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Introducing Culture to Food Again  RSS feed

 
gardener
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This is a realization I had this season.  After four seasons of growing a big enough garden to have to process the harvest, and eating Amy's frozen pizza about once a week to do so it hit me (more like a steam roller than a ton of bricks). I'm beginning to develop my own regional food culture.  That's something we just don't have much of these days.  I can make just about any dish with an adequate recipe,  from chinese food to corn dogs.  Honestly,  food has become a bit boring because of it.  But,  with a garden you have to harvest it that day and in a way,  the garden became my su chef. It started by me designing my own regional chutney. It is not that the flavor is necessarily perfectly balanced that made it good, it is that it is real. I began to indulge the garden, picking at its abundance and letting that control the menu rather than flipping through recipes on my phone.  Herbs are abundant here and nutrient dense, so I work with a lot of herbs. The weather is hot during summer, so most of my dishes this season are cooking free.  I give myself about 30 minutes of natural gas/day. Everything else is cool.  From someone on the outside, this must sound so constraining, but when I put out dishes they feel alive.  They taste real. Just thought I'd share.
 
pollinator
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I didn't realize until I read your post that I haven't looked at any of my cookbooks for over ten years. Ten!!! Wow. And it's been those ten years that we've been pretty much eating off of what our farm produces or what we can get locally via trading, foraging, etc. I just didn't give it much thought, but I too have developed a food style that has little to do with the numerous cookbooks I have. We've come to like that various seasonal combos I whip up. We're comfortable with the fresh herbs now. Looking back on it, I don't think we would have eaten this stuff 15 years ago. I was more in the mindset of cookbook meals -- Italian, French, Greek, Southern, whatever.

My Ww oofer is even more "eating off the farm" than I am, making stir fry combinations out of what is on hand that day. He's not into preservation, so eats everything fresh-picked or acquired. He has developed his own style, along with his own recipes and preferences. He probably could write his own cookbook by now.
 
pollinator
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I agree with you!  Unfortunately I can't grow anything where I live (I don't get enough sun to even grow decent greens) but I still love all the super local fruit and veggies that I can get this time of year.

Care to share some of the combos you're making these days?
 
gardener
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We just had a family reunion and I brought a large humus.  I did not grow all the ingredients (in fact I cheated and bought canned chick peas instead of using dried beans), but I did spice it up with fresh garlic scapes, onions, chives, oregano, basil, savory, thyme, and arrugula.  I even through in some edible weeds!  The dish was a huge success, and I was asked to share the recipe with them on facebook;  I did, but didn't include the weeds.  They wouldn't understand that part!   ;)  
 
Su Ba
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That's a great way to use one's homegrown veggies and herbs, especially when one's garden is small. When I only have a little of this or that, I've been known to mix them in with something abundant (whether I grew it myself or it came from off the farm, makes no difference), such as mashed potatoes, farmers cheese, mashed beans, scrambled or hard boiled eggs, rice, pasta. That way we get to enjoy the tidbits that are not enough to make a meal out of by themselves.  We've discovered some combos that we have come to really like and purposely make now.
 
Amit Enventres
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Sonja, I have been trying to take pictures and post in the cooking forum topic: "What's Cooking?". It's stuff significantly home-grown, does not have to be 100%. Please feel free to join in.

We're are not eating all home grown. Much of our produce is though. Generally what we have for the warm weather is juice or nut milk popsicles, milkshakes, trail mix, cereal, crackers, chips, fresh fruit, pickled stuff, fresh veggies, salads,  and lots of dips (chutney, herb cheese,  sour cream onion, salsa, 5 layer,  pesto, whipped cream, mousse). I use a lot of cream cheese since it makes a good no-cook binder. My friend has a recipe for no bake date brownies I want to try.  We also do sandwiches (cured meat, cream cheese,  or fish) or just straight-up eat dried salami sticks, but no fresh bread: old, open faced, or store bought versus the fresh made stuff during winter.  In the evenings I usually do my 1/2 hr of cooking (though I do also sometimes make some scrambled eggs for breakfast in 5 min). Most of my cooking is some meat in a pan. Maybe a boiling of snap peas too or a fast cook grain, like millet or quinoa for tabouli,  but on real hot days, even that seems too heavy. Everyone seems to benefit from the light snacky meals during the day.

I have to say,  I had a hard time finding good no cook recipes for anything other than brownies.  I should also note it seems cook book cooking was invented for people to use certain products and not to make use of local sources. Do you have any no cook recipes?

 
Roberto pokachinni
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Do you have any no cook recipes?  

 I was thinking that my humus could be made quite easily with garden fresh peas.  No other ingredient was cooked except the chick peas/garbanzo beans.  I have made it before with sprouted dried adzuki beans.  
 
