Can I just talk about food?

It's so good around here lately- it's bordering on a religious experience for me. Seriously. So much of why I do what I do and why I believe what I believe is all about FOOD. This is not a surprise to many of you, but it occasionally creeps up on me. Like, the simple act of sitting down at a table with people that I adore, taking in the precious life that nourishes mine… all of that leads to the much more complex realization that taking care of what cares for you is the foundation of a worthwhile life. Energy in, energy out. The relationship I've built with what sustains my body continues to connect me to what sustains my soul. It's serious stuff, people!

Anyway, a peek into the world of food at the Yoder house, end-of-summer 2012:

Local everything lately. I'm not even really a stickler about it anymore, it's just kind of how we're naturally doing it. I will still jam on some avocados occasionally, but what really helps is that we do all of our shopping between our backyard, the farmer's market, and our co-op. That leaves us with a lot of really quality local fare, and not a ton of choices (which I love). So mostly our menu is born from whatever we have available at the time, which means I'm constantly challenged to create something new and delicious. 

Which really, given the quality of everything, is not that hard to do.

As complicated as this kind of eating may seem to some, it eases so many other areas of our lives. One really concrete example I can think of is the kids. I'm just never worried about what they eat or their health. They just always eat what we do, greens and all. And honestly, there are minimal complaints. I think that a couple of things contribute to this- I think they know that the food we have is the food we have. If they whine for something else, they look in the fridge and see a hunk of cheese and veggies, and that's about the end of it. Also, I think they aren't addicted to refined flours/sugars, which I believe kids to be extremely sensitive to (so sensitive that I no longer keep crackers or pasta or most breads in the house because they turn into little addicts the minute we have a supply).

Fall has hit the air and I was itching to make a soup. I just threw a whole chicken in a pot and it happened. You'll have to forgive the microgreens on top of everything. We just always have a supply and eat them on everything!

More soup. 

Our chickens laying is slowing down, so we've had some store bought eggs lately. We cracked one of our own with one from the store, and I bet you can't guess which is which! Pretty amazing contrast, yes?

Local grapes. They are so incredible, I can't even describe them.

And… tonight's dinner. I was looking in the chest freezer and pulled out a roast- looked at the label and it read "heart". Beef heart. I was sure it'd be good, just like tongue. I prepared it the same way I do tongue, with my family's time-tested recipe. Water, salt, onion, peppercorn, mustard seed, cloves, and a bay leaf. And of course, lots of time.

When I told Vera we were having beef heart for dinner, she was skeptical. It was actually a conversation that brought her to tears and we had a long talk about death/using the whole animal/being grateful for life that gives life… which happens from time to time. After she contemplated the heaviness of death, she was more intrigued than anything else. We had a conversation about the shape of hearts, and her world seemed rocked when she realized the shape and the actual organ were not the same…

Then we went out an harvested and played while the heart was simmering away all afternoon.

Asa helped make this pesto- just arugula and radish greens, garlic, and pumpkin seeds. So good.

When it was done we pulled it out and tested little bits. Vera tasted it and said "Wow! That's good! I thought it was gonna be bad!"

Heart tacos with arugula pesto aioli, onion, tomato, and radish microgreens.

I think I might have to reinstate "Wednesday Food Posts" so that I can keep up on all this stuff. What's new in your food world?


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Comments (8)

  1. eatsoylentgreen

    I’ve been fermenting pickles! They’re really good, and you can eat them 4 days after canning them. And there’s no boiling or sterilizing or anything like that.

  2. brigittefires

    Still struggling with productivity in the garden, with the drought and the fact that we haven’t been able to keep up the watering as much as necessary. But the heat has broken and the rain returned for a day anyway and hopefully we will get something out of the fall garden.

    I’ve been working with a lot of fermented everything lately. My sourdough starter didn’t get fed quickly enough last time and seems pretty slow. I’d switched it over to white flour to use that stuff up, but I threw in some rye flour to boost the available goodies, so we’ll see if it comes back. It still tastes good (not spoiled) but REALLY soury, so I’m hopeful. I’ve got sourdough cornflour waffle batter soaking overnight for breakfast tomorrow, we’re going to have savory waffles with bacon and sauteed greens and whatever else ends up tossed in.

    You already saw that I made yogurt with frozen leftover whey. THAT was a nerve-wracking experiment, and the yogurt still ended up super runny, but I’m pretty much using it for smoothies anyway. Otherwise I use it for a sour cream substitute in my mashed potatoes, but I can use runny stuff and not put the milk in either.

    I started to make nasturtium pesto but it ended up half nasturtium leaves and half “whatever else was green, leafy, and ready to harvest in the garden that day.” It’s been really good! I froze it in a couple containers with a big spoonful at a time separated by wax paper because I don’t have any ice cube trays, believe it or not. Our next pesto deliciousness is going to be whenever we make salmon again.

