Sunday, March 21, 2010

Animal. Vegetable. Miracle.

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver recounts her family's adventures in eating locally for one year. Kingsolver is a novelist, which kind of made this book a page-turner for me. (How will they be able to use all those zucchini?) Seriously, I highly recommend this entirely entertaining story of one family returning to the roots of traditional American food life (take that, Monsanto!).
Let's be honest, after I finished reading this, for about three days I tried to figure out how I could live on a farm. In the absence of being able to grow all my own vegetables, however, I decided to finally sign up for a local CSA.
CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) allow you to basically buy a small share in a farm and get local produce delivered to you every week. It took me awhile to track down one in downtown Chicago, but I'm so glad I did. Fresh Picks delivers local, organic food to your door every week. Unlike a lot of CSAs, you can opt to choose which vegetables and fruit you would like to get or you can sign up for a box of whatever is in season that week (that onion weighed about 3 pounds and lasted us over a week!). They also carry dairy and meat products, and some prepared foods.
Did you know spinach could be that big? I didn't.
Those are sunchokes. Luckily, with a little internet research, I was able to make sunchoke soup. If you've actually heard of these and want the recipe, let me know! :)
While it requires a little bit of flexibility to cook with whatever vegetables show up on your doorstep each week, I've enjoyed trying new recipes and getting creative with substituting (in-season cabbage for not-so-in-season red peppers).

Roasted beets...surprisingly good.

Here is a recipe we tried and really enjoyed this week. It is from one of my new favorite cookboooks The Gorgeously Green Diet by Sophie Uliano.

Quinoa Gado Gado (serves 4)
(I used brown rice instead of quinoa, and arugula and dandelion greens in place of spinach and bell peppers. The mix of cooked rice and raw veg was surprisingly good, and I always love peanut sauce!)

4 cups cooked quinoa or brown basmati rice
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
1 cup finely shredded Napa cabbage
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 T. peanut oil
1 8-oz. package tempeh, sliced
1 T. virgin coconut oil
1 cup minced onion
1 T. minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups smooth natural peanut butter
2 T. cider vinegar
2 T. tamari or soy sauce
1 T. raw honey
1 T. lemon juice
2 cups hot water
2 T. unsweetened shredded coconut

Arrange quinoa on platter and top with spinach, cabbage, carrots and bell pepper. Heat the peanut oil and fry tempeh slices for 4 minutes on each side.
In medium saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and ginger and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except the shredded coconut, and whisk until well blended. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, adding a little more water to thin out if neccessary.
Pour the sauce over the vegetables and tempeh and sprinkle with the shredded coconut.

If you're interested in eating local, Barbara Kingsolver has some good resources on her website for finding CSAs and farmers markets in your area.


kate said... Reply To This Comment

I'm so intimidated by this post.
& you jenny childers, you're amazing!

Jenny said... Reply To This Comment

Ha ha, Kate- well I did start being interested in this a few years ago!
Just start talking about Faulkner...I'll be the intimidated one. :)

GLENDA CHILDERS said... Reply To This Comment

I want to eat dinner at your house everynight. I'd be so skinny and healthy. Beets are my favorite vegetable.(but they have to be garden beets)

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