Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Today, I got my first box from Little Tree CSA. For those of you who don’t know, this arrangement means that in exchange for cash monies, every week I get a box, a share from the farm. A box filled with good, yummy things. This box of fresh deliciousness will arrive every Saturday morning at the Dubuque Farmer’s Market until the end of the season (October).

This box contains spinach, lettuce, radish, chicken of the woods mushroom, micro greens, kale, garlic, chives, purplette onions, mint, lemon balm, and wild ginger. I had no idea what they would have this early on, I figured it would be lettuce, radishes, and more radishes. I can’t imagine how much this is going to change over time, because it’s already so much!

What I like about something like this is the way it compels me to eat better, to eat creatively. Organic and localvore issues aside (this fills both roles), what really matters is variety in the diet, to me. If I did not have this box, I would have got the usual produce, half at the supermarket, half at the farmer’s market, half from my own garden. I’d go for the old standbys. Now, microgreens? What will I do with those? How about the kale? I could use more of that green and leafy in my life. Chicken mushrooms? It looks fantastic! Things I would not go out of my way to eat, I will be eating now. Think of how good that is for my diet. Not only does it increase my exposure to healthy food, by granting me access to it, it increases the nutritional value of my diet. You can’t help but ensure a greater variety of nutrients when you have a greater variety of fresh food.

What am I snacking on right now? Microgreens. Until 30 seconds ago, never ate it in my life. Considering that I would normally poke around the kitchen for processed crap, this is a massive improvement. This really ups my veg intake a lot, investing in a CSA like this.

CSAs don’t come cheap, mind you. I’m paying $500, broken up over the months, for the boxes, which is about $25 a week. Well worth it, but there is an upfront cost. However, for fresh, local, organic food, it is a huge savings. I got far more than I would have had I gone and bought each bit individually. Some CSAs offer (or require) some work in exchange for the share, too. It depends on which one you join.

Most of them, like mine, have a newsletter, too. I’ve got recipes that are tailored to what is in this week’s box. And notice how I said “mine” there? It’s how I feel. The CSA concept makes me feel like part of the farm. Like an investor. I mean, that is kind of what it is, but who feels that way when they get stock in a company? Here, I am meeting the people, reading the newsletters, talking to them, getting to know them. It’s something I always loved about the Farmer’s Market, knowing where my food is coming from. But the CSA is even more of a bond, because of the regularity. We’re in this together! They said they were exited giving out the first boxes, and I was excited to get it. MY box, from MY CSA. How often do you think that about what you eat? It’s topped only by eating from my garden.

For information on CSAs, including where to find one near you in the United States, check out this website. It also links to farmer’s markets and other sources of local food.

This is going to be a GREAT summer. I can feel it!

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Well, I picked up some extra roma tomatoes, some garlic from the garlic stand, and some local honey (yes honey) for my tomato sauce.  I managed to somehow get the ‘tomato machine’ working.   The sauce has been cooking for about 8 hours, at least, and I will be slow cooking it even more.  I’m hoping to get 8 quarts or so out of it.  (In pint jars.)

It brought back so many memories!  I’m glad I can do out here in Dubuque what I used to do as a kid in Brooklyn.  I hope it turns out nice, I want to ship it out to my family all over.  If it works out, I’ll be doing this all over again either next weekend or the weekend after.  Maybe even both, with the way it smells and tastes so far!

And somewhere in the middle, I’ll be attempting jelly for the first time.  Mountain Dew jelly.  Can’t stand the stuff (Mountain Dew) but it is a novel idea, and I know some people who will get a kick out of it, so if it works out, I’ll send it their way.

I’d just freeze the sauce like we used to when I was younger, but I really want to share the sauce with family and friends.  I miss them, being out here in Dubuque, this is a good way to connect with them, and connect with the family I left behind by carrying on traditions.  (Including insisting my son help, and then telling him, “no no no” and doing it myself, and then insisting he helps again.)

I did just notice I’ve got one heck of an ache in my shoulder. Cranking that tomato squeezer takes a lot out of you!  I can imagine my next visit to Dr. Besler (my chiropractor). “What did you do to it? Wore your textbooks on one side again?” “No, cranking out tomato sauce. Literally.”  The man is a miracle worker, though, so I’m not worried.  Some Ben-Gay, until then.

Oh and besides the above ingredients, I have some wine in it, olive oil, and a lot of the basil from my garden.  I had a basil BUSH, just about. I’ve got to start freezing it, like mom suggested.

I’m mostly glad to send it out to Dan, who will be working for a while at Lincoln Center, it looks like. We’ll know this week, I think. At least he’ll have something home cooked when he’s out of town.

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The 20 Worst Foods in America

The 20 Worst Foods in America: Mens Health.com

Is it so wrong that this entire list made me hungry? I have half a mind to go to Hardee’s today, for some of their bacon cheese fries. Never tried them, but as long as I was looking at terribly unhealthy food, I might as well show some initiative and follow up! Or Culver’s, home of the Butterburger. Oh yes, oh yes.

This makes up for the loss of Roll N Roaster in my life, just about.

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Bacon Brown Betty

When I was growing up, on the back of the bisquick box was a savory zucchini bread recipe. Bisquick, zucchini and onion, as the basics. It was nice.

Now I moved from NYC out to Iowa, land of affordable instead of fancy farmer’s markets. Church ladies selling baked goods, including zucchini bread. In my nice big yard I grew all sorts of things. I learned to can. I learned to bake. I grew zucchini, ten pounds heavy, as big as my arm. Life was good this summer.

But what to do? I figured I would make zucchini bread, so I called mom. Mom wasn’t home, so dad googled it for me (my laptop was at HP getting fixed). He gave me a recipe that called for a lot of sugar, no onions. Weird. ANd some cinnamon but that wasn’t that weird, I figured it was a contrast or something. Since I was new to baking I figured that the sugar had to help it rise or something chemically. I was not aware really how much sugar goes in things.

It seemed like such a boring recipe, and not quite like what I wanted. I figured I would cut out the cinammon, and cut back a tiny bit of the sugar. Maybe one cup instead of two. Or two instead of three. It was a big recipe. Then I decided I wanted my onions. So I added those. Then A bit of cheese.

Then bacon. I added bacon because I felt that bacon makes everything better. I had a half a package or so left so I happily fried it up, drained it, and tossed it in. I think I left some of the other seasonings in it, maybe the cloves or allspice or something like that.

Well, I guess I came out with what could only be called BACON BROWN BETTY. It was nasty. I tried to eat it. I really did. So did the family. Even the dog would not eat it. I picked at the bacon bits, they weren’t horrible. I guess.

When mom came home she explained the bisquick recipe to me, which had no sugar, and told me that outside the family people make a zucchini bread that is sweet like a pumpkin, banana, or carrot bread. I did not know

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I could have used this in Brooklyn

Lakeshore – [personal] Asian soda taste test panel
A taste test of some of the more unique beverages you’d find in an Asian market.  Ours isn’t big enough to hold drinks that look like frog’s eggs in a can. 😦

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