Roberto pokachinni
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When I only have a little of this or that, I've been known to mix them in with something abundant (whether I grew it myself or it came from off the farm, makes no difference), such as mashed potatoes,

 Kale or chard mixed with mashed potatoes is one of my favorites.
 
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Sonja Draven wrote:I agree with you!  Unfortunately I can't grow anything where I live (I don't get enough sun to even grow decent greens) but I still love all the super local fruit and veggies that I can get this time of year.



There are foods you might be able to grow here in the Pacific Northwest, enen in mostly shade. I have a list here!

In the woods I have growing wild strawberries, hostas, red huckleberries, wood sorrel, wild violets, miners lettuce and siberian miners lettuce and salmonberry and thimbleberry. You can also grow mushrooms!
 
Sonja Draven
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Sonja Draven wrote:I agree with you!  Unfortunately I can't grow anything where I live (I don't get enough sun to even grow decent greens) but I still love all the super local fruit and veggies that I can get this time of year.



There are foods you might be able to grow here in the Pacific Northwest, enen in mostly shade. I have a list here!

In the woods I have growing wild strawberries, hostas, red huckleberries, wood sorrel, wild violets, miners lettuce and siberian miners lettuce and salmonberry and thimbleberry. You can also grow mushrooms!


Thanks, Nicole!  This is a great list.  There is a ton of stuff that grows great in the Pacific Northwest but nothing seems to do well in the apartment I'm in.  The patio gets about 10 minutes of indirect sun and everything is stunted both there and in the sliding glass door area just inside.  (I call it my cave.)  I have a potted fig tree on the patio and it makes decent leaves (but way slower than when it gets direct sun) but if it produces figs, they won't grow/ripen.  I can't sprout seeds.  If they come up, they stall at an inch.  It was frustrating (although the nice thing is I don't feel a need for a/c much) but my longer term plan is to grow real food on my acreage.  That's where I'm focusing my future planning.  In the meantime, I buy what local I can get.  Berries are in season and so is pitted fruit so I'm feeling quite spoiled these days!
 
Sonja Draven
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Amit Enventres wrote:Sonja, I have been trying to take pictures and post in the cooking forum topic: "What's Cooking?". It's stuff significantly home-grown, does not have to be 100%. Please feel free to join in.

We're are not eating all home grown. Much of our produce is though. Generally what we have for the warm weather is juice or nut milk popsicles, milkshakes, trail mix, cereal, crackers, chips, fresh fruit, pickled stuff, fresh veggies, salads,  and lots of dips (chutney, herb cheese,  sour cream onion, salsa, 5 layer,  pesto, whipped cream, mousse). I use a lot of cream cheese since it makes a good no-cook binder. My friend has a recipe for no bake date brownies I want to try.  We also do sandwiches (cured meat, cream cheese,  or fish) or just straight-up eat dried salami sticks, but no fresh bread: old, open faced, or store bought versus the fresh made stuff during winter.  In the evenings I usually do my 1/2 hr of cooking (though I do also sometimes make some scrambled eggs for breakfast in 5 min). Most of my cooking is some meat in a pan. Maybe a boiling of snap peas too or a fast cook grain, like millet or quinoa for tabouli,  but on real hot days, even that seems too heavy. Everyone seems to benefit from the light snacky meals during the day.

I have to say,  I had a hard time finding good no cook recipes for anything other than brownies.  I should also note it seems cook book cooking was invented for people to use certain products and not to make use of local sources. Do you have any no cook recipes?


Thanks, Amit.  I will check out the other thread!  I haven't been cooking a ton the past month or so (minus beans and rice or chard/collard greens/kale/beet greens).  Too much yummy produce.  :)  I'm completely plant-based so I gravitate towards those recipes.  I love big salads or bowls with greens, shredded carrot, cucumber, peas, radishes, baby turnips, etc.  Or my morning oatmeal with shredded zucchini and berries or nectarines.

This site has some yummy stuff and quite a few things that are no-bake (this links to her raw stuff):
https://www.feastingonfruit.com/category/raw/

This is my favorite recipe from her - I modified it with less sweetener and a slightly different crust:
https://www.feastingonfruit.com/vegan-vanilla-custard-cake/



 
Amit Enventres
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Omg ... I'm drooling over that website.  Yum!
 
Sonja Draven
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Right!?  

Straight Up Food is another favorite.  This was my main dish for Thanksgiving last year:
http://www.straightupfood.com/blog/2013/12/19/lentil-rice-loaf/

My sister's family isn't completely plant-based and they've loved everything from this site.  Especially her lasagna and carrot cake.  I love that there are so many yummy things to do with plants.  And we can easily make those. ;)
 
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