The time has come

…the walrus said…

…to cook with epazote!

I’ve decided to make this recipe with the epazote I’ll get with my CSA share tomorrow! Or maybe this one. It depends if I find fresh pumpkin seeds and have the patience to grind, kneed, and drain them. I must admit that having bright green, vitamin E-rich oil for garnish is very appealing.

We shall see!

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Delicious gift

I got a delicious gift the other day. It was garden-grown herbs and veggies that brought me back to last summer, when I had a real garden and a housemate who got freshly grown goodies from her job.

Delicious gift

Here it is… in case you can’t tell, it includes several kinds of basil and mint (including pineapple mint — who knew such a union was possible?) Oh, yeah – there were flowers, too. Zinnias! If that doesn’t scream summer, I don’t know what does. Continue reading

Solar cookers in action

Here’s a video about solar cookers! It features Louise Meyer, my neighbor who spreads the sun-cooked love.

It’s interesting that the everyday chores we take for granted can be wasting time and resources. Gathering wood for stoves, for the women in this video, takes hours at a time. While the amount they use likely doesn’t cause deforestation on the scale of paper and lumber companies, that’s also something to consider.

What do we do that’s similarly inefficient? Do solutions exist that we are unaware of or unwilling to try? Questions to ponder, my friends!

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Note: unfortunately, this does not have captions. Its story is pretty clear, though. And there are subtitles for the parts in Spanish.

Now on to the video!

More on the organization is at www.she-inc.org.

Eat this book

Foodies! Pack up a few of those exotic spices and find another spot for your white asparagus. Why? Because it’s time to make room on your shelves for a few great books.

Here are some must-reads:

Feast (It’s blowing my mind! How did humans break the rules of the animal kingdom and start sharing food around a hearth? According to Martin Jones, bones and fossilized food can tell us the answers… and wouldn’t you know it — they talk!)

Hungry Planet (A combo of photos and essays. A glimpse into what families across the globe eat in an average week and the food cultures in which they live.)

Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution (The story of a true foodie pioneer! Hoping to read it soon.)

The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Can’t wait to read more of this one. I actually bought it. Do you know what it takes for me buy a new hardcover book?? Yeah – the reviews and Pollan’s rep are that good.)

The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation (It’s on Ruth Reichl’s “to read” list. Nuff said.)

Alternative ovens

So you thought cooking had to be done with electricity or gas, right? Except for making the occasional sun tea, that’s how most of us prepare food. But there are so many more possibilities out there! Here are a few:

Solar cookers and info on solar cooking:
Solar Household Energy, Inc. (Run by a woman in my neighborhood!)
Gaiam solar cooker
SolarOvens.net

Earth Oven:
A book about making your own wood-burning earth oven, which apparently makes a mean sourdough bread.

The refrigerator test

I just realized this: anyone who wants to date me, or even be good friends with me, must pass the refrigerator test. This is actually a two-way litmus test. If you look in my fridge and feel at home or at least intrigued, you will enjoy hanging out with me and vice versa. If what you see weirds you out or you make a face–and especially if you feel compelled to make fun of me–then we just don’t have a future.

So what might you see when you look in my Frigidaire? Continue reading

Grill-icious

Here I go again with barbecue ideas. And this time it actually has to do with stuff you can cook on the grill!

Whether your source of grilling heat is a barbecue in the back yard or a campfire in the woods, the following recipe should work nicely. The one after that can accompany your grilled treasures or any other main dish.

To bring these recipes on a camping trip, pack the veggies and tofu in the marinade in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Let marinate until ready to grill. Reserve extra marinade to pour over or dip the veggies and tofu later. That’s right — unlike marinades and sauces used to flavor meat for the grill, you don’t have to toss it out. Raw veggies aren’t going to spread any nasty bacteria into your saucy goodness.

Here they are… Continue reading

Heat and Baring of Teeth (or, What Sets Humans Apart)

I’ve been reading about the idea that cooking sets humans apart from our fellow animals. Many deep dudes (and dudettes) have argued that this is true. Cooking allowed humans to render more foods digestible, preserve nutritional resources, and come together around a fire.

Cooking and communal eating also changed the meaning of social signs, according to Alfred W. Crosby. For example, baring your teeth, for most species, is a sign of aggression. If you’re going to eat together, you have to get over that notion. And we did.

Then again, there’s the argument in Ishmael, which as I recall blamed our current state of being on agriculture. See, if you think about it, we are the only animals that make food grow and cultivate it. This allows us to stay in one place and gives us extra time to have all manner of mischievous thoughts.

If we were spending six hours a day chewing raw leaves like our primate brethren and sistren, and trying not to show our pearly whites, don’t you think we’d be different?

Discuss.

And the carrot shall lay down with the carrot top

I have been meaning to post this recipe for a while. Amaranth, from the wonderful farm/orchard/dog heaven where I WWOOFed in Mexico, is the creator.

This is a good moment to share this, I think, because I’ve seen carrots boasting those delicate furry tops at farmers’ markets lately. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
CARROT SOUP WITH CARROT TOP PESTO

This is a delicious soup for when you’ve just harvested carrots.

1/4 coconut oil, olive oil or butter
6-8 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup onion or leek, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced
fresh thyme
fennel seeds
5 cups of water, broth, coconut milk

Saute vegetables and herbs over medium-low heat. Add broth and simmer until
carrots are very tender. Cool slightly and puree soup in blender. Season
with salt and pepper.

PESTO

Remove all stems from the carrot tops using only the leaves.

In a food processor process:
1/4 cup or more of olive oil
1 cup of walnuts
1/4 cup of raisins
half a log of goat cheese
4-5 cups of carrot tops
Salt

When I made this I didn’t measure so I’m approximating the amounts. Adjust
to taste

Also, you can vary the flavoring for the carrot soup using ginger, nutmeg
and lemon instead of the thyme and fennel.

Ladle soup into bowls and swirl the pesto. Very pretty bright orange soup
with a paisley swirl of green.

How to cook like an X

You name the ethnicity, this link will help you cook like… well, someone who cooks in that ethnic tradition. And it’s all veggie!

These are the kinds of dishes I like to tell people about when they ask what vegetarians eat. It’s my theory that we enjoy flavors and food adventures that most omnivores would never stumble upon. So even if it’s just to rattle off a few mouth-watering dishes the next time someone asks you how you survive on “just vegetables,” check it out:

http://www.vegcooking.com/cookwithhema.asp