Wednesday Food Post

I'm getting really excited for the market to start. I'm excited for my garden, too, although I don't know when we'll end up selling this place and moving, so I'm playing that by ear. At the very least we'll get lots of root veggies and greens. With all the uncertainty, my gratitude really grew for my job. I didn't quite know it before, but I have a serious need to be a grower of food. I actually panicked thinking about the mere possibility of not having tomatoes in my garden this year, and then Jeff helped talk me down by reminding me that I'll actually be starting and tending several hundred tomato plants this year… so no worries. Ha!

I sometimes get the impression that people think I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I spend a little time every day- cooking and working with food is part of how I want to spend my days. It's also part of my philosophy that this whole "from scratch" idea needs to be a thing of the past. I'd like to see a way of eating that is all "from scratch", the "scratch" part ensuring that we keep eating whole real foods. In that sense I think that we all deserve to eat in a way that demands a little bit more time from us. Reverence for the process and the ingredients, you know? That said, I reject the notion that we have to slave over a stove. If you look at the way my cooking has developed, it's decidedly less time/labor intensive than a lot of alternatives. A lot of staples that many people enjoy barely get a debut in our kitchen, mostly due to my own lack of interest in making such things. I had a brief stint with bread making, but I just didn't have the patience and now we only really eat it if we're out. Lots of what we eat gets affectionately referred to as a "food pile". As in: "Oh, this is lovely. Do you have a recipe?" "Nope, we just put food together into this nice pile here." Classic recipes like lasagna and enchiladas and that kind of thing end up feeling really tedious to me. I might do something like that here and there, but only if I have extra time and motivation. Anyway, on to what I've been up to:

I wanted to show a picture of the buttermilk after it had been cultured. Last time I was just starting out the buttermilk and the room temp yogurt culture and the creme fraiche. I am happy to say that it's been as simple as ever, but I wasn't totally sure what to do with everything yet. I came up with a couple of ideas, which I'll share below.

Here's an example of one of our easy meals. Whatever veggies we have on hand, leftover meat, etc. Thrown into a hot buttered cast iron skillet and then covered with eggs (whipped together with a good pinch of salt, pepper, and maybe some fresh herbs). Topped with some parmesan and put in a 350 degree oven for… until it's done (eggs are solid, top is a little brown). Frittata! Active work time: maybe 5 minutes?

I'm having a love affair with rutabaga lately. Yum. We had this on the side of the frittata. This was just chopped, steamed with a little chicken stock, then salt/pepper/cream. Perfect.

Jeff was raised on meat and potatoes + vegetable. I'm not really a meat and potatoes kind of cook. Plus, if I cooked that way then the kids would never eat the vegetables. If anyone was wondering how I get my kids to eat all this good stuff, it's pretty simple. I don't really make it so they can opt out! So, here's a meal that I make from time to time which scratches the "meat and potatoes" itch, without compromising my eclectic tastes. Meatloaf. I start by pulsing up onion/garlic/mushrooms/spices (I included salt, pepper, nutritional yeast in this batch) in my food processor. Then I mix that up with some grass fed ground beef.

Then I smoosh the mixture out onto some parchment paper. Yes, smoosh.

Then I take some greens (in this case it was some mixed baby asian greens- mustard, tatsoi, etc.). Pulse up in food processor, adding a little water as needed.

Then I top the beef with some mozzarella slices and the greens mixture. Then I carefully roll it up with the help of the parchment paper and put into a loaf pan and bake at 350 until done.

Voila! I made quick scalloped potatoes, too, by using the slicing attachment on my food processor and then mixing the sliced potatoes with a little cream and parmesan and thyme, seasoned well, and baked alongside the meatloaf. The only thing I don't really do is add bread to the meat mixture, which means that a lot of the juices come out during cooking. I generally drain off the liquid and save it to add to a soup later. The kids don't even notice the greens, and even if they did there's not any getting around them. Active cooking time (minus baking and checking for done-ness): probably around 20 minutes. Thank you, food processor!

We're experimenting with not eating much wheat. We don't have gluten sensitivities like some people, but I've just been collecting research about why modern wheat isn't very good for us anymore, and I thought I'd cut it out to see how we feel. We don't eat a lot of it, but enough to keep me from knowing how I'd feel without it. We'll see. Anyway, I got a wheat-free all purpose flour to play around with. On this day Asa helped me make tortillas!

This is a rice/tapioca mix. It was good! Although I think for tortillas I may try something else next time. It was just kind of… ricey? I dunno how to describe it. Gummy, kind of. The dough was super simple. Just flour and oil and water. Then we pinched off little balls and rolled them out and cooked them on a non-stick skillet for a few minutes on each side.

I have a nice big fold out skillet so it only took me 20-30 minutes or so to cook over a dozen.

They were nice and really foldable! I even reheated some the next day and they worked great.

Rabbit. I've got quite a few rabbits coming into my freezer in the next day or two, so I'm getting more familiar with cooking them. Turns out it's just like chicken!

For this I just browned it up in a pan, then pulled them out and added onion, garlic, green pepper to the pan. Poured in a can of diced tomatoes to deglaze the pan, then returned the rabbit pieces. Seasoned well, lots of dried herbs, added a bunch of kalamata olives. Then I simmered it at low heat for about 45 minutes or so.

I served this on top of rutabaga and quinoa. See, I'm finding that lots of things that I make take time in the sense that they take a little planning, but the actual cooking work is pretty minimal. This meal took about 10 minutes of active time, and then after that it was just supervision. The verdict? I really like rabbit. It will be making many more appearances here.

I was trying to figure out what to do with all the buttermilk and creme fraiche I made. We had company for dinner so I decided to try a dessert. This was butter and maple syrup and cream. Then I added vanilla bean and buttermilk and a bunch of egg yolks. Maple buttermilk custard!

I was nervous about over cooking the custard, so I ended up under cooking it. Woops! It was delicious anyway, but more like a pudding. I topped it with creme fraiche. The adults loved it, but all the kids were skeptical. My guess is they weren't expecting the slightly sour flavor of the buttermilk. I will definitely make this again.

Also had some leftover milk and made this great farmer's cheese. We drizzled olive oil over the top and ate a bunch of it just with a fork… mmm.

Here it is crumbled on top of simple garlicky beans and spinach. Also pictured- sweet potato and chicken latkes.

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