Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recent noms I have loved, etc.

Hey everyone, here are a few things we've eaten/drank/snuggled with around the house lately for your possible viewing pleasure (I don't want to get presumptuous :)).  

Woke up kind of late one morning and needed to fix some fast, easy lunch for work.  Usually I like to have a salad but we didn't have any greens in the house, so I threw some quinoa, lentils, broth, and curry powder in the rice cooker first thing after getting up.  After I'd finished getting ready, the quinoa/lentils were cooked, and I stirred in some cashews, frozen peas, and cilantro (raisins would have been great, too, but we were out of everything! It was a Friday, what can I say?).  It ended up being a really easy, healthy lunch.

This next dinner was tasty but nothing special (Melomeal's magic three ingredient burger, fries, and broc). However, I did want to comment on the "cheese" sauce on the roasted broccoli, which came from Joanne Stepaniak's uncheese cookbook, which I bought awhile ago and have barely used. The awesome thing about this particular recipe (which is called something like "instant cheese sauce") is that it really is virtually instant, but still totally delicious.  This broc was BEGGING for a sauce, but everything else was about ready to serve. I thumbed quickly through the cookbook, not expected to find anything fast, but there it was, and it was indeed fast and delicious!!!

Adorable kitty break. That is all. 

This next dish came from your vegan mom. It's the hot dog reuben!!!!  We have actually been trying hard to eat more healthfully over here for the past year, so this felt like a bit of junk food (I haven't had a sandwich on two pieces of bread in awhile!).  Boy was this good, though. I did make a loaf of homemade rye bread, which is at least partly why this sandwich looks so monstrous (I can never slice homemade bread very thinly).  Sauerkraut, avocado, and Tofurky dogs inside. Sauerkraut, I was wrong about you all those years. I apologize for all my rude comments about your smell. 

This may or may not spell something.

This last thing was gnocchi with pesto, tomatoes, and peppers on greens with roasted squash.  The pesto, tomatoes, and peppers all came from our summer stash of things we froze. 

Which brings me to my last thoughts for this post. How does eating seasonally/locally (I'll treat them as interchangeable terms, although they aren't really) fit into your cooking? This is on my mind for two reasons: first, Ingrid recently posted some very delicious-looking eats from Terry Walters' book, Clean Food, on her excellent and inspiring blog, and it got me thinking about this cookbook.  Let me say that while I really do think it's a great book, it's predicated on cooking seasonally, but often misses the mark in that regard.  I still love the book and highly recommend it; I just think there are some inaccuracies WRT the seasonality of some of the ingredients.  This is probably out of necessity: no one but the most hard-core locavore is going to want to make recipes that consist solely of cabbage, winter squash, and potatoes all winter.  But still.....I think for seasonal eating, Jae Steele's books are a little more accurate.

The other reason this is on my mind is that it's starting to be that time when the growing season is winding down for pretty much all of the US and Canada. Don't believe me? Check out this handy map.

It may not be clear from previous posts, but we are pretty serious gardeners here at SCB and we try really hard to eat seasonally.  One of the main reasons I initially started eating vegan was for environmental reasons.  I know that one person's food choices are not going to undo the damage a meat/dairy-based diet has done to the planet, but I didn't want to be a part of the wholesale environmental destruction the food industry imparts anymore (or at least I wanted to reduce my role in it).  However, veggie crops, especially those that come from large-scale convention farming, also have an environmental impact, and soon it will be that time of year where if you want to eat something green, it is unlikely to be local, and it gets harder to balance a plant-centric diet with eating locally.

Anyone who has perused my blog will readily be able to find examples of non-local eats, but most of what we eat here produce-wise comes from our garden and local farmers (every veg in this post other than the frozen peas and avocado, in fact).  At least, this is true 8-9 months out of the year.  But in February, there will be a time when a bunch of arugula trucked in from Texas will probably look too good to say no to.

Anyone else out there obsessively fixate on this stuff???


  1. We try to get local stuff, but around here, it's not always that easy so I try not to sweat it. We do shop local at smaller, non-chain shops, which I think makes a difference.

    All of your food looks terrific, especially the Reuben.

  2. To all the Noms I've loved before
    Who travelled in and out my door...

    That Dolly is looking to grab a handful of somethin...

    When I try to grow my own grub, I can't help sharing with all the critters outside and very little is left for me. My trust issues make me wonder if what's at the Farmer's Market is truly local. Lack of impulse control causes me to snatch up any processed vegan item I see in the store for fear I'll never see it again.

    Kudos to you for having the energy to grow your own and keep it local. Keep me inspired and maybe in the spring I'll look for a new CSA to join.

  3. There's something about the quinoa and peas that is so satisfying! I need to overcome my fear of sauerkraut!

    Definitely would love to have a large plot of land to grow my own produce. . .one day!

