Archives for: November 2004
Interesting Saturday on tap. Earlier, the weather predictions were either for 1-4 inches of snow or 10-20 inches. I hate to be objectionable but there is quite a difference between the two and does put something of a wrench into the weekend planning. So far, it looks like the lesser amount will prevail.
We were able to get out to see a high school production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” which came off quite nicely. All the actors remained in character throughout and no noticeable dropping of lines, all of which can sometimes be challenging for a high school production, depending on the cast. My only criticisms were directorial, I think the director could have done alot more with it but, oh well, it was a school production after all. Lovely to be be at a live performance. It has been a very S L O W performing arts season this year. The arts are truly hurting in Colorado.
I read an article in our weekly rag about a turkey farmer in Carbondale raising heritage breeds of turkeys, including several that were near extinction and have been championed for comeback by-- the Slow Food Movement of course. This farm is committed to raising the turkeys as “naturally and organically as possible”, feeding them wild apples, squash, zucchini, pumpkins and the like. They also have plenty of space to forage for grasshoppers, field grasses, and seeds on their free-range pasture. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? For more about this article, click here.
I know that turkey is neutral for all blood types but I have to admit that I sometimes feel a little guilty eating it. I learned several years ago that the hybrid broad-breasted turkeys that are most commonly farmed have been bred to have such large breast meat, that they can only reproduce through artificial insemination. The breasts are so large on the toms that they are unable to mount the hens. We have created a hybrid species that is no longer capable of natural reproduction. And why??? Because we like that nice juicy breast meat. And I won’t get into the horrid conditions that most birds are raised in. I even have questions over how “free-range” some of those free-range turkey farms actually are.
So thank goodness for farmers like Jim Sorensen of Shanaroba farms and his passion for raising vintage turkeys in a healthy environment, fed with organic and wholesome food, and a chance to chase after a few grasshoppers in its lifetime. I plan on supporting the efforts of these farmers who understand what conscientious and sustainable farming is all about, and who know that preserving diversity within a given gene pool is critical for the overall health of the species.
That is, once I don’t have to take out a second on our house in order to afford one. I sure do hope the price per pound becomes more reasonable!
I was driving through town the other day listening to NPR, when they began talking about a food fair happening in Turin. This particular fair was focused on protecting traditional and heirloom foods from culinary extinction and was a part of the Slow Food Movement.
Whoa!!! a Slow Food Movement??? I had to find out more about that. The Slow Food Movement was founded in Italy in the 1980’s and is about utilizing local, handmade ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Fruits and veggies are allowed to ripen on the vine, breads made from scratch, sea salt raked by hand...you get the picture. It is also more of a philosophy than a cuisine, it is defined by how a meal is prepared and TAKING THE TIME to prepare it well and to enjoy it too.
“The idea was to combat fast food...by looking right near you for something really good, local, and handmade; and putting in the effort to find quality ingredients which supports those farmers and artisans who carry on time-honored traditions.” Corby Kummar, author of “The Pleasures of Slow Food”
Now this is something I can sink my teeth into!
I am all for supporting local, independent farmers and the store where I do most of my shopping has predominantly locally grown and produced food and products. There is nothing like purchasing produce that was just picked that morning. It is still alive!
But in relation to the BTD I think of Slow Food in another way. To eat really healthy and in high compliance takes a strong commitment to spending TIME in food preparation. We all know that buying prepackaged foods will almost always have avoids in them; I’ve been shopping and cooking the BTD way for years and there just is no avoiding the avoids if you rely on someone else to do most of the food preparation work for you. So, what is it about us that we don’t want to spend TIME preparing food? Is there really something better we could be doing with our TIME? Think about it....
Learning about this Slow Food Movement has caused me to reflect on my own relationship to time and cooking. I am one of the lucky ones as I do enjoy cooking and have developed a lot of skills over the years through practice, practice, and more practice. But I still get frustrated with the amount of time it takes to prepare a compliant meal, especially with 3 blood types in the house. And when I feel like I don’t have enough time to prepare a meal is when I make concessions in my food choices.
So I am making a renewed commitment to TAKING THE TIME, and making time to prepare a meal as important as the quality of the food itself.
...or so of Americans that feel as despondent as I do since the national election results were finally decided, rather than tallied... I found this little piece by Michael Moore somewhat uplifting and able to pull me out of my funk. Click here to read “Seventeen Reasons Not to Slit Your Wrists” (in response to the election, of course). Whether you love or hate MM, his website is full of information not often reported in the national media.
