato, avocado, onion, fresh cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno. (Salt to taste!) Fill in a tortilla with some sharp cheddar and bake. Delish!


This weekend I’m hoping to make a pot pie. I have a good pie crust recipe and after a recent trip to Pies & Pints, a burning desire to recreate their own recipe. I think I tasted a lot of thyme and rosemary and black pepper. And they used what seemed like extra buttery mashed potatoes instead of a creamy soup base.


Of course, cooking and eating isn’t everything. I’ve managed to discover a couple fantastic cookbooks: Local Flavors (tipped off by Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle), and then this organic whole foods cookbook I found in a Value Village for $0.50. A total steal.


But most recently, on the book front, I finished a collection of Wendell Berry essays called Art of the Commonplace. In this, Berry discusses food from an agrarian point of view—and through this shows how eating, human health, animal health, and earth health are interconnected and completely reliant on each other to happen. A lot of it is sort of no duh—mono cultures are bad. Animals bred in captivity, knee deep in their own “waste,” thus suffering immune issues, which lead to our own immune issues, which also make of everything we use a product, and a byproduct. And also forces agriculture into a reliance on fossil fuels for disposal and transportation, and importing fertilizer (that they’re disposing of by the ton from their cows and chickens and pigs and goats, etc). When, animals ranging free in pasture will naturally fertilize the soil and so on. Berry, he pretty much got agriculture. But a bit pushy on the god stuff.  Still, I’m glad I read it.


Next, I’m bringing so many of my loves together with Eco Language Reader (I’m ignoring all the parenthesis because I can’t remember where they go and I’m too lazy to look them up). Edited by Brenda Ijima, this book supposedly discusses ecology, and language, proving once again that everything is connected. Ecology, language, food, you, me, etc. I’m totally stoked. Taking a break with Berrigan first though. About halfway through the Collected. Just finished the collaboration with Anne Waldman—stunning.


Happy eating!

1 comment:

Katherine said...

So glad you're going to write about food - Lucullian dream come true. :)