Cooking Under the Influence
The gist of the book is to eat locally for many reasons. I haven't finished the book, but I believe the main reasons are to cut back on a consumer's demand on petroleum (farm equipment & transporting the food great distances in refrigerated trucks and is harmful to the environment), support of the local farmers, and eating food that is the freshest possible.
Tonight's meal was CA Sea Bass that I pan sauteed and topped with Jeff's version of Vivianne's Fried Italian Peppers. This is a very simple dish made with our farm fresh peppers that have been sliced and sauteed with good olive oil and a touch of garlic. We needed a salad so I picked our two winning tomato varieties, White Queen and Paul Robeson. I also picked the last of our lettuces, speckled and Amish deer tongue, some arugula and a few leaves of basil. I marinated the tomato chunks in a little olive oil (my current favorite is Dry Creek Olive Company's Three Orchard's blend) and some of our home-made red wine vinegar and thinly sliced basil. We also happened to have some prosciutto on hand so I threw that in, too. Not exactly local...but certainly not wasteful!
Dessert was sliced ripe Bartlett pears from our tree in the backyard. I heated up a little local (Clover) butter, added the pear slices, tossed them around a bit, added some maple syrup (from my local Trader Joe's store...does that count?) and then crumbled some left over ginger molasses cookie bits over the top. Served with a dollop of non-fat Greek-style yogurt. YUM.
Tomorrow I am going to make some soup with our Swiss "Bright Lights" chard, small pieces of Jeff's bacon and some white beans. I want to do what I can to eat as much as possible from our garden.
We are also in the process of canning & preserving everything and anything we can. Today we bought a 9 gallon glass bottle/carboy for making our red wine vinegar. The little crock we were using just wasn't big enough. See...we have parties and folks bring red wine and the bottles are opened but not finished and they are leftover lurking in the kitchen. We started making vinegar a couple years ago but just are not keeping up with the excess!
Now I need to find 40 to 50 cases of Kerr 8 ounce jelly jars in preparation for the famous Zinfandel grape jelly! Let me know if you have a secret stash!