Also, kudos to Julie Ridl for her blog Sloth Bait to remind us all that exercise really is a key in managing stress/disappointment/inertia...etc.
Here’s looking forward to brighter times on the (not too distant) horizon...
Throughout most of the year, I eat my cranberries in the dried form. I am lucky that my natural foods store purchases the dried cranberries that are infused with apple juice for sweetener which leaves them delightfully tangy. But just last week, I noticed fresh organic cranberries had arrived. Hooray, it is cranberry season! Since I can no longer shout for joy over pumpkins and cinnamon, which I associate so strongly with this time of year, I now turn my affections toward cranberries.
Cranberry...that little garnet jewel of a fruit...varying in color from deep ruby red to luscious pink and white even. I remember watching a cranberry harvest on television a while back. I thought it was fascinating how they flooded the bogs where cranberries grow, and all the cranberries rose to the top and floated on the water before being raked ashore (I’m quite easily amused).
Cranberries are also loaded with nutrients. They contain vitamins A, C, B complex, folic acid, minerals, organic acids, and other phytonutrients. Bioflavinoids are found in cranberries too.
By far, the best thing about cranberries is it is highly beneficial for both B secretors and non-secretors! And we secretors need to maximize our use of the beneficial fruits since there aren’t many for us. But... cranberries are also a high bene for A’s and AB’s, neutral for O’s. So everyone in your household can enjoy cranberries! Since cranberries are a rather sour fruit, we have control over the sugar content, since any sweetness must be added.
Lately, now that the fresh ones are here, I have taken to eating them whole, raw, and tangily sour. But if the thought of raw cranberries makes your toes curl, here are a few recipes to try. Since almost everyone has a cranberry bread or sauce recipe, I will skip those for now.
Cranberry Squash is my absolute favorite cranberry recipe. It is a MUST at holiday gatherings in our house, particularly at Thanksgiving. This recipe is from my fave vegetarian cookbook, “Laurel’s Kitchen”. The ingredients are:
One large, raw, scrubbed clean butternut squash, unpeeled (really!!), cut in small chunks
1 cup or more raw cranberries
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
juice and grated peel of one orange
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon melted butter
dash of salt
Place the cut squash in a baking dish, like a pyrex dish, that has a cover. Scatter the cranberries, chopped apple, and raisins hither and yon over the squash. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the orange peel, orange juice, honey, and salt. Pour over the squash, cover, and bake at 350ºF until squash is tender, about 45 minutes. No, you don’t have to peel the squash when it is done. I let those eating the squash decide if they want to peel their own. My husband always eats the squash peel. I sometimes do if it is not too tough.
If you like apple butter, than you must try cranberry butter! It is very easy to make. And such a nice alternative to spread on a piece of Ezekiel toast, with thanks to The Cranberry Lady.
2 apples, chopped
approximately 2 cups raw cranberries, more or less (I just use the whole bag)
1 slight teaspoon orange zest
juice of one orange
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
a drizzle of honey to taste
Boil at medium heat or lower until the apples are soft, puree, and return to pan to simmer until thickened. Cool and refrigerate. It really is a bit austere at first but mellows when refrigerated. It is quite a luscious color too.
OK, here is the buttery, sugary one that no one concerned with health should ever eat... but it is soooo good. Perhaps some tweaking could be done to make it a little more acceptable. This is adapted from good ole Martha Stewart - Three Fruit Crisp:
2 cups raw cranberries
2 large pears, chopped
2 large apples, chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of cloves, maybe cardamom
drizzle of honey or maple syrup (optional)
3/4 cup spelt or rice flour
1/2 cup brown sugar - maybe try maple syrup or honey instead
3/4 cup thick rolled oats
3/4 cup butter!!!
(OK, perhaps it is time to try half butter, half olive oil, or ghee...any other ideas??)
3/4 cup chopped and toasted pecans
In a large baking dish, combine fruit, spices, and honey or maple syrup, mix together. In a large bowl combine flour, brown sugar (or maple syrup, or honey) and oats. Cut in butter combination with a pastry cutter or two forks until evenly distributed. Stir in toasted pecans. Spoon this mixture over the fruit and bake at 350ºF until juices bubble and topping is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Yummo!!
Well, I hope this at least gets you started in thinking about finding ways to incorporate the lovely cranberry into your diet. So pretty...and beneficial too!!