Thursday, December 4, 2008

Market to Table - December 4, 2008

I've been thinking about my diet a lot lately. I mentioned this towards the end of Monday's post, but since it's relevant, I'll mention it again. When I first came off the local diet experiment, I'll admit I bought crackers, peanut butter, and for weeks I had a daily banana. But the last few weeks have been entirely different and I find more and more, my diet is gravitating to all local foods - lots of oranges and grapefruits for snacks; plenty of veggies via soups and rice dishes; and some protein from local beans, peas and nuts. There was that initial shock and awe of being able to eat anything I wanted again, but once that wore off, I was craving some good, home-grown, local food. I guess once you taste the good life, you can't really go back. Good to know. 

With that being said, here's a glimpse into some of the goodies I've eaten in the last week...

Pizza - I'd been craving pizza since I made that pie a couple weeks ago using the crust I picked up at the Home Sweet Farm Market Day. The crust was super delicious! The problem? I only bought one. As much bread as I bake everyone kept telling me to make my own crust. It's supposed to be one of the easiest kinds of dough to make but somehow, I was convinced mine would be awful or at the least, look ridiculous. Oh what the heck, right?

On Thanksgiving morning, I started out making a spelt pizza crust (similar to Jennifer's here, but I used all spelt flour and allowed for one 60 minute rise). When it was time to roll it out into that nice pizza circle, it was pretty easy. And I tucked the ends along the rim so that it looked nice and pretty. Ok. This is too easy. What gives? Next I popped it into the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes to make sure the dough was done before I added my toppings. While the crust cooled, I worked on my sauce: local mushrooms, local tomatoes, local onions; all sauteed in some olive oil. Then I added a dash of sugar for sweetening and some whole wheat flour for thickening. I let it simmer on the stove for about 15 minutes, and (VOILA!) pizza sauce! 

When it was time for our awesome, though non-traditional "Thanksgiving" dinner, I just slathered all that sauce over top (ok, not all of it made it to the pie - I was hungry and the sauce was awesome) and sprinkled some shredded cheese on Dave's section. Looks good huh? It was! Mmmm, pizza! We'll be doing that one again, though I may play around with dough flours some. And I thought I was going to mess it up. What a goof!

Veggies and rice - This was another one of my "experiments." I had some brown rice in the fridge along with some onions and carrots from my local farmers market. Carrots this year have been rare. A couple of the vendors have been growing them, but their presence at the market is sporadic at best. So I was trying to figure out the yummiest way to prepare them. That's when I noticed all that greenery hanging off the top of the carrot. I always just dump it in the compost bin, but is it edible? Why not? I mean, it's just a green, right? Well, that's how it started. 

So I chopped up 1/2 an onion, 2 of the carrots as well as their greenery and dropped it in my saucepan with a little olive oil to saute. Once the veggies were soft, I added 1-1/2 cups of water, 1/3 cup of rice, and just a little salt; and let it simmer for about an hour. So, the taste test. Are carrot greens edible? You bet! This rice dish was delicious! Let's do that again!

Veggie soup - As I mentioned on Monday, I fully planned to dip into my pantry for some home-canned, all-local, home-made veggie soup. This would mark the first jar opened (for soup at least) and I'll admit that I was a little nervous to find out if the pressure canning process changed the taste or texture of the soup. 

I grabbed one of the oldest jars (there were 3 batches of different soups in the pantry). I didn't know what all was in it, but it looked like this batch has some of those purple hull peas from the summer. Looking back at the orginal post, there were onions, green pepper, mushrooms, potato, zucchini, navy beans, black beans,  and purple hull peas. Hmm. That sounds like a pretty good combination there. Alright, so I open up the jar... no funky smells or anything... so far so good... a quick taste test... yeah, it definitely tastes like soup... So I went ahead and put it on the stove (in a saucepan, of course) to warm it up for dinner on Monday night. 

Oh, I'm good. This soup was AWESOME! I guess that means the pressure canner is a HUGE success! And the crowd goes wild... Ok, maybe not, but I'm sure excited about it. What an easy way to store all that extra harvest (and it tastes great too)!
For someone who hates to cook, I seem to have managed enough skill to get by. Nothing I make is exactly fancy, but it definitely qualifies as simple-green-frugal (and oh so good)!

Hope everyone else out there is enjoying transforming their market goodies to table delectables. What's made it from market-to-table at your house this week?

That's all from me. Have a great Thursday, everyone and... Happy (and mindful) eating!


ttammylynn said...

I had a pretty local vegan stir-fry this week was local carrots, local broccoli, local pak choi, local bell pepper, from the garden snow peas, localish olive oil. I used a non-local onion(all I had on hand) and soy sauce(I like Angostura-not organic but less like the salt lick brands), some fresh ground pepper and Himalayan sea salt, and a touch of corn starch to thicken over sprouted brown rice. It was so amazing and yummy.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

I'm glad you finally made pizza dough - isn't it crazy how easy it is to make? Oh my yummyness though, your sauce sounds fantastic, I don't think I could have stopped myself from eating it straight out of the pan myself.

Awesome tip with the carrot greens, I didn't know they were edible. Carrots have been pretty sparse around here this year too, not sure why, I think it was that funky weather we've had.

I know you say you aren't a fancy cook and all this stuff - I'm not either - but I think all your food looks WONDERFUL! I would happily come eat lunch or dinner with you any day!

What's local on our table this week? Well, I won't rehash the past, but tonight we are going to have one of our favorite meals: Smashed Yam (well sweet potato), Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadillas - I use local sweet potatoes, spinach, garlic, peppers, onions and salsa. Seriously, it is so easy and oh so good. Tomorrow I am going to make a spicy peach stir-fry sauce using local carrots, cabbage, shiitakes, onions, peppers, my Nanny's home canned peach salsa and some other goodies (like non-local shoyu and such).

I'm very pleased with how well we've been able to eat without the farmer's market thus far.

Chile said...

I'm so hungry now!

We'll start getting carrots at our CSA soon and I'll have to work hard again to convince everyone that yes, the leaves are tasty. Due to their texture, they're best chopped finely though. Most people just compost them or break them off during the pick-up to go into the "chicken bucket".

Heather @ SGF said...

Tammy - Ooh! Sounds delicious! How are the snow peas? I'm really looking forward to picking those (although it may be quite a hunt, they are thick). They'll definitely be making their way into my rice dishes. Do you make a lot of rice? I didn't used to but it seems a daily thing for me now.

Jennifer - You were so right! It's ridiculously easy! I can hardly wait to do it again. We found out that our dairy made mozzarella this week so I have 2 pounds on order for pickup Friday. I'll shred and freeze it to put on Dave's side of the pizzas. It's WAY better homemade!

Yeah, I didn't know about the greenery either. I know rabbits and chickens like it, but I was feeling like an experiment and it worked wonderfully. I can always use a little extra greens here and there.

Your stir fry sounds fabulous! Tell you what, I have a rice dish on the stove now. We can have lunch here and then your stir fry for dinner. Know how to fly? We need to work something out one of these days....

Chile - I was surprised they were good. I did chop them up pretty small. I tossed them in the olive oil at first, then they simmered with the rice for about an hour, so it was nice and blended in. More greens, more greens! :)

It's great that you pass out all those tips at your CSA. I'm sure a lot of people are like me and don't know what to do with some of that food. It's fun learning though. I'm trying to eat as much of the veggie as I can to save money. Every little bit helps. And since those cabbage are so darn big, I clipped some of the offending leaves and have been adding them to my rice dishes. Those huge outer leaves are tasty too!