    Hey I was thinking about you earlier, I’m trying to figure out how to deal with my compost pile problem. It’s shrinking really fast which tells me it’s healthy and decomposing well (like, things are totally gone in a week sometimes and my 90-day compostable plates were gone in 12 days), but there’s nothing there for me to put into a garden. We are going to build an actual container for the compost from scrapped wood; two “bins” about 2ft x 3ft each so that we can toss into one while the other breaks down, scoop it into the garden and then start tossing into that one. But should I put a bottom on it so the compost isn’t just soaking away, and if so is plywood stupid? My only other idea is to pick up 3 or 4 plastic tubs to compost in and maybe throw in some worms, but I’d REALLY rather not do that and not only because I’m broke. Any suggestions?

  3. honeyrider

    was it your first time cooking and eating beef heart? it amazes me how much of our reluctance to eat inner organs is a product of our food culture. i will eat liver and tongue without a second thought because it was a normal staple of my diet growing up. the idea of eating heart however… makes me shiver. a few weeks ago i had a craving for cod livers and made a pate that makes my american friends hurl. these food norms are not easy to work through.

    your soups look amazing! yum.

  4. gingerrose

    You can ALWAYS just talk about food. 😀 To be perfectly honest, I’ve been ashamed lately because I have not been taking care of my body at all this past week or so. Which is funny, because the reason I haven’t been taking care of myself is because I’ve been going to the doctor so often. 😛 I’ve been having some upper GI issues, and I only have this week and next week to do every test on the planet in hopes of finding out what’s going on before my insurance runs out. Most of the tests involve fasting, so I feel like I’ve literally been starving myself half the time, and then my body’s eating habits get out of whack and when it comes time for a meal it’s harder to motivate myself to eat. So I’ve been eating all delicious, healthy food from the farmer’s market still–just not in quantities sufficient to keep me going. 🙁 Your post is a good motivation to start taking care of myself again even with all the tests. I just took a whole chicken out of the freezer to defrost, and I’m going to roast it next week and have that handy whenever I’m allowed to eat. And today is my farmer’s market day, so I’ll replenish my stores with more delicious food! Thanks for the motivation!

  5. purerandomness

    I’ve been trying my hand at canning recently: beets with my mom, pickles, jams, salsa and applesauce on my own. It’s awesome to see these mason jars with their beautiful colors filling my pantry! 🙂

    Our farm share is keeping us supplied in all kinds of vegetables and dark greens. I’ve found that the boys will just eat what they’re given for the most part. In fact, Leo our carnivore one night turned up his nose at chicken and instead ate all the sauteed chard that we had! There are nights when the boys just don’t like the flavoring or are not interested in eating veggies, but it ebbs and flows. I’m finding that Ben is not as picky as other 3-year olds I know. Maybe because we just don’t allow it? Maybe because they know it’s what’s on their plate or nothing? I dunno.

  6. haurelia

    LOVE your food posts…keep ’em coming! I agree about the kid factor; it’s just easy. We’re healthy and strong, and fuel our bodies with good food (and occasional treats). It might seem strange to others, but it’s just right for us (and not something that just happened overnight!). Hey, that heart actually looks pretty good; I’d try it. 🙂

    Pretty much all on our plates is local these days, too. When I think about it, the stuff we eat that isn’t local or regional is minimal (coffee, flour, some grains/beans, seasonings, oils, peanut butter and bananas). I love making meals up on the fly out of what’s in the CSA box and what came out of the garden (mostly kale, beans and zucchini). We ate a lot of zucchini crust “pizza” last month! We eat kale almost daily, given the abundance (we’re not complaining!). Finishing up our venison from last fall, and I think it’ll just stretch until the next deer season. We had enough money to buy some chickens from our CSA farm this year, so have been enjoying the change from venison now and then. We made maple syrup this year, and though the season was poor due to the weather, we had enough to last about 6 months, using it to sweeten for baking/cooking as well as on yogurt/pancakes/oatmeal. We enjoyed our backyard grapes, but didn’t get enough to preserve this year (our new neighbor hacked all the vines on “her” side of the fence…long story). Enjoying some wild apples and patiently waiting for the “good” trees to be ready to harvest for making gallons of applesauce. The weather screwed up a lot of things this year, mostly the berries, apples, and maple trees.

    SOUP SEASON! Made a couple gallons of chicken stock out of a couple of frozen carcasses, and canned it for quick soups yesterday. I love when soup time rolls around; I have two planned for this week. Soup is such a great way to improvise with what you’ve got.

  7. Anonymous

    Reading this post makes me hungry! That picture of Asa and Vera makes me laugh–is the blue cup there to keep away the flies?
    Love you.

  8. Anonymous

    So glad to hear that you’re feeling better! Be sure to continue to take good care of yourself and go easy as you finish your recovery. 🙂


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