Let’s talk about food tonight, shall we? (Anything to get that blog post about work off the top of the page, I think.)
Anyway, I am having a lovely night tonight after getting plenty of work done at the office, picking up my weekly bag of CSA produce from the farm, restocking on all my other groceries, going on an easy untimed two-mile run (testing my hip after a mild injury), and sitting down to a simple, wonderful dinner and a big fat glass of wine.
Here’s what I’m having:
Almost everything on this plate is from the CSA. There are whole carrots, small potatoes, and rutabagas, all cooked in the oven at 450 for about 25 minutes with a little spritz of olive oil, salt, and pepper. This is the easiest way to cook vegetables, especially roots, and I LOVE what it does to the flavor — ESPECIALLY the carrots. If you have never had carrots made this way then you are not truly living.
Anyway, on the baking tray along with the vegetables I had the slices of tofu. It’s Twin Oaks tofu, made on a commune-type farm in Virginia. If you buy this, hippy farmers (not Monsanto) are getting your money. It’s non-GMO and completely organic, and it comes with herbs already in it and is dense enough not to need to be drained. It’s the easiest tofu to bake ever: slice it, put it on the baking sheet, bake at 450 for 25 minutes, turning once. That’s all.
On the stovetop, I made Malabar spinach for the first time. It’s new from the farm this season and it looks completely different from regular spinach. Huge, tough-ish leaves and big fat stems. I sauteed the stems with some olive oil and an onion (also from the farm) and then added the leaves and a splash of vegetable broth near the end. It turned out great — the spinach really held up but was tender and tasty and the onions carmelized a bit. Excellent.
This type of dinner is my favorite way to eat when I’m getting vegetables from the farm: I just make everything as simply as possible and appreciate the real flavor of the fresh vegetables. For some reason, everything seems to taste more real, more like itself, with more of its own flavor, when it comes fresh from the local farm. Shut up. I know that sounds idiotic but it is true, dammit. Again, the carrots. It’s unbelievable how, well, carroty they are.
If you’re in the mood to read more of my thoughts on food, there’s my post on vegetarianism and how I got started over at Rose-Anne’s place, plus a new post at Bodies in Motivation about how I incorporate plant-based eating into my training for running and triathlon. I listed some of my favorite pre- and post-workout meals and snacks as well as tried to deal with the protein question.
Food! It’s great, am I right? What are you eating lately?
I remember reading through the Barefoot Contessa’s ‘Back to Basics’ cookbook, and she has a roasted parsnips and carrots recipe, and I was all “nice try, Ina, but olive oil and salt and pepper thrown on top of some veggies and then throw into the oven for a bit does NOT make a recipe” and then I made it and I died because: OH MY GOD SO GOOD.
nom nom nom
Yeah, nice try Ina! “Make sure you use a GOOD olive oil,” as she would say. Heh. But it’s not really a recipe so much as a process — and every time I cook stuff this way it’s pretty much fool-proofedly awesome.
My Dog, those carrots look beautiful. Have been lovin’ on all your news lately (congratulations! and congratulations on that other thing too! go you!), but this paean to rutabaga moves me extremely.
My old blog’s been suffering lately, on account of how I’ve been vegetable garden blogging in a vegetable garden blogging competition on a platform supplied by an Australian megacorporate fertiliser and seed company. It’s been all on since late March, and finishes this weekend. (The prize is pretty appealing, so I haven’t dropped out, despite my growing scruples about the aforementioned company.) The process has turned me into a radish-powered antsy-pants grow-your-own activist. In a functioning ecosystem there’s no such thing as a weed (take that, weed-killer company); there is no such thing as a pest (take that, pesticide company); with some sanitary precautions and slow composting we can reuse our own manure* (take that, fertiliser company); and veggies eaten close to where they’re grown do yes indeed taste magical.
Here’s Monday lunch, which looks approximately like your kinda meal. I’ve liberalised my vegan-ness to incorporate eggs from our chooks (Daisy, Griselda, Agatha), who I know are grazing around the garden and won’t be turned into chicken stock when their ovulating slows down. (It’s still horrid that they’ve been selectively bred to lay an egg a day for most of the year, at god knows what cost to their own bodies, but we’re trying to keep them healthy and happy on a largely forage-based diet, and I’m relieved to observe that in those circumstances the whole egg production palaver doesn’t seem to distress them.)
Also, in the spirit of my rambling comment, you might like to watch this kid’s study of how pesticides impact on sweet potato. And I highly recommend scattering squash seeds in vacant earth.
That’s all. So pleased to have read your lovely news, K.
*fyi, haven’t set up my humanure system yet. Still working around my sidekick’s veto. But I really do think it’s craziness that we treat our poo as useless waste, while shipping in petroleum-based fertilisers to replenish the soil that’s stripped of nutrients by our diets.
That’s so cool about your garden! I will no doubt be perusing your garden blog soon. If I had chickens or knew someone who did, I would most definitely add some in. Maybe one day.
Food! It’s terrific! I totally agree with you: roasted carrots are addictively good. And I’m such a sucker for roasted potatoes eaten with any number of sauces. Yum yum. After I do a good grocery shop, I like to cook the way you do here: simply, to showcase the quality and freshness. When the produce gets older, it might need a little help (more seasonings or more complex recipes), but summer is the perfect excuse to make things easy.
On my menu this weekend: minestrone and maybe chocolate chip cookies? I’ve also been loving quesadillas lately–another simple summertime option. Throw ’em under the broiler for 1-2 minutes per side for a really easy way to make them crispy delicious.
Mmm, yes. Now that my grocery is carrying more vegan cheeses I am all about the quesadilla. But I do light on the fake cheese (because it’s not THAT tasty) and add in some pinto beans and avocado.