    Colorado has a lot of legit farmer's markets, but the biggest industry (outside of grain) is cattle. :(

  4. The lentil, quinoa and pea dish does sound pretty easy and tasty. Very nice for "nothing to eat"
    As for the local food issue, I find it very important to eat seasonally and close to home but I know I can do better. I tend to differentiate between local and seasonal, though. I frequent my farmars as much as possible but find I usually need to supplement, especially since I like to eat raw 2/3 meals a day. Easier for me is to eat seasonal - I'm obviously not going to pay crazy prices just to have a cucumber or a crappy tasting tomato in December (not to mention they'd often be impossible to find anyway) but I do buy citrus during the winter that is not local - but in season in a different part of the country.
    Serious kudos to you, though. I'd love to have land to grow on too. Like molly, though, I feel like our eating habits already are good enough for the earth that we are allowed a bit of leeway :)

  5. Oco Coco? Is that what the squash says? Either that or something a little more lewd...

    But seriously, so much in this post! First of all, your quick lunch is inspired; sounds soo good! And, all the food looks great! I have the Uncheese Cookbook too, and I need to use it more; I think I've only ever made one recipe from it. I love the idea of a quick and tasty sauce for veggies and the like.

    Your rye bread looks awesome! I agree; can't beat a good reuben and sauerkraut totally rocks!!

    I'm not familiar with either of those books, and I was going to wait to comment until after I had checked out all the links, but then I realized that I should comment, and then check out the links, lest my comment be deplorably late in coming. I like to eat seasonally and locally, but I sort of go with the flow. During the on season I try to buy produce exclusively from Washington and Oregon farmers. We get produce from California throughout the winter, so even though it's not local, it's not too far away, and I go for it. I refuse to buy things that come from farther away, with the exception of bananas and a few other tropical fruits.

    I admire your steadfastness to eating local!

    Lastly, your little orange friend is a total cutie! And, I think I have to check out these giallo movies you talk about, but I'll take your advice about the liquor cues. :)

  6. You've been having fun! All these meals look great, and I can vouch for that cheese sauce from the Uncheese Cookbook.

    We tend to eat local, from our gardens, a lot in the summer, and freeze, dry, or can beets, tomatoes, apples, and anything else we easily can (usually this is not much of a production, since my parents' garden where we get most of this stuff is constantly looted by their children), and to my happiness my new favorite produce store, H & W, buys from local farmers when they can and advertises it. And next year I'm converting to a whole heirloom vegetable garden, which I'm super excited about. But as for fresh produce all year, no, in Edmonton I would wither and die without fruit and veggies imported from warmer climes. I'd be interested to hear the logistics of how you stretch out the fresh season where you are--

  7. Hey Molly, thanks! I should actually try to have a bit more of an easy-going attitude about this stuff.

    Shen, he does look like he's getting ready to pinch someone's ass, huh? We have a problem with critters too, but some things can be done (although it probably depends on the critters in question). We had a serious problem with squirrels stealing our tomatoes until we draped everything in netting. It's helped a lot. And I know what you mean about being worried that people are scamming you, but we know the people we buy our veg from somewhat, which helps.

    Ingrid, we bought some organic, unpasteurized kraut and I find the aroma quite nice. Maybe try a brand like that to ease yourself into the world of kraut gently? It seems to be working for me.

    Maud, your attitude seems more reasonable than mine, actually. I think I am a bit of an extremist and it probably isn't healthy. Not that I always eat locally, but when I don't I feel pretty guilty about it.

    Rose, hee hee, I was definitely envisioning something more obscene with the squash :). You're lucky to live so close to a region where all kinds of things can be grown year-round, although gardening here has a been a real lesson in how long you can produce your own food--as long as you're growing the right things (I'm sure you know this as an experienced gardener). For ex, we just brought in a LOT of beets from our garden, and here it is almost January. We still have kale and arugula, too (although I need to bring them in soon). Partially this is because our fall/winter have been mild, but even last year we were gardening well into December.

    Zoa, we haven't been doing a lot to extend our season other than putting out things as early as we can in the spring and protecting them on an as-needed basis (e.g., with row covers). It's actually amazing to me how many things can survive without special measures here (but maybe not in Edmonton). Having said that, next year we are definitely going to install some cold frames so we can have greens much later into the winter, or even all winter. Such hardy things can survive all kinds of adversity. You might be interested in this book: http://www.amazon.ca/Eliot-Colemans-Winter-Harvest-Handbook/dp/1603580816 if you want more details. I sort of can't believe you are just starting veg gardening--you seem like the kind of person who would've been doing this for years! I bet your potager will be awesome and I can't wait to see the pictures!